Weekly Column by Lamar Alexander: Getting Results for Tennessee in the United States Senate

Posted on January 28, 2014

As I prepare to stand up for Tennesseans and get results on the most pressing issues facing our country in 2014, I thought I’d share with you some of what got done in 2013.

I was the principal sponsor of two bills that became law, played a crucial role in the passage of six more bills that became law and cosponsored three other pieces of legislation that became law. These included making loans for 11 million college students cheaper, simpler and more certain; dealing with 2012’s tragic meningitis outbreak by strengthening laws on drug compounding and drug safety; expanding research to help prevent premature births; and preserving Tennesseans’ freedom to fish below dams on the Cumberland River.

In my role as the Ranking Member, or lead Republican, on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, I was able to be involved with an unusually high volume of legislation and encourage the use of Tennessee common sense and conservative values to get Washington out of the way. I also served Tennesseans as a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Appropriations Committee and as lead Republican on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.

Among my priorities were fighting against Obamacare, putting more education decisions in the hands of state and local leaders, challenging the Obama administration’s radical labor agenda, leading the push against wasteful federal wind subsidies and encouraging the use of nuclear power. I also continued to push for Washington to address our country’s $17 trillion debt.

  • Fighting Against Obamacare – I steered the effort to repeal and replace the historic mistake of Obamacare with step-by-step reforms and called out the Obama administration for blatantly allowing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service to decide which parts of the law to enforce or waive.
  • Standing Up for Tennessee’s Meningitis Victims – After the tragic meningitis outbreak that affected so many Tennesseans, I introduced and helped lead through committee legislation to make compounded drugs safer, which was signed into law on Nov. 27, 2013.
  • Opposing a National School Board  I introduced the Every Child Ready for College or a Career Act, the Republican plan to fix No Child Left Behind that trusts parents and teachers – instead of Washington – to determine how best to reform our nation’s schools.
  • Challenging a Radical Labor Agenda – I challenged the Obama administration’s unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, and demonstrated why the proposed increase to the minimum wage would actually harm the job prospects of those making minimum wage or seeking employment.
  • Leading the Fight Against Extension of Federal Wind Subsidies – I have led the fight in the Senate against the wind production tax credit, a subsidy that delivers expensive, unreliable electricity and wastes taxpayer money.
  • Encouraging Use of Nuclear Power and Solving the Nuclear Waste Problem – In  a time when nuclear power provides 60 percent of our reliable, air-pollution-free electricity, I helped draft legislation to begin consolidating spent nuclear fuel and finding a permanent repository for the nation’s nuclear waste.