Latest from Lamar

Senator Lamar Alexander
2017-06-24 18:48:19
Latest from Lamar, Notes from the Senate Desk *This week, the Senate�released a discussion draft of its health care bill. To begin with, this discussion draft makes no change in the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions, no change in Medicare benefits, and it increases Medicaid funding � that�s TennCare � at least at the rate of inflation. Let me repeat:�it makes no change�in the law protecting people with pre-existing conditions,�no change in�Medicare benefits,�and annually increases funding for Medicaid�that�s TennCare� at least at the rate of inflation.* Here are some other benefits for Tennesseans I see in this draft: - Offers health care coverage to 162,000 Tennesseans who make less than $12,000 a year, and under the current law, receive zero help buying insurance. - Means the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance in the individual market � these are Tennesseans who don�t get their insurance on the job or who don�t get it from the government � are more likely to be able to buy insurance next year instead of being in the collapsing Obamacare exchanges where there may be only one option � or even zero options � to buy insurance. - Repeals the health insurance tax, which drives up the cost of premiums. - Gives the state more flexibility and continues federal cost-sharing, which our state insurance commissioner said will help bring down the cost of premiums. - Slows down sky-rocketing premiums, which in Tennessee have gone up 176 percent over four years. - Repeals the medical device tax on one of our state�s largest exports. - Repeals the employer mandate penalty, which should mean that employers should be able to offer employees more choices of insurance at a lower-cost�and about 60 percent of us get our insurance on the job. - Ends the tax on individuals who choose not to buy insurance. - Provides more money for hospitals that serve low-income Tennesseans who don�t have insurance. - Provides new funding for opioid abuse, and opioid abuse is a rampant epidemic in our state. - Provides new Medicaid funding for mental health to double the number of days of in-patient treatment. I�m going to continue to review this draft. I�m going to see what it costs when the Congressional Budget Office gives its report. Then, I�m going to stay focused on it next week as the bill goes to the Senate floor � where it will be subject to virtually unlimited amendments � and my focus will be on how it affects Tennesseans. *On Wednesday, Senator Corker and I had the opportunity to congratulate Carmen and Grant, recipients of the Congressional Award Gold Medal. These Tennessee students were recognized for setting challenging goals in the areas of volunteering, personal development, fitness and expedition.* *This week, I attended several U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearings on the president�s proposed budget. At those committee meetings, I asked administration officials about the status of a review of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park�s response to the Sevier County wildfires. I also asked about the Polk home in Columbia, and about a proposal that could cost the University of Tennessee nearly $10 million in grant funding each year.* On Wednesday, I asked U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the status of the department�s individual fire review for the devastating fire in the Smokies last year. This report will provide assistance in learning what happened and help us avoid something like that happening again � and Secretary Zinke said that he will ensure this report is finalized as soon as possible. The fire was traumatizing for the people in the community, and I appreciate his focus. I also asked [link 5] Secretary Zinke if the Department will continue to support taking the next step on making the James K. Polk home in Columbia a unit of the National Park System. Later on Wednesday, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry [link 7] testified at the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development hearing on the Energy Department�s budget. The Energy Department�s research programs have made the United States a world leader in science and technology and will help the United States maintain its brainpower advantage to remain competitive in a time where other countries are investing heavily in these areas. We have to be fiscally responsible and carefully spend our resources on programs that can achieve results. On Thursday, I talked with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing about how a budget proposal from the administration regarding NIH grant recipients could mean a nearly $10 million decrease in funding for the University of Tennessee and force universities around the country to do less research. We want universities to do more research, not less. I encouraged Dr. Collins and the administration to instead look at how much time researchers spend on administrative tasks � approximately 42 percent by some estimates.� *Energy research deserves the same attention from Congress as medical research* On Tuesday, at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center�s American Energy Innovation Council, I said that last year�s 21st Century Cures Act will help virtually every American family, but medical research is not the whole story. Energy research deserves the same attention and also has the potential to help virtually every American family. I think the best way to lower the cost of energy, clean the air, improve health, increase family incomes, and produce good-paying jobs is to double funding for basic energy research and drive American innovation. We are heading in the right direction on federally sponsored energy research. Through the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which I chair, we have increased investment in both basic energy research and high-potential, high-impact energy technologies at ARPA-E.� *On Tuesday, I met with the National Association of Manufacturers and discussed workforce development and the importance of working to close the skills gap. The Manufacturing Institute estimates that this skills gap will leave two million manufacturing jobs unfilled over the next 10 years.* *Celebrating our national symbol, the bald eagle* Last week, the Senate passed my resolution designating this Tuesday, June 20, as American Eagle Day. This is the tenth year I�ve sponsored this resolution to celebrate the recovery and restoration of our national symbol, the bald eagle. I�m also especially proud as a Tennessean that the American Eagle Foundation, in Pigeon Forge, has played such a leading role for more than 30 years in preserving this magnificent bird. You can read more about bald eagles here [link 12]. � Never be too busy to meet a competent young person who wants a job.� In 1970, when I was working in the Nixon White House, a friend telephoned about a young Kentuckian who wanted a press job. After meeting her, I called Ron Ziegler, then the White House press secretary.� "I don't have time to see her," Ron said.� "You'll be sorry if you don't," I replied.� He saw her and hired her. Her name was Diane Sawyer. That interview began a media career that eventually led to ABC's *PrimeTime Live.�* *� � � � �- From Lamar Alexander�s�*Little Plaid Book** ** Contact Information: Website: www.alexander.senate.gov/public/ Office Location: Washington, DC Office 455 Dirksen Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 Phone: (202) 224-4944 | Fax: (202) 228-3398 Privacy Policy: www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/privacypolicy Unsubscribe: alexander.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm
   

