Latest From Lamar

Senator Lamar Alexander
2017-07-31 18:21:28
Latest from Lamar, Notes from the Senate Desk *I voted three times last week to repeal and replace Obamacare, which President Trump recommended we do, but,�**unfortunately**, the U.S. Senate did not pass a bill to repeal and replace the health care law.* I voted to take the next step toward what I believed was our best opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare. This vote would have moved debate out of the Senate to a conference committee with the House of Representatives where we would have continued to work to give Americans more choices of health insurance at lower costs. The Senate's failure to do this leaves an urgent problem that I am committed to addressing:�Tennessee's state insurance commissioner says our individual insurance market is very near collapse. Unless Congress acts, many of the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy health insurance in that market�songwriters, farmers, the self-employed�face the real prospect of having zero options to buy�insurance in 2018 and 2019. *I traveled around West Tennessee recently and spent some time in Lauderdale County at the Ripley Tomato Festival as well as the Alex Haley House and Museum, the boyhood home of my late friend and author of �Roots.��*** � It was good to be Lauderdale County and enjoy some of the special attractions they have to offer. I attended several events at the Ripley Tomato Festival -- including the Saturday Salad lunch at the First Methodist Church, and I stopped by the Lauderdale County Chamber of Commerce tent at Ripley City Park.* � � [image = alexander.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/Richard_Griffin.jpg] � � � *I revisited the Alex Haley House and Museum in Henning and enjoyed learning even more about Alex Haley�s boyhood home from the museum director, Richard S. Griffin.*** � *My late friend Alex Haley lived his life by these six words, �Find the good and praise it,� and I�m glad I was able to be a part of all of the good things happening in Lauderdale County.* � *Voting to fund meth lab cleanup and provide grants for roads and bridges �* On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved three bills that provide critical funding for Tennessee projects. The *Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill* includes grants for transportation projects like highways and bridges and a program that provides funding for economic development and housing in communities in Tennessee, as well as my provision directing the transportation secretary to issue a rule prohibiting the use of cell phones for voice calls on commercial flights. The *Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill *includes funding to clean up methamphetamine labs and helps ensure the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is prioritizing the massive backlog of more than 73,000 unresolved workplace discrimination complaints it inherited from the Obama administration. The committee also approved the *Legislative Branch Appropriations bill* that funds the U.S. Capitol Police, Library of Congress, and Government Accountability Office.� � *Funding energy research and supercomputing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers* Two weeks ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation that will fund the Office of Science, which conducts basic science and energy research, and ARPA-E, which supports transformational, high-impact energy technologies. The bill also contains record levels of funding for energy research and supercomputing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve water infrastructure, such as continuing work on Chickamauga Lock and dredging the Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake. As chairman of the subcommittee responsible for the legislation, I worked with the lead Democrat, Senator Feinstein, in a bipartisan way to ensure these important Tennessee projects were funded. You can read more about other priorities included in the bill here [link 4]. Labor committee approves nominees who can help return the NLRB to the neutral umpire it ought to be* On July 19, the Senate labor committee approved ]the president�s nominees, Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel, to fill the two open seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). For over 80 years, the NLRB has been tasked with acting impartially to resolve labor disputes. The board hasn�t had its full five members in nearly two years � one seat has been open for 23 months since President Obama declined to nominate a Republican for the then-minority seat, and the other seat for 11 months.� My hope is that filling these seats will restore the NLRB to its intended purpose of acting as a neutral umpire after years of playing the role of advocate. It is important to American employees and employers alike that the Senate quickly confirm Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Emanuel to bring balance to the board and stability to our nation�s workplaces.� *Introducing Dr. Moe Khaleel, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at Tennessee�s Oak Ridge National Laboratory�* * On Tuesday, I�introduced Dr. Moe Khaleel, Associate Laboratory Director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, before he testified at a Senate subcommittee hearing. �I emphasized how important it is to continue supporting the kind of government-sponsored research that helps develop new clean energy technologies. 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, and we must continue to support the good work our national laboratories are doing. *On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to meet with Claire from Germantown, Tenn., and Jackson from Knoxville, Tenn., during their visit to Washington as part of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation�s 2017 Children�s Congress. Last year, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation I sponsored to help drive research discoveries predicted over the next decade by Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, including the development of an artificial pancreas to help children who suffer from Type 1 diabetes.�* *Wishing Nashvillian Bill Hagerty well as he is sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan* On Wednesday, Senator Corker and I wished Bill Hagerty well before his swearing in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan on Thursday. Bill is headed to Japan not only being able to speak the language, but having lived and worked there, and understanding how close ties between Japan and the United States can create bigger paychecks for Americans as well as for the Japanese. There is no relationship more important than the one between the United States and Japan. And I would say there is no more important relationship between a country and a state than between Japan and Tennessee, so it is especially significant that a Tennessean will serve as ambassador. *Voting to support Tennessee farmers and agricultural research at the University of Tennessee* Two weeks ago, I also voted to approve a bill that funds important agricultural programs that support the more than 66,000 Tennessee farmers and agricultural research at the University of Tennessee to help find ways for those farmers to grow better crops. The bill also funds the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency responsible for approving life-saving drugs and medical devices and getting them through the regulatory process and into doctors� offices and patients� medicine cabinets more quickly. The�Department of Agriculture�and�the�FDA are also responsible for protecting our nation�s food supply and preventing foodborne illness to help ensure that the food Tennessee families buy at their local grocery store is safe.� � *On Thursday, I met with Tennesseans participating in Girls Nation and Boys Nation, programs run through the American Legion Auxiliary and American Legion that bring two girls and two boys from each state to Washington, D.C., each year to meet with their senators and congressmen and participate in a mock Congress. I had the opportunity to represent Tennessee at Boys Nation when I was in high school and enjoyed the experience.�* *EPA selects Oak Ridge to apply for a loan to improve water quality * The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has�selected the City of Oak Ridge to apply for a loan through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program. I sent a letter in May to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to express support for the city�s efforts to build a new water treatment plant with funding through the program. Replacing the existing water treatment plant is crucial not only for Oak Ridge�s 30,000 residents, but also for the daily operations of the Department of Energy�s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Nuclear Security Administration�s Y-12 National Security Complex. You can read more here. � *Recently, I met with Melissa Collins, a teacher at John P. Freeman School in Memphis and finalist for 2014 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and Karen Vogelsang, the 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. We talked about what the Every Student Succeeds Act means for Tennessee, including that it gives teachers like Melissa and Karen more control of their classrooms.* � *Recommending ways the U.S. Department of Interior can move forward on two federal lands bills * At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing two weeks ago, I talked with Acting Deputy Director for Operations at the National Park Service Robert Vogel about ways the department could move forward on two bills I�ve cosponsored � the Every Kid Outdoors Act, legislation to provide young students with free national park entry, and the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act, legislation that creates a�public-private partnership�between federal agencies and the private sector to allow youth and veterans to participate in conservation corps. I suggested the department consider a Red Team, like the one I supported for the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and pilot programs as two ways to move forward on these pieces of legislation. Mr. Vogel agreed to take the recommendations back to Secretary Zinke. You can watch a video of my questions at the hearing here]. Praying for John McCain and Phil Roe* Those of us who know John McCain know his bravery and his grit. There is no one better equipped for a fight than John McCain, and Honey and I are sending our prayers to John and his family. Phil Roe is a good friend, and Honey and I send our thoughts and prayers to Phil and his family for a swift recovery. * Hold on to your dreams. *#311 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
   

