May 16 2003

Graham Pushes for Additional District Court and Bankruptcy Judge for South Carolina

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced President Bush has nominated Judge Henry Floyd of Pickens to fill a federal District Court vacancy in South Carolina. Judge Floyd currently serves on South Carolina’s Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, a position he was elected to in May 1992. Previously, Floyd served as county attorney for Pickens, commissioner on the South Carolina Forestry Commission, and as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. Judge Floyd is nominated to fill the seat previously held by Judge Dennis Shedd who was promoted to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond. “I have known Judge Floyd for many years,” Graham said. “The President could not have selected a more qualified candidate or a better person. He is a dedicated public servant and is well respected among his peers. He has consistently received praise from the South Carolina Bar and those who have practiced before him. “Judge Floyd has an exceptional legal mind, impeccable character, and a legacy of fair application of the law,” said Graham. “I believe his nomination to the federal bench reflects the high esteem South Carolinians have for him. I am confident he will serve the state well and faithfully execute the duties of the District Court.” Graham also addressed the issue of judicial nominations being slowed in the Senate. “Giving his judicial record, if Judge Floyd has any problems during confirmation, then the system is beyond repair,” said Graham. In other judicial matters, Graham noted the Senate Judiciary Committee recently passed a provision he authored with other Senators creating a new District Court judgeship and a new Bankruptcy Court judgeship in South Carolina. “The need for an additional district court judge and bankruptcy court judge is a result of South Carolina’s growth,” Graham said. “In order to better serve the citizens of the state we must help alleviate the increasing number of cases before each of our judges. In too many cases, justice delayed can turn into justice denied.” The Graham provision now faces consideration by the full Senate and the House of Representatives.

May 16 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) voted last night in support of more than $400 billion in tax relief. The vote in the Senate was 51-49. “It was a big day for the taxpayer,” said Graham. “The number one reason I’m voting for a tax cut is to create jobs.” “According to estimates, if this bill passes, a million jobs will be created in the next eighteen months,” said Graham. “Last night was a huge victory for President Bush because we got the actual elements of his tax cut back on track.”

The major provisions of the Bush tax cut plan passed by the Senate:
  • Lowering and Eliminating the Tax on Dividends: The plan excludes 50 percent of dividends from taxes in 2003 and makes dividends tax-free in 2004.
  • Lower Income Tax Rates: The plan lowers tax rates across the board for all taxpayers.
  • Increases the Child Tax Credit: The child tax credit would immediately increase from $600 per child to $1,000 putting more money into the pockets of parents.
  • Marriage Penalty Relief: Makes the deductions for married couples twice that of single filers. The provision eases the quirk in the tax code that makes some married couples pay more in taxes than singles.
  • Tax Relief to Boost Small Business: The plan increases from $25,000 to $100,000 the cost of equipment expenses small businesses can deduct. “The tax cut will help in the effort to create new jobs and get the economy humming on all cylinders,” said Graham. President Bush supported Senate passage of the legislation. “I commend the Senate for its bipartisan passage of a Jobs and Growth package that includes all of the components of my original plan,” said President Bush. “By including a measure to completely abolish the double taxation of dividends, the Senate has demonstrated that they are committed to creating as many jobs as possible for American workers. The Senate bill also speeds income tax rate cuts for individuals and families, increases the child credit, provides marriage penalty relief, and increases expensing for small businesses.”

May 14 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded the city of Mullins a $19,910 rural development grant. Funds will be used to purchase thirteen new self contained breathing air packs for the fire department. The equipment will improve the department’s ability to execute search and rescue missions. The project will be supplemented with a contribution from the City of $36, 200. “Firefighters risk their lives to protect others, and they deserve the best equipment available,” said Graham.

May 12 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced the committee approved $1.85 billion for South Carolina projects in the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act. The money awarded includes full funding for the Savannah River Site. The Senate committee approved $400.5 billion in funding for defense programs for fiscal year 2004, which is $17.9 billion above the amount appropriated by the Congress last year. The recommended level of funding represents a 3.2 percent increase in real terms for defense and a 3.7 percent increase for military personnel. Graham noted the bill will enhance the ability of the Department of Defense to fulfill its homeland defense responsibilities and continue the commitment to improve the quality of life for the men and women of the Armed Forces.

