May 26 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the United States Supreme Court.  Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I do not know Judge Sotomayor.  I look forward to meeting with her and discussing the important issues confronting the court. 

“As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I intend to be fair and firm in my questioning of the nominee.  The hearings can be a valuable public service as they give us a window into the nominee’s judicial philosophy and disposition.  I hope we will have a meaningful opportunity to explore the qualifications, judicial temperament and judicial philosophy of Judge Sotomayor.

“I was fortunate to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the confirmation hearings of both John Roberts and Samuel Alito.  Under intense questioning in private and public settings, both nominees advanced clear and concise understandings of the law.  I was proud to vote for their confirmation.”

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May 22 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and U.S. Representative John Kline (R-MN), will lead the official Memorial Day Ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery in France.    On May 24, the members will honor the extraordinary contributions of veterans to our nation at the Normandy American Cemetery.  As Ranking Member of the Veteran Affairs Committee, Senator Burr will deliver a speech to commemorate the courage and sacrifice of those who landed at Normandy almost 65 years ago.  The members will then lay a wreath in honor of the thousands of American service members who gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy and made possible the liberation of Europe in World War II.   

“My father served in the Army Air Corps in World War II in the Pacific theater," said Graham. "I remember very well the pride he took in serving our nation. He always talked about his buddies who didn’t make it home as being the 'real heroes.' I am honored and humbled to be able to spend this Memorial Day in the company of those 'real heroes.' In a far away land, they made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation they loved. We remain thankful for their service and will forever remember their sacrifice."

 “These veterans, who so selflessly gave of themselves and paid the ultimate price for our country, strengthened the foundation of our grateful nation,” Senator Burr said.  “We owe these brave Americans a debt we will never be able to fully repay.  I am honored to be able to represent the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the United States Senate, and North Carolina on such hallowed ground.”   “Sixty-five years ago, young American men hailing from big cities, sleepy towns and small farms struggled through Normandy’s churning surf amid a hail of gunfire to secure Europe’s freedom. Thousands never came back,” said Chambliss, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am humbled by their sacrifice and honored to remember them – including 213 Georgians – in this final resting place on the edge of the continent they liberated.” “The freedoms and liberties we cherish on this day are owed to the blood and sacrifice of the veterans buried here,” said Minnesota Congressman John Kline, a 25-year veteran of the Marine Corps who retired at the rank of Colonel. “This Memorial Day, we honor all of those who left us too soon, whose lives were cut short on distant battlefields. We must never forget those true American heroes to whom we owe so much.” The ceremony will highlight the contributions made by our nation’s veterans, many of whom paid the ultimate price in the struggle against tyranny and oppression. # # #

May 22 2009

WASHINGTON The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment last night introduced by U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) which establishes a procedure to block release of the detainee photos.

Last week, after consulting with General Petraeus, General Odierno, and others, President Obama decided to fight the release of photographs that depict the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Those photographs are the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“This vote is an important statement of support for the protection of our troops who are on the front lines defending our country at a time of war,” said Lieberman. “This amendment provides the President with the ability to block the publication of the photos that would endanger the safety of our men and women in uniform.”

“Our military commanders have, to a person, stated that releasing these photographs will increase violence against out troops and civilians serving overseas,” said Graham. “I agree. Nothing will be gained by their release in terms of new information about detainee abuse. Americans will be killed because of their release and this amendment is designed to stop that from happening. I applaud the President’s decision to fight the release of these photographs. Our legislation will strengthen the Obama Administration’s legal standing in court and that is why the Senate has unanimously passed this important piece of legislation.”

The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act was offered as an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill that was passed by the Senate last night.

 The amendment authorizes the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to certify that the disclosure of photographs like the ones at issue in the ACLU lawsuit would endanger the lives of our citizens or members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the United States government deployed abroad.

The certification would last three years and could be renewed by the Secretary of Defense if the threat to American personnel continues. Also, the language in the bill is clear that it would apply to the current ACLU lawsuit.

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May 19 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) today introduced the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act which would establish a procedure to block release of the detainee photos.  The Senators plan to offer the legislation as an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations bill that is being deliberated on the Senate floor this week.

Last week, after consulting with General Petraeus, General Odierno, and others, President Obama decided to fight the release of photographs that depict the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.  Those photographs are the subject of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

This legislation would authorize the Secretary of Defense, after consultation with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to certify to the President that the disclosure of photographs like the ones at issue in the ACLU lawsuit would endanger the lives of our citizens or members of the Armed Forces or civilian employees of the United States government deployed abroad.

The certification would last five years and could be renewed by the Secretary of Defense if the threat to American personnel continues.  Also, the language in the bill is clear that it would apply to the current ACLU lawsuit.

