Weekly Column by Lamar Alexander: “Five Issues the Senate Should Be Dealing with Instead of Going into Recess”

Posted on September 22, 2014

The Senate should be working to solve some of our country’s biggest issues instead of going into recess nearly seven weeks before the November election. A Republican Senate majority, which I hope the country elects November 4, wouldn’t tolerate such nonsense.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has wasted the Senate’s—and taxpayers’—time on political stunts and sent the Senate home for election season without dealing with the real issues facing America. Instead of going home for recess, we should be standing up to terrorists, repairing the damage of Obamacare, making it easier to find a good job, sending education decisions back to states and fixing the debt.

1. Defeating ISIS – The president laid out a plan to defeat ISIS, but the Senate did not have time to debate whether this plan will actually accomplish the goal of destroying ISIS nor whether the United States should be getting involved in another Middle Eastern conflict. ISIS is the most deadly terrorist group we’ve ever seen, and the Senate ought to be debating how to destroy the organization.

2. Repairing the damage of Obamacare – We should be taking step-by-step reforms to give Americans want more freedom, more choices, and lower costs for health care. We need to repeal the job-killing medical device tax, allow families to buy plans across state lines, and enable small businesses to combine their purchasing power and offer employees plans at lower costs. Republicans are offering proposals to repair the damage of Obamacare, but Senate Democrats—because it’s election season—do not want to discuss the damage the president’s signature law has done to Tennesseans’ health insurance premiums, choice of doctors and incomes.

3. Creating jobs – It’s too hard to find a job in this country right now, and Congress should be working to remove the big, wet blanket of burdensome regulations the Obama administration has thrown over the economy. We should approve the Keystone XL pipeline, take up jobs bills that will get Washington out of the way and make it easier for Americans to find a job, and work to reform and streamline federal worker training programs.

4. Sending education decisions back to the states – We need to stop the Obama administration from acting like a national school board by fixing No Child Left Behind and sending back to the states all the decisions about Common Core and academic standards and tests. We can also make it easier for students to go to college by simplifying the 108-question federal student aid form that keeps an estimated 40,000 Tennesseans from receiving student aid.

5. Fixing our out-of-control debt – Our federal debt is out of control and if we don’t get spending under control, we risk letting America slip from the hands of the “Greatest Generation” to what will become known as the “debt-paying generation.” The Senate should pass a bill Senator Corker and I have proposed that would reduce the growth of entitlement spending by nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

            Americans are frustrated with Congress. And I am, too. A new Republican Senate majority would put an end to the constant political show votes and get to work on an agenda that stands up to terrorism, repairs the damage Obamacare has done to our health care system, get our economy going again, and get this country going in the right direction.


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