South Carolina projects in the bill include:

South Carolina Upstate
  • $39.4 million for P-3 aircraft Anti-Surface Warfare kits in Greenville. The Anti-Surface Warfare Improvement program greatly expands the P-3C’s capabilities and includes additional advanced technology sensors, expanded communication systems, upgraded weapon delivery capabilities, and survivability upgrades.
  • $9.2 million for Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks (HEMTT) to fund prototype development in Greenville.
  • $3 million for the development of an Advanced Electric Drive for military use. Work will be conducted in Gaffney.
  • $1.5 million for Formidable Aligned Carbon ThermoSets (FACTS), a new composite product for naval aircraft construction. FACTS will allow the design and fabrication of much more efficient designs significantly lowering airframe weight. Development will be conducted in Anderson.
South Carolina Midlands
  • $8.5 million for construction of Shaw Deployment Center, Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter.
  • $6.9 million for M-249 Squad Automatic Weapons (Army) and $6.1 million for M-249 Squad Automatic Weapons (Marines) produced in Columbia. The M-249 is a portable, high-fire volume, highly reliable light machine gun which serves as one of the Army infantry and Marines most valuable weapon systems.
  • $6 million for the research and development of Gallium Nitride Microwave Circuits at the University of South Carolina.
  • $5 million for Nano and Micro Electromechanical research at the University of South Carolina.
South Carolina Lowcountry
  • $23 million for the Critical Infrastructure Protection Center at SPAWAR in Charleston.
  • $8.86 million for construction of Charleston Air Force Base Housing.
  • $6.5 million for the development of an Autolog System, a concept that uses multi-point stabilization to overcome the pendulations problems on existing shipboard cranes. Research will be conducted in Charleston.
  • $6 million for the Joint Warfare System Initiatives (JWARS) in Charleston. JWARS is an advanced theater-level campaign analysis tool.
  • $5.1 million for continued development of multi-spectral Barium GaloGermanite (BGG) glass window technology, an essential component for airborne reconnaissance systems. Research and development of BGG glass is conducted in Hilton Head.
  • $4 million for the procurement of Quadruple Containers, produced in Charleston. These shipping containers divide into four separate sections to aid in transport by facilitating the loading and unloading process.
  • $9.73 million for the Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) programs at both Clemson and USC.
  • $8 million for Eagle Vision (EV) for the SC National Guard. The EV system provides in-theater, real-time acquisition and processing of commercial satellite imagery of our adversary’s territory.
  • The Savannah River Site is authorized to receive $1.7 billion in total funding, including:
  • $402 million for MOX fuel fabrication construction.
  • $75 million for a tritium extraction facility.
  • $13.6 million for pit disassembly and conversion.
  • $2.75 million for cleaning and loading modifications.
Also included in the bill are several projects related or of interest to South Carolina:
  • $1.03 billion for nuclear nonproliferation programs with Russia.
  • $55 million for C-37 Procurement. The Navy has a validated requirement for 5 C-37 (G-550) aircraft. These aircraft support combatant commanders of forward deployed Naval and Marine Corps forces.
  • $36 million for the purchase of thirty-six M109A6 Paladin Howitzers. The Paladin is the most advanced self-propelled howitzer cannon system fielded in the world. The additional 36 Paladins authorized and appropriated are solely for the Army National Guard.
  • $843,000 for research and design of the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS). The JHMCS allows fighter pilots to target and destroy their enemy by a simple turn of the head, rather than having to maneuver their aircraft into an attack position. By enabling pilots to quickly designate and destroy enemy aircraft using a helmet “heads-up” display, the JHMCS provides a first look, first shot, first kill capability – between a 3 and 5 to 1 advantage over enemy aircraft. “Our state is the tip of the spear for our nation’s armed services,” said Graham. “South Carolina is also a leader in military technology and plays a vital role in the war on terrorism. The men and women stationed here, both active duty and reserve components, play a major role in defending American interests around the world and providing freedom. “I am proud to be from a state that is invaluable to America’s fighting force,” said Graham. “We provide the human assets and support systems that make the U.S. military the world’s premier fighting force. “At Savannah River Site we’re working to keep the peace,” said Graham. “SRS is playing a leading role in the effort to turn surplus weapons grade plutonium into fuel. They’re also pushing full-bore in cleanup efforts at the site.” The Defense Authorization Act will now go the floor for consideration by the entire Senate.

May 12 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced today the ISWA Development Corporation in Rock Hill will receive a $1.67 million Indian Housing Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Indian Housing Block Grant Funds can be used for a variety of eligible affordable housing activities including modernization and operating assistance for low income housing, new construction, acquisition or rehabilitation of rental or owner occupied housing, housing services, housing management, crime prevention, and safety or model activities. “This award will help provide quality, affordable housing to eligible recipients in the area,” said Graham. “It’s an investment in the community and will provide a better life for families.”

