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) 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 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 02 2003
Wes Hickman (202 224-5972) and Kevin Bishop (864 250-1417)WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the Senate unanimously approved his plan to improve the healthcare benefits of Guard and Reserve members by modernizing their coverage under TRICARE, the military health program. Graham submitted his proposal as an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill for funding ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Graham is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and is the only Senator who is a member of the Reserves. “I am pleased that my colleagues have come together in a bipartisan fashion to improve healthcare for the brave men and women who valiantly serve our country in the Guard and Reserves,” said Graham. “The sacrifice they make to defend our freedom deserves to be rewarded. This is an extremely significant step toward repaying their efforts; however, there is more to be done and more to come.” Under current law, members of the Guard and Reserve and their families can only enroll in TRICARE when called to active duty. The Graham provision:
- 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;
- Allows all reservists and guardsmen to stay on TRICARE six months after deployment to ease the transition back to their private insurance.
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.