Economic Conservative

The list of adjectives describing Lindsey Graham’s fiscally conservative record of protecting our pocketbooks and fighting to restrain Washington spending are long. He’s been called a Hero of the Taxpayer, Taxpayer Friend, Guardian of Small Business, Small Business Champion and more.

With over $7 trillion added to the national debt under President Obama, Lindsey Graham believes the federal government spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. That’s why in 2012, Graham was ranked by the National Taxpayer Union Foundation as one of the Top Five Senate budget cutters for proposing over $400 billion in spending cuts

Graham supports a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, reforming Social Security and Medicare to save them from bankruptcy, and repealing and replacing Obamacare.

His fiscal conservative voting record reflects the views of our state in ensuring a smaller, smarter, and more efficient federal government.


Opposed Obamacare from Day One

Graham voted against Obamacare, and since its passage into law has repeatedly voted to get rid of it. Whether it is Repeal and Replace, Defund, Opt-Out or Delay, he has consistently opposed this massive new entitlement. Graham continues to work to allow states to opt-out of Obamacare, and he has voted to defund the employer mandate, the individual mandate, the health care exchanges, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board.

“It raises costs, lowers the quality of care in our country, shifts a new unfunded mandate onto the states, and will result in health care rationing.” — Bad Medicine by Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, March 20, 2010

“OBAMACARE IS A FINANCIAL DISASTER for our nation… It raises costs, lowers the quality of care, shifts a new unfunded mandate onto the states, and will result in health care rationing. We are committed to repealing Obamacare…Whether it’s an outright repeal, a state- based ‘opt-out’, delaying implementation of its major provisions, or withholding funding, we will use every tool in the toolbox to repeal and replace Obamacare.” —Lindsey Graham

Do you remember when President Obama promised that Obamacare would lower healthcare costs and that you’d be able to keep your insurance if you liked it? Three years later, both of these claims have been proven false.” —Lindsey Graham

Efforts to REPEAL, REPLACE, DEFUND And Opt-Out of Obamacare:

Senator Graham voted NO on Obamacare and opposed it from Day One. Since its passage into law, Senator Graham has:

  • Voted to DEFUND provisions in Obamacare
  • Voted to DEFUND the employer mandate
  • Voted to DEFUND the individual mandate
  • Voted to DEFUND the Independent Payment Advisory Board
  • Voted to change the Full Time Employee definition from 30 hours to 40 hours

CO-SPONSORED Legislation to REPEAL Obamacare:

  • The Obamacare REPEAL Act Exchange Sunset Act of 2013
  • REPEAL the Independent Payment Advisor- Board
  • American Liberty Restoration Act to REPEAL the individual mandate in Obamacare
  • Senator Ted Cruz’s bill to prohibit funding for Obamacare
  • The IRS Accountability Act, to DEFUND the IRS’ implementation of Obamacare
  • Preventing an Unrealistic FMAP Act, which amends federal matching rate for Medicaid expansion

AUTHORED LEGISLATION to allow states to Opt-Out of Obamacare:

  • The State Health Care Choice Act, along with South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, 4th District Congressman Trey Gowdy, and 5th District Congressman Mick Mulvaney. The legislation would allow South Carolina to opt-out of major Obamacare provisions, including the ‘Individual Mandate’ to buy government approved health insurance, the ‘Employer Mandate’ requiring businesses to provide government-approved health insurance, and ‘Benefit Mandates’ defining what qualifies as a health plan that includes new federal requirements for regulating insurance.

OPPOSED Obamacare’s Class Act

Graham introduced legislation with Republican Senator John Thune to fully repeal the costly new entitlement provision in Obamacare known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS).

Graham said, “The CLASS Act is a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Madoff blush.” The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted the $86 billion CLASS Act would add tens of billions of dollars to our long-term budget deficit.

OPPOSED Obamacare Subsidy for Congress and White House staff

Graham supported Republican Senator David Vitter’s legislation that would make President Obama, Congress, and members of their staffs live under this disaster of a law like every other American. The original Affordable Care Act of 2010, commonly known as Obamacare, barred members of Congress and their staffs from continuing to get employer subsidies— worth $5,000 for individual policies and $11,000 or more for family coverage. The Obama Administration gave Congress and their staffs a special exemption allowing them to keep their government healthcare subsidies.

