Jan 27 2003

Statement from Senator Graham Concerning State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today said he agreed with President Bush in many areas of the State of the Union address to the nation. “The president is being very responsible holding Saddam Hussein accountable for his weapons of mass destruction,” said Graham. “The French, Germans, and United Nations at large are not being as responsible as they should be. “Iraq had hundreds of artillery shells with chemical weapons, two batches of anthrax material, and hundreds of tons of nerve agents in their 1998 inventory. Now they are not accounted for. I hope the world would follow the president’s lead and make Saddam Hussein account for these materials and other information about his weapons of mass destruction program. “The Iraqi response of ‘we have no weapons of mass destruction,’ is a flat-out lie,” continued Graham. “I hope the world will get behind the president in making sure this man cannot continue his weapons program. He either needs to be disarmed or replaced.” Senator Graham also said he was very pleased with President Bush’s economic stimulus package to get the American economy moving again. “Every time you propose cutting taxes, you get criticized by people who want to keep taxpayer money in Washington to spend on government programs,” said Graham. “The economy needs a shot in the arm. I believe the president’s proposal provides that shot in the arm and makes sense in the long term. “In the short term, we need to stimulate the economy and in the long term we must create better investment opportunities. What we don’t need is to grow the size of the federal government in Washington. “Phasing in the marriage tax penalty repeal at a faster level to increase consumer spending makes sense. Increasing the child tax credit up to $1,000 from $600 to help families to raise their kids makes sense. Stopping the taxation of dividends because it’s a double tax makes sense. These are all good ideas as well as adding a capital gains tax cut to spur on economic activity.” Finally, Graham said he looked forward to working with President Bush to save Social Security for future generations of Americans and pass a Medicare prescription drug benefit into law. “President Bush and I both want to see Congress address the looming bankruptcy of Social Security head-on,” said Graham. “We cannot sit on the sidelines and watch Social Security go bankrupt. Unfortunately, some people prefer to stick their head in the sand and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. That approach doesn’t make the problem go away; it only makes the problem worse. “I also look forward to working with the president as we strengthen and improve Medicare for the millions of seniors who rely on the program,” said Graham. “There are a couple provisions I want to see in any Medicare prescription drug benefit. The first is that consumer choice must be part of the mix. The federal government shouldn’t be allowed to tell seniors what drugs to get. I don’t want a patient to have to get permission from a federal bureaucrat to get their prescription filled. That is a decision left to the doctor and the patient. “The second is that every senior needs to help pay for prescription drugs based on their ability to help themselves. Our well-to-do seniors should have to pay more for premiums than fixed-income seniors. I think it’s only fair and we must do this to afford the program.”