Sep 24 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on his vote against the Paul Amendment.  The amendment failed 10-81.

 

“The Paul Amendment was so poorly drafted it could cut off funding to close American allies like Israel.  Under the Paul Amendment, if Hamas – a terrorist organization committed to the destruction of Israel -- were to ‘attack, trespass, or breach’ the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, the United States would be forced to cut off assistance to Israel.

 

“Al-Qaeda and like-minded radical Islamist groups would love nothing more than for the United States to withdraw from the region and world at large.  No matter how well-meaning Senator Paul’s amendment may be, now is not the time to give radical Islam a big victory.  Therefore, I could not support the Paul Amendment.

 

“In many ways the Mideast is on fire and the flames are being stoked by radical Islamists who understand they cannot achieve their goals unless they drive the United States out of the region.  These radical Islamists, along with their close Al Qaeda associates, are desperately trying to cut off the oxygen supply to many of the new Mideast governments which have been formed through democratic elections.”

 

“Finally, there was no consultation with the Director of the CIA, General David Petraeus, about what passage of this amendment would mean.  I have been informed by the intelligence community that now is the worst possible time to disengage.  While cutting off foreign assistance may make for good short-term politics, it creates dangerous long-term national security concerns.

 

“Since 9/11 we have been well-served by taking the fight to the enemy in their own backyard.  The terrorists would love for us to disengage from the region so they could regain a lost foothold.  If we disengage, I’m convinced the fight would once again move to our back yard.

 

“Our aid to the Egyptian and Pakistani military and Libyan government provides leverage and influence at a time when we need it the most.  I will do everything in my power to keep the fight in the terrorist’s backyard.  That requires us staying involved in a constructive way, not just by the use of military force.”

 

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Status of Nations and U.S. Aid Cited in the Paul Amendment 
  • Pakistan is a nuclear-armed nation which must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the radical Islamic extremists.  Under current law, United States aid to Pakistan is contingent on their cooperation on security issues.  Senator Graham has expressed support for recent agreements with Pakistan that reopen the supply route to American troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
  • Egypt is the heart of the Arab World and is struggling to find its footing after years of dictatorship.  Senator Graham was the author of American law which put conditions on continued Egyptian aid.  Under the Graham provision, if Egypt breaks their treaty with Israel, American aid will stop.  Likewise, if democratic institutions in Egypt are shut down, American aid will stop.
  • Libya:  The assassination of the American Ambassador to Libya and other Americans was a terrorist attack plotted and executed by radical Islamists.  The attack does not represent the views of the beliefs of the Libyan populace.  In recent elections, the radical Islamists only received about 10 percent of the vote.  Withdrawal of American aid would only embolden and empower the radical Islamists who hate democracy, tolerance and modern thought.

Sep 19 2012

Washington U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman and today released the following statement regarding the decision to scale back combined operations between coalition and Afghan forces:

 

“In light of the tragic recent attacks on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, we understand and respect the rationale for scaling back combined operations between coalition and Afghan troops. However, we also believe this decision raises questions about the broader strategy that the Obama Administration has been pursuing in this conflict, especially with respect to its timetable for drawing down our military forces in Afghanistan.

 

“Over the past three years, the Administration has repeatedly deployed fewer forces than our commanders recommended, and is now drawing down those forces in larger numbers and at a faster pace than our commanders advised. Our military leaders have testified to Congress that these decisions have put our mission in Afghanistan at greater risk, and those risks are now becoming more apparent. In particular, we are concerned that the rush to build up the Afghan National Security Forces as quickly as possible – so that U.S. forces could begin withdrawing on the Administration's timetable – has contributed to the problem of the so-called ‘insider attacks.’

 

“The President has said that the drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan would be responsive to conditions on the ground. We believe those conditions are now worrisome enough to justify an immediate suspension of further U.S. troop withdrawals at this time. The purpose of this ‘strategic pause’ should be to give our commanders time to evaluate the effects of recent troop withdrawals and to offer their best military advice on how we can achieve our goals in Afghanistan, while preventing further attacks on our forces and those of our allies. We cannot afford to rush to failure in Afghanistan.