  • Offers health care coverage to 162,000 Tennesseans who make less than $12,000 a year, and under the current law, receive zero help buying insurance.
  • Means the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance in the individual market � these are Tennesseans who don�t get their insurance on the job or who don�t get it from the government � are more likely to be able to buy insurance next year instead of being in the collapsing Obamacare exchanges where there may be only one option � or even zero options � to buy insurance.
  • Repeals the health insurance tax, which drives up the cost of premiums.
  • Gives the state more flexibility and continues federal cost-sharing, which our state insurance commissioner said will help bring down the cost of premiums.
  • Slows down sky-rocketing premiums, which in Tennessee have gone up 176 percent over four years.
  • Repeals the medical device tax on one of our state�s largest exports.
  • Repeals the employer mandate penalty, which should mean that employers should be able to offer employees more choices of insurance at a lower-cost�and about 60 percent of us get our insurance on the job.
  • Ends the tax on individuals who choose not to buy insurance.
  • Provides more money for hospitals that serve low-income Tennesseans who don�t have insurance.
  • Provides new funding for opioid abuse, and opioid abuse is a rampant epidemic in our state.
  • Provides new Medicaid funding for mental health to double the number of days of in-patient treatment.

I�m going to continue to review this draft. I�m going to see what it costs when the Congressional Budget Office gives its report. Then, I�m going to stay focused on it next week as the bill goes to the Senate floor � where it will be subject to virtually unlimited amendments � and my focus will be on how it affects Tennesseans.

I talk more about what this draft Senate health care bill could mean for Tennessee

On Wednesday, Senator Corker and I had the opportunity to congratulate Carmen and Grant, recipients of the Congressional Award Gold Medal. These Tennessee students were recognized for setting challenging goals in the areas of volunteering, personal development, fitness and expedition.

This week, I attended several U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearings on the president�s proposed budget. At those committee meetings, I asked administration officials about the status of a review of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park�s response to the Sevier County wildfires. I also asked about the Polk home in Columbia, and about a proposal that could cost the University of Tennessee nearly $10 million in grant funding each year.

On Wednesday, I Secretary Zinke if the Department will continue to support taking the next step on making the James K. Polk home in Columbia a unit of the National Park System.

, U.S. Department of Energy testified at the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development hearing on the Energy Department�s budget. The Energy Department�s research programs have made the United States a world leader in science and technology and will help the United States maintain its brainpower advantage to remain competitive in a time where other countries are investing heavily in these areas. We have to be fiscally responsible and carefully spend our resources on programs that can achieve results.

, I talked with Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing about how a budget proposal from the administration regarding NIH grant recipients could mean a nearly $10 million decrease in funding for the University of Tennessee and force universities around the country to do less research. We want universities to do more research, not less. I encouraged Dr. Collins and the administration to instead look at how much time researchers spend on administrative tasks � approximately 42 percent by some estimates. 

It�s always fun to see the University of Tennessee�s �Power T�  and tri-stars in Washington, D.C. If you�re going to be visiting on a Tuesday when the Senate is in session, to attend Tennessee Tuesday, the weekly breakfast Senator Corker and I host.

Energy research deserves the same attention from Congress as medical research

On Tuesday, at an event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center�s American Energy Innovation Council, I st Century Cures Act will help virtually every American family, but medical research is not the whole story. Energy research deserves the same attention and also has the potential to help virtually every American family. I think the best way to lower the cost of energy, clean the air, improve health, increase family incomes, and produce good-paying jobs is to double funding for basic energy research and drive American innovation. We are heading in the right direction on federally sponsored energy research. Through the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which I chair, we have increased investment in both basic energy research and high-potential, high-impact energy technologies at ARPA-E. 

On Tuesday, I met with the National Association of Manufacturers and discussed workforce development and the importance of working to close the skills gap. The Manufacturing Institute estimates that this skills gap will leave two million manufacturing jobs unfilled over the next 10 years.

Celebrating our national symbol, the bald eagle

Last week, the Senate

Here are some articles from this week that I thought you would enjoy:

Knoxville News Sentinel: Sen. Alexander on Trump�s DOE cuts: National labs are country�s �secret weapon�

Channel 6, Knoxville TV: Sen. Alexander demands answers about delay in Smokies wildfire report

Morning Consult: Sen. Alexander Urges Administration to Support Private Nuclear Waste Storage

 

Never be too busy to meet a competent young person who wants a job. 

In 1970, when I was working in the Nixon White House, a friend telephoned about a young Kentuckian who wanted a press job. After meeting her, I called Ron Ziegler, then the White House press secretary. 

"I don't have time to see her," Ron said. 

"You'll be sorry if you don't," I replied. 

He saw her and hired her. Her name was Diane Sawyer. That interview began a media career that eventually led to ABC's PrimeTime Live. 

         - From Lamar Alexander�s Little Plaid Book

CONTACT INFORMATION:
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455 Dirksen Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4944 | Fax: (202) 228-3398

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