Alexander: Because He’s A Songwriter Too, In Nashville, We Think of Orrin Hatch as Our Third United States Senator

Posted on December 19, 2018

Click here for video of Sen. Alexander’s floor speech about Sen. Hatch 

WASHINGTON, December 19, 2018 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) paid tribute on the Senate floor to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) saying, “Because he’s a songwriter too, we think of him in Nashville as our third United States Senator.”

Alexander said: “Of all the bills that Senator Hatch has worked on, my favorite is the Music Modernization Act. We call it the Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act because of his role in it. And he likes it because it's a bill to help songwriters, and he’s a songwriter too. We have thousands of them in Tennessee—all around Nashville, Memphis, and Upper East Tennessee. Songwriters are typically taxi drivers, music teachers, waitresses, all not making very much money but all with the idea of writing a number one song.”

Alexander continued: “The problem is that as the internet arrived, more than half of the money in the music industry came from songs played online, and songwriters, number one—weren't getting paid often, and number two—weren't getting paid a fair market value. So a number of us took that on. And the result was the Music Modernization Act. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and in the House unanimously. It had over 80 cosponsors here, but it was a very complex bill—a once in a generation copyright law change. And the principal sponsor was Orrin Hatch.”

“He’s chairman of the Senate Finance Committee—but more than that, he's a songwriter himself. He's had a gold record and a platinum record. So we think of him in Nashville as our third United States Senator. He's welcome to come back anytime in his retirement after January and sit down and write some more songs because his Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act is going to help thousands of songwriters and make this a more joyful country, with more good songs.”

Alexander concluded: “So I come to the floor today simply to express my respect and appreciation for our senator who is retiring, Orrin Hatch. He served 42 years, longer than any other Republican in the history of the United States Senate, and to say that if he decides he's running out of things to do when he goes back to Utah, the door is open in Nashville, he can come write a few songs.”

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is the longest serving Republican senator in the history of the United States. Hatch has served Utahns for over four decades, with eight presidents. Senator Hatch has held a number of distinguished roles in the Senate including chairman of three committees: Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Judiciary, and currently, Finance, and has served as President Pro Tempore since 2015. Senator Hatch is retiring at the end of the 115th Congress and is the principal sponsor of the Music Modernization Act along with Senator Alexander.


Lamar Alexander is the senior senator from Tennessee, and he serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. For his full biography, click here.