 

 

 

Funding energy research and supercomputing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Two weeks ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee legislation that will fund the Office of Science, which conducts basic science and energy research, and ARPA-E, which supports transformational, high-impact energy technologies. The bill also contains record levels of funding for energy research and supercomputing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve water infrastructure, such as continuing work on Chickamauga Lock and dredging the Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake. As chairman of the subcommittee responsible for the legislation, I worked with the lead Democrat, Senator Feinstein, in a bipartisan way to ensure these important Tennessee projects were funded. You can read more about other priorities included in the bill

Wishing Nashvillian Bill Hagerty well as he is sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan

 

On Wednesday, Senator Corker and I wished Bill Hagerty well before his swearing in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan on Thursday. Bill is headed to Japan not only being able to speak the language, but having lived and worked there, and understanding how close ties between Japan and the United States can create bigger paychecks for Americans as well as for the Japanese. There is no relationship more important than the one between the United States and Japan. And I would say there is no more important relationship between a country and a state than between Japan and Tennessee, so it is especially significant that a Tennessean will serve as ambassador. You can read my speech on the Senate�s confirmation of Bill Haggerty

EPA selects Oak Ridge to apply for a loan to improve water quality

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the City of Oak Ridge to apply for a loan through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program. I sent a letter in May to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to express support for the city�s efforts to build a new water treatment plant with funding through the program. Replacing the existing water treatment plant is crucial not only for Oak Ridge�s 30,000 residents, but also for the daily operations of the Department of Energy�s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the National Nuclear Security Administration�s Y-12 National Security Complex. You can read more

 

 

Recommending ways the U.S. Department of Interior can move forward on two federal lands bills

At a Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee hearing two weeks ago, I talked with Acting Deputy Director for Operations at the National Park Service Robert Vogel about ways the department could move forward on two bills I�ve cosponsored � , legislation to provide young students with free national park entry, and the legislation that creates a public-private partnership between federal agencies and the private sector to allow youth and veterans to participate in conservation corps.

I suggested the department consider a Red Team, like the one I supported for the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and pilot programs as two ways to move forward on these pieces of legislation. Mr. Vogel agreed to take the recommendations back to Secretary Zinke. You can watch a video of my questions at the hearing

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