Jun 25 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Lancaster County School District will receive a $399,774 grant to support counseling programs. Graham is a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The funds will be used to establish or expand school counseling programs by hiring qualified school counselors, social workers, psychologists, or child/adolescent psychiatrists. Counseling services will use a developmental prevention approach, and will be designed and implemented with the involvement of parents of the participating students. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. ####

Jun 24 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate confirmed Bryan Harwell to the U.S. District Court. “I am pleased my colleagues in the Senate came together in a bi-partisan fashion to confirm Bryan Harwell to the U.S. District Court,” said Graham. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Bryan for years, and know without a doubt his character, ability, and temperament are beyond reproach. I would like to thank President Bush for nominating him.” “Bryan is an asset to Florence and South Carolina in both his personal and professional life,” said Graham. “He is an excellent attorney, and has dedicated himself to serving the community by helping to ensure all citizens have access to quality legal representation. In addition, he has served his country honorably as a Judge Advocate General officer in the South Carolina National Guard.” “His willingness to subject himself to the scrutiny of the United States Senate demonstrates his commitment to serving South Carolina,” said Graham. “Bryan will wear the robe with honor, respect the letter of the law, and treat all who come before his court with dignity. He will make us all proud.” ####

Jun 24 2004

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) drive to help citizen-soldiers receive better health care benefits received a big boost this week. Twice the U.S. Senate voted to provide TRICARE, the military health care benefit, to members of the National Guard and Reserves regardless of their activation status. Today, the U.S. Senate passed 98-0 the defense appropriations bill funding reservists’ benefits, including a temporary expansion of the TRICARE program to members of the Guard and Reserve. On Wednesday, the Senate passed 97-0 its version of the defense authorization bill, including a Graham amendment making Guardsmen and Reservists eligible for the program. “I’m pleased the Senate agreed to the important change in the benefits package for members of the Guard and Reserve,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “This is the first time the Senate has appropriated money to expand TRICARE to all members of the Guard and Reserve, regardless of their activation status. We’ve had overwhelming votes in support of giving our reservists better health care benefits. We’ve got more work to do before this becomes law, but this week was a very productive one in moving the bill forward.” “We’re calling upon the Guard and Reserve at the same tempo level we did during World War II,” said Graham. “On a percentage basis, it’s even greater. So now is the time to increase benefits for Guard and Reserve members.” Members of the guard and reserves would be eligible to enroll in TRICARE for a modest annual premium regardless of their deployment status. Premiums would be about $530/year for individual coverage and $1,860/year for families. When fully phased in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the provision would assist more than 300,000 reservists and their family members. Graham said that in Iraq Guardsman and Reservists have rotated with the active-duty forces, increasing the reserve component share of the total U.S. forces to more than 40 percent. The reserves have also been charged with taking control of the entire peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. “Better health care benefits will help our recruiting, readiness and retention efforts,” said Graham. “They need it and I think based upon what they have been asked to do, particularly since 9/11, they’ve earned it. We’re going to continue to fight for better benefits for them.” “Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers,” said Graham. “Increasingly they are being called up to duty, taken away from their work and families, and being sent to far-away lands for long tours of duty. We need to ensure the benefits they are receiving are equal to the sacrifice they are making to protect our country and interests around the world.” The Senate will now go to conference with the House of Representatives on both the Defense Authorization and Defense Appropriations bills. ####

