Eject > Political > Current Activity in the U.S. Congress – 9 Legislative Items Senator Lamar Alexander Co-Sponsored or Sponsored in the 116th Congress

Current Activity in the U.S. Congress – 9 Legislative Items Senator Lamar Alexander Co-Sponsored or Sponsored in the 116th Congress

It does not matter whether an elected official has intentions to run for their seat when the term expires. What matters is what they have done during their time in office, and what they plan on doing with whatever time remains. This is especially true of old-guard politicians that managed to accumulate a lot of power or assume roles with significant influence.

Why? There are several reasons. First, partisan politics are more potent than ever, and a lot of attention is given over to any seat that opens up. Secondly, any shift in power, such as a long-time Senator’s stepping down will also create a power vacuum among the committees and other groups in which they participate. Lastly, the attention such vacancies receive can help to identify instances of dark money contributions.

Even without any need for further fundraising for their campaigns, they may still be stumping for funds for other members of their party, or the candidate taking their place in the election. The potential created by their vacating their spot in the Senate is going to attract those who would use their mega-rich donors to gain even a small measure of control.

Thus, a lot of attention was generated when the senior senator for Tennessee, Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican), announced in 2018 that he would not be seeking another term.

Described in one article as a “senator’s senator,” and bipartisan champion, he “still believed that good sense and personal relationships could prevail, even in the era of Donald Trump…but,” the article noted, “Washington doesn’t seem to reward anymore the kind of pragmatism that Lamar Alexander and others in the old guard specialize in.”

Though he had assumed “the as the No. 3 in Republican leadership,” he stepped away from it in 2012, “in a move his friends say was driven by a desire to step out of the political fray and into a policymaking role as the top Republican on the health and education committee.”

The Senator has not expressed any concerns about the outcome of this move, but he has explained his frustrations with the changes he’s tracked in Washington, saying, “In the Senate, too much has become centralized in the leadership. Part of that is a function of the media and the world you live in because you have to respond four, five times a day, unlike 50 years ago. Fifty-two Republican senators can’t do that as a unit, so to be effective in your political activity, you need a highly centralized leader. That does tend to diminish the influence of the committees, and that’s not healthy for the Senate.”

Consider that he became a top Republican through his efforts to help make Obamacare work. He dislikes the law, but he wanted to fix it instead of merely pointing all attempts at killing it. His wholehearted, bipartisan, efforts failed. He hasn’t given up hope, noting that “An old-fashioned view of the Senate might suddenly be back in vogue. Johnny Cash was big in the 1970s, but toward the end of the career, he suddenly became very big again. If 2018 is the year of bipartisanship, then maybe the kind of things that I work on will be back.”

In another article from the Tennessean, the authors noted: “With no election looming, Alexander is setting himself up with an opportunity to accomplish what he desires…The next two years can be very productive…the main limitation will be polarized government and continued dysfunction. If he can overcome those hurdles, he can get a lot done

While potential successors are already scrambling to make a decision about a 2020 campaign, Alexander could accomplish quite a bit in the time until then…Two years in politics is a long time… Alexander will likely have ‘a little more freedom to speak his mind because he doesn’t have to worry about the pressures of re-election,’ Vanderbilt University political science professor John Geer said.”

Will he be at risk for forwarding priorities of his campaign backers? Senator Alexander has an interesting history with campaign finance. For example, in 1996, he said, “I am for fewer restrictions and fuller disclosure. I think we ought to raise the limit on campaign donations from individuals so they can outweigh special interest groups. We should also scale back the federal rules so that less money is spent on lawyers, accountants, and administration.”

Six years later, spoke out again to a question on finance reform and indicated that it is wrong and “abridges free speech.” This was directly in line with a Supreme Court ruling eight years later. Noted as the Citizens United ruling, in which the Court held that “the free speech clause of the first amendment prohibits the government from restricting corporations from making political expenditures.”

However, that ruling did not seek to empower contributions from voters, but the mega-rich trying to influence almost all areas of policy. They don’t make individual contributions, though, because some rules restrict them. Instead, they channel funds through PACs (Political Action Committees) and SuperPACS. PACs and SuperPACs differ in only a few ways. PACs can give to parties or candidates, while SuperPACs can only spend (unlimited sums) on marketing and ads. They are unlimited in the amounts they can accept, as well.

