Feb 13 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) released the following statement on his decision to vote against S. 1072 the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003: “My decision to vote ‘no’ on the highway bill was motivated by the fact that it busts the budget by billions of dollars, and will lead to larger deficits that our children and grandchildren will have to pay. Unfortunately, this is a continuation of the freewheeling spending practices we were elected to reign in.” “The highway and bridge needs of this country are very real. However, the federal government cannot afford a 43 percent increase in spending no matter how meritorious the projects may be. The 43 percent increase more than doubles the President’s request and is way out of line with any notion of fiscal responsibility.” “I know South Carolinians can use help in upgrading our infrastructure. But, our economy needs fiscal discipline more than new pet projects. Businesses and families have to make hard choices in difficult times, yet the Senate seems to be unwilling or incapable of doing the same.” “I hope President Bush vetoes this bill if it is not corrected in a conference between the House and Senate. If he does so, I will support his veto.” ####
Feb 11 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Dillon County will receive a $25,000 federal grant for a feasibility study on construction of a new general aviation airport. The feasibility study will include a business recruitment strategy, leasing plan, identification of incentives, and a financial feasibility plan. “Community airports play a vital role in growing the local economy by making the area more attractive for economic development and business recruitment,” said Graham. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce and will be matched by a $25,000 local contribution. ####
Feb 11 2004
Wes Hickman (Graham) or BWASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced legislation enabling the Federal Communications Commission to increase tenfold the fine on television and radio broadcasters who violate the FCC decency rules. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 increases the maximum fine for each violation to $275,000 and the total penalty for continued violations could be as much as $3 million. Current law caps penalties at $27,500 per offense. “For many years, I have been a proponent of ensuring that the content released on our nation’s airwaves is free from indecent and inappropriate material,” said Brownback, “Recently, much attention has been given to the FCC and the enforcement of its indecency rules regarding this issue due to a particular expletive used during the live broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards ceremony last year and compounded by the inappropriate Super Bowl Half Time show. This bill will increase, by tenfold, the forfeiture penalties for broadcasting obscenity, indecency or profanity. This will increase the penalties for a single obscene or indecent incident from $27,500 to $275,000. Until the penalties are punitive, there will be little incentive for broadcasters to curb this inappropriate behavior.” Brownback is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and serves on the Communications Subcommittee. “We need to make sure broadcasters air appropriate programming, especially when children are likely to be in the audience,” said Graham. “For too long we have stood on the sidelines and let indecent programming get out of hand. We need to do more to protect the public from indecent programming and this bill will cause broadcasters to think twice before allowing indecent materials on the airwaves. The current penalty is a mere slap on the wrist. It’s time we put a little more sting into the punishment.” Graham testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Commerce in support of the increased penalties. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. A similar bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last month. Additional Senate sponsors of the bill include Senators George Allen (R-Virginia), Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The legislation has garnered support from the administration, commissioners at the FCC, and family groups such as Focus on the Family. #####
Feb 11 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $147,000 in grants to fire departments in Inman, Johnston and Spartanburg. “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. Inman Inman Community Fire Department will receive $60,725. Johnston Johnston Fire Department will receive $37,800. Spartanburg Whitney Area Volunteer Fire Department will receive $48,582. 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. ####
Feb 10 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), disturbed by a 35 percent rise in the projected cost of the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, will introduce legislation to reign in the cost of the program. The new benefit was initially estimated to cost $395 billion over the next ten years when the bill passed Congress and was signed into law by President Bush in December 2003. A mere two months after becoming law, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) revised the figure and projected the bill to cost an estimated $534 billion. Graham said his greatest concern is that the cost explosion is going to be borne by future generations and noted that every dollar spent on the new Medicare prescription drug benefit is borrowed money. “As we try to improve senior’s health care we cannot do it in a way that will doom their grandchildren with debts they cannot afford to pay,” said Graham. “I didn’t vote for the bill last year because I was concerned the projected costs would turn out to be wrong. Even I was surprised at how quickly and dramatically the projected costs of the program spiked. I’m afraid this isn’t going to be the last bit of bad news we receive about the long-term costs of this new entitlement.” Graham proposes controlling the long-term costs of the program by:
- Placing caps on Medicare prescription drug outlays. The caps would be equal to the estimate of outlays for Prescription Drug Benefit for Fiscal Years (FY) 2005-2013 as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The caps for FY 2005-2013:
- 2005: $800 million (program not in full effect)
- 2006: $25.7 billion
- 2007: $39.0 billion
- 2008: $44.6 billion
- 2009: $48.7 billion
- 2010: $53.7 billion
- 2011: $58.6 billion
- 2012: $65.3 billion
- 2013: $73.1 billion
- Requiring the President to submit legislation to Congress reducing the costs of the prescription drug benefit upon determination the cap will be exceeded in any fiscal year. The President’s legislation would be considered on a fast-track basis and could not be amended or filibustered. Failure by a President to submit legislation would allow any Senator to move to discharge from the Finance Committee any Medicare reform legislation to lower the cost of the drug benefit.
