Senator visits UpState

By Lonnie Adamson General Manager/Editor

October 22, 2013

ANDERSON – U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in Anderson today that he will be looking for “common ground” in upcoming budget meetings.

That was his message to reporters, but he said he also came to the UpState looking to reconnect with small-business types similar to the people his parents were when he grew up in Central.

“I had a week away from Washington that I wasn’t expecting now that the government shutdown is over – thank God – so I want to connect with small business.”

He found that connection at Besto Ice Cream in Anderson, a place he said he has known about for decades. It is a locally-owned 1960s style ice cream and burger place with a giant ice cream cone on the sign out front.

“I know retail,” Graham said. “My parents owned a restaurant, bar and liquor store in Central. If you run a restaurant, it is 18 hours, six days a week. If you get sick you work or you don’t get paid. People in Washington don’t have a connection with that.”

That being said, he added that he thought that small business people and Congress should be on an even playing field.

Instead as ObamaCare stands now, members of Congress can get a subsidy in the (healthcare) exchanges that small business won’t get,” Graham said. “It’ll be about $11,000, he said of the subsidy. “Congress ought the feel that (the $11,000 cost).

“ObamaCare is the law right now, but I’ll be fighting to end it. It is not working. It is a disaster.”

In coming months, the Senator said he will be working to delay it at least a year.

Despite his opposition to rising spending, the Senator said he voted to re-open the federal government last week because shutting down the government was a flawed strategy. “I don’t think it was a conservative thing to do,” he said. “I didn’t think the president was ever going to sign a law defeating his signature legislation. It wasn’t get a good deal. We couldn’t get a deal because we had no leverage. We were holding a pair of twos after 16 days. If you get kicked in the head twice by a mule you don’t need to try again.”

Going forward on the Senate budget committee, the Senator said he will be looking for common ground with the President and Democrats.

“If we will agree to flatten out the tax code and simplify it – there are a lot of loop holes for the few and the Democrats take some modest reforms to entitlements through means testing, we can find some common ground.”

By means testing he suggested elimination of $108 subsidy to Medicare recipients who make over $250,000. “People like me who make more than $250,000, should pay for all of it,” he said.

“I am a Ronald Reagan Republican. President Reagan believed in finding common ground and making changes in increments,” he said.

Patsy Dalton-Sutherland, an Anderson businesswoman, said she had to come out to see the senator and offer some support. “We need a senator from the UpState. Others don’t look after us like they should. We have a county council that does nothing but fight. They have a lot of money, and they just throw it away. But where is the progress?

As for a solution to fighting in Washington? Dalton-Sutherland says, “Get a new man in the White House.”