Oct 21 2003
Legislation to be Signed into Law by President Bush
Wes Hickaman (202 224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Seneca) today voted in support of a ban on partial birth abortion. The measure passed Congress by a wide margin and will now be sent to President Bush who has said he will sign the measure into law. “I’m very pleased we are going to finally ban the horrible procedure known as partial birth abortion,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “America may be divided on abortion policy in the early stages of pregnancy, but banning abortion in the last months of pregnancy is overwhelmingly supported.” The legislation prohibits any person from performing a partial birth abortion. The procedure is defined as an abortion where the person partially delivers a living fetus and kills the fetus before completing delivery. It does provide an exception in case the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury. Any person performing the procedure would be subject to fines and up to two years in prison. Husbands, or parents of women under 18 years of age, would be able to sue for civil damages. “This is a step in the right direction toward making our society more civilized,” said Graham. “Partial birth abortion is a ghastly procedure. Its abolishment is a long overdue cultural change.” Previous versions of the legislation banning partial-birth abortions were sent to former President Clinton in 1996 and 1997. He vetoed those measures. ######
Oct 21 2003
Wes Hickaman (202 224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced housing authorities in South Carolina will receive over $500,000 in grants to hire Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program coordinators. The FSS program encourages communities to develop local strategies to help families obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. Public housing agencies (PHAs) work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain employment that pays a living wage. The following grants will be awarded in South Carolina: Anderson The Anderson Housing Authority will receive $36,024 Beaufort The Beaufort Housing Authority will receive $25,227 Charleston The Charleston County Housing and Redevelopment Authority will receive $33,590 The Housing Authority of the City of Charleston will receive $45,568 Cheraw The Housing Authority of Cheraw will receive $23,000 Columbia The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority will receive $41,603 The Housing Authority of the City of Columbia will receive $36,755 Florence The Housing Authority of Florence will receive $28,877 The Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Marlboro County will receive $23,000 Greenville The Housing Authority of the City of Greenville will receive $31,117 Greenwood The Housing Authority of the City of Greenwood will receive $35,971 Myrtle Beach The Myrtle Beach Housing Authority will receive $77,020 North Charleston The Housing Authority of the City of North Charleston will receive $40,000 Spartanburg The Spartanburg Housing Authority will receive $37,867 "This is an investment in the future of our state at a time when unemployment figures are rising," said Graham. "This program helps provide South Carolinians with the skills and assistance they need to find meaningful employment." The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ####
Oct 17 2003
Senate Adopts Graham Backed Amendments on Loans, Timeline for American Troops in Iraq, Support of Israel, and TRICARE for Guard and Reserve Members
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 $87 billion supplemental appropriation request to pay for ongoing military and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senate passed the request 87-12 and will now go to conference with the House of Representatives. “The brave men and women of our armed services are in Iraq and Afghanistan for a noble purpose,” said Graham. “They have liberated an oppressed people and are helping to establish security and freedom in their country. We must be sure to give our troops the tools they need to carry out their mission.” Graham worked to include four important amendments to the Senate legislation.
- Graham, along with U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), John Ensign (R-NV), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and Evan Bayh (D-IN) , pushed for and won a provision declaring $10 billion in reconstruction funds to be a loan. The loans will be forgiven if 90 percent of Iraq’s prewar debt, estimated to be between $100 billion to $130 billion, is forgiven by countries such as France, Germany and Russia.
- Graham introduced and passed an amendment rejecting arbitrary deadlines, proposed by French President Jacque Chirac, for American withdrawal from Iraq. As recently as September 16, the French government proposed that within two months all authority be turned over to the Iraqi people. The resolution says the U.S. will not turn transfer authority until the ratification of a new Iraqi constitution and democratic elections are held.
- Graham introduced and passed an amendment noting Operation Iraqi Freedom promotes the security of Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.
- Graham introduced and passed an amendment to improve health care coverage for members of the National Guard and Reserves. The Graham amendment allows unemployed reservists and guardsmen and those that are not eligible for health insurance from their employers to enroll fulltime in TRICARE; provides TRICARE coverage to all guardsmen and reservists once they receive orders to deploy, currently they don’t receive their benefits until they actually deploy; and allows all reservists and guardsmen to stay on TRICARE six months after deployment to ease the transition back to their private insurance.