OPTED OUT of Obamacare Taxpayer Subsidy for Congress

Actions speak louder than words and Lindsey Graham is a man of action. That’s why he enrolled in Obamacare’s South Carolina health care exchange, foregoing the special taxpayer subsidy available to Members of Congress. As a 58 year old male living in Oconee County, Graham’s insurance costs increased more than 200% per month and is not a fraction of what it used to be.
Graham could have enrolled in the DC Health Link exchange, where the government would have subsidized about 75% of his health care premium. This exemption only applied to Members of Congress and congressional staff.

Reforming Entitlements

SUPPORTED plan to halt Out-of-Control Medicare Spending

  • Graham voted for an amendment offered by Re- publican Senator Jim DeMint to require States to impose cost-sharing for any individual en- rolled in a State child health plan whose income exceeds 200 percent of the poverty line.
  • Graham supported an amendment by Republican Senator John Ensign to means test the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

SUPPORTED Conservative Solutions to Medicare Reform

Introduced legislation to REFORM MEDICARE and rein in its costs.

  • Graham cosponsored legislation, The Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act (CHCSA), which would allow all seniors to enroll into the same health care plan as Members of Congress and federal employees, the Federal Employee Health Benefit program. (FEHB). Republican Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Jim DeMint sponsored the legislation.

My goal is to save Medicare from bankruptcy and ensure seniors have affordable, high-quality health care—a crisis President Obama has only made worse during his time in office. Allowing seniors access to the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program, which Members of Congress and federal employees use, will give them more choices and lower their out-of-pocket costs. It’s also good for the taxpayers because it will save the federal government $1 trillion over the next decade and reduce the unfunded liability of Medicare by $16 trillion. — Lindsey Graham

  • Graham, during a Senate Budget Committee, offered an amendment that proposed requiring Medicare beneficiaries making more than $250,000 a year to pay the total amount of their premium. The change, if adopted, would save more than $53 billion over a decade. Democrats rejected the amendment by a 10-12 party line vote.

OPPOSED Medicare Part D From Day One

Lindsey Graham isn’t new to opposing irresponsible healthcare legislation. Graham opposed and voted against Republican President George W. Bush’s costly Medicare prescription drug bill in 2003. At the time he said, “Medicare is already scheduled to go bankrupt. Reform of the Medicare system and adding a prescription drug benefit were supposed to go hand-in-hand. Instead of sticking with that approach, we went 180 degrees the other way by adding a costly new benefit and dropping reform.”

Fighting Against Obama’s Out-of-Control Spending

Graham voted against President Obama’s costly and failed stimulus plan in 2009, saying, “No amount of political spin will change the fact the stimulus bill created more government than jobs and dramatically increased our national debt.”

OPPOSED the Auto Union Bailout

Graham opposed using TARP funds to bail out auto- motive companies. He called for these companies to enter bankruptcy reorganization and warned a federal government bailout would not lead to necessary reforms to make these companies profitable again. (CITE) “No one wants to see these companies fail and workers displaced. I feel for the car dealers and their employees who are being hurt by years of bad decisions made by the leadership of the Big 3. But I also realize that unless major, fundamental changes are made in the way the Big 3 operate, they will likely find themselves right back in the same situation.

OPPOSED bailout of Detroit

In the fall of 2013, the city of Detroit announced it was bankrupt. Some Democrats and union officials supported a federal bailout of the city long plagued by mismanagement problems. Graham opposed a bailout and offered an amendment in the Senate prohibiting the federal government from bailing out municipalities like Detroit.

Graham said, “The federal government is beyond broke. The last thing we need is the broke bailing out the broke.” The amendment failed in the Democrat-controlled committee 14-16.

OPPOSED Obama’s costly ‘Cash for Clunkers.’

Graham voted NO on President Obama’s Cash for Clunkers, the $2.85 billion program under which the Department of Transportation bought old cars from people for up to $4,500 so they could buy new cars. A recent Brookings Institute Study found that the cost per job created from this program was $1.4 million.

OPPOSED funding Obama’s Foot Soldiers at ACORN

Graham cosponsored and voted for S.1687, the Protect Taxpayers from ACORN Act, which cut off funding for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN). He said, “How do you look the average American taxpayer in the eye and say, this is a good use of your money?”

