congress

Alexander and Corker on Trump and pending tax overhaul

Congressional Republicans involved in crafting a federal tax overhaul are bracing for President Trump to potentially disturb their negotiations at any moment, as he has done throughout his nine months in office and this week on a bipartisan Senate agreement to shore up Obamacare insurance markets, reports Politico.

“Sure, it’s going to come,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who’s been the target of his share of tweets from the president.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who brokered the health agreement that Trump has shifted between criticizing and praising, added that he had already told the president that his staying on track on tax reform could be key to getting a landmark achievement.

“If the president of the United States focuses on one thing, with everything he’s got, for as long it takes, he can usually get what he wants,” Alexander said.

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U.S. Senate panel votes to confirm Overbey as U.S. attorney for East TN

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday voted to confirm President Trump’s nomination of state Sen. Doug Overbey as U.S. attorney for East Tennessee. The nomination still awaits a Senate floor vote.

Statement from Sen. Lamar Alexander:

“I’ve known Doug for a long time – and I know that Tennessee will be well-served by a man of such good character,” he said. “Doug is a lifelong East Tennessean and has dedicated his life to service — practicing law for more than 37 years in East Tennessee and currently serving in the Tennessee General Assembly. I am glad the Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination today, and I look forward to his confirmation.”

Once confirmed, Overbey plans to step down from his Senate District 2 seat.

Alexander, Murray propose bipartisan, short-term Obamacare deal

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray say they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan Obamacare deal to fund a key insurance subsidy program and provide states flexibility to skirt some requirements of the health care law, reports Politico.

There is no assurance that the agreement will get to the Senate floor, however. Republicans on Tuesday were lukewarm about the prospect of resuming debate over whether to try to prop up Obamacare after multiple failed GOP attempts to repeal the law.

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Blackburn bashed over bill undercutting DEA authority over opioid distribution

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, now running for the U.S. Senate, is cited in a 60 Minutes report as a leading proponent of legislation approved by Congress – after heavy lobbying by the drug manufacturing industry — that apparently undercut the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority to oversee distribution of products involved in the national opioid abuse crisis.

The report has brought a round of criticism aimed at Blackburn from Democrats and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, who is exploring a run against Blackburn for the Republican nomination to U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker.

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Black prepares to step down as budget chair — but won’t say when

Having finally shepherded the fiscal 2018 budget resolution through the House, U.S. Rep. Diane Black is now preparing to give up her gavel as chair of the House Budget Committee after 10 months in the position to focus on her run for governor, reports Roll Call.

Black still won’t put a timeline on her departure date — including whether she will stick it out through conference negotiations with the Senate.

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Alexander to try again on bipartisan Obamacare fix

With plans for a U.S. Senate vote on the latest Republican proposal to repeal Obamacare abandoned, Sen. Lamar Alexander said today he will restart efforts to come  up with a short-term bill that can win bipartisan support.

Here’s the press release:

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Haslam, Alexander & Corker back latest Obamacare repeal effort

Gov. Bill Haslam is cheering for passage of a new U.S. Senate proposal for repealing Obamacare that he says is “flat out good for Tennessee.” Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker indicate they’ll vote for it, though there’s lots of criticism from doctors, hospitals, veterans and Democrats.

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Alexander’s bipartisan Obamacare fix fails

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington have given up on their push for a bipartisan bill to continue federal subsidies for health insurance under Obamacare as a short-term fix for individual health insurance market.

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Senate GOP spat: Alexander versus Hatch

Sen. Lamar Alexander’s efforts to craft a bipartisan bill to shore up Obamacare are drawing “hostile fire” from a fellow Republican Senate committee chairman, reports Politico.

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‘Restless’ Black pushing for U.S. House budget vote with no assurance of passage

House Budget Chairman Diane Black  Tuesday urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to bring the budget to the floor this month, even though her hard-fought fiscal outline lacks the 218 votes needed for passage, reports Politico. Frustrated by her party’s divisions, she is daring die-hard conservatives to vote no, forcing them to take the fall for choking off the party’s chances at tax reform.

“Sometimes when you get this close, perhaps you just need to put it on the floor,” Black (R-Tenn.) told POLITICO in a 30 minute interview. “I have made the case to the leadership, that I think it’s time.”

“I am restless. I want to have it done,” she said.

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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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