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Entries in Lindsey Graham (12)

Sunday
Apr282013

Lindsey Graham: Boston Bombings were an Intelligence Failure

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Cal(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, Senator Lindsey Graham expressed his belief that the Boston Marathon bombings were the result of intelligence failures.

Graham said that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the dead bombing suspect, left a trail that should have raised a red flag.

“The FBI investigated the older brother but never shared the information with the fusion cell in Boston so people in the Boston area could be on the lookout,” Graham said. “When he goes back to Russia in January of 2012 the system pings at DHS but DHS doesn't share the information with the FBI or CIA.”

Graham believes that the failure of American intelligence agencies to connect the dots illustrates that “We're going back to the pre-9-11 stove piping.”

The bombings, he said, must serve as a wake-up call.

“We're gonna have to up our game and when one of these guys goes into the system and they leave the country we've got to make sure we know where they're going and interview them and when somebody in the data base like this begins to openly interact with radical Islamic website and FBI agent should knock on his door,” said Graham.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr072013

Senator Schumer Hopes to See Deal on Immigration ‘By the End of the Week’

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senator Chuck Schumer, speaking on CBS’s Face the Nation, announced that he is hoping to see a bipartisan deal on immigration by the end of the week, though other senators are less optimistic.

“There will be a great deal of unhappiness about this proposal because everybody didn't get what they wanted,” said Senator John McCain, also appearing on Face the Nation. “There are entrenched positions on both sides of this issue are far as business and labor.”

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any progress, though. Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said that the GOP has been able to unite itself on at least one front of the debate.

“Every corner of the republican party from libertarians to the RNC, house Republicans and the rank-and-file Republican party member is now understanding there has to be an earned pathway to citizenship,” the senator said.

The bipartisan deal hopes to create an immigration bill that will secure the border and allow for eventual citizenship to an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

“I am hopeful that we get a good vote on both sides of the aisle,” Schumer said. “We don't want this bill to be fifty-three Democrats and just a handful of Republicans because we need broad bipartisan support particularly to get a bill done in the house.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb272013

Sens. McCain, Graham: Obama Committed to Immigration Reform

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican senators struck an optimistic tone on Tuesday following a meeting with President Obama, expressing confidence he's committed to passing a comprehensive immigration reform.

The president sat down with John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), two of the four GOP senators who are part of a Senate working group drafting a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

"We had an excellent meeting with the president and the vice president this afternoon during which we discussed a variety of issues, including our effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year," the senators said in a joint statement.  "We were pleased to hear the president state his firm commitment that he will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this important goal."

The Senate group released a list of immigration principles late last month and is aiming to complete comprehensive immigration reform legislation by March.

But some Republicans were rankled when an immigration bill being drafted by the White House leaked just over a week ago.  

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the bipartisan Senate group, called the Obama bill "dead on arrival" since it lacked certain language contained in the Senate plan.  One of the main sticking points was that it was missing a provision that would require federal immigration authorities to meet a "trigger" for border security before a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants could go forward.

And others in the GOP have voiced skepticism about Obama's sincerity about dealing across the aisle on immigration reform.

"I don't believe President Obama wants an immigration bill to pass, instead I think he wants a political issue," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is not a member of the working group, said last week.  "His objective is to push so much on the table that he forces Republicans walk away from the table because then he wants to use that issue in 2014 and 2016 as a divisive wedge issue."

Obama last week reassured that his plan is only a backup in case talks in Congress stall, saying that he fully supports the negotiations among lawmakers.  He later phoned Republican members of the Senate group to smooth over any tensions.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb262013

Sens. McCain, Graham to Meet with Obama on Immigration

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Tuesday will meet with the two top Republicans who are leading the Senate effort to draft comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Obama will sit down at the White House Tuesday afternoon with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a White House official confirmed.

The meeting comes one week after the president reached out via phone to Republican members of the “Gang of Eight,” a group of bipartisan senators who unveiled a framework for legislative immigration reform last month.