SUPPORTED Earmark Reform

Graham teamed with former South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint in calling for earmark reform in 2010. Recognizing that we must make substantial reforms to get our fiscal house in order, he supported ear- mark reform and voted for an earmark moratorium offered by Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Pat Toomey.

SUPPORTED Cut, Cap, & Balance

  • Graham was a vocal supporter of legislation that would NOT raise the debt limit until the United States got its fiscal house in order. The only way to achieve this goal is to enact a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
  • Had Cut, Cap, and Balance become law in 2011, our credit would not been downgraded in 2011 and we would have avoided the sequester, which disproportionately guts our military and greatly damages our nation’s ability to defend itself.

SUPPORTED a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution as Cosponsor

Graham’s position is clear: he has been a long-time supporter of adopting a balanced budget amendment to the constitution which ensures the Federal Government must live within its means and balance the bud- get just like every household in America must do.

SUPPORTED the Bush Tax Cuts

Graham supported the Bush tax cuts, which included cuts in income tax rates, capital gains rates, and dividend tax rate. The Bush tax cuts also eliminated the marriage penalty and the Death Tax. As Senator, he has voted repeatedly to extend them and make them permanent.

SUPPORTED Modernizing & Strengthening Social Security

Acknowledging the reality that Social Security is on an unsustainable path, Graham has consistently worked to put proposals on the table to modernize and strengthen Social Security, while protecting today’s seniors. These efforts included leading a reform effort in 2003 that would have created private accounts as well as introducing a plan in 2012 (S.804) with Republican Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee that would make Social Security solvent without raising taxes.

SUPPORTS Auditing the Federal Reserve

Graham is a cosponsor of the Federal Reserve Transparency Act authored by Senator Rand Paul, which supports the long-overdue process of auditing the entire Federal Reserve System.

SUPPORTS Holding China Accountable for Currency Manipulation

It is no secret that China cheats. For many years, China has manipulated its currency and kept it at an artificially low level. Economists generally view the Chinese Yuan as undervalued by as much as 25-40%. This artificial value creates a huge discount and unfair advantage for Chinese goods versus American- made goods in the U.S. market, which caused a $270 billion trade deficit with China in 2010. Senator Graham believes it is unfair to American workers that the Chinese get away with cheating, so he has fought for years to force the Chinese to end their currency manipulation. After hearing from South Carolina manufacturers and companies, Graham authored legislation that overwhelmingly passed the Senate in 2011 by a vote of 63-35 that would fight China’s currency manipulation and ensure it reflects a fair market rate.

“I hope President Obama will be as hard on the Chinese, who are cheating Americans out of jobs, as he is on American business. It is universally accepted that the Chinese intentionally manipulate their currency to create an advantage for themselves in the marketplace. Manufacturing jobs in South Carolina and across the country are being destroyed because the Chinese continue to defy the rules of international trade.”—Lindsey Graham

This vote showed that we will not be bullied by China when it is clear they are in the wrong. We ignored their threats and do not apologize for taking this action. I want a good trading relationship with China and think we can have a relationship, which is beneficial to both countries. But the current Chinese policy on currency is clearly unfair and designed to benefit them at our expense.”

OPPOSED Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Executive Bonuses

Graham cosponsored and supported bipartisan efforts in the Senate to prohibit Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac executives from receiving millions when the government- backed mortgage agencies tried to hand out $12.79 mil- lion in bonuses.

“No one at Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac seems to understand that the mismanagement of these agencies put our whole economy at risk.”—Lindsey Graham

OPPOSED Obama’s Dodd-Frank Financial ‘Reform’ Legislation

Graham voted against Dodd-Frank, President Obama’s overreaching financial regulation bill that created 1,500 provisions and nearly 400 complex rules. Dodd-Frank also led to the creation of the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Since the bill passed by a Democrat majority in the House and Senate, Graham has co-sponsored and supported legislation to repeal this horrendous law at every opportunity.


OPPOSED Obama’s Union Bosses at the National Labor Relations Board

Boeing’s decision to open a second production line in North Charleston in 2009 was proof positive that South Carolina is a great place to do business. Boeing is a world-class company committed to excellence. They could have gone to any location in the county and been well received. They chose South Carolina because of our pro-business environment.

