Aug 10 2012

Graham To Visit Nevada For "Preserving America's Strength" Town Hall

Senators to Visit Nellis Air Force Base and Highlight Impact of Looming Defense Cuts at Town Hall Meeting

Senator Lindsey Graham will be in Nevada on Monday for "Preserving America's Strength," a town hall-style meeting highlighting the devastating impacts of the looming defense cuts now scheduled to take place under budget sequestration in January 2013.

Aug 02 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) on Wednesday urged a return to regular order when bringing legislation to the floor.  In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), Wicker and Graham point to the resolution of previous logjams as a way to move forward.

 

In part, the letter states:

 

“In 2005, when an aggrieved majority proposed rules changes that would have resulted in limiting the rights of Senators to debate judicial nominations, a bipartisan group of members pulled the Senate back from choosing the so-called nuclear option.”

 

“We believe a similar outcome is within reach at this juncture.  In our view, the current conflict is less about specific Senate rules than it is about how those rules are used either to stifle debate or frustrate the will of a clear majority.”

 

Text of the letter follows.

 

August 1, 2012

 

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington DC, 20510            

Dear Majority Leader Reid:

We are writing to express our concern regarding your recent remarks suggesting major changes to the rules of the Senate -- changes that would severely compromise the rights of the minority.  We fear that such statements threaten far-reaching consequences for the institution of the Senate and its current and future membership.

Particularly troubling is your apparent reversal regarding when and how you might amend Senate rules requiring a two-thirds threshold to invoke cloture.  Last year, at the beginning of the 112th Congress, you explicitly rejected what you now propose: making significant alterations to the rules by simple majority.  On January 27, 2011, you affirmed, "We've agreed that I won't force a majority vote to fundamentally change the Senate -- that is the so-called ‘constitutional option’ -- and he (Leader McConnell) won't in the future."

Mr. Leader, the agreement and course set that day were correct.

 

 

The Senate tradition of unlimited debate derives from the institution’s constitutional origins as a body of careful deliberation, designed especially to be a protector of minority rights.  In explaining the broad utility of the filibuster in 2005, you asserted that the practice is “very much in keeping with the spirit of the government established by the framers of our Constitution, limited government, separation of powers, and checks and balances.  The filibuster is a critical tool in keeping the majority in check.”

 

 

In 2005, when an aggrieved majority proposed rules changes that would have resulted in limiting the rights of Senators to debate judicial nominations, a bipartisan group of members pulled the Senate back from choosing the so-called nuclear option.  Accommodations were made to the minority to achieve the necessary consensus, and a procedure was agreed upon that allowed the Senate to process the majority’s priorities while maintaining regular order and the rights of the minority.

 

 

We believe a similar outcome is within reach at this juncture.  In our view, the current conflict is less about specific Senate rules than it is about how those rules are used either to stifle debate or frustrate the will of a clear majority.  The rights of the majority do not include the right to restrict the opportunity to offer amendments.  Similarly, the Senate tradition of open and extended debate does not provide carte blanche for interminable debate, designed to deny a democratic outcome.

 

 

We respectfully recommend you employ your knowledge of the institution and its procedures, as well as your unique position of influence as Majority Leader, to achieve an agreement that is respectful of both the prerogatives of the majority and the liberties of the minority.  We believe tactics such as filling the amendment tree and liberal use of the filibuster should be utilized sparingly and with appropriate restraint.  We suspect most Senators agree.  We pledge our support to developing a way forward on these matters in the hope of preserving the traditions and character of this, the greatest of parliamentary bodies.

 

 

Sincerely yours,

 

 

Roger F. Wicker

Lindsey Graham

 

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Aug 01 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas) today sent a letter to the Co-Chairs of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates requesting that the first of the three officially-sponsored debates, which will address domestic policy, devote specific attention on how the candidates would get our fiscal house in order.

“We request that you ask the presidential candidates which of the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform they would adopt as part of their plan to reduce the deficit,” wrote the senators.  “We hope that such a debate would begin a national discussion that results in a consensus that both of our major national parties can endorse to reduce the deficit and place our nation’s economy on a path to future growth.”

Text of the letter is below.