The group’s two other Republican members, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona, will not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Overhauling the nation’s immigration system is a top priority for the president in his second term.

Earlier this month, Obama met with the Democratic members of the “Gang of Eight” to discuss progress made on passing immigration reform legislation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb112013

Sen. Graham Threatens to Hold Up Vote on Hagel, Brennan Nominations

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Lindsey Graham says until he knows exactly how President Obama acted immediately after the U.S consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked last Sept. 11, he will attempt to hold up confirmation votes on the White House picks for secretary of defense and CIA director.

Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday, the South Carolina Republican said, "We know nothing about what the president did on the night of Sept. 11, during a time of national crisis, and the American people need to know what their commander-in-chief did, if anything, during the eight-hour attack."

Obama tapped Chuck Hagel to become Pentagon chief and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan as the next director of the nation's top spy agency.  While both men went through contentious hearings, Hagel and Brennan are expected to be confirmed.

However, while Graham has promised not to filibuster their nominations, he seems intent on delaying the vote until the White House releases more details on the consulate assault in Libya that left four Americans dead and put the administration's credibility about its initial response to the siege into question.

Graham, a steadfast critic of the administration, told Face the Nation, "This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now, it seems to be a very disengaged president."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Dec302012

Graham Says No Debt Ceiling Increase Without Entitlement Reform

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), said Sunday he would vote no to raise the debt ceiling, if concessions to reform Social Security and Medicare were not made, despite a previous statement by Graham to suggest that most Republicans were never willing to stomach a U.S. default back in 2011.

“Why would I raise the debt ceiling again unless we address what put us in debt to begin with? I’m not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get serious about keeping the country from becoming Greece, saving Social Security and Medicare,” Graham said today on “Fox News Sunday.”

Graham’s not alone.  House Speaker John Boehner, (R-Ohio), said in an interview earlier this month on “Fox News Sunday” that House Republicans will never give up control of the debt ceiling.

“It’s the only way to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would if left alone,” Boehner said.

Congress voted in July to avert a U.S. default as part of a larger deficit reduction package, but not before the uncertainty cost the federal government $1.3 billion due to higher borrowing costs, according to the Government Accountability Office.

After Congress reached a deal in 2011, Graham told Politico that, in the end, Republicans weren’t willing to let the country default.

“Our problem is we made a big deal about this for three months. How many Republicans have been on TV saying, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit?’ You know, Mitch [McConnell] says, ‘I’m not going to raise the debt limit unless we talk about Medicare.’ And I’ve said I’m not going to raise the debt limit until we do something about spending and entitlements.’ So we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves,” Graham said.

“We shouldn’t have said that if we didn’t mean it.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither wrote a letter to Congress this week warning that the United States is fast approaching its debt limit and that the country would likely default without action in the next couple of months.

Most economists believe that a U.S. default would throw the worldwide economy into chaos.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Dec112012

Sen. Lindsey Graham: No Defense Cuts Until Iranian Nuclear Threat Ends

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Wartime is no time for defense cuts, says Lindsey Graham.

The South Carolina senator told a conservative audience on Tuesday he would oppose defense cuts in any fiscal cliff deal because “we are at war.” Without mentioning Afghanistan, Graham called out Iran, Syria, and broader instability in the Middle East.

“I want the Iranian nuclear threat to be resolved before [agreeing to] a hundred, a hundred fifty billion dollars beyond the $489 [billion]” in defense cuts already enacted in 2011, Graham said. (He apparently misspoke; the figure is $487 billion.)

Congress already shaved $487 billion from projected 10-year defense spending under the 2011 Budget Control Act, which raised the debt limit and created “sequestration” as an incentive for a broader fiscal deal. Unless a deficit-reduction deal is cut by Dec. 31, $500 billion will be cut across the board from the Pentagon.

“I want to make sure that Syria ends in a way that doesn’t blow up the entire region. The Arab Spring is a work in progress — I would like to know with some general idea how this movie ends. If we don’t know how these things unfold, then I think we’re making a very poor national security decision driven by budgets,” Graham said, in comments reported earlier by the Washington Free Beacon.