After the union bosses at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against the Boeing Company in 2011 for choosing to open that plant in non-union South Carolina, Senator Graham responded aggressively and took the fight to the NLRB for their frivolous complaint. He introduced two efforts to restrict the NLRB’s authority: S.964, Job Protection Act, and S.1523, Protecting Jobs from Government Interference. Both S.964 and S.1523 prohibit the NLRB from determining where American companies, like the Boeing Company, can do business.

While the NLRB bent to the pressure and dropped its complaint against Boeing, Senator Graham remains committed to keeping unelected bureaucrats out of key business decisions. The unions went as far as to file a law- suit against Senator Graham because he fought back against their gross overreach into the free markets.

Graham also led efforts to hold the NLRB account- able and supported legislation related to card check, snap elections, and micro unions that would prohibit the NLRB from moving forward with recent rules that deliberately help Big Labor.

SUPPORTING the Port of Charleston: South Carolina’s Economic Engine

Deepening the Port of Charleston is one of the top issues for South Carolina’s economy. It is our gateway to the world. Senator Graham has long believed that when it comes to deepening Charleston Harbor, failure is not an option. He has worked with state, local, and federal officials to raise awareness of the importance of the project to South Carolina’s economy.

Today, one-in-eight jobs in South Carolina are tied— directly or indirectly—to the Port. Deepening the port to make way for the much larger ships traveling through the new Panama Canal will allow us to keep those jobs in our state and also create more jobs in the future. Senator Graham has also authored legislation to completely overhaul the way ports are deepened and managed throughout the country. The bill would create a more merit-based approach to port deepening, and Senator Graham strongly feels that Charleston will fare very well under the new standard.

SUPPORTED South Carolina and American Manufacturing

South Carolina manufacturers large and small rely on loans financed by the U.S. Export-Import Bank to help them to sell products to emerging markets. In 2012, the bank needed reauthorization or it would not be able to grant any new loans. Thousands of American jobs would be lost to overseas competitors who would be able to take advantage of growing Export-Import (Ex- Im) Banks in countries like China and Canada.

Graham refused to unilaterally disarm and allow countries like China to compete unfairly against American manufacturers. He led successful bipartisan efforts in the Senate to reauthorize the bank and protect jobs in South Carolina.

“Eight out of every ten 787 Dreamliners built by Boeing in North Charleston and one-third of the General Electric gas turbines produced in Greenville are expected to be purchased by customers who use Ex-Im Bank financing. —Lindsey Graham

“In the case of Boeing and General Electric, the avail- ability of Ex-Im financing is the diffe rence between staying viable in South Carolina or dramatically reducing their business. Thousands of jobs could be lost in South Carolina. Simply put—for South Carolina businesses like these to be successful in the international marketplace, Ex-Im has to be reauthorized.” —Lindsey Graham

“I see no evidence that competitor nations like China are getting out of the Ex-Im business, and I cannot, in good conscience, support unilateral disarmament. In fact, I know if we unilaterally disarm they would only seek to increase their advantage.”—Lindsey Graham

From 2007-2012, the bank made more than $3.4 billion for the federal treasury above and beyond the costs of its operations.

SUPPORTED Employee Verification (E-Verify) to Control Illegal Immigration within our Workforce

Lindsey Graham voted in favor of legislation that would implement a mandatory employment verification system that would require employers to check the legal status of new hires. South Carolina already has a form of E-VERIFY, and Graham supports using South Carolina’s system as a national model for employment verification.

Fighting For A Sustainable Economy Through American Energy Independence

President Obama’s lack of direction on energy policy is costing us dearly at the pump and in the pocket. Nowhere is his lack of a vision more evident than in his decision to brazenly disregard our nation’s energy security in favor of short-term politics on the Keystone XL pipeline.” —Lindsey Graham

  • Supports new incentives to build and operate zero emission nuclear power plants
  • Supports construction of the Keystone XL pipeline
  • Supports increased exploration for domestic sources of oil, including Alaska’s ANWR
  • Supports expanding oil refining capability

SUPPORTS Construction of the Keystone Pipeline

Senator Graham was an early supporter of the Key- stone Pipeline and was one of the first members of Congress to visit the Canadian oil sands. “We need oil and Canada has the means to deliver it to us. There’s nothing more common-sense than expanding our long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship with Canada.” —Lindsey Graham

Graham cosponsored multiple efforts and consistently voted to ensure the Keystone Pipeline was expedited and built and Introduced the Oil Sands Energy Security Act of 2011, to ensure the Department of Defense has access to oil from the Canadian oil sands. Graham’s bill was co-sponsored by Republican Senators Saxby Chambliss and Jim Inhofe.

