Mar 16 2005
Social Security Amendments to FY06 Budget
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 in response to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) comments about the amendment offered by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) to the budget resolution. Graham voted for the resolution. He said: “Senator Harry Reid does not speak for me regarding my vote for Senator Nelson’s resolution. “I personally believe the deficit effects of personal accounts can be solved and should be. Personal accounts are a vital part of the solution mix for Social Security reform. They should be on the table and I intend to keep them there. I also do not intend to oversell or demagogue them either. “I am trying to show bipartisan support for those Senators who are willing to express themselves about Social Security. My vote yesterday was an effort to show support to a Democratic colleague. It should not be turned into opposition to President Bush who I am very proud of in leading this debate. “I completely disagree with Senator Reid’s demagoguery of the personal account issue and hope the spin machine will stop. “Senator Reid seems to be intent on chanting slogans. Some of us in the Senate are intent on finding common ground. “The President is doing the right thing in leaving options on the table while Senator Reid is doing tremendous damage to Social Security reform by taking options off.” #####
Mar 16 2005
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 Senate passage of an amendment opening the door for energy exploration at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Senate adopted the measure after years of debate. “ANWR is about the size of the state of South Carolina. The drilling footprint is about 2,000 acres, the size of a large airport. “New technologies in drilling and the need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil are among the reasons I support limited exploration in ANWR. I believe time will prove us right in voting to open ANWR to exploration.” #####
Mar 15 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON – By a vote of 100-0, the U.S. Senate today passed an amendment to the budget resolution sponsored by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) which details the problems facing Social Security. “The unanimous vote by the Senate today mirrors President Bush’s description of the problems facing Social Security and in that regard is a significant step forward,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “In a unanimous vote, the Senate is now on the record in agreement that Social Security is facing major structural problems. If they are not addressed, it will result in massive tax increases or benefit cuts for younger Americans.” “My hope is that by commonly defining the problem, it will lead to common ground in terms of solutions,” continued Graham. The amendment lays out the priorities for the Senate when it comes to discussing Social Security reform. The Senate agrees that:
- The President, Congress, and the American people including seniors, workers, women, minorities, and disabled persons should work together at the earliest opportunity to enact legislation to achieve a solvent and permanently sustainable Social Security system.
- Social Security reform must protect current and near retirees from any changes to Social Security benefits, reduce the pressure on future taxpayers and other budgetary priorities, provide benefit levels that adequately reflect individual contributions to the Social Security system, and preserve and strengthen the safety net for vulnerable populations including the disabled and survivors.
Mar 14 2005
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Sumter Family Health Center will receive a $644,800 Community Health Center grant. Community Health Center grants are designed to promote the development and operation of community-based primary health care service systems in medically underserved areas. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####
Mar 10 2005
Caps Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Outlays to Initial Estimates
Wes Hickman (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has introduced legislation designed to reign in costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) has signed on as a co-sponsor. “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 was always concerned the projected costs of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit 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.” 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. This week, a Congressional Budget Office report pushed the cost to $849 billion over the next 10 years. The Medicare Prescription Drug Cost Containment Act of 2005 would place a cap on the program’s expenditures equal to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates for fiscal years 2005-2013, and allow for reasonable growth after that. Should the Medicare actuaries determine that the cap has been exceeded in any fiscal year the President would be required to submit to Congress legislation to reduce the cost of the Prescription Drug Benefit. 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 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.