Jan 28 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the Department of Energy’s decision to delay the final environmental impact statement for the Modern Pit Facility (MPF). The final report was expected to identify a preferred site for constructing an MPF. Potential sites for the MPF included Savannah River Site in Aiken, Los Alamos and Carlsbad, New Mexico, the Nevada Test Site, and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. In Fiscal Year 2004, Congress appropriated $11 million to DOE for continued work on a pit manufacturing capability to address aging stockpile concerns. A pit, made of plutonium, triggers a nuclear explosion in all modern thermonuclear weapons. Graham made the following statement: “I am very disappointed in the decision by Secretary Spence Abraham and Ambassador Linton Brooks, Director of the National Nuclear Security Administration, to delay the site selection for the Modern Pit Facility (MPF). “Throughout the process, the Department of Energy (DOE) assured Congress that site selection was on-track. DOE has maintained from the beginning that congressional concerns about MPF would not impact their timing for site selection. “In the future, DOE would better serve the taxpayer by determining whether they plan to go forward with a program before coming to Congress requesting taxpayer dollars. “I’ve always tried to take a balanced approach when dealing with these issues, but this decision damages our relationship with DOE. The news to delay a decision was completely unexpected and frankly, unwarranted, as DOE scientists and engineers are ready to make a MPF site selection. “The indecision on the part of the DOE leadership will have a negative impact on this program and could impact a broad range of other national security programs. “DOE naively assumes delay will promote broader support for MPF and other programs. I believe their indecision will have the opposite effect.” #####
Jan 28 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, this week introduced legislation to benefit members of the National Guard and Reserves. The National Guard and Reserve Readiness and Retention Act is a comprehensive reform bill to modernize healthcare and retirement benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves. “The increased demands placed on the men and women who serve this country in a part-time capacity require a modernization of their benefits,” said Graham. “Guardsmen and Reservists will soon make up 40 percent of our forces on the ground in Iraq and over the past decade have seen a dramatic increase in the time they spend on active duty. We must be sure to take care of every person that puts their life on the line to fight for liberty and freedom throughout the world.” “We need to take advantage of the momentum that is building in Congress to ensure Guard and Reserve personnel are fairly compensated for their service, said Graham. “The reform package being introduced today provides better health coverage and a more equitable retirement system for these citizen-soldiers.” Provisions included in the bill: Expand Access to Health Care – All Guard and Reserve members and their families would be eligible for health coverage through TRICARE, the military health system, regardless of their mobilization status. Unlike active-duty personnel, reservists would pay a modest annual premium. This change would improve unit readiness and eliminate the need for reservists and their families to change health care providers when mobilized. In the last session of Congress, Graham secured funding for expanded TRICARE eligibility for unemployed reservists and guardsmen and those that are not eligible for health insurance from their employers. He also won concessions to provide TRICARE coverage to all guardsmen and reservists once they received orders to deploy and allowed reservists and guardsmen to stay on TRICARE six months after deployment to ease the transition back to their private insurance. Provide Assistance To Cover Cost of Private Health Insurance Premiums – During periods of mobilization, reservists who opt to maintain private health coverage for their families rather than TRICARE would receive assistance in paying their health insurance premiums. Since families are also called on to sacrifice during mobilizations, this provision is intended to make it easier for them to maintain their existing health coverage and doctors. Enhance Retirement Benefits – Reservists with long careers could begin drawing retirement benefits as early as age 53, rather than the current minimum age of 60. The age for starting benefits would drop one year for every two additional years of honorable service. For example, benefits would start at age 60 for those with 20 years of service and age 59 for those with 22 years of service. “The National Guard and Reserves are increasingly being called upon to help protect our country and defend American interests,” said Graham. “They are playing a vital role in Operation Iraqi Freedom and are an integral part of the war on terrorism. We must take proactive steps to modernize benefits and improve recruitment and retention. Failure to act will result in a bloodletting in the Guard and Reserves, as many will choose to quit when their terms expire. This would have a devastating impact on the American military.” ####