May 09 2003

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on President Bush’s visit to the state and speech at the University of South Carolina. On flying down with President Bush: “I know the president enjoyed his trip to South Carolina. He was in a great mood on the flight down. “The president visited with Senator Hollings, Congressman Clyburn and me for about 45 minutes on the plane. It was cordial, intriguing and I think the three of us really appreciated it. It was one of the highlights of my time in the Senate. The president was proud of our troops and rightly so, they’ve done a great job in Iraq.” On President Bush’s speech: “It was a visionary approach to the Middle East problem. “The president’s emphasis on empowering women in the Middle East is a key ingredient that’s been missing for years. Letting women fully participate in government as well as have a say in the economy and education will make it much harder to co-opt their children and turn them toward terrorism. “The president’s plan for an independent Palestinian state co-existing with a secure Israel is essential to bringing peace to the region. I was impressed with how comprehensive the president was in calling on the Palestinians to police terror and the Israelis to provide a better life to the Palestinian people. I wish him well and am proud of the President for taking on this challenge. I’m hopeful we can bring peace to the Middle East in a way that will be lasting.”

May 08 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced several South Carolina airports will receive grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • The Greenville Downtown Airport will receive $805,171 to fund the second phase of installing an approach lighting system and to rehabilitate the taxiway.
  • The Donaldson Center in Greenville will receive $143,980 to rehabilitate the taxiway.
  • The Pickens County Airport will receive $154,827 to rehabilitate a runway and a taxiway.
  • The Summerville Airport will receive $490,000 to update the Airport Master Plan Study, rehabilitate the apron, and install perimeter fencing to enhance wildlife deterrence and airport security. “Airport infrastructure improvements directly benefit South Carolina’s economy,” said Graham. “State of the art facilities at our airports encourage business investment and promote economic growth.”

May 07 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today called on the U.S. Senate to pass S. 146, The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA).

Under current federal law, an individual who commits a federal crime of violence against a pregnant woman receives no additional punishment for killing or injuring the woman’s unborn child. Under the UVVA, if an unborn child is injured or killed during the commission of an already-defined federal crime of violence, the assailant could be charged with a separate offense on behalf of the unborn child.

The UVVA would apply this principle to over 60 existing federal laws dealing with acts of violence. These federal laws affect federal geographical jurisdictions, the military justice system, protection of federal officials, and specific acts defined by law as federal crimes.

“I think, regardless of pro-life or pro-choice feelings, that most Americans want to protect the unborn from violence against criminals,” said Graham. “When a woman chooses to have her child, a criminal should not take that away from her.”

As an example, Graham noted a situation where a pregnant woman visiting Capitol Hill is assaulted and loses her unborn child. Since the Capitol is under Federal jurisdiction and there is currently no law on the federal books, the assailant could only be held accountable for the crime against the mother. The assailant would face no charge or receive no punishment for the harm done to the unborn child.

“I believe most Americans want to protect life as much as possible," said Graham. “People who want to turn this into an abortion debate have an irrational view. The purpose of this bill is very simple: Once the woman chooses to have the child and someone takes that child away from her through an assault or an act of violence, we want to put them in jail for the damage done to the unborn child.”

The UVVA specifically exempts abortions from the list of prosecutable offenses. The bill does not permit prosecution: (1) for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman has been obtained or for which consent is implied by law in a medical emergency; (2) for conduct relating to any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child; or (3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

The legislation, twice introduced by Graham while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and twice passed by that body in a bipartisan manner, has never been debated or voted on in the U.S. Senate.

“There is a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives committed to closing this scandalous gap in federal law,” said Graham. “Twice this has passed the House with more than 250 votes in support this measure. I think it shows the bill isn’t about abortion but holding criminals accountable for their actions and protecting pregnant women to the fullest extent of the law.”

Graham noted all six members, 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats, of the South Carolina delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives voted in support of the UVVA in 2001.

President Bush has also said he will sign the measure into law when it passes Congress. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said last month, “The president does believe that when an unborn child is injured or killed during the commission of a crime of violence, the law should recognize what most people immediately recognize, and that is that such a crime has two victims. … But if you recall, the House of Representatives passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and it passed overwhelmingly with large bipartisan support. We hope that the Congress again this year -- the president calls on the House and calls on the Senate to again pass the Unborn Victims of Violence Act so that the law can recognize what every mother, father, know in their heart when a unborn child is taken through an act of violence in the commission of a crime, just as we've seen in this case here.”