Jun 24 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said Congress should heed the warnings contained in the recently released U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission report and take action to curb Chinese currency manipulation abuses. Graham was joined at the Capitol Hill press conference by U.S. Senator George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Graham noted the Chinese yuan has been tightly pegged to the US dollar in a range of 8.28 yuan per dollar since 1994.  Given China's enormous growth over the past decade, if the yuan were allowed to float freely, like other major currencies, economists believe it would appreciate substantially against the U.S. dollar. The first recommendation to Congress made by the Commission was to address China’s currency manipulation. “The Commission report serves as a wake-up call to Congress,” said Graham. “We have lost thousands of manufacturing and textile jobs not because the Chinese work harder or smarter, but because they are cheating. Congress chose to empower the Commission to look into issues affecting U.S.-China relations, now the question is will we listen to them?” In its findings, the Commission reported:
  • China is systematically intervening in the foreign exchange market to keep its currency undervalued.
  • An immediate and significant upward reevaluation of the Chinese yuan against the dollar, combined with the removal of discriminatory Chinese trade practices, should help reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China which was $124 billion in 2003.
  • China’s intervening to keep the yuan undervalued is in violation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which says members should, “avoid manipulating exchange rates…in order…to gain an unfair competitive advantage over other members.”
  • China should implement reforms to prepare them for an eventual floating exchange rate. At this time, they should refrain from moving to a floating exchange rate as its banking system and financial markets are not prepared.
Economists estimate the yuan may be undervalued by 15 to 40 percent. The intentional manipulation makes their goods and services cheap internationally.  The practical effect of this manipulation means Chinese manufacturers receive a 15 percent to 40 percent discount on their exports, providing them with a nearly insurmountable advantage over American producers. “China’s cheating is hurting American manufacturers and textile producers,” said Graham. “American workers can compete with anyone given a fair opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity does not exist in today’s economy.” Graham said he will continue to push for action on legislation he offered with Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) requiring China to abide by international trade agreements and stop manipulating their currency. The legislation:
  • Initially gives China a window of 180 days to revalue their currency or be faced with a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese manufactured goods.
  • Requires the President to certify China “is no longer acquiring foreign exchange reserves to prevent the appreciation of the rate of exchange between its currency and the United States dollar for the purpose of gaining an unfair competitive advantage…” The certification includes a determination that China has “undergone substantial upward revaluation placing it at or near its fair market value.”
  • Provides that if China has made a good-faith effort to revalue, the President may delay the imposition of tariffs for an additional 180 days. If at the end of the additional 180 days, the President determines that China has developed a plan to revalue, he may delay the imposition of tariffs for an additional 12 months.
“The Schumer-Graham legislation gives China ample time to make the necessary, structural changes to the valuation of their currency,” said Graham. “If China wants to be part of the international community, it’s time for them to clean up their act. Until they are reigned in and start playing by the rules, our manufacturing industry will continue to bleed jobs because of unfair Chinese trade practices.” #####

Jun 22 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Fritz Hollings and Lindsey Graham secured $179 million in funds for defense work in South Carolina, as part of the 2005 Department of Defense Appropriations bill that today unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The money will fund 32 projects throughout the state, including projects at the University of South Carolina and Clemson, the South Carolina National Guard, several defense contractors, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in Charleston. “This money will give researchers in our state the tools to build the best system in the world to defend our nation,” Sen. Hollings said. “We’ll be doing cutting edge research to support our troops, to fight terrorism, and to bring medical developments that will not only help troops, but can benefit everyone.” Sen. Hollings made funding for special projects at SPAWAR for warfare modeling and battlefield simulation a priority this year. “South Carolina is in the forefront developing cutting-edge military technology and equipping our men and women in uniform,” said Sen. Graham. “Many people in our state give their time, talent, and even their lives to provide for the defense of freedom throughout the world. The patriotism of South Carolina is unmatched.” "These projects will help ensure that America continues to have the best trained and best equipped fighting force in history,” said Sen. Graham. ####

Jun 18 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement about the murder of Paul Johnson. “Every day it becomes clearer that we are fighting barbarians in the War on Terror. They must be defeated; it is impossible to negotiate our way out of this war.” “To win this war, we must empower the good people of the Middle East who seek a better life, and resist the temptation to act like our enemy.” “One day, the barbarians responsible for this murder and all other terrorists will be brought to justice. Anything short of total victory is unacceptable.” “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Paul Johnson, and all who have suffered so much. I hope God will provide a healing presence in their lives.” ####

