Alexander Votes to Support Overseas Troops and Help for Flooding

Also Votes to Freeze Federal Salaries and Cut Other Programs to Help Balance the Budget

Posted on May 27, 2010


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement regarding Senate passage of the Supplemental Appropriations bill: 

“I voted today to provide funds to support our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and to help Tennesseans and other Americans who are dealing with disasters beyond their control. I also voted today to freeze federal salaries and cut other programs to pay for this legislation. 

“The Senate action today recognized that the Tennessee flood of 2010 is the largest natural disaster since President Obama took office. The $5.1 billion appropriation for FEMA will make sure that account doesn’t run out just when Tennessee families need it. Of the provisions that specifically help Tennessee, the most valuable will be increasing the federal share of repairs of public buildings, roads and bridges from 75 percent to 90 percent of the cost.”               

The following provisions of the bill also support the flood-recovery efforts in Tennessee: 

  • $49 million for economic development assistance that could, for example, help relocate a water tower or rebuild a civic center.
  • $100 million for Community Development Block Grants, which the senator said “could help businesses closed by the flood to restart. As many as 30 percent of the businesses hit by the flood might never reopen.”
  • $200 million for harbor maintenance and dredging, and to repair damages to U.S. Army Corps of Engineer projects caused by natural disasters – such as the dams in Middle Tennessee. 
  • $72 million for flooding at the Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington, Tenn., which is where all Navy personnel records are managed and also serves as Navy headquarters for recruitment activities.

Senator Alexander also joined Senator Collins (R-ME) in offering an amendment – which passed – that would prevent funds in the bill from being used to enforce EPA’s lead-paint rule, a requirement that Alexander said would “make it harder and more expensive for Tennesseans to repair their flood-damaged homes and get back on their feet.” 

Alexander supported several Republican amendments related to cutting spending and securing the border that were defeated by the Democratic majority, specifically: 

  • Two Amendments offered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) that would have reduced federal spending to prevent adding to the mounting national debt.  One of the amendments would have frozen all non-military federal salaries, including preventing members of Congress and their staffs from receiving pay raises.
  • Three Republican amendments to help secure the border with Mexico (which also reduced failed “stimulus” spending in order to make sure they did not increase the debt):
    • McCain Amendment #4214 to authorize 6,000 National Guard troops along the southern U.S. border and provide an additional $250 million for border enforcement.
    • Cornyn Amendment #4221 to provide $2 billion in additional funding for counterdrug operations along the border.
    • Kyl Amendment #4228 to fund Operation Streamline, a multi-agency law enforcement initiative that reduced illegal immigration by up to 94% in areas where it has previously been implemented.


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