Graham warned that Iran could do “damage” to the U.S. if armed conflict arose — and that he thinks Israel lacks the capability to end Iran’s nuclear program on its own. The senator, known as a national-security hawk, pushed for maintaining military force for several reasons.

“I don’t want to go to war with China, and I don’t expect we will, but it’s always good to know that you could and win,” Graham said. “I hope military force is not necessary to stop the Iranian regime marching toward a nuclear capability, but I do know this: that if force is to be used, our capabilities need to be such that it would be decisive. My biggest fear about an Israeli attack on Iran is that they don’t have the capabilities, in my view, to bring the program to a complete end.”

At other points in his remarks, delivered at a luncheon hosted by The Weekly Standard and Concerned Veterans for America, Graham seemed willing to accept some defense cuts without any resolution to his concerns about Iran and Syria.

“You could also make the argument that we’re going to be Greece, as a nation, if we don’t get our fiscal house in order,” Graham said. ”I would entertain going past $487 billion, but the one concept I will not entertain is having a military that doesn’t make us an exceptional nation. We cannot afford that.”

Graham said the U.S. military could do “more with less” but made his opinion on sequestration clear: “I”m gonna do is say no to sequestration with all the force of my being, cause it is a dumb way to reduce defense spending.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov252012

Sen. Lindsey Graham Rejects Amb. Susan Rice’ Self-Defense

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), said Sunday he does not believe that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice relied on the most accurate information from the intelligence community when she provided a public explanation for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“I’m increasingly convinced that the best and current intelligence assessment on 16 September went against the video.  The video was a political smokescreen,” Graham said on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “The actual facts were this was a coordinated, pre-planned terrorist attack.”

Speaking at the United Nations on Wednesday, Rice said that some of the attacks leveled against her by Republican lawmakers were “unfounded.”

“When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers,” Rice said.

Graham rejected that explanation again Sunday.

“My belief is that there was a mountain of intel to dispute the video characterization,” Graham said Sunday. “There was really no intel saying this was a spontaneous event.”

Asked whether he would oppose Rice’s potential nomination as Secretary of State, Graham would not repeat his past assertions that she should be disqualified for the post if President Obama chooses to nominate her.

“When she comes over, if she does, there will be a lot of questions asked of her about this event and others,” Graham said. “But I do not believe the video is the cause … I don’t believe it was ever the reason for this. That was a political story, not an intel story, and we’re going to hold people accountable.”

Earlier this month, Graham had said that because of the explanation Rice gave for the Benghazi attack, he was “dead set” on making sure Rice isn’t “promoted.”

On Sunday he added that he would pursue an investigation into Benghazi “like we got to the bottom of Iran-Contra,” referring to the 1980s scandal when the Reagan administration made a secret deal with Iran to sell them weapons in exchange for the release of American hostages held in Lebanon, and some of the money from the sale was diverted to support the Contra rebels fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

“We’re not going to let up on this,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin insisted that Republicans are unfairly focusing on Rice’s statements after the attack.

“If this were an NFL game, the critics of Ambassador Rice would be penalized for piling on,” Durbin said. “For goodness sake, she got the report from the intelligence community; she dutifully reported it to the public, just exactly what we expect her to do.

“They had decided not to include the al Qaeda references so we wouldn’t compromise our sources in Benghazi and in Libya,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep212012

GOP Senators Express Dissatisfaction in 'Disrespectful' Benghazi Briefing

State Dept(WASHINGTON) -- Expressing further dissatisfaction with the thoroughness of the briefing on Benghazi they received from Secretary of State Clinton Thursday, two Republican Senators chastised the Obama administration for their “disrespect” and “disdain” for the U.S. Senate for not divulging more about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We were told nothing,” McCain said on the Senate floor Friday afternoon of Thursday’s briefing to the full U.S. Senate by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “We were told absolutely nothing. All because it’s an investigation going on.”