Jan 22 2004
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the U.S. Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The $373 billion bill contained the seven remaining spending items which make up the federal budget. Graham voted for the bill which passed 65-28. The legislation already passed the House of Representatives and will now be sent to President Bush for his signature. “I am pleased that my colleagues have come together in a bipartisan fashion to finish the work on the federal budget,” said Graham. “I would like to thank my colleague, Senator Hollings, and all the members of the delegation for working together to benefit all South Carolinians.” Graham noted the bill contains millions of dollars to fund South Carolina related projects. They include: Agriculture Projects Upstate
- $900,000 for a Department of Agriculture study done in cooperation with Clemson University to characterize land use changes while preserving natural resources.
- $273,000 to Clemson University to continue research to develop innovative pest control techniques.
- $270,000 to Clemson University for cotton quality research.
- $234,000 to Clemson University for peach tree short life research in southeastern orchards.
- $270,000 to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) study of animal waste treatment in Florence.
- $90,000 to ARS for the study of emissions from livestock waste water in Florence.
- $3.15 million to the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston for construction.
- $270,000 increase to FY03 funding for research staff at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston as additional scientists are necessary to conduct priority research.
- $3.768 million to study shrimp aquaculture in South Carolina and six other states.
- $11 million for site acquisition and design for a new Federal Courthouse in Greenville.
- $1 million to South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) for surface improvements to the Arkwright Connector in Spartanburg.
- $200,000 for multimodal transportation center improvements in Greenville.
- $4 million to SCDOT for the U.S. 78 Bamberg Scenic Highway Project.
- $4 million to SCDOT for the Bobby Jones Expressway/Palmetto Parkway extension.
- $2 million to the City of Orangeburg for railroad relocation projects.
- $2 million for riverfront redevelopment in North Augusta.
- $1.5 million for the Sumter Municipal Airport to install an Instrument Landing System (ILS).
- $1.05 million for improvements to Assembly Street, Whaley Street, and Rosewood Drive in Columbia.
- $500,000 for the construction of the Bishopville Bypass in Lee County.
- $440,000 to the Fairfield County Airport for a runway extension.
- $400,000 for the construction of a pedestrian walkway over U.S. 601 to service South Carolina State University and Claflin University.
- $1.4 million to SCDOT to upgrade the I-95 and S.C. 327 interchange in Florence County.
- $4 million to the Medical University of South Carolina Intermodal facility for maintenance, acquisition, and rehabilitation of bus facilities.
- $3 million to SCDOT for construction on Bowman Road and Johnnie Dodds Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant.
- $1.25 million to the North Charleston Regional Intermodal Transportation Center for maintenance, acquisition, and rehabilitation of bus facilities.
- $1.25 to SCDOT for the construction of the Cooper River Bridge replacement.
- $1 million to SCDOT for construction of a four lane divided arterial over an approximately 10-mile corridor of U.S. 278.
- $1 million to SCDOT for improvements to the Berlin G. Meyers Parkway Extension in Georgetown.
- $1 million to Andrews Municipal Airport for pavement reconstruction.
- $300,000 to the Lowcountry Regional Transportation Authority for maintenance, acquisition, and rehabilitation of bus facilities.
- $250,000 to SCDOT for the construction of a U.S. 17 and Bowman Road interchange in Mt. Pleasant.
- $200,000 for the Myrtle Beach Regional Multimodal Transit Center.
