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Graham Votes against Spending ‘Orgy’ Tacked onto War Funding Bill

May 23, 2008

Graham Votes against Spending ‘Orgy’ Tacked onto War Funding Bill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today voted against the domestic add-ons to the supplemental funding bill.  The legislation passed the Senate by a vote of 75-22.

“Congress reinforced why the public is so disenchanted with their government,” said Graham.  “It was an orgy of un-vetted, pork barrel spending coming at the expense of funding our troops.  Instead of quickly funding our brave troops in harm’s way, the Senate added tens of billions of dollars in spending completely unrelated to fighting the enemy.

“It’s truly disappointing the Senate took advantage of the legitimate needs of our troops to fund parochial interests,” said Graham.  “Some of these spending items could hardly be considered to be an emergency.”

Graham noted the legislation also contained unnecessary spending items such as $75 million for commercial fish failures, $210 million for the Census, and $10 million for cultural exchange programs.

In addition to the unnecessary domestic spending, Graham noted a major objection was the inclusion of a $52 billion mandatory spending GI bill introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-Virginia).  The Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veterans Affairs have raised concerns about the impact the Webb bill would have on retention in the military and the new layers of bureaucracy that would be created.

Graham has introduced a version which enhances benefits and focuses on retention in the armed forces.  A major feature of the legislation allows veterans who serve six or more years in the military to transfer their benefits to their spouse or child.

“Helping veterans with a college education is a worthwhile goal and we all believe it should be done,” said Graham.  “Unfortunately in the name of helping veterans we are creating a program which actually encourages people to leave the military.  If passed into law, it could have a devastating impact on our ability to fight and win the War on Terror.  Senator Webb’s intentions are good, but the policy he supports is misguided and will have severe consequences on our military.”

“Under this Congress, the definition of emergency spending is anything that is helpful at home,” said Graham.  “Money for cultural exchange programs or carrying out the next Census are hardly emergencies.  President Bush has threatened to veto this legislation if it reaches his desk.  After what we saw today, he is more than justified in making good on his threat.”

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