They also have the right to keep their donors’ names entirely private. Changes in IRS rules in 2017 allowed this to occur, and many have been seeking to overturn it ever since.

In December of 2018, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the Senate had voted to “prevent ‘dark money’ from getting even darker.” Primarily, the Senate had managed to narrowly approve a resolution designed to toss out the new “Treasury Department policy that no longer requires some 501(c) tax-exempt nonprofits — including politically active 501(c)(4) ‘dark money’ groups — to disclose donor names and addresses in tax returns submitted to the IRS.”

This new rule, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was necessary for preventing the leaking of confidential donor details; citing an incident in 2013 when “the IRS posted unredacted tax forms revealing donors to the Republican Governors Association Public Policy Committee.”

This change was met with shock by many, worried that such rules would encourage foreign contributions to non-profits to influence elections. Before this change, all names and addresses of donors were reported to the IRS, and it was the responsibility of the IRS to maintain confidentiality. The Resolution, however, died.

Campaign finance watchdogs say “spending of this kind (in which groups did not reveal their donors) climbed rapidly from five million dollars in the year 2006 to more than three hundred million dollars in 2012.”

As we noted, these sums are not from the “traditionally wealth,” but from mega-rich, who many believe has become “effectively in control of American politics, writing six- and seven-figure checks to super PAC’s to support ad campaigns that confuse viewers and distort the views and records of candidates,” as one source said.

They may not make open and obvious moves, like lobbying to interfere with specific policies, but they might use influence for “subtle things that are less top of mind, less likely to be in the news — some amendment tucked into a larger bill…[and] greater access for friendly lobbyists.”

That means that it is now more difficult than ever to identify signs of influence quickly, and when a politician is retiring, many think it is unnecessary. However, we disagree. It is necessary to scrutinize even the most trusted and long-time senators for any indications of influence because their replacements may find themselves under similar pressures.

To do this means examining a list of different facts about them. For example, who supports them the most, what legislation has that senator sponsored or endorsed? This is what we’ll do throughout the remainder of this article and look at the following items:

  • The Senator’s publicly stated priorities and issues
  • Senator Alexander’s committee and caucus activities
  • The Senator’s key sources of campaign funding
  • Senator Alexander’s most recent legislative items sponsored or co-sponsored

We are also going to examine other facts, including bipartisanship ratings, conservative rankings, and more, to reach conclusions.

For example, Senator Alexander rates in the middle of the popular Republican in the Lugar Center Bipartisanship Index, holding the 46th place. This is not a match to his claims of bipartisanship as a primary motivator and proves that legislation he creates enjoys some support from Democrats, and he supports around the same number of their legislative items. His “Trump Score” from FiveThirtyEightv for the 116th Congress is down from the previous Congress, and hovers at 81%, meaning that he supports President Trump’s policies, but not all of the time. The Conservative Review, however, profoundly disapproves of the Senator, giving him one of the lowest numeric Liberty Scores of 17% and a letter grade of “F.” His approval ratings in the Senate are moderate, with a rank of 70 out of 100 senators and a net approval of 26 from his party, and a cumulative 11.

About Senator John Alexander

Born in 1940 in Tennessee, and graduated from his local high school, where he served in the role of class president as well as being elected as the Governor of Tennessee Boys State U.S. Senator. He attended Vanderbilt and graduated with a BA in Latin American studies and then a JD from NYU’s School of Law. He was built for a career in politics, having already become involved during high school. He obtained his JD and began clerking for a U.S. Court of Appeals judge in Louisiana and then as a Legislative Assistant for a senator.

He worked in various capacities before returning home and helping in a gubernatorial campaign, bringing it to a victorious end. He returned to legal practice soon after, but then made a bid for the role of governor a few years after. He did not win, and returned to the law, only to make another gubernatorial bid a few years later, and won the second time around.

When his term ended, he was hired as the President of the University of Tennessee, serving for three years before becoming the U.S. Secretary of Education. In 2002, he was convinced to make a bid for an opening Senate seat in Tennessee and won.