- $4 million to the SCDOT to help replace South Carolina’s transit fleet.
- $3.5 million to SCDOT for the Inroads Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) project to place video cameras, changeable message signs, and other safety devices along South Carolina’s interstate highways.
- $2.25 million to SCDOT for a construction study of I-73.
- $1 million to SCDOT for statewide transit facilities construction.
- $750,000 to conduct a Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor Study.
- $300,000 to SCDOT for the research and development of ball bearing packages with intelligent safety aids for vehicles.
- $250,000 for a corridor and borders project in association with I-73.
- $1 million to the city of Rock Hill for the revitalization and development of the Arcade-Westside area of Rock Hill.
- $500,000 to the Winchester Conservation Museum for building expansion in Edgefield.
- $225,000 to the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg for the construction of a teaching/living facility.
- $175,000 to the City of Greenville for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
- $150,000 to the Golden Harvest Food Bank in Aiken, SC and Augusta, GA to enhance two food bank warehouses.
- $350,000 to the University of South Carolina for a geological study of uranium groundwater contamination.
- $300,000 to Calhoun County for water infrastructure improvements for the Fort Motte water system.
- $250,000 to Kershaw County for water and wastewater infrastructure development.
- $150,000 to Calhoun County for the construction of a community recreational facility.
- $100,000 to the Eau Claire Development Corporation for land acquisition near Farrow Road.
- $300,000 to Alligator Rural Water Company in Chesterfield County for water infrastructure improvements.
- $150,000 to Lee County for renovations to the Ashwood Gymnasium.
- $2 million increase in funding for the School of Science and Mathematics at the College of Charleston to enhance and expand science and technology programs.
- $1.2 million to the Town of Ravenel for the construction of a main sewer transmission line along Highway 17.
- $1 million to the Five Rivers Community Development Corporation in Georgetown for economic development and affordable housing.
- $1.4 million to the Commission of Public Works of the City of Charleston for wastewater tunnel replacement.
- $400,000 to the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation for storm water infrastructure improvements.
- $250,000 to the Town of Estill for water infrastructure improvements.
- $10 million for the National Textile Center. NTC is a research, development, and technology transfer consortium that links the textile industry to leadership research and education programs at Clemson University and other universities.
- $1.1 million to the Palmetto Expo Center in Greenville to develop security enhancements and renovations related to emergency utilization.
- $1 million for technology improvements and network infrastructure to support the Greenville Automotive Research Park.
- $850,000 to the City of Greenville Police Department for communication system upgrades.
- $350,000 to the Abbeville County Sheriff’s Department for mobile data computers and in-car cameras.
- $300,000 for the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of mobile data computers and communications upgrades.
- $300,000 to Spartanburg County for an advanced 9-1-1 notification system.
- $300,000 to the Union County Sheriff’s Department for mobile data computers and communications upgrades.
- $100,000 to the city of Tega City for law enforcement technologies.
- $9.4 million to the South Carolina Judicial Department to continue purchasing equipment for the integration of the case docket system in to a state-of-the-art comprehensive database to be shared between the court system and law enforcement.
- $500,000 to the University of South Carolina for the National Center for Prosecutorial Ethics.
- $350,000 to the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of mobile data computers
- $100,000 to the City of Columbia to support a methamphetamine initiative.
- $33.123 million to the Federal Corrections Institute (FCI) Williamsburg for a new prison facility.
- $10.532 million to the FCI Bennettsville for a new prison facility.
- $500,000 to the Marion County Sheriffs Department to implement a records management system.
- $17.275 million for the Cooperative Offshore Fisheries Enforcement Program. This program provides the equipment and funding for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources enforcement officers.
- $16.75 million to Bonneau Ferry for Coastal/Estuarine Land Acquisition.
- $14 million to the Medical University of South Carolina.
- $4.5 million to ACE Basin for estuarine procurement, acquisition, and construction.
- $2.5 million to Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties for a shared information system for local law enforcement.
- $2 million to the National Marine Fisheries Service for South Carolina Cooperative Research.
- $1 million to the National Marine Fisheries Service for South Carolina Oyster Recovery.
