Alexander Says He's "Not In The Shut-Down-The-Government Crowd"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Wednesday said he’s “not in the shut-down-the-government crowd,” but rather in the “take-over-the-government crowd that is ready to repeal and replace Obamacare with step-by-step reforms that would reduce the costs of health care.”  

“Every one of us has voted against voted against Obamacare,” Senator Alexander said of Republicans in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate. “Every one of us would vote to repeal it, but in my view, the right tactic is not to shut down the government. It won’t work – Obamacare would just keep going and we would have shut down the government.”

Senator Alexander continued, “Shutting down the government will not stop Obamacare.” The law would continue to be funded, Alexander said, because nearly 85 percent of the law’s funding is mandatory spending that is not affected by a government shutdown. President Obama could also continue to implement Obamacare by deeming it an “essential” part of government services.

The senator provided a list of ways that a government shutdown would harm Tennesseans and all Americans, including:

  • 3.4 million active-duty military personnel who would have to report to work – whether in Fort Campbell or Afghanistan – without getting paid during the shutdown
  • Department of Defense schools for the children of military personnel could be closed during the shutdown
  • Flight delays for the nearly 2 million Americans who fly each day because of fewer Transportation Security Administration Agents
  • Furloughed workers at national laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee
  • Closure of national parks, such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Delays in payments to veterans and recipients of Social Security
  • Delays in the processing of gun permits by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
  • Delays in the processing of federal student loans

Senator Alexander said, “Who do you suspect is going to get blamed for this? We will have succeeded in shifting the blame for passing Obamacare from the Democrats, who did it unanimously, to the Republicans for shutting down the government.”

Instead of shutting down the government, Senator Alexander said, Americans should elect more Republicans to the U.S. Senate – and ultimately a Republican president – to enact their own plan. He offered two steps to dismantling Obamacare – repealing the law’s taxes and mandates, followed by nine steps to replacing it with step-by-step reforms: 

  1. Make Medicare solvent, so seniors can depend on it to be there for them and their grandchildren.
  1. Give governors more flexibility with their state Medicaid programs, so they can lower costs, improve health outcomes, and have more money for other programs like education and roads.
  1. Strengthen innovative workplace wellness programs that empower employees with more incentives to make healthy lifestyle choices.
  2. Let small businesses pool their resources and offer lower-cost insurance plans for their employees.
  3. Provide families the opportunity to purchase insurance across state lines, creating greater competition between insurance companies and lowering premiums for everyone. 
  4. Expand access to Health Savings Accounts and catastrophic health insurance plans, giving people more affordable insurance options that fit their lifestyles.
  1. Incentivize the growth of private health insurance exchanges to give consumers expanded health insurance choices and allow them to keep insurance between jobs.
  2. Make it easier for patients to compare prices and the quality of doctors and medical services. 
  3. Incentivize states to reform junk lawsuits that drive up health care costs for everyone and are driving medical professionals out of their profession.

“The best way to do it is to take over the government,” Senator Alexander said of defeating Obamacare. “Elect some more senators. Elect a president. Put in a bill. That’s our constitutional system.”


Burglary Suspects Arrested By Chance, Due To Malfunctioning Tag Lights

Hamilton County deputies arrested burglary suspects by chance after pulling over a vehicle because of malfunctioning tag lights on July 25. When deputies walked up to the vehicle, they noticed the rear seat passenger making very sudden movements. They also saw him stuff something into a back pack.  While at the window, deputies noticed a large knife lying out in the ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Man Arrested On Child Rape Charges

A Chattanooga man was taken into custody after he admitted to police that he raped his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. According to police, the young girl was with her grandmother the following day and told her what her father, Michael Skellenger, had done.  Her grandmother immediately rushed her to the hospital for an examination. They were directed to the Children's ... (click for more)

Senator Bob Corker: An Open Letter To Tennesseans

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies, and engaged citizenry.  That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Scottsboro’s Pat Trammell

I got a warm feeling Tuesday when it was announced Pat Trammell will be among those in the inaugural class of the Jackson County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame. When the august group is enshrined at Scottsboro’s Goose Pond Civic Center on Nov. 1, most folks won’t even know who Pat Trammell was but I knew all about him in my very first year as a fledgling sports writer back in 1967 and, ... (click for more)

Recap of 17 Stop, Prep Football Tour

Starting at Soddy Daisy at 7:44 a.m. and leaving Silverdale 14 hours later ( 9:58 p.m.), the fifth annual Chattanoogan.com prep football tour made whistle stops at 17 schools covering 220 miles.   The Chattanooga Jamboree is Aug. 15-16 at Finley Stadium and the season openers are Thurs. Aug. 21   - Cleveland vs. McCallie (Finley Stadium) ... (click for more)

NPSL National Championship To Be Played At Red Bulls Arena

The NPSL announced on Monday that the national championship match between Chattanooga FC and the Red Bulls U23 will be played on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.  The match will be played following an MLS match between New York Red Bulls and the New England Revolution.   Local fans took to social media to appeal for the game to be played in Chattanooga. ... (click for more)