“The President made a bold decision as Commander in Chief that will protect our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and make it easier for them to carry out the missions that we have asked them to do,” said Lieberman.  “This measure would codify the President’s decision to block release of these photos and thereby help protect our troops who are defending our country and our liberty.” 

“The publication of those photographs would only endanger the safety of our troops who go into harm's way in defense of America,” said Graham.  “Our country has taken steps to prevent any future abuse of detainees and no public good is now served by releasing these photographs.  Our legislation will strengthen the Obama Administration’s legal standing in court and it should be adopted.”

 

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May 19 2009

WASHINGTON --  United States Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) today introduced legislation prohibiting enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from being released into the United States.

 

Under the Graham/Lieberman legislation, enemy combatants ordered to be released will be transferred into the custody of the Department of Homeland Security while waiting to be returned to their home country or if they unable to return there, another nation.  Media reports have suggested that there is consideration of the release of Chinese Uighurs (Wee-gurs), who trained at terrorist camps in Afghanistan and have been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, into the northern Virginia suburbs. 

 

“The legislation is clear -- former enemy combatants should not be released into the general population of the United States,” said Graham.  “Any decision to do this will put Americans at unnecessary risk.  Former enemy combatants should be turned over to the Department of Homeland Security until they can be repatriated to another nation.  Even though they may not present a direct threat to the United States, it is important to remember the Uighurs were captured in an Al Qaeda training camp and many of them have radical religious views which make it difficult for them to assimilate into our population.  Additionally, our immigration laws prohibit the release into the United States any persons who have been part of a terrorist organization.  The Uighurs are certainly guilty of this offense.”

 

“It is imperative that we make it clear that the closing of Guantanamo prison will not result in the freeing of any detainee into American communities,” said Lieberman. “Any detainee cleared for release should be transferred to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security.  That is a common-sense solution that protects our security and keeps potential terrorists off American streets.”

 

The Senators noted that the 17 Uighurs currently being held at Guantanamo Bay have petitioned for release into the United States.

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May 15 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the decision by President Obama to use military commissions to try terror suspects.   

“I support President Obama’s decision to seek a further stay of military commission trials.  Today’s action will afford us the opportunity to reform the military commission system and produce a comprehensive policy regarding present and future detainees.

 

“In my first meeting with then President-elect Obama in Chicago in December 2008, we discussed a path forward for Guantanamo detainees.  I appreciated the opportunity to meet with him and focus on the types of reforms that would protect our national security interests and help repair the damage done to our nation’s image.  I continue to believe it is in our own national security interests to separate ourselves from the past problems of Guantanamo. 

 

“Since that initial meeting I have personally met with the President on two occasions and with his staff numerous times to discuss detention policy.  Our meetings have covered a wide range of topics including the various ways we could improve the military commission system to ideas on establishing a proper and appropriate oversight role for the federal courts. 

 

“I have had extensive discussions with military commanders and other Department of Defense officials about the overall benefit to the war effort of reforming our nation’s detainee policies.  The commanders believe a reformed system would be beneficial to the war effort as long as such a system is national security-centric.

 

“Detainee policy is very complex.  The President wants to collaborate with Congress to reform detainee policy and we should use this additional time to come up with a sensible national security policy regarding terror suspects.

 

“I believe a comprehensive plan should be in place before Guantanamo is closed. 

 

“I also believe that no detainees should be released into the United States.  Detainees determined by the military or a federal judge to no longer be held as enemy combatants should be transferred to the custody of the Department of Homeland Security pending their transfer to another country.

 

“I agree with the President and our military commanders that now is the time to start over and strengthen our detention policies. I applaud the President’s actions.”

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May 12 2009

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made this statement on Social Security Trustees Report.

"The day the Trust Fund begins to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes is the beginning of the end for Social Security. Due to the long and deep recession our nation is mired in, that day is now closer than anticipated. The recession has had a disastrous effect on the general economy and the finances of the Social Security program.

"The good news is that with decisive action by the Congress and President we can make adjustments to repair the system in a permanent fashion. These adjustments would be done gradually over time. No solution would harm to those currently receiving Social Security benefits or near-term retirees. They will be protected.

"Congress and the President must act quickly and in a comprehensive manner to save Social Security from impending bankruptcy. The sooner we take action the less drastic the solution. The longer we wait the more draconian.

"With a popular President and a strong contingent of Members of Congress from both parties who see the need to act now, we can get this done. I stand ready to meet the President and any Member of Congress who is ready and willing to act. This is an opportunity to repair the safety net that millions of Americans will rely on for their future retirement. Let's not miss this opportunity."

