Commentary Lamar Alexander: The Senate Has Been Focused on Results


With 224,000 jobs created last month, June’s jobs report brought good news for American workers – more jobs and higher wages. Simply put, Congress, working with the Trump Administration, is bringing real results to the American people.

President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence delivers remarks during the Jobs Announcement event with Foxconn Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Over six million new jobs have been created since President Trump was elected, and Americans are enjoying one of the lowest unemployment rates in 50 years. Because of lower taxes and fewer regulations, our economy is surging.

Just this week in the United States Senate, we confirmed our 42nd federal appellate judge. That doesn’t make as much news, but it’s one of the most important things we do. Since President Trump was elected, the Senate has confirmed two new Supreme Court justices, a record 42 federal appellate judges, and many federal district judges, including four judges in Tennessee. That’s one of President Trump’s most important legacies.

We also have a strong list of legislative accomplishments for a conservative government.

In fact, I often recommend that Tennesseans look at the Senate as a split screen television. On one side, you have the cable news television drama of the day, and on the other side, you have Congress and the Trump administration working together to get results.

Let’s take last October as an example. On one side of the split screen, you had the Kavanaugh hearings, where it looked like a food fight. And on the other side of the screen, you had 72 senators working together in a bipartisan way on opioids legislation that President Trump called the “single largest legislative package addressing a single drug crisis in history.”

Just last month, we saw several other examples.

First – the Senate passed legislation that puts our men and women who serve in our Armed Forces first. This legislation, the National Defense Authorization Act, authorizes pay raises for troops and makes important investments in research and development of new technology so our military can deal with new and emerging threats. This bill also authorizes funding for advanced equipment to help ensure the men and women of the armed forces have the tools they need to protect American interests at home and abroad, improves housing and helps increase employment opportunities for military spouses.

We also approved a $4.6 billion bipartisan bill to fund the president’s request to expand shelters, provide care for unaccompanied children and increase security along our Southern border.

And in the Senate health committee I serve on as chairman, we approved by a 20-3 vote legislation that will reduce what virtually every American pays for health care out of their own pockets.

These are important results for our country, and I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress to focus on the right side of the split screen, which helps improve the lives of Tennesseans.

Lamar Alexander  is a senator from Tennessee and former governor.

(Editor’s Note: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Jeff McCord announced in January 2019 the statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.

Tennessee has now had a statewide unemployment rate of 3.3 percent for the last four consecutive months.

Total nonfarm employment in Tennessee increased by 8,300 jobs from December to January. The largest increases occurred in accommodations/food services, administrative/support/waste services, and arts/entertainment/recreation. Over the last year, nonfarm employment across the state grew by 61,200 jobs.)


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