Oct 13 2003
Chinese Currency Manipulation Causing Job Losses in the Upstate
Wes Hickman/Kevin BishopWASHINGTON – On a tour of Mount Vernon Mills, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said it is past time for tougher safeguards to protect the textile industry from unfair, foreign competition, particularly from China. Graham noted the textile industry has been hard hit by the Chinese intentionally manipulating the value of its currency and those actions are having a direct impact on job losses in Upstate South Carolina. “There’s a perfect storm brewing in China which could destroy what remains of the textile industry in the United States,” said Graham. “China’s access to the U.S. textile and apparel market more than doubled in 2002, growing by an astounding 117 percent and is up an additional 114 percent so far in 2003. These are staggering numbers and the net result is we’re losing jobs here at home.” Graham blamed the Chinese for intentionally manipulating the value of their currency creating a competitive disadvantage for American producers. He noted the Chinese yuan has been tightly pegged to the US dollar in a range of 8.3 yuan per dollar since 1994. Given China's enormous growth over the past decade, this fixed level most likely does not reflect its true value. If the yuan were allowed to float freely, like other major currencies, many economists believe it would appreciate substantially against the U.S. dollar. Economists at Goldman Sachs have estimated that the yuan may be undervalued by 15 percent and other experts say that number could be as high as 40 percent, meaning that the Chinese intentionally lower their currency's value to make their goods and services cheap internationally. The practical effect of this currency 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. “I fear that if we do not act quickly to counter China’s illegal efforts to dominate the United States apparel market, our domestic suppliers will not be able to recover,” said Graham. “I believe now is the time to slow this massive surge of Chinese imports. “We have lost thousands of textile jobs in South Carolina, not because the Chinese work harder or smarter, but because they are cheating,” said Graham. “The American textile worker can compete with anyone given a fair opportunity. Unfortunately, that opportunity does not exist in today’s’ economy.” Graham noted several avenues to help the industry. These include:
- Congressional passage of legislation Graham introduced along with Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Jim Bunning (R-KY) which imposes a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese imports if they do not put an end to currency manipulation. The legislation, S. 1586, allows the President to remove sanctions once he certifies that China has moved to a market-based currency. The tariffs would kick in after a 180 day grace period to ensure that Treasury officials have adequate time to work with the Chinese to institute reforms. Graham noted the U.S. Senate is on record in support of changing the Chinese currency practices. Last month, the body passed Senate Resolution 219 calling on China to abide by its international agreements and adopt a market-based system of currency valuation. The resolution passed Senate late last month without a single dissenting vote.
- Implement the China safeguards. In our trade agreements with China, the Bush Administration has the ability to impose tariffs on Chinese textile imports to level the playing field. These safeguard provisions should be activated. The safeguards would re-establish a quota on unrestricted textile or apparel categories -- such as knit fabric, dressing gowns and robes, and cotton gloves -- for a period of one year and could be expanded for two additional one-year periods.
Oct 09 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $300,000 in grants to fire departments in Boiling Springs, Heath Springs, and James Island. “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.” Boiling Springs $304,175 to the Boiling Springs Fire District Heath Springs $11,898 to the Heath Springs Volunteer Fire Department The 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. James Island $44,124 to the James Island PSD Fire Department for fire prevention activities The grant will help increase public education and awareness activities, fire codes enforcement activities, fire inspector certifications, purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems, wildland fire mitigation, and arson prevention and detection activities. 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. ####
Oct 07 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced displaced employees at RST&B Curtain and Drapery in Woodruff and Conso International in Union are eligible to receive trade adjustment assistance (TAA). The Department of Labor has certified that both companies have suffered losses due to increased foreign imports and cheap foreign labor. TAA benefits help provide displaced workers with job retraining, educational advancement, resume writing and relocation assistance. Both companies also qualify for alternative trade adjustment assistance, a special program that benefits workers over the age of fifty. “These programs help soften the blow of job losses due to the unfair trade practices,” said Graham. “This is a perfect example of why we need to end trade abuses and enforce fair labor standards with all of our trade partners. We are simply asking for a fair playing field. American workers are hard-working and smart. When given the chance to compete in a fair market, no one can even come close.” Graham noted that manufacturing companies in South Carolina have been hard hit by unfair competition, much of it from China. The Senate recently passed a resolution he sponsored calling on the Chinese to stop undervaluing their currency. Some economists estimate that the yuan is now undervalued by as much as 40 percent. The undervaluation of the yuan makes Chinese goods less expensive for foreigners, and it makes foreign products more expensive for Chinese consumers. The effective result is a significant subsidization of China's exports and a virtual tariff on foreign imports. Undervalued currency and the efforts of the Chinese government to intervene in the yuan’s value violate the rules of the World Trade Organization. Graham has also taken a lead role in pushing the Schumer-Bunning-Graham bill through the Senate. This legislation would impose a 27.5 percent tariff on all Chinese imports if they do not put an end to their currency manipulation. In addition, it would allow the President to remove sanctions once he certifies that China has moved to a market-based currency. The tariffs would kick in after a grace period of 180 days to ensure that Treasury officials have adequate time to work with the Chinese to institute reforms. Graham and several other Senators also circulated a letter to Senate colleagues seeking support for action against China. The letter invited members to sign a letter to President Bush urging him to initiate the China special textile safeguard and take other actions to protect American textile companies from Chinese abuses. “I will continue to fight for South Carolina’s manufacturing jobs in South Carolina and across the nation,” said Graham. “Our manufacturing and textile economy has been hard-hit by unfair, foreign competition and it’s past time for it to stop.” Employees of RST&B and Conso should visit their local ‘One-Stop Center’ for more information on how to receive TAA benefits. There are ‘One-Stop’ locations in Spartanburg and Union. ####
Oct 06 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department will receive two grants for more than $1.2 million dollars to assist individuals with disabilities. The Department will receive:
- $862,074 for the establishment and administration of an Access to Telework Fund. The ATF will feature one or more alternative financing mechanisms to allow individuals with disabilities access to computers and other needed equipment not provided by an employer to enable them to telework from home or other remote site.
- $414,060 for the establishment, expansion and administration of an alternative financing program to allow individuals with disabilities and their family members, guardians, and authorized representatives to purchase assistive technology devices and services.
Oct 06 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) and Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $500,000 in grants to fire departments in Bath, Gaffney, Lake City, Laurens, Montmorenci, Piedmont, Ridge Spring, Spartanburg, Surfside Beach, and Whitmire. “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. Bath Bath Fire Department will receive $22,008. Gaffney Corinth Volunteer Fire Department will receive $78,750. Lake City South Lynches Fire Department will receive $121,301. Laurens Laurens City Fire Department will receive $31,518. Montmorenci Montmorenci Volunteer Fire Department will receive $44,988. Piedmont Powdersville Fire Department will receive $40,428. Surfside Beach Surfside Beach Fire Department will receive $41,934. Whitmire Whitmire Fire Department will receive $83,690. Graham noted the grants to Ridge Spring and Spartanburg will be used for different fire programs. Ridge Spring Ridge Spring Volunteer Fire Department will receive a $54,900 grant to assist with the purchase of a new fire fighting vehicle. Spartanburg The Spartanburg Public Safety Department will receive a $54,658 grant for fire prevention programs including public education and awareness activities, fire code enforcement, fire inspector certifications, purchase and installation of smoke alarms and fire suppression systems, wildland fire mitigation, and arson prevention and detection activities. 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. ####
Oct 06 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will receive six grants totaling $733,000.
- $345,515 to assess the potential environmental impacts of red tides, pfiesteria, and other toxic algae in the coastal zone of South Carolina estuaries;
- $103,242 to assess the levels of genetic variation within and among populations of tomtate and French grunt in the Western Atlantic;
Oct 02 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) and Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTONM- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced the committee unanimously approved several bills to improve benefits for veterans and their dependants. The committee approved the following bills:
- Veterans Survivors Benefits Enhancement Act of 2003- This bill improves and enhances certain benefits for survivors of veterans, including an increase in survivors/dependants educational benefits and a $250 increase in the monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses with children under 18.
- Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (formerly known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act) - This bill provides updated civil protections for service members called to active duty. The bill authorizes to termination of leases, including automobiles; sets the maximum interest rate on debts incurred before military service at 6 percent; and, protects the voting rights of military personnel called to duty.