Jun 16 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Seiler International Corporation (SEICOR) of Charleston has been awarded a $1,991,000 research and development contract for its shipboard automated container and cargo transfer system (AutoLog). Graham secured funding for the project in the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Appropriations Act. The SEICOR team will design and build a one-quarter scale version of the robotic Autolog system in this phase for installation and testing aboard the Navy's research vessel MV Independence. AutoLog has been developed to meet the Navy's need for a shipboard crane system capable of rapidly transferring containers in high sea states in support of vital sea basing operations. “South Carolina companies supply the men and women of our armed forces with cutting edge technology,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Projects such as this are a boon to our state’s economy, and demonstrate the skill and dedication of South Carolina’s workforce.” The contract was awarded by the U.S. Navy. Graham originally announced the project after Congress passed the Fiscal Year 2004 Defense Appropriations Act. ####

Jun 15 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced $625,000 in federal grants have been awarded to aid revitalization efforts at brownfield sites in Aiken, Charleston, Spartanburg, and Jackson. The Brownfields Grants help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use. The funds are used to help communities evaluate the environmental contamination of brownfield sites. Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Grants announced today include: Aiken County Aiken County will receive $200,000 to conduct community outreach, perform site assessments, conduct health monitoring activities for surrounding communities, and develop cleanup and reuse plans at a 22-acre abandoned, burned textile mill property. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will receive $25,000 assess a former service station site and conduct community outreach in the Town of Jackson. The site has five old underground storage tanks that do not meet regulatory standards. Charleston The City of Charleston will receive $200,000 to inventory sites with potential petroleum contamination in the city’s Renewal Community, conduct community outreach activities, conduct assessments, perform health monitoring in surrounding communities, and plan cleanup and remediation at two sites. Spartanburg Regenesis, Inc. will receive $100,000 to clean up the 30-acre North Street Dump Site at 971 S. Liberty Street. This largely vacant site with elevated polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon contamination has been used for mill storage and casual dumping. In addition, Regenesis will receive $100,000 to clean up leaks from inactive underground storage tanks at the 3-acre Arkwright Mills Site, which was an operating textile mill until 1979. “Revitalizing these sites and converting them to commercially viable properties is a great investment in future economic development,” said Graham. “In addition, it provides for a cleaner environment and eliminates public health risks.” The grants were awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ####

Jun 15 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced South Carolina will receive $432,428 in federal funding to help cover the costs of incarcerating illegal aliens. The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) funds will be made available to the State and several counties: State of South Carolina $323,486 Aiken County $1,969 Berkeley County $4,263 Charleston County $29,919 Cherokee County $1,186 Colleton County $3,208 Dorchester County $14,539 Florence County $6,490 Georgetown County $1,675 Horry County $29,503 York County $16,190 TOTAL $432,428 “Illegal aliens are a drain on the resources of South Carolina,” said Graham. “This program helps alleviate the financial burden of punishing criminals and helps keep South Carolinians safe.” SCAAP provides assistance to states and localities for the cost of incarcerating certain criminal aliens who are being held as a result of state and/or local conviction. The Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. ####

Jun 14 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on a new report by the Congressional Budget Office regarding the future of Social Security. “The new report released by CBO today confirms the findings of the last 17 annual reports of the Social Security Trustees: Social Security as it is currently structured is insolvent and unsustainable. While the differences in the estimates should be fully studied by economists and actuaries, they are not an excuse to delay strengthening Social Security. “Every Social Security expert agrees that future generations will face a severe gap between the benefits Social Security owes, and the payroll taxes coming in to fund them. Even with the more optimistic assumptions used by the CBO, the long term deficits facing Social Security do not go away. “The simple fact remains that the number of workers supporting each retiree has dropped from 15-to-1 in 1950 to 3-to-1 today. Within a generation there will only be two workers supporting each retiree. “The forces that are stopping honest reform from going forward are intellectual dishonesty and lack of political courage. No matter how hard we try to ignore the warnings from a countless number of policy experts we won’t fix the problem until we roll up our sleeves and get to work.” ####

