Mar 22 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) will receive more than $3.3 million in federal funds for transportation projects throughout the state. Aiken County $661,333 for Phase 2 construction of the Palmetto Parkway. Lee County $992,000 for construction of the Bishopville Bypass. Pickens County $132,266 for replacement of the Old Central Bridge. Statewide $1,514,732.00 for the InRoads Intelligent Transportation System. SCDOT was awarded funding for each of these projects in the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. These awards are a partial release of that funding. The funds are awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. ####

Mar 21 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Medical University of South Carolina will receive a $320,220 grant to conduct heart and vascular disease research. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Mar 16 2005

Statement from U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

Social Security Amendments to FY06 Budget

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

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

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.
According to the nonpartisan Office of Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration the number of workers paying taxes to support each Social Security beneficiary has dropped from 16.5 in 1950 to 3.3 in 2002. Within a generation, there will only be 2 workers to support each retiree. Without structural reform, in 2018 Social Security will being paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes and the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2042 and only able to pay 73 percent of promised benefits. The resolution also notes Social Security is the foundation of retirement for most Americans and strengthening the system is a national priority. Without structural reform, future Congresses may have to raise payroll taxes 50 percent over the next 75 years to pay full benefits on time or lower Social Security benefit levels. “I firmly believe today was a move forward in the debate over how to save Social Security,” said Graham. “One hundred Senators came together to define the problem facing Social Security in real and honest terms, clearly demonstrating that doing nothing leads to massive taxes increases and/or benefit cuts for young Americans. “Reaching an agreement on the true nature of the problem facing younger Americans should allow for a more thoughtful and constructive debate over how to solve what we now have unanimously defined as a ticking time bomb.” ######

Mar 14 2005

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

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced more than $220,000 in grants to fire departments in Landrum and Walterboro. “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. Landrum Gowensville Fire Department will receive $25,884. Walterboro Colleton County Fire & Rescue will receive $196,290. 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. ####

Mar 10 2005

Graham Bill Reigns in Spending on Medicare

Caps Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Outlays to Initial Estimates

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.
“The prescription drug benefit was tacked on to an already broken Medicare program without underlying reform,” said Graham. “We have a responsibility to protect future generations from overbearing deficits and look at ways to reign in spending and modernize entitlement programs.” “I want seniors to have a prescription drug benefit, but I’m not prepared to do it at all costs,” said Graham. “The Medicare prescription drug benefit, as it’s currently structured, allows uncontrolled expansion that may topple the entire system.” ####

Mar 04 2005

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Medical University of South Carolina will receive a $365,000 grant for drug abuse research, and a $180,755 grant to help improve training in emergency medical services for children. The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. ####

Mar 04 2005

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring the former Secretary General of China Zhao Ziyang. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced the bipartisan resolution. Zhao is best-known for his 1989 actions advising against the use of force to end the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. He also warned thousands of students authorities were approaching the Square demonstrating his sympathy for the cause of democracy. As a result of his actions, Zhao was removed from office and placed under house arrest, a sentence he remained under for the past 15 years. When he passed away on January 17, 2005 the Chinese government was indecisive about allowing a ceremony. Eventually, they allowed a modest one to be held at which mourners were surrounded in an intimidating environment and many mourners were barred from attending. Upon his death, Zhao’s passing was not mentioned in state-controlled television broadcasts and received little attention in state-controlled newspapers. Eulogies were erased by censors on memorial websites. After the memorial service the Chinese government reluctantly released an official obituary where it noted Zhao made “serious mistakes” during the political disturbance in the spring and summer of 1989. The U.S. Senate resolution recognizes Zhao’s contributions to the reform movement in China and expresses the sympathy of the Senate to his family and supporters who were unable to grieve appropriately. Furthermore, it calls on China to release all prisoners of conscience, including those jailed after Tiananmen Square, and allow those people exiled for political activity to be allowed to return to China and live in peace. “To those who doubt the oppressive nature of the current Chinese government, the treatment of Zhao in life and death should serve as a reminder,” said Graham. “China still represses its people and denies and defies the basic tenets of a representative government. Our resolution is a signal to the Chinese government the U.S. Senate rejects these abuses of basic human rights.” ####