Jun 18 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the United States Senate has unanimously accepted an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2005 Defense Authorization Act that will aid in the investigation of the United Nation’s Oil-For-Food (OFF) program. Graham sponsored the amendment, along with Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming). The amendment requires the Department of Defense to secure all OFF related documents currently in the possession of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority before June 30, 2004. In addition, it instructs the General Accounting Office to request the UN turn over all relevant documents. “The allegations of corruption within the OFF program are serious and must be addressed as quickly as possible,” said Graham. “It is imperative that we secure the relevant documents in Iraq before the June 30th handover to ensure the United States has access to information critical to this investigation.” Graham was recently appointed by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) to lead an investigative Senate working group. “This is the first step in this investigation,” said Graham. “We are hopeful that the United Nations will cooperate fully and allow access to all OFF documents.” “Saddam Hussein abused this program by stealing from the mouths of a starving Iraqi population,” said Graham. “Rather than feeding his people, he used this money to build palaces, satisfy his overwhelming greed, and perpetuate his own perverse lifestyle. Even worse, he may have done so with the assistance of UN officials.” “This investigation will further expose the corruption of the Saddam regime and examine the ability of the UN to effectively run such a program in the future,” said Graham. Following final passage in the Senate, the Fiscal Year 2005 Defense Authorization Act will go to conference with the House of Representatives. ####

Jun 16 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $280,000 in grants to fire departments in Gresham, Moncks Corner, and Walhalla. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment and training available,” said Graham. “Firefighters are some of the heroes in our midst.” The Assistance to Firefighters Grants will help the fire departments improve their training, wellness and fitness programs; purchase new firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and, make modifications to fire stations and facilities. Gresham Britton’s Neck/Gresham Volunteer Fire Department will receive $93,240. Moncks Corner Whitesville Rural Volunteer Fire Department will receive $36,999. Walhalla Walhalla Fire Department will receive $150,413. The Assistance to Firefighters grant program awards one-year grants directly to local fire departments, enhancing their ability to respond to fire and fire-related hazards in the community. The program supports departments by providing them the tools and resources necessary to protect the health and safety of the public and their firefighting personnel. Grantees share in the cost of the funded project at a percentage based on the population of their respective jurisdiction. Grantees that serve jurisdictions of 50,000 or fewer residents are required to provide a non-Federal cost-share of 10 percent while grantees that serve jurisdictions of over 50,000 provide a 30 percent cost-share. The match must be in cash without the use of in-kind contributions. In addition, the maximum amount of federal funds that an applicant can be awarded is $750,000 during any fiscal year. The grants are made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ####

Jun 16 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Seiler International Corporation (SEICOR) of Charleston has been awarded a $1,991,000 research and development contract for its shipboard automated container and cargo transfer system (AutoLog). Graham secured funding for the project in the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Appropriations Act. The SEICOR team will design and build a one-quarter scale version of the robotic Autolog system in this phase for installation and testing aboard the Navy's research vessel MV Independence. AutoLog has been developed to meet the Navy's need for a shipboard crane system capable of rapidly transferring containers in high sea states in support of vital sea basing operations. “South Carolina companies supply the men and women of our armed forces with cutting edge technology,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Projects such as this are a boon to our state’s economy, and demonstrate the skill and dedication of South Carolina’s workforce.” The contract was awarded by the U.S. Navy. Graham originally announced the project after Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Appropriations Act. ####

Jun 15 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced $625,000 in federal grants have been awarded to aid revitalization efforts at brownfield sites in Aiken, Charleston, Spartanburg, and Jackson. The Brownfields Grants help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use. The funds are used to help communities evaluate the environmental contamination of brownfield sites. Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Grants announced today include: Aiken County Aiken County will receive $200,000 to conduct community outreach, perform site assessments, conduct health monitoring activities for surrounding communities, and develop cleanup and reuse plans at a 22-acre abandoned, burned textile mill property. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will receive $25,000 assess a former service station site and conduct community outreach in the Town of Jackson. The site has five old underground storage tanks that do not meet regulatory standards. Charleston The City of Charleston will receive $200,000 to inventory sites with potential petroleum contamination in the city’s Renewal Community, conduct community outreach activities, conduct assessments, perform health monitoring in surrounding communities, and plan cleanup and remediation at two sites. Spartanburg Regenesis, Inc. will receive $100,000 to clean up the 30-acre North Street Dump Site at 971 S. Liberty Street. This largely vacant site with elevated polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon contamination has been used for mill storage and casual dumping. In addition, Regenesis will receive $100,000 to clean up leaks from inactive underground storage tanks at the 3-acre Arkwright Mills Site, which was an operating textile mill until 1979. “Revitalizing these sites and converting them to commercially viable properties is a great investment in future economic development,” said Graham. “In addition, it provides for a cleaner environment and eliminates public health risks.” The grants were awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ####