Tennessee delegation

Congressman Phil Roe deemed ‘cancer-free’ after treatment

Statement from the office of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Johnson City

Congressman Roe underwent a successful medical procedure in East Tennessee late last month. At his follow-up appointment, Congressman Roe’s scans were clear and he is cancer-free. He looks forward to finishing his recovery and returning to a full schedule soon. The Congressman thanks East Tennesseans for the outpouring of support and prayers he has received through his treatment and his medical team for the excellent care he received.

TN politician comments on Congressman Duncan’s retirement

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett (via News Sentinel)

“I am grateful for Congressman Duncan’s friendship, and I appreciate the years of service he and his family have dedicated to our community… He has been a consistent, conservative voice for the 2nd District, and he’s represented us well. Few families have made a bigger impact in East Tennessee than the Duncan family, and I have no doubt they will continue to make a difference.

In an interview after Duncan’s announcement, Burchett declined to say whether he intends to run for Duncan’s seat. “I’ll still be making my announcement on Saturday,” he said. “I think it’s time we reflected on Congressman Duncan and his family’s service to our community.”

State Rep. Jimmy Matlock

“We just learned of the announcement by Congressman Jimmy Duncan not to seek another term of office. I can think of no one who has conducted himself in a more statesmanlike, humble manner. In over 30 years of working with him, I’ve never been around an individual who woke up every day with such zeal to serve his constituents. He has set the bar so high that we will have a difficult task of trying to meet that level of devotion and character in our district and in our nation. I wish to give a heartfelt thank you to Congressman Duncan from myself and my family for his years of service.”

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Alexander, Corker, Blackburn and DesJarlais lose 18 staffers (combined) to Trump administration

Eighteen congressional staff employees who were working for members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation have moved to positions working for President Donald Trump administration since January, reports Michael Collins.

Sen. Lamar Alexander has lost 10 staffers from the Senate office committee he chairs and his own office. Sen. Bob Corker has similarly seen six staffers depart to join Trump. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais each have lost one staffer to Trump’s team.

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Duncan one of three congressmen voting no on Russia, Iran and North Korea sanctions bill

From Politico:

The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, with the GOP-controlled chamber advancing a significant new constraint on President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

The sanctions legislation, which allows lawmakers to block Trump from any attempt to roll back sanctions against Moscow, is expected to pass the Senate in similarly bipartisan fashion before next month’s recess.

… The House’s 419-3 vote on the sanctions bill saw only three dissenters: GOP Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee and Thomas Massie of Kentucky. Even Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Russia’s staunchest defender on the Hill, revealed hours before the vote that he would support the measure out of support for its penalties against Tehran and Pyongyang.

Full story HERE.

Congressman Roe diagnosed with ‘early stage prostate cancer’

Statement from the Office of Congressman Phil Roe (R-Johnson City):

Following a routine physical examination, Congressman Roe was diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. He will undergo treatment in East Tennessee during the August district work period. The prognosis is excellent, and treatment is not expected to interfere with his scheduled legislative duties. The Congressman’s offices in Kingsport, Morristown and Washington, D.C. will remain open and operate as usual. The office will provide an update after his treatment has been completed. No further updates or comments will be provided before that time. Congressman Roe thanks East Tennesseans for the privilege of serving them, and looks forward to continuing to represent them. Thank you.

The Johnson City Press adds this note:

Previously Johnson City’s mayor, Roe was first elected to the House of Representatives serving Tennessee’s 1st District in 2008. He easily won re-election in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

In 2015, Roe’s wife Pamela died shortly after being diagnosed with colon cancer. This year he and Clarinda Jeanes, widow of former Milligan College President Don Jeanes, married.

 

Blackburn bashes Trump for ‘inappropriate and pointless’ tweets

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, usually a staunch supporter of President Trump, has denounced as “inappropriate and pointless” recent Trump tweets bashing two TV show hosts. Several other Republicans have done the same.

Blackburn’s comment came in a Facebook Post, HERE, that was also distributed to media and published in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle HERE. Michael Collins provides some excerpts:

The Brentwood Republican lamented that civil debate over policy disagreements has taken a back seat to “thin-skin and knee-jerk reactions to hyper-partisan comments and, unfortunately, unfounded character attacks.”

“In this era of 24/7 worldwide news, the president of the United States represents each and every one of us on the world stage,” Blackburn wrote. “We are right to expect a higher level of civility, graciousness and diplomacy from our president. We expect the individual who holds the office and the title to rise above the hubris and noise of the day.”

“While the president is human and fallible like the rest of us, this current trend needs to stop,” Blackburn continued. “This week’s tweets were a step too far, regardless of what personal exchanges or insults had been hurled.”

Politico has a lengthy report on other Republican critics of the tweets. An excerpt:

In a two-part tweet, Trump said he “heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore).” He then went on to hit (host Mika) Brzezinski: “how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”

… “Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday during his weekly press conference, adding, “Look, what we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn’t help do that.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went further, tweeting, “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”

Trump reported unlikely to nominate new TVA board members until September

Tennessee U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have submitted recommendations to President Trump for filling five vacancies on the Tennessee Valley Authority board of directors, Corker tells Michael Collins. The senators’ suggestions aren’t provided, but there’s a rundown on some names mentioned otherwise.

State Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, confirmed that he’s interested. (Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston, was interested earlier, but his withdrawn his name from consideration – previous post (HERE).

“Senator Alexander and I submitted our recommendations to the White House earlier this year,” Corker said. “We remain in close contact with the administration and have urged them to make nominations to fill out the board very soon.”

…Knoxville attorney Jeff Hagood, Oak Ridge National Laboratory executive Jeff Smith and former Virginia state Sen. William C. Wampler – the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker and the son of a former Republican congressman – also have been in touch with Congress members about serving on the board.

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TN politician commentary on Comey (‘Big distraction,’ says Haslam)

A roundup of some comments on former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before a congressional committee Thursday:

From Gov. Bill Haslam and former Gov. Don Sundquist, via WBIR TV:

“To me, the big issue, to me, is all of this ends up being such a big distraction,” Haslam said. “Forget your politics, which side you are on, Democrat or Republican, the unfortunate reality of this is you have something like this going on around you, you are not very effective at delivering good government.”

Haslam said from what he knows now, he does not think President Trump obstructed justice. Former governor Don Sundquist agreed.

“I learned that [President Donald] Trump is not a candidate for prosecution,” Sundquist said. “Comey, I think, is distressed over the fact he was fired. He was embarrassed, and a president has the right to name their own person.”

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United TN delegation finally gets Nashville courthouse named after the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Legislation naming a new federal courthouse in honor of the late Sen. Fred Thompson failed to pass Congress last year – perhaps one of the most notable bipartisan flops of the session for the Tennessee delegation to Congress. It passed the House, but the Senate where Thompson served never got around to voting on it, despite support from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. (Previous post HERE.)

The Tennessee delegation came back with the proposal again this year and declared success Wednesday. Here’s the bipartisan, collective press release, interestingly themed on asking President Trump to sign the bill (a veto, one suspects, is rather unlikely):

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UPDATED: Most TN GOP congressmen silent on FBI director dismissal

With the exception of Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s Republican members of Congress – usually quick to send out press releases with commentary on most any matter getting some national attention — have been silent on President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey (as noted by WPLN).

The state’s two Democratic congressmen, however, have been quick to criticize the presidential action publicly.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

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

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