 

“Despite the despicable acts of violence by a few Afghans, we must remember that there are literally hundreds of thousands of other Afghans who have been waging this war side-by-side with our own forces. They are risking their lives – and giving their lives – in far greater numbers than Americans or any of other coalition partner, in order to prevent al Qaeda and its allies from regaining control of Afghanistan. These brave Afghans embody the hopes and dreams of the vast majority of their fellow citizens, who do not want their country to become a terrorist safe haven again, as it was before 9/11, and who simply want to live in peace. After all we have committed to this conflict over 11 challenging years, and considering the critical national security interest we have at stake in Afghanistan, we should now take a step back in light of conditions on the ground to determine what we must do to succeed in this war.”

 

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Sep 17 2012

The Obama Administration's insistence that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya resulted from a riot inspired by a film, rather than a planned and coordinated attack, defies common sense.  It is imperative that Congress conduct an investigation into this matter, as the two scenarios are vastly different in terms of scope and depth.

Sep 10 2012

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the transfer of Afghanistan’s Parwan Detention Facility to Afghan control.

 

“The transfer of the Parwan Detention Facility is a significant achievement and major step forward in the planned transition from American to Afghan control of the war.

 

“I have seen the cautious, balanced approach on prison transfer develop from its beginning stages to full implementation.  I also know from my own personal experiences that those who worked on this project have kept American and Afghan security interests at the forefront of their thinking.  For this reason, the agreement contains important checks and balances addressing the potential release of individuals likely to go back to the fight.

 

“During my travels to Afghanistan, I have constantly reinforced the message with Afghan President Karzai that if you push prisoner transition from American to Afghan control too far and too fast -- resulting in a release of a detainee who commits a future act of violence -- it would do serious damage to American support for the mission.

 

“There are two groups of prisoners who have to be cautiously dealt with.  The first is third-country nationals who have been captured in Afghanistan and linked to the highest levels of the Al-Qaeada movement and other terrorist organizations.  These prisoners, in my view, should never be placed in the Afghan legal system.  They should remain in U.S. custody as they represent great national security threats to our nation.  They are also good candidates for detention at Guantanamo Bay.

 

“The second group is Afghans who have been labeled as enduring security threats by our forces because of their ties to the Taliban or Haqqani network.  We must never transfer these high value threats until the Afghan legal system has proven to be sound and capable of dealing with such cases.  I’m confident General Allen and the Obama Administration will be rightly cautious when it comes to transferring prisoners who represent a high security risk.  We will continue to work with the Afghan government to resolve the future of this small category of prisoners.

 

“My goal has always been to enhance Afghan sovereignty while never losing focus on U.S. force protection.  I am hopeful this prison transition will create a partnership between U.S. and Afghan military and intelligence forces allowing us to gather intelligence as well as keep enemy forces off the battlefield.

 

“I have seen no inclination by U.S. forces or the Obama Administration to transition control of the prison in a haphazard manner or to wash our hands of this problem.  Quite the contrary, I have seen a focused effort to ensure this is done correctly in both the short and long-term.

 

“Looking forward, I believe the transfer of the Parwan facility can become a model for how to achieve Afghan sovereignty in other areas as well.  With continued mentoring and resources, the Afghans have the will and ability to chart their own destiny to a better, brighter future.

 

“Congratulations to General Huber and his team at Task Force 435, along with their U.S. Embassy counterparts, in making this transfer successful and timely.  Under their leadership, the facility has become a model for Law of War detention.”

 

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Sep 07 2012

A drop in the unemployment rate is usually good news, but certainly not today.  This report shows thousands of Americans are so discouraged by the Obama economy that they have given up on their job searches and are no longer looking for work.

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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