Dear Mr. Farenkopf and Mr. McCurry:

We write as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, who all agree on one thing:  the nearly $16 trillion national debt, which is growing by almost $2 trillion per year, is one of the great moral issues and threats facing our nation.

In light of the gravity of this issue, we believe that the Debate Commission should ask each presidential candidate to devote specific and extensive attention to the question of how the candidates would get our nation’s fiscal house back in order during the first debate dedicated to domestic policy.

Specifically, we request that you ask the presidential candidates which of the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform they would adopt as part of their plan to reduce the deficit. As part of this discussion, we believe that it would be essential to engage the candidates in a detailed discussion of their priorities for tax and entitlement reform. 

We hope that such a debate would begin a national discussion that results in a consensus that both of our major national parties can endorse to reduce the deficit and place our nation’s economy on a path to future growth.

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Jul 26 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a strong supporter of the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, opposes the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty.

 

“As a strong defender of the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, I have serious concerns about the dangers posed by the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty,” said Graham.  “Our country’s sovereignty and the constitutional protection of these individual freedoms must not be infringed.”

 

“The NRA, our four million members and the tens of millions of law-abiding Americans who own firearms will never surrender our right to keep and bear arms to the United Nations,” said Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “That is why the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty has been met with the full opposition of the NRA. We are grateful for the efforts of these senators to oppose this encroachment of international tyranny.”

 

Graham made his opposition clear and listed out shortcomings with the current language in a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 

The letter, circulated by Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), was signed by 50 United States Senators: Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Max Baucus (D-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mark Begich (D-AK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), Jim Webb (D-VA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

 

The full text of the signed letter is below and the PDF version can be found here.

 

July 26, 2012

 

President Barack Obama

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

2291 C St., NW

Washington, D.C. 20520

 

 

Dear President Obama and Secretary Clinton:

 

 

       As defenders of the right of Americans to keep and bear arms, we write to express our grave concern about the dangers posed by the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. Our country’s sovereignty and the constitutional protection of these individual freedoms must not be infringed.

 

 

       In October of 2009 at the U.N. General Assembly, your administration voted for the U.S. to participate in negotiating this treaty. We understand that the final treaty text will not be publicly available until it has been agreed to, on a consensus basis, by all the nations at the conference to be held in New York in July. But having reviewed the Chairman’s Draft Paper made available by the United Nations, we are concerned that the Arms Trade Treaty poses dangers to rights protected under the Second Amendment for the following reasons.

 

       First, while the Draft Paper nominally applies only to “international arms transfers,” it defines such transfers as including “transport” across national territory. It requires signatories to “monitor and control” arms in transit, and to “enforce domestically the obligations of this treaty” by prohibiting the unauthorized “transfer of arms from any location.” This implies an expansion of federal firearms controls that would be unacceptable on Second Amendment grounds. 

       Second, the Draft Paper requires nations to “maintain records of all imports and shipments of arms that transit their territory,” including the identity of individual end users. This information is to be reported to the U.N.-based Implementation Support Unit. The Draft Paper thus appears to suggest the creation of an U.N.-based firearms registry for all firearms that are either imported into or transit across national territory, which raises both Second Amendment and privacy concerns. 

       Finally, the Draft Paper requires that nations “shall take all appropriate measures necessary to prevent the diversion of imported arms into the illicit market or to unintended end users.” This clause appears to create a presumption in favor of the adoption, at the federal level, of further controls on firearms. We are concerned that, in this regard as well as in others, the treaty will create an open-ended obligation that will in practice be defined by international opinion, and will be used to push the U.S. in the direction of measures that would infringe on both Second Amendment freedoms and the U.S.’s sovereignty more broadly. 

       We acknowledge, with gratitude, that your administration has clearly stated that the treaty must not infringe in any way on the Second Amendment. Notwithstanding, we must state with clarity what this entails. 

       First, the treaty should explicitly recognize the legitimacy of hunting, sport shooting, and other lawful activities – including the collection and display by individuals and museums of military antiques – related to the private ownership of firearms, and related materials.

 

        Second, the treaty should not include the manufacturing, assembly, possession, transfer, or purchase of small arms, light weapons, ammunition, or related materials that are defined under domestic law by national authority as legal for private ownership, nor should it contain any open-ended obligations that could imply any need to impose controls that would have any domestic effect on any or all of these items.

