This year was a productive one in the Senate Health, Education,
Labor and Pensions Committee, the committee I chair: 13 substantial bills
in the committee’s jurisdiction were signed into law; our
committee approved 32 of President Trump’s nominees; and we held 32
hearings to tackle issues important to Tennessee families.
In 2017, the committee took the lead on laws
to help improve the lives of virtually every Tennessean
—including legislation to ensure that safe drugs and medical devices can get
into patients’ medicine cabinets more quickly, as well as
legislation to preserve local control of our 100,000 public schools. At the
same time, the committee approved 32 of President Trump’s
nominees so they can get to work helping deliver results for
The committee also held 32 hearings to address issues that
matter to Tennessee families, including examining the opioid crisis
ravaging our communities, simplifying applying for financial aid for college,
and hearing from governors, state insurance commissioners, and health
policy experts on how to stabilize the market where 350,000
Tennesseans purchase their health insurance.
from the year include:
- On April 19, the Trump
Administration announced it
would release the first round of state grants to fight the opioid crisis
provided under legislation I sponsored, the 21st Century
Cures Act, to all 50 states, including $14 million to Tennessee.
- The committee, followed by the full
Senate, approved the nominations of Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel to
the National Labor Relations Board. This board recently the Obama Administration-era “joint-employer” standard. The Obama
Administration's action was the biggest attack on the opportunity for small
businessmen and women to make their way into the middle class that
anyone has seen in a long time—threatening to destroy the American
Dream for owners of the nation’s 780,000 franchise locations.
- The Senate passed a resolution of disapproval I
sponsored to overturn the Obama Administration’s final regulation
implementing accountability provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act
(ESSA). This action preserved local control of Tennessee schools and
affirmed that Congress, not the Education Department, writes the laws.
- The May and September government funding bills included year-round Pell
grants to help nearly 1 million students – including roughly
20,000 students in Tennessee – take the opportunity to graduate
sooner and with less debt.
- The committee worked for two
years to reauthorize and update the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee agreements that pay for a
quarter of the FDA’s work to bring safe and effective cures and
treatments to Tennessee patients.
I am looking forward to
continuing our work next year by reauthorizing the Higher Education Act,
ensuring states and local
communities have the tools they need to combat the opioid crisis, and
updating legislation to help our country respond to public health
To read more about the
committee’s work this year, click here.