United States Senator Lamar Alexander Monday said President James K. Polk’s home is “one step closer to being declared a national treasure” after the House of Representatives passed a bill to take the next step to protect and preserve the Tennessee president’s home. Senator Alexander sponsored the Senate version of the legislation, which has been approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and is now awaiting action by the full Senate.
“Tennessee is full of history, and Tennessee’s President James K. Polk’s home is a special prize for Tennesseans as well as Americans – and today, thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives, President Polk’s home is one step closer to being declared a national treasure,” Senator Alexander said. “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 take the next step to provide an opportunity to attract more visitors to Tennessee and strengthen local economies. I’m hopeful the Senate will pass this bill soon.”
On January 11, 2017, Senator Alexander introduced the James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act. Similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) and Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04) on the same day. The legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study and 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 Senator 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.