Congress

Some DC Democrats criticize Green; some TN Democrats join in praising him

In Washington, 31 Democratic U.S. House members have called for the rejection of Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green as U.S. Army Secretary. But in Nashville, all five Democratic members of the state Senate joined their Republican colleagues in voting for a resolution praising the Clarksville Republican.

Continue reading

Sen. Green: I only labeled ‘murderous terrorists” evil (but urged doctor ‘cherry picking’ of patients?)

In apparently his first response to criticism from LGBT and Muslim groups on his nomination by President Trump as U.S. Army secretary, state Sen. Mark Green declares on Facebook that “the liberal left has cut and spliced my words about terrorism and ISIS blatantly falsifying what I’ve said. “

“The only people I have ever called evil are murderous terrorists trying to kill Americans,” he writes. “The only people I have ever suggested be crushed are the terrorist enemies of our nation.”

Continue reading

Alexander, Corker, Duncan seek fed focus on alleged defective guardrails

Three Tennessee congressmen – Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, along with Rep. John Duncan Jr. – are asking federal officials to consider revoking their approval for the use of highway guardrails linked to four fatalities in Tennessee, reports WJHL-TV.

In the letter, they asked FHWA Acting Deputy Administrator Butch Waidelich, Jr. to consider revoking its letter of eligibility for the X-Lite Terminal Guard rail issued in 2011.

The eligibility letter indicates the product has been tested and is eligible for federal reimbursements for states that use it.

Continue reading

Kustoff’s first bill: Combating Anti-Semitism Act

Freshman Congressman David Kustoff is looking to send a message about the importance of religious freedom with the filing of his first piece of legislation, reports Michael Collins.

“Religious intolerance,” he said, “is not accepted.”

Kustoff’s bill, which the West Tennessee Republican introduced last week with Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wa., was inspired by the recent spate of bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the country, including one in Nashville.

The Combating Anti-Semitism Act would increase the federal penalty for making bomb threats and other credible threats of violence against community religious centers. It also would enable authorities to prosecute such acts as a hate crime.

Kustoff, of Germantown, approaches the issue with a perspective shaped by his profession and religion.

He’s a former federal prosecutor. He served two years as the U.S. attorney for West Tennessee. He’s also one of only two Jewish Republicans in the House. 

“Frankly, it wouldn’t matter what my religion is,” Kustoff said, explaining his motivation for the bill. “The government has to send a message that these threats and these actions won’t be tolerated, and they will be prosecuted. If someone breaks the law, they can go to prison for a long time.”

Note: The Kustoff press release on the bill is HERE.  A  separate press release on the brief floor speech he made in support of the measure is HERE.

Committee-approved bill has legislature choose interim U.S. senators

The General Assembly, instead of the governor, would appoint a temporary replacement to a Tennessee U.S. senator who resigns or dies in office under a bill approved in a House committee Tuesday.

The bill (HB784) by Rep. Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, was approved on a  9-3 vote in the House Local Government Committee. The Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, is scheduled for a Senate committee vote Wednesday.

Under provisions of the measure, the legislature would meet in joint session within two weeks after a U.S. Senate vacancy occurs and choose an interim successor, pending the next scheduled election. That’s now the governor’s responsibility. The bill says that, if a vacancy occurs while the legislature is out of session, the governor would be obliged to call a special session so the legislature could make its pick.

Continue reading

Blackburn a star in Internet privacy debate

Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn got national attention for her leading role in the U.S. House’s approval of a bill widely characterized as repealing existing Internet privacy protections, including Friday some data-crunching on campaign finances by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican and vocal proponent of killing the rule, said this week that allowing the FTC and FCC to regulate different parts of the internet will “create confusion within the Internet ecosystem and end up harming consumers.”

Critics of that view say it’s hard to see how stronger protection of consumer privacy will hurt those consumers. In addition, ISPs “provide an essential service,” said Laura Moy, a visiting law professor at Georgetown University and expert on technology and the law — and many Americans have little or no choice about their providers. “Maybe the answer is to regulate everyone more closely.”

… We took a look at the contributions received by members of the House and Senate from the telecom industry.

Here’s what we found: On the House side, while there wasn’t a huge difference in overall funds received by lawmakers voting for or against the resolution, there was a gap in the Republican vote. GOP lawmakers who voted to quash the rule received an average of $138,000 from the industry over the course of their careers.

The 15 Republicans voting nay? They got just $77,000… Blackburn has received close to $564,000 from the telecom industry over the course of her House career.

As noted by the Nashville Scene, Late Show host Steven Colbert lampooned Blackburn a bit over the matter:

Continue reading

Corker laments ‘don’t work with Democrats’ comment

Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is criticizing the House speaker for saying the president shouldn’t work with Democrats on health care, reports the Associated Press.

Corker tweeted Thursday, “We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem.”

Corker was referring to comments Paul Ryan made to CBS warning against the idea of Donald Trump working with Democrats if Republicans can’t revive their health care legislation.

Ryan told “CBS This Morning” that if Trump works with Democrats, they will “try and change Obamacare and that’s not, that’s hardly a conservative thing.”

In an interview, Corker said: “It’s not the kind of thing the leader, speaker of the House should be saying.”

 

A Senate step forward for more National Park sites in TN — including Polk home

News release from Sen. Lamar Alexander:

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 30, 2017 – A Senate committee today approved legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to take the next step in including former President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tenn., in the National Park System. The committee also approved legislation to expand the boundaries of Shiloh National Military Park to include three Civil War battlefields in Tennessee and Mississippi and designate Parker’s Crossroads as an affiliated area of the National Park System. Alexander sponsored the Senate version of the legislation.

Continue reading

Corker, Alexander produce Obamacare backup plan

News release from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker

WASHINGTON – Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today introduced legislation to rescue Americans with Affordable Care Act subsidies who have zero options for health insurance on the exchanges for the 2018 plan year.

“There are 34,000 Knoxville area residents who rely on an Affordable Care Act subsidy to purchase insurance, and after the one remaining insurer pulled out of the exchange for 2018, these subsidies are worth as much as bus tickets in a town with no buses running,” Alexander said. “There is also a real prospect that all 230,000 Tennesseans who buy insurance on the exchange—approximately 195,000 with a subsidy—won’t have any plans to buy next year either, and millions of Americans in other states are facing the same dire circumstances.”

He continued, “This legislation would help those in Knoxville and across the country by allowing any American who receives a subsidy and has no insurance available on their exchange next year to use that subsidy to buy any state-approved insurance off of the exchange. Second, the bill would waive the Affordable Care Act requirement that these Americans, who have zero insurance options with their subsides, have to pay a penalty for not purchasing insurance.  And third, this legislation will help bring peace of mind between now and the beginning of next year to millions of Americans, some of the most vulnerable people in the country, who face having zero options of health insurance to purchase with their subsidy.”

Continue reading

Slatery urges senators back Gorsuch for U.S. Supreme Court

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has written the chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Tennessee’s two U.S. senators to voice support for President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.

“In short, Judge Gorsuch is a champion of the structural safeguards that protect state sovereignty and individual liberty, a committed textualist and originalist, and a brilliant jurist. I urge the Senate to confirm him without delay,” says Slatery in the letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley (the Judiciary Committee chairman), Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

Corker has publicly declared he will vote for Gorsuch’s confirmation. Alexander has praised the nominee lavishly and denounced the notion of Democrats threatening to filibuster the nomination without explicitly saying the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge has his vote.

Text of Slatery’s letter is below.

Continue reading

ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
Email *