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May 07 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Joe Lieberman (ID-Connecticut) today wrote to President Obama expressing grave concern over the impending release of photographs of detainees captured in the war on terror and held by American military personnel.

 

The release of photographs is in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

 

“We know that many terrorists captured in Iraq have told American interrogators that one of the reasons they decided to join the violent jihadist war against America was what they saw on Al-Qaeda videos of abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib,” wrote Graham and Lieberman.  “Releasing these old photographs of detainee treatment now will provide new fodder to Al-Qaeda’s propaganda and recruitment operations, undercut the progress you have made in our international relations, and endanger America’s military and diplomatic personnel throughout the world.

 

“The release of these old photographs of past behavior that has now been clearly prohibited can serve no public good, but will empower al-Qaeda propaganda operations, hurt our country’s image, and endanger our men and women in uniform,” wrote Graham and Lieberman. 

 

Graham and Lieberman noted that the abusive practices at Abu Ghraib began Congressional involvement in detainee policy.  Congress then passed the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commission Act.  That legislation along with a series of executive actions, including some orders the Obama Administration has issued, are all aimed at preventing a repeat of this unacceptable behavior. 

 

“America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have made great progress in improving detention and interrogation procedures,” said Graham and Lieberman.  “We urge you in the strongest possible terms to fight the release of these old pictures of detainees in the war on terror, including pursuing all legal options to prevent the public disclosure of these pictures.”

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May 05 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on remarks by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisconsin) that he may not support funding for American operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan for more than one year.

 

“It is disappointing and somewhat unbelievable the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee would talk about putting a one-year deadline on funding for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

 “Signaling to our enemies that funding may stop within a year if they can create enough chaos not only emboldens our enemies, it puts our own troops at increased risk.  Our military commanders, service members and their families are under enough stress.

 

“Al Qaeda and the Taliban are patient and resilient.  They view their struggle with the United States as a test of wills.  As Americans, our will to win must be greater than their will to defeat us.  In Iraq we learned that if we provide the needed support to our forces they can accomplish great things. 

“Thus far, the Obama Administration has made reasoned and solid decisions regarding the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.  It is vital to our long-term national interests that we finish the job in Iraq and regain lost momentum in Afghanistan.  After our success in Iraq, Afghanistan is becoming the central battle in the war on terror. 

 

“I’m glad Chairman Obey did not have his way in Iraq.  I hope President Obama will stand up to this kind of rhetoric and let our men and women in uniform, our allies, and just as important -- our enemies -- know we are in this to win.”

 

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Apr 30 2009

WASHINGTON-  U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) made these statements after he voted against President Obama and the congressional Democrat’s $3.4 trillion budget plan.  Graham is a member of the Senate Budget Committee. 

 On Spending Levels:

“President Obama has already spent $12 billion every day he has been in office.  This budget is not good news for the American taxpayer.  It transforms the country in a way I don’t think is helpful.  We’re going to have a hard time looking the next generation in the eye and saying, ‘You’re going to have a chance to do better than us.’  This budget sustains massive deficits for years and explodes the national debt to 67 percent of GDP by 2014.  We’re growing the size of government in a way future generations simply can’t afford.”

 On Taxation:

“The Democratic budget raises taxes by $1 trillion on entrepreneurs and small business owners.  This means less money for the people who start businesses and create jobs.  The day we start rewarding the government and punishing people for the risk they take as entrepreneurs is the day the American model of free enterprise beings to dim.”

 On Protecting our Nation:

“Whether the Democrats like it or not, we are the arsenal of democracy.  Now is not the time to get cheap on defense and that is exactly what the Obama budget proposal does.” 

 On Health Care:

“Using reconciliation for something as critical as health care is a complete misuse of the budget process.  It’s likely the Democrats plan to introduce a radical health care plan that will lose the support of many of their moderate Democrats and all the Senate Republicans.  Surely the Obama Administration, if it truly believes in bipartisanship, will be able to find one Republican to get to 60 votes and not have to resort to reconciliation.”

 On the Future:

“There is a better way.  Let’s keep taxes competitive and as low as possible, realizing we’ve got a government to run.  Let’s spend wisely.  Let’s reform health care so the federal government doesn’t decide what doctor you see and what treatment you get.  To my Democratic colleagues, you run this place now.  The mistakes Republicans made are real, but you don’t fix those mistakes by spending more than we did.  You don’t fix the problems facing the next generation by growing the government at a pace and level they can’t pay for.  This lack of bipartisanship and business as usual spending is the complete opposite of what President Obama campaigned on.  This is not the change anyone voted for and it’s certainly not change I can believe in.”

 

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