McCain then held up the Wall Street Journal’s story Friday morning with details on the attack by way of comparison. He said for a newspaper to have more detail than U.S. Senators, after receiving a briefing from the government’s top officials, was the height of disrespect.

“It is that the disrespect to the institution of the senate when we are called together ostensibly to receive information, that information they tell us they can’t give us, and then it appears on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. What does that mean about the attitude that this administration has to this body? Obviously it’s not one that I think is of respect.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham echoed the complaint, saying it was like “pulling teeth” to get information from the members of the administration Thursday.

“I was very disappointed in the briefing yesterday,” Graham said, “A lot of senators were frustrated. And you pick up major newspapers in the country and you find details not shared with you.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

Republicans Take Aim at Pillar of GOP Tax Policy

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Taxpayer Protection Pledge has been the gold standard of Republican tax orthodoxy for decades.

Known informally as “The Pledge” and cooked up by conservative strategist Grover Norquist in 1986, it asks two simple promises of its signers: that they oppose any tax-rate hikes for people or businesses, and that they fight to keep all tax credits and deductions unless rates are simultaneously dropped.

All but 13 Republicans in the Congress -- six senators and seven representatives -- have signed the pledge.

But now, with deficits and debt in the political forefront, the pledge is under attack from some prominent Republicans seeking to get U.S. balance sheets under control.

“I stand by the idea that we shouldn’t raise rates,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told ABC’s Jon Karl in an interview.

“When you eliminate a deduction, it’s OK with me to use some of that money to get us out of debt. That’s where I disagree with the tax pledge....We’re so far in debt that if you don’t give up some ideological ground, the country sinks.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, considered a possible VP selection for Mitt Romney, protests that he won’t be asked to join the Romney campaign because he supports higher taxes. “If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we’re going to have $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement, put me in, coach,” Bush told the House Budget Committee, testifying before the panel in Washington this month. “This will prove I’m not running for anything.”

At an August presidential debate hosted by Fox News in Ames, Iowa, every GOP candidate on stage declined to back a deficit-reduction deal that would favor spending cuts over tax hikes by a ratio of 10 to one.

Bush did not sign the tax pledge as a candidate or as governor, nor did he raise taxes while in office. “The pledge was presented to me three times. I never signed the pledge. I cut taxes every year I was governor. I don’t believe you outsource your principles and convictions to people. I respect Grover’s political involvement. He has it every right to do it, but I never signed any pledge,” Bush told the committee.

The United States is more than $15 trillion in debt, having run consecutive budget deficits since 2002 and trillion-dollar-plus deficits since 2009. A “Taxmageddon” looms at the end of 2012, with the Bush tax cuts set to expire and with automatic spending cuts triggered in January, prompted by the deficit super committee’s failure to reach a deal, unless Congress and President Obama can arrive at a compromise.

Norquist said he’s not worried about Republicans agreeing to raise taxes anytime soon.

“I worry more about satellites falling on my head,” Norquist told ABC in a phone interview Tuesday.

In his typically ebullient manner, the pledge architect had colorful words for both Bush and Graham.

“Former governor of Florida Jeb Bush hasn’t been elected to anything in 10 years, [and he] gets asked a hypothetical question about ‘ten to one,’ which is the same question that ruined his father’s presidency and cut it in half, and he answered it in the same way his father did,” Norquist said. “Lindsey Graham is not a thought leader in the Republican Party...again, he’s answering a hypothetical, which will never be offered to him, the idea that the Democratic party offers significant spending cuts in exchange for tinkering here and there with a couple tax credits.”

After holding the line on taxes last summer, as the debt-limit stalemate threatened to derail both governmental functions and the U.S. economy, Norquist said the GOP holds a stronger position as this year’s deficit discussion begins. He does not, he said, see trouble looming.

“I don’t have to keep anybody in line. These are commitments people made to their constituents,” Norquist said. “I think almost everyone will keep their word, and even the people who get weak knees will look around and find themselves all by their lonesome and run back to their foxholes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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