Jun 10 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced the South Carolina Department of Public Safety will receive a $618,110 Project Safe Neighborhoods grant. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nation wide program aimed at reducing gun crime. PSN heightens coordination among federal, state, and local law enforcement with an emphasis on tactical intelligence gathering and aggressive prosecutions. The offensive is led by the United States Attorney in each of the federal judicial districts. “This program seeks to reduce gun crime by educating the public about gun violence and gun safety, coordinating law enforcement, and punishing violent offenders,” said Graham, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Corrections, and Victims’ Rights. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice. ####

Jun 05 2004

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on the passing of former President Ronald Reagan. He said: "President Reagan had the ability to see the world as it should be and accomplished much to bring that vision about. He was the most gifted spokesman, in my lifetime, in describing what America was meant to be. "The soundbite in history of Ronald Reagan will be his speech in front of the Berlin Wall challenging the Soviet Union's communist regime to tear down the wall so freedom could pass through. "President Reagan's shining city on the Hill speech describing who we are as a nation will be a guide for future generations of political leaders. Those smart enough to follow will be well remembered and appreciated by the American people just like Ronald Reagan. "He achieved great power and unbelievable political success without losing the human decency that we all remember and admire. His was a life well-lived." #####

Jun 04 2004

WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced McBee will receive a $519,000 grant and a $172,200 loan for water system improvements. The funds will be used to complete an ongoing improvement project that includes draining and cleaning the town’s water storage tanks, and replacing approximately thirteen miles of water line. The project is designed to reduce asbestos levels in the water system that exceed DHEC limits. In fiscal year 2003, McBee received a $1.45 million loan and a $721,000 grant for this project. The grants and loans were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ####

Jun 03 2004

SRS Cleanup Efforts Move Forward in the Senate

Effort to Remove Graham Provision on Accelerated Cleanup Falls Short

WASHINGTON – Efforts to cleanup the millions of gallons of nuclear waste stored in aging tanks at the Savannah River Site were given a boost today when the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Fritz Hollings (D-SC) to strip the cleanup provision from the defense authorization bill. The vote was 48-48. To pass, the Cantwell-Hollings amendment needed a majority vote. Under the provision, accelerated cleanup efforts to remove the more than 37 million gallons of liquid waste at the Site, which have been on hold for almost a year, would be allowed to again move forward. Ninety-nine percent of the waste would be removed from the tanks and turned into glass logs for eventual shipment to the permanent long-term storage site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Some residual waste, less than two inches deep, will remain in the tank and be mixed with concrete and grout. Removal of this material is impractical and poses dangers to worker safety. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) would be given “veto” power over residual waste left in the tank and would determine when the tank is clean enough to be closed. “This is a big day for environmental cleanup in South Carolina,” said Graham. “The agreement between the state and the Department of Energy, now approved by the U.S. Senate, ensures the tanks will be cleaned up in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner.” “Because of this agreement, we’re looking to do it 23 years ahead of schedule and at a cost savings to the taxpayer of almost $16 billion,” said Graham. “It is a good plan for the Site, state, and the nation.” Graham noted the cleanup provision was supported by Governor Mark Sanford, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Attorney General Henry McMaster, Speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives David Wilkins, Democrats and Republicans in the Aiken County legislative delegation, the mayor of Aiken, the chairman of the Aiken County Council, the mayor of Jackson, the SRS Retiree Association, and local Chambers of Commerce. “The cleanup efforts at the Site have been at a virtual standstill,” said Graham. “It’s long past time we get the cleanup efforts moving forward again to protect our environment. Every day we delay just increases the risk to the local community and the Savannah River that these tanks, some of them fifty years old, will leak and create even greater problems down the road.” “I’m very pleased the Governor and state officials came together to allow the site to be cleaned up decades earlier than expected,” said Graham. “Governor Sanford deserves much credit for allowing new ideas that make environmental and economic sense to become reality in spite of special interest demagoguery. He is a thoughtful and courageous political leader.” After the Senate gives final approval to the defense authorization bill it will go to conference with the House of Representatives. “I will continue to fight in the House-Senate conference to ensure this provision becomes law,” said Graham. “We’ve come too far in our efforts to clean up the Site, using good science and sound economics, to be deterred by special interest politics.” #####

