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. 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ANDERSON, CARLISHA DENISE 2558 4TH AVE UNIT 2 CHATTANOOGA, 37404 23 Chattanooga ATTEMPTED FIRST DEGREE MURDER AGGRAVATED ASSAULT AUSTIN, ASHLEY MESHELLE 2004 E 13TH ST APT A CHATTANOOGA, 37404 23 Chattanooga REGISTRATION, DRIVING UNREGISTERED VEHICLE LIGHT LAW VIOLATION STOP SIGN VIOLATION ... (click for more)

Bradley County SPCA Board Addresses Allegations Of Unanswered Calls

During a Monday afternoon Bradley County Commission meeting, a representative from the sheriff's department said that there were 266 emergency calls unanswered by the SPCA regarding animals. Later Monday evening, the SPCA Board addressed the allegations. SPCA Board President Ed Elkins said, "No one from the SPCA Board had heard about this." President Elkins also pointed ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wastes No Time Shifting Attention To Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – L ittle time had passed following Tennessee's 34-3 loss to Ole Miss on Saturday night before the challenge that lies ahead this week crossed the mind of the UT staff. In past years, a loss of that type could have had a lasting impact on the psyche of the team. But  Tennessee coach Butch Jones   still sees his team progressing, both mentally ... (click for more)

Ooltewah's Riley Hickman: 2-for-2 Wins At Cleveland And Talladega

The “Hustler” Riley Hickman of Ooltewah hunkered down this weekend and picked up a pair of wins in Dirt Track competition. Friday night the # R1 “Hickman Manufacturing, American Billett, Austin Trucking, Tucker Mobile Home Service, Allstar Graphics, VP Racing Fuels, RH Designs, Competition Racing Equipment, A-1 Towing, MRC” sponsored CVR / Vic Hill powered machine ... (click for more)