In a March 2012 OpEd in the Washington Times, Graham outlined the benefits of building the Keystone XL Pipeline:

  • Dramatic price hikes in oil create massive instability in our economy. Keystone XL would lessen these oil shocks.
  • Imports from Canada are secure and reliable while imports from the Middle East and regimes like Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela can quickly become unstable.
  • The Keystone XL Pipeline will create thousands of jobs in the United States.
  • American dollars spent on crude purchases from Canada will likely come back to the United States in other forms of trade.

SUPPORTS Increased Oil and Gas Exploration in the United States

Graham authored the South Carolina Offshore Drilling Act, which helps South Carolina lead an effort to open up American-owned energy reserves, lessens our dependence on foreign oil, and helps reduce our national debt. Under Graham’s bill, South Carolina would be empowered to decide where the drilling would occur off our coast and also receive 37.5 per- cent of revenues generated from leasing. Addition- ally, Graham has supported expanded exploration in the Gulf, the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts and Alaska.

SUPPORTER of Nuclear Energy

Lindsey Graham has built a long record as one of the strongest supporters of nuclear energy in Congress. South Carolina is home to 4 nuclear plants, with two new reactors recently garnering approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to be constructed in Jenkinsville. Graham has long advocated for the approval of the permits, the first in more than thirty years. These two new nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville represent a $10 billion investment in South Carolina. Nuclear power is essential to South Carolina, supplying 51% of our state’s net electricity generation in 2011.

SUPPORTS Natural Gas Exploration

Graham supports natural gas and fracking, and he believes natural gas is an important piece in a robust energy mix required to achieve energy independence. Graham has voted on numerous occasions in support of expanded access to both onshore and offshore natural gas deposits.

SUPPORTER of the Savannah River Site and the MOX program

South Carolina is home to the Savannah River Site (SRS), a Department of Energy nuclear reservation located in Barnwell, Aiken, and Allendale counties along the Savannah River. Graham is leading the South Carolina Congressional delegation’s efforts to ensure the Department of Energy keeps the promises it made to the Savannah River Site and the Mixed Ox- ide Fuel (MOX) program, which is dedicated to safely putting weapons grade plutonium beyond the reach of proliferators.

  • In 2011, the Obama Administration planned to close H-canyon, the only nuclear chemical separations plant in operation in the United States. Graham led the South Carolina delegation in the successful effort to keep the canyon running.
  • Graham has fought repeatedly to fund the construction of the MOX facility
  • In 2004, Graham authored legislation, which was signed by President Bush that accelerated the cleanup process of tanks at the Savannah River Site that previously held radioactive liquid waste from nuclear weapons production. This provision allowed the Department of Energy to finish cleaning fifty, one million gallon tanks at SRS. In 2012, the first two tanks have been cleaned and are in the process of being permanently closed, saving the taxpayer billions of dollars.

GRAHAM STATED: “It was a decision that was good for our environment and good for the tax payer, saving billions. Today we celebrate a significant accomplishment and one that was a long time in the making.”

  • Graham was instrumental in the creation of the Savannah River National Lab.

SUPPORTS rebate to Taxpayers if Obama refuses Yucca Mountain Site

Lindsey Graham authored legislation to ensure Americans get paid back the money they invested in Yucca Mountain if in fact the Obama Administration fails to build the facility to dispose and store nuclear spent fuel.

The “Rebating America’s Deposits Act and the Nuclear Waste Fund Relief and Rebate Act would re- bate consumers, utilities, and communities for the over $30 billion collected by the federal government to build a nuclear waste facility in Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

About Lindsey Graham

In the United States Senate, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham has earned a reputation as a conservative, a problem-solver, and a leader who gets things done. He is a great friend to our men and women serving in uniform, a respected voice on national security matters, a leading advocate for cutting the out-of-control spending in Washington, and a champion for confirming conservative judges. Learn more about Lindsey here.