At his official website, he makes a note of his receiving the James Madison Award, explaining that it recognizes “members of Congress who support federalism and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing states’ rights. The governors named Sen. Lamar Alexander as the first-ever recipient of the award for his work to fix No Child Left Behind. The new education law Alexander worked to pass was signed by the president in December 2015. The Wall Street Journal called it ‘the largest devolution of federal power to the states in a quarter century.’”

He also identifies key issues to his constituency, including:

  • Economy
  • Tennessee
  • Health Care
  • Education
  • Environment and Energy
  • Labor and Pensions
  • Budget
  • Defense
  • Good Government
  • American Character
  • Constitutional Oath of Office and Taking Pledges

The team at ProPublicatracks politicians and how they vote, the most common subjects of bills they sponsor and even what issues are the most common in their press releases. They have identified that Senator Alexander focuses on the following items in his legislation:

  • Public Lands
  • Health
  • Animals
  • Transportation and Public Works
  • Congress

They have also kept tabs on press releases from his office, and policy priorities, which include:

  • Health
  • Labor and Employment
  • Education
  • Economics and Public Finance
  • Public Lands and Natural Resources

There is not a 100% overlap, but that is not essential to prove he is without undue influence. What we must consider are his stated priorities, actual comments and actions, and how it all lines up with his donors. Because the Senator has been careful about his committee and caucus work, we’ll look to that data next.

Senator Alexander’s Committee Work

For the 116th Congress, Senator Alexander is assigned to the following committees and subcommittees:

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Department of Defense
    • Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    • Subcommittee on Energy
    • Subcommittee on National Parks
    • Subcommittee on Water and Power
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (Chairman)
    • Subcommittee on Children and Families
    • Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety
    • Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security
  • Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans

There are distinct areas of overlap between his priorities and his committee work. That means we can now look at his funding sources and legislation to draw accurate conclusions about influence.

The Top Industries Funding Senator Alexander Campaign Efforts

In 2014, Senator Alexander’s campaign raised             $8,201,067.00 and spent $9,378,379.00, and as of this writing has recovered fully and has over $275,000 in cash on hand. This support came from an array of industries, and we’ll look at those contributors in three distinct groupings:

  • The industries in which the Senator was a “favorite,” or top recipient in the last campaign cycle (2014)
  • The industries that contributed the most substantial amount of financial support
  • Individual organizations that donated the most

According to the Open Secrets Website, Senator Alexander was an industry favorite in two segments:

  • For-profit Education (#1)
  • Correctional facilities construction &management for-profit (#2)
  • Forest Products (#2)
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing (#3)

He was also the recipient backing from other industries, and the 20 sectors that gave the most, overall, in 2014 were (in ranking order):

  • Leadership PACs
  • Pharmaceuticals/Health Products
  • Real Estate
  • Health Professionals
  • Securities & Investment
  • Retired
  • Lawyers/Law Firms
  • Insurance
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes
  • Education
  • Oil & Gas
  • Electric Utilities
  • Health Services/HMOs
  • Retail Sales
  • Lobbyists
  • Commercial Banks
  • Miscellaneous Finance
  • Automotive
  • Food & Beverage
  • Defense Aerospace

Finally, there were the companies and other groups that gave, individually. However, none of them donated directly to the campaign; instead, they worked with PACs or had direct employee contributions for the 2014 election, and were:

  • International Paper – “One of the world’s leading producers of fiber-based packaging, pulp, and paper…[making] packaging products that protect and promote goods, enable worldwide commerce and keep consumers safe; pulp for diapers, tissue, and other personal hygiene products that promote health and wellness; and papers that facilitate education and communication.”
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield – Offers “healthcare coverage to members, allowing them to live free of worry, free of fear. In every ZIP code, Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a personalized approach to healthcare based on the needs of the communities where their members live and work. They work closely with hospitals and doctors in the communities they serve to provide quality, affordable healthcare.”
  • Hercules Holding – “Operates as a holding company. The Company, through its subsidiaries, provides medical and surgical hospital services.”
  • Community Health Systems – It is “a Fortune 500 company based in Franklin, Tennessee. It was the largest provider of general hospital healthcare services in the United States in terms of number of acute care facilities. As of December 31, 2016, it owns, leases or operates 158 hospitals in 22 states…The company completed the spinoff of Quorum Health Corporation on April 29, 2016. Quorum owns or leases hospitals across 16 states, primarily in cities or counties with populations of 50,000 or less.”
  • Comcast Corp – “An American telecommunications conglomerate headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue and the largest pay-TV company, the largest cable TV company and largest home Internet service provider in the United States, and the nation’s third-largest home telephone service provider. Comcast services U.S. residential and commercial customers in 40 states and in the District of Columbia. As the owner of the international media company NBCUniversal since 2011, Comcast is a producer of feature films and television programs intended for theatrical exhibition and over-the-air and cable television broadcast, respectively.”
  • Regions Financial – it is “a bank holding company headquartered in the Regions Center in Birmingham, Alabama. The company provides retail banking and commercial banking, trust, stockbrokerage, and mortgage services. Its banking subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates 1,952 automated teller machines and 1,454 branches in 15 states in the Southern United States and Midwestern United States… Regions is ranked 460th on the Fortune 500 [and]” is one of the largest banks in the U.S.
  • Exelon Corp- It is “an American Fortune 100 energy company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It generates revenues of approximately $33.5 billion and employs approximately 33,400 people. Exelon is the largest electric parent company in the United States by revenue, the largest regulated utility in the United States with approximately 10 million customers, and also the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States.”
  • FedEx Corp – It is “an American multinational courier delivery services company headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee…The company is known for its overnight shipping service and pioneering a system that could track packages and provide real-time updates on package location (to help in finding lost packages), a feature that has now been implemented by most other carrier services.”
  • General Atomics – A “Department of Energy and Department of Defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California, specializing in research and technology development. This includes physics research in support of nuclear fission and nuclear fusion energy. The company also provides research and manufacturing services for remotely operated surveillance aircraft, including the Predator drones; airborne sensors; and advanced electric, electronic, wireless, and laser technologies.”
  • McKee Foods – A “privately held and family-owned American snack food and granola manufacturer headquartered in Collegedale, Tennessee. The corporation is the maker of the Little Debbie Snacks, Sunbelt Bakery granola and cereal, Heartland Brands, and Drake’s Cakes. McKee Foods has its own fleet of trucks to distribute its products.”

Senator Alexander has a diverse array of major backers, both in-state and from outside. With groups like defense contractors and food makers behind his campaign success, it pays to see if his legislative activities supported their agendas more than the needs of his constituents.

9 Items Senator Alexander Has Sponsored During the 116th Congress – To Date

For the 116th Congress, to date, Senator Alexander has only 80 pieces of legislation; he sponsored 10 thus far and co-sponsored the remaining 70. The Senator’s official Congressional page indicates that his emphasis in this Congress has been primarily on animals, health, public lands, and natural resources, armed forces and national security, and Congress.

S.138 — Shiloh National Military Park Boundary Adjustment and Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Designation Act

Introduced on January 16, this legislation seeks to “expand the Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee, which they said will help attract more visitors to Tennessee, boost local economies, and protect the site for future generations.”

If passed into law, it would “designate battlefields at Davis Bridge and Fallen Timbers in Tennessee, and Russell House in Tennessee and Mississippi, as part of the Shiloh National Military Park. The legislation also designates Parker’s Crossroads as an affiliated area of the National Park System. The National Park Service has already determined that these battlefields are nationally significant and in need of preservation and protection. The majority of the land included in this legislation is currently owned by the State of Tennessee and the Civil War Trust.”

Speaking about the need for the Act, Senator Alexander said, “Learning from the past helps us become better Americans in the future, and preserving and protecting these sites will allow future generations to learn their history by walking these fields. Expanding the Park will also provide an opportunity to attract more visitors to Tennessee and boost local economies.”

The bill’s cosponsor, Senator Marsha Blackburn (junior Senator from Tennessee) said that “Expanding Shiloh National Military Park and giving these sites the resources needed for their upkeep is a crucial part of maintaining Tennessee’s military history. I look forward to seeing our National Park System grow in Tennessee.”