- $800,000 to the National Marine Fisheries Service for the Charleston Health and Risk Assessment in Charleston.
- $750,000 to the Low Country Children’s Center in South Carolina for continued support for a collaborative effort among local organizations in Charleston that provide full services to children who have been abused.
- $650,000 for research into the Charleston Bump.
- $650,000 to the National Marine Fisheries Service for the study of South Carolina Shrimp Pathogens.
- $500,000 for Billfish Tagging in the Charleston Bump and other locations.
- $500,000 to the National Marine Fisheries Service for the South Carolina Taxonomic Center to support fishing activities.
- $500,000 for the Freewoods Farm Living Farm Museum in Horry County.
- $350,000 for the Hampton County Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of computers and surveillance equipment necessary to patrol high crime areas of the county.
- $300,000 for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department for the purchase of mobile data computers and in-car cameras.
- $175,000 to the National Ocean Service for South Carolina Marine Debris Removal.
- $100,000 to MUSC for a program which helps single head-of-household women with children turn away from crime and drugs and become self-sufficient.
- $100,000 to the National Ocean Service for Edisto Beach Marsh Protection.
- $20,000 to the Yemassee Police Department for the purchase of radios and in-car cameras.
- $2 million for the South Carolina Truancy and Dropout Prevention Initiative.
- $2 million to the South Carolina Seafood Alliance to promote and develop fishery products and research pertaining to American fisheries.
- $1.5 million to SLED to continue the funding for necessary equipment for SLED’s criminal justice information system, to convert existing databases and integrate systems for accurate and rapid production of information to support identifications for criminal and civilian purposes.
- $1.5 million to SLED for continued funding to support the growing state and local law enforcement needs in the only full service forensic laboratory in the state.
- $1.5 million to provide community-based, cost effective alternative programs for juveniles who are, have been or may be subject to compulsory care, supervision or incarceration in public or private institutions in several states including South Carolina.
- $1 million to the Southeastern Law Enforcement Technology Center to partner with SPAWAR System Center Charleston to advance research and development into software radio technology.
- $1 million for SLED to continue funding for equipment to support a federal and state collaboration of investigators and forensics experts to solve crime.
- $695,000 for the South Carolina Domestic Violence Reduction Initiative of which $150,000 is for Safe Passage which assists victims in Greenville and Anderson. $150,000 for Safe Homes which assists victims in Spartanburg, and $220,000 for the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, which assists victims in Aiken, Barnwell, Allendale, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda Counties.
- $500,000 for the South Carolina Export Consortium.
- $500,000 to SCDNR for the RecFIN program to support inshore recreational species assessment and enhancement.
- $500,000 for the Greenville Hospital Center to provide assistance in serving rural areas.
- $250,000 for the Call Me MISTER program at Clemson University.
- $250,000 for a Montessori project at Lander University.
- $200,000 for the University Center in Greenville.
- $200,000 for the Health Education Center at the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg.
- $100,000 for a finance study at Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute.
- $5 million for the Strom Thurmond Fitness Center at the University of South Carolina.
- $1.2 million to the University of South Carolina to purchase equipment for the Multidisciplinary Science Center.
- $500,000 to Commun-i-care in Columbia to support a program that distributes prescription drugs to low income, uninsured South Carolinians.
- $4 million to the Oncology Center at MUSC for facility improvements and equipment.
- $1 million to Trident Technical College to equip the information technology center, electromechanical skills lab, and the hospitality, tourism and culinary arts program.
- $200,000 to the Advanced Technology Institute in North Charleston.
- $200,000 to the St. James-Santee Family Health Center in McClellanville.
- $200,000 to the Beaufort County School District for the development and implementation of a modal program in technology and literacy for K-12 teachers.
- $200,000 to Charleston County for a Charleston Media Technology Park project.
- $100,000 to the College of Charleston for the purchase of scientific equipment.
- $500,000 to the Jason Foundation for Education to extend science education and professional teacher development programs to schools in South Carolina.
- $500,000 for the South Carolina Women’s Business Center.
- $300,000 to South Carolina Educational Television to continue the Bridges Demonstration Project to develop educational curriculum compatible with digital broadcasting.