 

 

       Third, the Draft Paper is based in part on recognizing the inherent right of all states to individual or collective self-defense. We certainly agree that this right is inherent, at least, in all democratic and law-abiding states. But we also believe that the right of personal self-defense is a human right that is inherent in the individual. U.N. organizations, by contrast, have in the past argued that gun control is mandated by international human rights law, and that the right of self-defense does not exist. The treaty should clearly state that any assertion of the inherent right of all states to individual or collective self-defense cannot prejudice the inherent human right of personal self-defense.

 

 

       As the treaty process continues, we strongly encourage your administration not only to uphold our country’s constitutional protections of civilian firearms ownership, but to ensure – if necessary, by breaking consensus at the July conference – that the treaty will explicitly recognize the legitimacy of lawful activities associated with firearms, including but not limited to the right of self-defense. As members of the United States Senate, we will oppose the ratification of any Arms Trade Treaty that falls short of this standard.

 

 

       We appreciate your consideration on this issue and look forward to your response.

 

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Jul 18 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the situation in Syria:

 

“It is imperative in light of the most recent wave of violence in Syria that the United States begin to lead the international community to resolve the conflict.  We need to form a coalition to help arm the rebels, as well as create no-fly and no-drive zones to stop the slaughter by the Assad regime.  I cannot say with certainty what will follow Assad but I can say with certainty that Assad must go, sooner rather than later.

 

“If America is seen as being helpful in ending the slaughter of the Syrian people, it will allow us to have a stronger, future relationship with Assad’s eventual successor.  Replacing Assad in Syria is critical to regional stability, a major blow to the Iranian regime and will bolster our national security interests.

 

“The Obama Administration, and the world at large, is fiddling while Syria burns.  I hope we don’t end up regretting our inaction.”

 

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Jul 13 2012

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on the letter sent by Republican leaders in the House and Senate to President Obama. The Republicans encouraged President Obama to work with them to prevent devastating sequestration cuts which are scheduled to go into effect in 2013.

Jul 13 2012

Washington– U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) today released the following joint statement regarding the situation in Syria:

“Today's extremely disturbing report in the Wall Street Journal that the Assad regime may be moving chemical weapons could have profound consequences for U.S. policy toward Syria. We have every reason to expect the worst of Assad and his forces, who are killing more people in Syria now than at any time in the conflict. First and foremost it is essential to determine whether this report is accurate, and if Assad is in fact moving chemical weapons, where and why they are being moved. We urge the Administration to brief Congress on what is known as soon as possible.

“If Assad is transferring chemical weapons from secure sites to the battlefield, it significantly raises the risks that they will be used or that control over these weapons could be compromised. These are unacceptable risks for the United States and the entire international community, and they would threaten our vital national security interests.

“If accurate, this would mean that the Assad regime cannot be trusted to exercise responsible stewardship over its weapons of mass destruction, and that allowing them to remain in Assad's hands presents a clear threat, not only to civilians in Syria but to international peace and security. If that is the case, the Administration should convene an urgent session of the UN Security Council to consider a Chapter 7 resolution demanding that Assad relinquish his weapons of mass destruction to responsible international control – and authorizing the use of all necessary means to enforce this demand. If Russia and China stand in the way, the United States must rally our friends and allies to act.

“Ultimately, this latest report adds new urgency to the need to end the rule of Assad and his top lieutenants. This report on chemical weapons, combined with another report on a mass slaughter in Tremseh, paints a picture of Syria continuing to spiral out of control.

“The longer this conflict grinds on, the worse it gets for the people of Syria and increasingly for the entire international community. According to some estimates, as many as 17,000 lives have been lost. Assad has clearly shown that he will stop at nothing to crush the Syrian opposition. Does anyone doubt this regime has the capacity to turn some of the world’s worst weapons on its own people? After every mass atrocity that is committed in the world, good people pledge ‘never again’ – that next time we will be ready, and we will have the resolve to act to prevent mass atrocities that we see gathering. Now is that time in Syria, and we urge the Administration to respond accordingly."

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