The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S.139 —A bill to designate the bridge located in Blount County, Tennessee, on the Foothills Parkway (commonly known as “Bridge 2”) as the “Dean Stone Bridge”

Introduced on January 16, this legislation would rename a new bridge on the Foothills Parkway the Dean Stone Bridge. According to a press release from Senator Alexander, “there is no one more fitting,” for the honor.

A former editor for the Daily Times died at the age of 92 in 2016. His obituary in the Knox News said that his “passion for journalism was rivaled only by his love for Blount County and the Great Smoky Mountains.”

Senator Alexander said, “It is hard to imagine Blount County without Dean Stone, and that’s why I introduced legislation to name a bridge on the Foothills Parkway as the Dean Stone Bridge. No one worked harder for the Foothills Parkway than Dean Stone, and I can’t think of anyone more fitting to name this bridge on the Foothills Parkway after than Dean. He talked to me about the Foothills Parkway when I was at Maryville High School as the school newspaper’s editor, and he talked to me in every job I’ve ever had since, literally. When I was working for Senator Baker, he would ask, ‘Could we get a little money for the parkway?’ ‘Oh I don’t know,’ I’d say, and he would keep asking. So it’s more than appropriate to name this bridge on the Parkway after Dean, and it ensures he will be a part of the Smokies for generations to come.”

The press release explained that “This section of Foothills Parkway was a priority for Alexander when he was governor in the 1980s and the state Department of Transportation took the lead on a section of the parkway between Carrs Creek and Wears Valley.” Senator Alexander did not ignore this area during his tenure, and “included $17.5 million for parkway construction in the 2005 federal highway bill…[helped] provide the funding necessary to complete…a 1.65-mile segment of the new 16-mile section comprised of nine bridges – and open this section of the parkway to the public. The Dean Stone Bridge is one of those nine bridges.”

The “Tennessee Department of Transportation submitted a TIGER grant application for federal funds to complete this 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway,” with the Senator urging approval of the request. The state also dedicated $15 million in funding and the “the groundbreaking ceremony for the newly opened 16-mile section of the Foothills Parkway adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park [occurred] on November 9,” 2018.

The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S.140 —James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act

Another item introduced on January 16, this bill seeks to “take the next step to protect and preserve President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tennessee.”

Explaining his reason for sponsoring the bill, Senator Alexander said, “Tennessee is full of history, and Tennessee’s President James K. Polk’s home is a special prize for Tennesseans as well as Americans. We talk a lot about the importance of science and math, but, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, most high school seniors in America score the worst in history. I can think of no better way to encourage the study of U.S. history than to protect and preserve sites like Tennessee’s President James K. Polk’s home – and this legislation will also provide an opportunity to attract more visitors to Tennessee and strengthen local economies.”

If enacted, the bill would direct the “Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National Park System. Once the study is completed, the conclusions and recommendations will be submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources and the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Alexander is a member. If the study recommends the Polk Home should be included in the National Park System, Congress would then need to pass legislation designating the Polk Home as a new unit of the National Park System.”

This bill has one cosponsor and was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

S.192 —Community and Public Health Programs Extension Act

Introduced on January 18, this Act seeks to “extend for five years federal funding for community health centers, and four other federal health programs, that are set to expire at the end of the fiscal year,” according to a press release from Senator Alexander.

“This legislation is the first step in ensuring millions of Americans can continue to have access to quality health care they can afford close to their homes. There are 1,400 community health centers that provide health care services at about 12,000 sites to approximately 27 million Americans,” the Senator said.

If passed it will provide five years of funding for:

  • Community Health Center program;
  • National Health Service Corps;
  • Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program;
  • Special Diabetes Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and
  • Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

It has six cosponsors and was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

S.642 —Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds Congressional Gold Medal Act

Introduced on March 5, this bill seeks to “award the Congressional Gold Medal to Master Sergeant Rodrick “Roddie” Edmonds, a lifelong Tennessean, in recognition of his heroic actions during World War II,” according to a press release from Senator Alexander’s office.

