Alexander Votes Against Budget Agreement, But It Passes Senate

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on his vote against the Ryan-Murray budget agreement: The bill passed 64-36.

“I voted against the budget agreement because it avoids the federal government’s most urgent need: reducing the growth of runaway entitlement spending. Instead, it spends savings that should be used to strengthen Medicare, pensions, and the air transportation system. It is particularly troubling that the budget agreement takes money from pensions in a way that treats military retirees worse than the civilian federal employees. 

“It would have been better to pay for this agreement with a small part of the $1 trillion in entitlement savings that Sen. Corker and I have identified in our ‘Fiscal Sustainability Act,’ or with entitlement savings suggested in the president’s budget.   

“Although I can’t support it, I appreciate the efforts of Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray to bring certainty to the budget process, which is why I voted Tuesday to allow a Senate vote on their agreement, which had passed the House with two-to-one Republican support.”  

In addition to its failure to address growth of mandatory entitlement spending – such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – Alexander cited four major objections to the budget agreement. Alexander objected to the agreement because it: 

  • Cuts $22 billion in 2022 and 2023 in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and other health care providers, for savings that may never materialize.
  • Increases pension premiums paid by employers to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. by $7.9 billion, to pay for unrelated spending.
  • Cuts the annual cost-of-living benefits for military retirees under the age of 62 by 1 percent, to pay for unrelated spending. This would impact current retirees, as opposed to new hires as in the case of changes to civilian federal employee pensions.
  • Increases by $12.6 billion airport security fees – which generally get passed on to airline passengers – to pay for unrelated spending. Such fees should be used to improve airport security. 

In February, Senators Alexander and Corker introduced the “Fiscal Sustainability Act,” S. 11, "to reduce the growth of entitlement spending (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) by nearly $1 trillion in the next decade in order to improve the programs’ solvency."

Senator Alexander said that bill incorporates many of the recommendations made by President Obama’s Debt Commission (Simpson-Bowles) as well as by former Republican Senator Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, budget director for former President Clinton. 


Peter Macrellis, 21, Arrested On Multiple Charges Stemming From April 17th Accident On Cherry Street

Peter Macrellis, 21, has been indicted on the following charges: DUI, vehicular assault, aggravated reckless driving, driving on suspended license, financial responsibility, wrong way on a one-way street.    These charges stem from an accident at  400 Cherry Street, on April 17, when a pedestrian was struck.   Macrellis is in custody and ... (click for more)

Sheriff's Office Releases Names Of 4 Deputies Involved In Shooting After Pursuit

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the four law enforcement personnel involved in the shooting incident of Brent Pickard on Aug. 26. They are Sgt. Gregg Carson, Sgt. Spencer Daniels, Deputy Adam Ty Williams and Deputy Eric Baxter. As per the sheriff's office policy, all four personnel were placed on mandatory administrative leave and have returned ... (click for more)

Who's Responsible For East Ridge's Stadium? - And Response

There just can be no excuse for East Ridge High School's stadium being in such dangerous condition that it has been condemned.   Where is responsible for this? I know there are a few other stadiums like this as well. And there is no excuse for this.  Building new and beautiful schools, state of the art technology. Top athletic facilities as well. Yet, East Ridge ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Five Straight Days Of Football

If I covered my first high school football game as a fledging sports when I was 16 years old, and I am now 66, I figure that’s darn near about a half-century of passes and punts. The mystifying part is that I still get as big of a kick hovering around the game as I did on my very first time so as we usher in the start of the college season with five straight days of games, here ... (click for more)

East Ridge Football: Home Side Stands Are Closed ... Four Home Games Will Be Played on Campus

The home side football stands and press box at East Ridge High School are closed permanently due to safety issues, but for the 66 teenagers who wear the orange, white and gray for the Pioneers on Friday nights it’s a small distraction and the season continues. “Playing this Friday’s game against Signal Mountain at Baylor (7:30 p.m.) is a small distraction for us, but we know ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Sweeps Red Bank In Volleyball

Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman was not a very happy young lady last week when Notre Dame came up and took a 3-1 volleyball win in the Lady Eagles' gym. She knows she has an experienced team with more than her share of talent, but they just hadn't been playing like it to start the season. The veteran coach was somewhat happier Wednesday night after her team took a non-district ... (click for more)