TAYLORS, S.C. (WSPA) — Senator Lindsey Graham toured Mauldin Paving Products Monday afternoon in Taylors.
“Everywhere I go in South Carolina, from restaurants to manufacturing, I have one common request: ‘Help us find more workers.’”
Sen. Graham said one of the biggest obstacles left from COVID is a labor shortage.
“If you’re a hotel or a restaurant or a tourist industry, you can’t find the people to work, because over half the people are making more unemployed than they’re making at work,” Graham said. “Until you change that calculation, a lot of people are not going to come back into the workforce.”
During his tour at Mauldin Paving Products on Monday, he learned they, too, have faced this challenge.
Graham said he believes passing an infrastructure bill, for roads, bridges, and ports, would help–not just this particular business that specializes in paving, but all businesses.
“The equipment manufacturer representative for the association for the country says if we could pass an infrastructure bill, it would do more to jumpstart this part of the economy than any single thing out there. So, I met with some democratic colleagues. We’re not going to do $2 trillion, but I think we could find an $800 billion to $900 billion infrastructure package that’s tailored toward infrastructure,” Sen. Graham said.
Graham also said he supports Governor McMaster’s decision to stop accepting federal unemployment benefits.
“I think taking the federal benefits off the table in June is going to help the economy come roaring back,” he said. “We’re ready to re-open in South Carolina.”
Another idea, he said, would be to do more when recruiting younger people.
“We need to get more involved in high schools,” he said. “There are a lot of people graduating high school without a real career plan. If you don’t go to college and you don’t go into the military, what do you do? I think apprenticeship programs where you can connect high school students with businesses like this, so they know what’s out there, that’d be a good investment of our time and money.”
Senator Graham said he’s hopeful the infrastructure bill will pass in the next 60 to 90 days with bipartisan approval.
“If it’s going to pass, it’s going to be bipartisan. If it doesn’t pass, then it would be a great missed opportunity,” Graham said. “There are enough republicans willing to work with democrats to get this done, if President Biden will sit down and work through the details.”