U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) and Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) today made this statement on the breakthrough port deepening provisions included in the year-end spending bill that passed the Senate this morning by a 67-32 vote. Ports in Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, both have harbor deepening projects they continue to push forward to prepare for the larger ships that will be coming through Panama Canal beginning in 2014.
"With the significant spending cuts contained in this bill, Congress is finally taking a step in the right direction toward reining in Washington's reckless spending spree. This bill also takes a new, commonsense approach toward funding of the critical harbor deepening projects at our nation's ports now that earmarks are a thing of the past. The new funding method being created in this bill will help ensure taxpayers across America receive the best value for their hard-earned dollars.
"In President Obama's FY 12 budget submission to Congress, the Savannah Port did not receive adequate funding and the Charleston Port was completely forgotten. This created an unfair situation to both states. Under the new provisions in this bill, no longer will our harbor deepening efforts be held hostage by the President's budget submission to Congress.
"We realize our states must have the infrastructure in place to ensure the billions of dollars in goods and products manufactured in our states can be exported throughout the world. Likewise, every other state in the nation also relies on our ports to export their goods and products. We must work together to ensure our states and region are not left behind after expansion of the Panama Canal.
"The job creation and positive economic impact of expanding both ports is clear, not just for our individual states, but for the entire region and the nation. We will continue to do all that we can to help in this partnership at the federal level between Georgia, South Carolina and our surrounding states. We also praise the collaboration and hard work of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal in seeing to it that the harbors in the Charleston and Savannah ports are deepened and ready for the larger ships. "