Unborn Victims of Violence Act: Some Cases of Homicides of Unborn Children under Federal or Military Jurisdiction

  • Deanna Mitts and her 3-year old daughter Kayla were killed by a pipe bomb and the assailant was sentenced to life in prison. Mitts was seven months pregnant when she died and prosecutors said her assailant, Joseph Minerd, killed her because she would not have an abortion. DNA tests later showed the unborn child was Minerd’s. No charges were brought for the crime against the unborn child.
  • Sgt. Timothy Ward, a soldier serving at the Helemano Military Reservation in Honolulu, was convicted in January 2000 of premeditated murder in the death of his wife, Bianca Ward, who was in the latter stages of pregnancy at the time of her death. Her unborn child did not survive. The cause of death was severe head trauma although there were also several puncture wounds. He has been dishonorably discharged and has been sentenced to 35 years of confinement. No charges were brought to the harm done to their unborn child.
  • Ruth Croston was five months pregnant on April 21, 1998, when she was killed by her estranged husband, Reginald Anthony Falice, at a Charlotte, N.C. intersection as she sat in her car. She and her unborn daughter died after being shot at least five times by Falice, who had been living in Atlanta. He was prosecuted in federal court for interstate domestic violence and using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. No charges were brought for the killing of the unborn baby girl.
  • On September 12, 1996, at Wright-Patterson AFB, Airman Gregory Robbins assaulted his wife, Karlene, who was eight months pregnant with their daughter, Jasmine. He covered his fist with a t-shirt and repeatedly struck her in the face and abdomen. Due to the assault, Karlene's uterus ruptured and expelled Jasmine into the abdominal cavity and she died. The Air Force prosecutor assimilated charges from an Ohio statute which makes it a crime to kill an unborn child and he pled guilty to assault and battery upon his pregnant wife and involuntary manslaughter for the death of Jasmine.
  • On April 19, 1995, Carrie Lenz, a Drug Enforcement Agency secretary, was showing coworkers ultrasound pictures of her unborn child at six months when the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by a bomb. Just the day before the horrific bombing, she and her husband learned by the ultrasound that they were having a boy and named him Michael James Lenz III.
  • Monica Smith was a secretary who was pregnant when she was killed in the World Trade Center bombing in New York on February 26, 1993. Her unborn child was not among the six listed victims of the explosion.

May 06 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, this week introduced legislation to benefit members of the National Guard and Reserves. Senator Graham’s National Guard and Reserves Reform Act for the 21st Century is a comprehensive reform bill to modernize benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves. It addresses healthcare, retirement, and pay disparity between active duty and civilian income. “This reform package provides better health coverage, a fair retirement system, and the opportunity for improved compensation,” said Graham. “It will ensure that Guard and Reserve personnel and their families are justly compensated for their service.” “The increased demands placed on the men and women who serve this country in a part-time capacity require a modernization of their benefits,” said Graham. “We must be sure to take care of every person that puts their life on the line to fight for liberty and freedom throughout the world.” The health insurance reform provisions allow Guard and Reserve members the option of enrolling fulltime in TRICARE, the family health insurance coverage offered to active-duty military personnel. The change would offer health care stability to families who lose coverage under employers’ plans when a family member is called to active duty. It also provides relief to self-employed personnel who often pay large sums for health care coverage or have none at all. Members of the Guard and Reserve will have a co-payment because of their part-time status. Currently, Guard and Reservists are only eligible for TRICARE coverage when they are called to active duty. This legislation also adjusts the retirement structure of the Guard and Reserves to more accurately reflect the needs of the troops. For every two years a member serves after twenty years of honorable service, that individual’s eligible retirement age will be reduced by one year. Under current law, the retirement age is 60. Under the Graham plan, if an individual serves for 22 years, they are eligible for retirement at 59. An individual entering military service at 18 and serving for 36 years could retire at 52. The reform package also provides tax breaks for employers that make up the difference in civilian pay and reserve pay while members are on active duty. Employers can receive up to $25,000 per person in tax breaks for relieving this disparity. “The National Guard and Reserves have been called upon more often to help protect this country and defend American interests,” said Graham. “They are playing a vital role in Operation Iraqi Freedom and are an integral part of the war on terrorism.”

May 05 2003

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Voorhees College in Denmark has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to organize a retraining skills partnership program for displaced workers at Savannah River Site (SRS). Voorhees will partner with SRS and Denmark Technical College in the effort. “Programs like these help workers get back on their feet and find new employment opportunities,” said Graham. “I’m glad Voorhees is partnering with the Department of Energy and SRS in helping these workers.” Voorhees College is a private, four-year educational institution with more than 700 students.