U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham vowed Tuesday to hold up the business of the U.S. Senate until he gets funding for a study to deepen the Port of Charleston.
Graham and fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, spoke at a news conference in Charleston about $50,000 in federal matching funds to move along the process of deepening Charleston Harbor to 50 feet to allow the next generation of larger cargo ships to dock there.
"There is nothing that I will not do to right this wrong," Graham said. "I talked to the vice president. I made it clear to him that none of their nominees are going forward, that the squeaky wheel seems to get the oil. Well nobody's going forward in the Senate until we address this."
The port already is seeing some of the larger ships that need more than the port's 45-foot low-tide clearance even though the widening of Panama Canal to handle those ships is not expected to be completed until 2014, said State Ports Authority spokesman Byron Miller.
"We already have four ships a week that are too big for the Panama Canal," Miller said. "Currently, we can handle them, but they have to wait on the tides."