Sgt. Edmonds was the “senior noncommissioned officer responsible for 1,275 United States service members at a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany…[and] orchestrated a remarkable show of unity when the Nazis ordered him to identify and separate out the Jewish-American soldiers under his command. Disregarding the orders, all 1,275 soldiers stood together. Upon seeing the soldiers united as one, a Nazi officer angrily shouted, ‘They cannot all be Jews!’ to which Master Sgt. Edmonds replied, ‘We are all Jews here.’ The Nazi officer then threatened to shoot Edmonds if he refused again. However, Master Sgt. Edmonds refused again, stating that the Geneva Convention only requires the men to provide their name, rank and serial number.  The Nazi officer eventually turned away and left the scene. The actions taken by Master Sgt. Edmonds saved the lives of approximately 200 Jewish-American service members that day.”

Upon introducing the bill, Senator Alexander said, “I do not know of a more inspiring example of the American character than the heroism of this 26-year-old East Tennessee soldier.”

The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

S.Res.202 —A resolution congratulating the students, parents, teachers, and leaders of charter schools across the United States for making ongoing contributions to education, and supporting the ideals and goals of the 20th annual National Charter Schools Week, to be held on May 12 through May 18, 2019

A bipartisan item, this Resolution was introduced on May 13 and celebrated “20th annual National Charter Schools Week, which runs from May 12 through May 18, 2019, and commends the students, parents, teachers, and leaders of our nation’s more than 7,000 charter schools across 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.”

Of it, Senator Alexander said, “Charter schools give teachers more freedom to teach and parents more freedom to choose the school that best suits their child. As a result of the 2015 law fixing No Child Left Behind, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded 93 new grant awards to open new and replicate and expand high-quality, charter schools in America. This National Charter Schools Week, we continue to show bipartisan support for charter schools, which give students a real opportunity to attend a school that’s right for them.”

It was submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

S.1455 —Horse Protection Amendments Act of 2019

Introduced on May 14, this bill is meant to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse tradition. Explaining it, Senator Alexander said, “In baseball, if a player illegally uses steroids you punish the player – you don’t shut down America’s pastime. We need to punish and stop any trainer, owner or rider who engages in the illegal practice of horse soring – not shut down a treasured and important tradition in both Tennessee and Kentucky. Just as there is zero tolerance in baseball, there should be zero tolerance in horse soring.” The press release about the bill also explains that the “Tennessee Walking Horse industry supports more than 20,000 jobs nationwide and pumps $3.2 billion into the nation’s economy. In 2018, there were more than 200 shows contributing millions of dollars to local economies. There are more than 260,000 walking horses registered nationwide, including over 58,000 walking horses in Tennessee, and more than 35,000 in Kentucky.”

It was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

S.Res.257 —A resolution designating June 20, 2019, as “American Eagle Day” and celebrating the recovery and restoration of the bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States

Introduced on June 20, this Resolution seeks to “celebrate the dramatic recovery and restoration of the bald eagle. The bald eagle is a symbol of the spirit of freedom and sovereignty of the United States, and as a Tennessean, I am especially proud of the role the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge has played for more than thirty years in preserving this magnificent bird,” according to Senator Alexander.

Though officially designated as the national symbol of the United States on June 20, 1782, the Resolution (unanimously passed) encourages “educational entities, businesses, conservation groups, and government agencies to collaborate and develop educational tools about bald eagles for use in schools. The measures also highlighted the U.S. Mint’s Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program, which raised approximately $7.8 million for the American Eagle Foundation, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to support efforts to protect the bald eagle.”

S.1895 —Lower Health Care Costs Act

Another bipartisan item, this bill was introduced on June 19 and seeks to “deliver better health care at lower costs…[and] reduce what Americans pay out of their pockets for health care in three major ways: First, it ends surprise billing; second, it creates more transparency — you can’t lower your health care costs until you know what your health care actually costs. And third, it increases prescription drug competition to help bring more lower cost generic and biosimilar drugs to patients. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate health committee to mark up this legislation next week before sending it to the full Senate for consideration,” according to Senator Alexander.

It was placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 133 on July 8.

In Conclusion

It takes only a cursory examination of the legislative items introduced by Senator Alexander to see that he is not under any undue influences and has only the best interests of the people of Tennessee, and the U.S. at heart in all of his actions, words, and work in the Senate.