Jul 22 2004
Final Defense Bill Provides Start-Up Funding for Program to Provide Reservists and Families Access to Affordable Health Care
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said the final FY 2005 Defense Appropriations bill contains as much as $683 million for the Department of Defense to launch a new program giving National Guard members, reservists, and their families access to affordable health care coverage until 2005. Appropriations Committee leaders told Graham and co-author Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) they would provide the rest of the funding later, if the Graham-Daschle amendment is adopted during House-Senate conference committee negotiations on HR4200, the Defense Authorization Bill. “For the first time, Congress will provide health care benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserves regardless of their activation status," said Graham, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Graham is the only Senator to serve in a Guard or Reserve unit. "This is a step forward and I’m appreciative of the work that went into making this happen. However, our fight for better health care for reservists is not finished," said Graham. "The program will be funded in full for at least four months while we continue to work for the necessary congressional authorization and further appropriations." Meanwhile, several recent reports have raised concerns about the declining number of reservists. On Tuesday, USA Today reported that the “Army National Guard is having increasing difficulty recruiting soldiers…. Experts say it’s easier for the active-duty Army to recruit because it offers more benefits.” On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times said, “In the corridors of the Pentagon, a major concern is that the tempo of deployments since the Sept. 11 attacks will ultimately take its toll on retention and recruitment…. Thus far, the Army has been able to meet recruiting goals for the active force, but is falling short of its 2004 target numbers for the National Guard.” On Thursday, the Washington Post said the Army’s pool of “delayed entry” soldiers has shrunk to its lowest level in three years and quoted a Missouri Congressman who said retention in his state’s National Guard “is sliding downhill very, very fast.” The General Accounting Office estimates that 40 percent of the National Guard's junior enlisted personnel and 20 percent of all reservists lack health care coverage. Last year, Graham successfully enacted a one-year program that provided access to TRICARE to members of the Guard and Reserve without employer-based health care. “I will continue working with my colleagues to fully authorize and fund this important program so it’s there for our Guardsmen and Reservists each and every year they serve our country," said Graham. "Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers. 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. ####
Jul 22 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on release of the 9-11 Commission’s report. “I was very impressed by the details of the report. They highlighted numerous occasions where intelligence regarding the 9/11 hijackers was not shared between agencies. This is a serious problem we must continue to remain aware of in our efforts to avert future acts of terrorism. “The Commission’s recommendation of a national counter-terrorism center where you have one-stop shopping for intelligence information is an idea I support. I am confident Congress will fully review and analyze all of their recommendations. “In meeting earlier today with Chairman Kean and Vice-Chairman Hamilton, I brought up the topic of what regimes support Al-Qaeada and other terrorist organizations? They indicated there are different levels of support, but the Commission made clear they support our government adopting a no-sanctuary policy. “It’s going to be my goal to not only support restructuring of intelligence agencies, but to be more aggressive dealing with countries that provide sanctuary and support to terrorists. Without a no-sanctuary policy it will be very difficult to control terrorist organizations.” #####
Jul 14 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Three and Twenty Fire Department in Easley will receive a $36,253 firefighting grant. “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 Grant will help the fire department improve their training, wellness and fitness programs; purchase new firefighting equipment and personal protective equipment; and, make modifications to fire stations and facilities. 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. ####
Jul 14 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Greer Commission of Public Works will receive a $1.5 million economic development grant. The funds will be used to expand the water treatment plant from 16 million gallons per day to 24 million. The expansion is designed to accommodate growth and development in the area. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Graham noted the Commission has also been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission bringing the total federal investment in the project to $2 million. ####
Jul 14 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. He made this statement following the vote: “I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. “A handful of liberal judges in Massachusetts should not be allowed to change the definition of marriage for the rest of the country. Unfortunately, that is the situation we find ourselves in today. “The Massachusetts Supreme Court, by recognizing same-sex marriages as legal, has set a terrible precedent. I believe it’s only a matter of time before other states will have to give in to the Massachusetts decision and recognize same-sex couples who were married in that state. “The only way to stop this process from going forward is to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. “If we’re going to change the definition of marriage – one of the oldest and strongest concepts in our culture – it should come about through the constitutional process and actions of the peoples elected representatives. We cannot allow a few liberal judges to hijack and completely rewrite the definition of marriage.” #####
Jul 12 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced over $11 million in federal housing grants for Aiken, Charleston, Columbia, Florence, Lexington County, Spartanburg and Spartanburg County. Brief Descriptions of the Programs:
- The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) develops viable communities and provides housing and a suitable living environment by expanding economic opportunities for low and moderate income households.
- The HOME Investment Partnership Program creates affordable housing for low-income households. It allows communities to design and implement strategies tailored to their own needs and priorities.
- The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program provides housing assistance and related support services to projects that benefit low-income persons diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and their families.
- The American Dream Downpayment Initiative promotes home ownership by providing necessary resources for downpayment and closing cost assistance to low-income and minority households.
Jul 08 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced IWSA Development Corporation in Rock Hill will receive a $1,679,340 Indian Housing Block Grant. The funds can be used for a variety of affordable housing activities including:
- modernization and operating assistance for low income housing;
- new construction;
- acquisition or rehabilitation of rental or owner occupied housing;
- housing services;
- housing management;
- crime prevention, and;
- safety activities.