Graham started a string of angry tweets about the omission early Tuesday. By the end of the day, he had held a press conference on the issue in Charleston, S.C., and was blaming the Obama administration for failing to include the funding in its budget proposal released in February, arguing that 260,000 jobs are tied to the port.
"Obama Admin made a bad mistake not putting money for CHS port in their budget proposal," he wrote.
"No nominations go forward in Senate until we address CHS port," he tweeted, noting that the provision was not an earmark and applied to a dozen ports across the U.S.
"The squeaky wheel seems to get the oil," he said at a press conference where he was joined by Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), the GreenvilleOnline reported.
Graham has made deepening the port one of his top local priorities, arguing that South Carolina's economic future hinges on the viability of the port, which would get bogged down by the expansion of the Panama Canal in 2014. The Panama Canal expansion is expected to double and triple cargo loads.
To support heavier ships, Graham has said Charleston Harbor needs to be deepened from 46 feet to 50 feet, a $350 million project over six or seven years, South Carolina's Independent Mail reported.
"I'd rather lose my job than lose the port," Graham said in a speech in early April at Tri-County Technical College.