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Orangeburg, Calhoun Republicans censure Graham for infrastructure vote
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Orangeburg, Calhoun Republicans censure Graham for infrastructure vote

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Local Republicans have censured South Carolina senior Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham for his support of a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill.

The Orangeburg County Republican Party Executive Committee and the Calhoun County Republican Party Executive Committee both unanimously censured Graham for supporting the bill, saying his backing is in "violation of our Republican principles" as stated in the GOP's platform.

Orangeburg County's committee unanimously passed the censure at its regularly scheduled meeting in August.

"Senator Graham deliberately failed to uphold our Republican platform through a consistent voting pattern contrary to his constituents' will," the censure states. "He demonstrated his inability to defend our rights as Americans by supporting bills that target our freedoms."

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"He lacked the determination to safeguard our economy and businesses against federal overreach in the name of climate change," the censure continues. "He chose to provide our adversaries an economic advantage over the American worker."

Approximately 13 members of Orangeburg County's executive committee voted to censure. The committee consists of 24 members. The other members were not in attendance for the vote.

It is not the first time the Orangeburg County GOP has censured Graham.

The county Republicans also censured him in 2013, citing the nearly three-dozen Senate votes he had made through that time that were deemed “fundamentally inconsistent with the South Carolina Republican Party platform.”

The censure was made when Graham was running against three other candidates in the June 2014 primary.

The county GOP in the past has also voted to censure South Carolina 7th District Congressman Tom Rice for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump. The county also censured other Republican senators from other states.

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The county has also asked the state GOP's executive committee to censure Graham.

In Calhoun County, all 19 members in attendance at an Aug. 19 meeting voted to censure Graham.

It is believed to be the first time that Calhoun County Republicans have censured Graham or any other politician, said county GOP Chairman Larry Wagner.

The Bamberg County GOP said it would be meeting with members Sept. 18 to further discuss the matter.

The South Carolina Republican Party reports about seven of the state's 46 counties have voted to censure Graham, including Aiken, York, Oconee, Sumter and Cherokee counties. 

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Graham's earmark: $12M for highway to South Carolina beaches

The INVEST in America Act — H.R. 3684 — passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 69-30.

The nearly 2,000-page bill will provide $110 billion for repairing highways, bridges and roads; about $39 billion for public transit; $66 billion for Amtrak’s rail services in the Northeast; $65 billion for broadband access; another $65 billion for power grid improvements; $25 billion on runways, gates and taxiways at airports; and $55 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure.

According to the Associated Press, the bill spreads its spending over five years and funds it using $210 billion of unspent COVID-19 relief aid and $53 billion in unemployment insurance aid some states stopped using, along with other revenues from oil reserve sales and auctions for 5G services.

All 30 of the votes against the bill came from Republicans, although Graham was joined by 18 Republicans in support  — including Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Mitt Romney of Utah.

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In a news release, Graham defended his support of the infrastructure bill as being good for South Carolina.

“It provides much-needed help for our roads, bridges, ports and expands broadband internet access,” he said. “I have always been supportive of infrastructure investment and wish we had passed this years ago.”

South Carolina will receive $4.6 billion in highway funding, $274 million in bridge-replacement and rehabilitation funding, and $70 million to assist in the deployment of electric vehicles and charging stations over the next five years.

The legislation includes the DRIVE-Safe Act, which Graham cosponsored, to help develop the next generation of American truck drivers.

The censure notes that Graham's support of the bill "opened the door for additional Chinese investment in American projects; further harming the American economic system and increasing the threat to our national security."

The censure goes on to state that Graham's support of the bill "is tantamount to supporting the Socialist Marxist agenda of the House and Senate Democrats who are using climate change as a way to force businesses and private citizens into tyrannical government compliance against our free enterprise system.

"Senator Graham's senior position in the Senate indicates that he should be a leader among his party, but he cannot do so unless he votes against such laws," the censure reads. "The bill fails to address border security, sets no limits to the fiscal impact of green infrastructure, and dramatically degrades the rights of existing American businesses."

The bill's passage, from an economic perspective, was supported by former President Donald Trump's senior economic adviser and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett.

Hassett, in an article in the National Review's Capital Matters on Aug. 10, stated that the bill would "likely to be a small net positive for the economy."

"Our modeling suggested that President Trump’s $1.5 trillion plan would add between 0.1 and 0.2% per year to growth over the decade," Hassett wrote. "The $550 billion plan, then, should be expected to have a proportionately smaller effect."

"There may well be political reasons to object to this bill," Hassett writes. "Put bluntly, and as has been argued on NR, are those Republicans who are backing this legislation making it much easier for the president to pursue the more ruinous aspects of his agenda this fall? Quite possibly so, for both technical reasons (it might open up the opportunity for the Democrats to maneuver around the filibuster) and as a simple matter of the momentum it creates."

"However, looked at solely on its economic merits, the bill, although far from perfect, is better than nothing," Hassett concludes.

South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Tim Scott voted against the bill.

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