Jun 02 2004

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today approved U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) amendment to the defense authorization bill making members of the National Guard and Reserves eligible to enroll in the military health care system TRICARE. The vote in the Senate was 70-25. Members of the guard and reserves, regardless of their activation status, would be eligible to enroll in TRICARE for a modest annual premium regardless of their deployment status. Premiums would be about $530/year for individual coverage and $1,860/year for families. The government would also cover a portion of the health care premiums for those reservists and their families who opt to maintain their private health care coverage when they are called to active duty. “I’m pleased the Senate agreed to this important change in the benefits package for members of the Guard and Reserve,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It was an overwhelming vote in support of giving our reservists better health care benefits. We’ve got more work to do before this becomes law, but this was definitely a big step in the right direction.” “We’re calling upon the Guard and Reserve at the same tempo level we did during World War II,” said Graham. “On a percentage basis, it’s even greater. So now is the time to increase benefits for Guard and Reserve members.” When fully phased in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the provision would assist more than 300,000 reservists and their family members. CBO estimates the costs of the benefit at $5.4 billion over the next 5 years, about one-half of one percent of the entire Department of Defense budget. Graham said that in Iraq Guardsman and Reservists have rotated with the active-duty forces, increasing the reserve component share of the total U.S. forces to more than 40 percent. The reserves have also been charged with taking control of the entire peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. “Better health care benefits will help our recruiting, readiness and retention efforts,” said Graham. “They need it and I think based upon what they have been asked to do, particularly since 9/11, they’ve earned it. We’re going to continue to fight for better benefits for them.” “Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers,” said Graham. “Increasingly they are being called up to duty, taken away from their work and families, and being sent to far-away lands for long tours of duty. We need to ensure the benefits they are receiving are equal to the sacrifice they are making to protect our country and interests around the world.” The Senate will now go to conference with the House of Representatives to reconcile the differing versions of the legislation. ####

Jun 01 2004

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today pushed for better health care benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves. Graham has sponsored an amendment, expected to be voted on in the next few days, allowing National Guard and Reserve personnel to purchase health care coverage for themselves and their families, regardless of their activation status, through the military health system TRICARE. “We’re calling upon the Guard and Reserve at the same tempo level we did during World War II,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “On a percentage basis, it’s even greater. So now is the time to increase benefits for Guard and Reserve members.” Graham noted that under current law when a Guard or Reserve member is activated they and their family go into the military health care system (TRICARE). If they are not activated they remain in private employer-sponsored health insurance or forego health insurance altogether. “When Guardsmen and Reservists are called to active duty they have to leave their civilian network of doctors and hospitals and go into the military network,” said Graham. “When they are deactivated, they have to go back into their old network.” “Unfortunately, a significant number of people called to active duty from the Guard or Reserves are unable to go on active duty because of health care problems,” said Graham. “I believe it is long overdue to make sure every Guardsmen and Reservist has the opportunity to become a member of the military health care system.” Graham said that in Iraq Guardsman and Reservists have rotated with the active-duty forces, increasing the reserve component share of the total U.S. forces to more than 40 percent. The reserves have also been charged with taking control of the entire peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. “Better health care benefits will help our recruiting, readiness and retention efforts,” said Graham. “They need it and I think based upon what they have been asked to do, particularly since 9/11, they’ve earned it. We’re going to fight for better health care for them.” “Guardsmen and Reservists are citizen-soldiers,” said Graham. “Increasingly they are being called up to duty, taken away from their work and families, and being sent to far-away lands for long tours of duty. We need to ensure the benefits they are receiving are equal to the sacrifice they are making to protect our country and interests around the world.” The Congressional Budget has estimated the cost of the benefit at $5.4 billion over the next 5 years. ####