Chairman News


Knoxville News Sentinel: Editorial: Action needed to rescue ACA exchanges

A town hall meeting on the future of the Affordable Care Act scheduled for Thursday took on fresh urgency with last week's announcement that Humana would no longer participate in the law's health insurance exchanges. Humana, the sole ACA exchange insurer remaining in the Knoxville area, announced plans to exit the ACA exchange next year, citing an "unbalanced risk pool." The announcement came about a month after a federal court rejected a proposed merger with Aetna. Though the company rema… Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Lamar Alexander: We must quickly fix Tennessee's Obamacare emergency

There is an Obamacare emergency in Tennessee. Humana's announcement that it is pulling out of all Obamacare exchanges could leave 40,000 residents in Knoxville with no health care exchange options next year - they may have an Obamacare subsidy but it'll be like holding a bus ticket in a town where no buses run. This news from Humana should light a fire under every member of Congress to work together with Secretary Tom Price to rescue Americans trapped in the failing Obamacare exchanges before e… Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Brian Kelsey: Betsy DeVos highly qualified to be education secretary

The United States Senate should follow the lead of its Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee in voting to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. I have worked with Mrs. DeVos on education issues in Tennessee for several years. I know her to have both a heart for our school children and the experience to take the Department of Education to new heights. In 2010 Mrs. DeVos founded the American Federation for Children, a national organization f… Continue Reading


The Memphis Commercial Appeal: Dwight Montgomery: Betsy DeVos has shown dedication to education, children

As a pastor and community servant, I try to be not only an ear but also a voice for families across my city. When it comes to the education of our children across Memphis, I try to represent children and parents who don't have an association or lobbying group pushing their agenda in legislative chambers. However, there has been a person and an organization that dedicate their efforts to giving children the best education possible. That person is Betsy DeVos, and her organization is the America… Continue Reading


CQ Roll Call: Education Nominee DeVos Clarifies Stance on Disability Law

Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump's pick for Education secretary, is fighting back against allegations that she is not familiar with a federal law requiring public schools to provide services to help educate children with disabilities. In a Jan. 24 letter to Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., DeVos said she was "committed to enforcing all federal laws and protecting the hard won rights of students with disabilities." DeVos' stance on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act has become a crit… Continue Reading


Education Week: In Letter, DeVos Says She'll Protect 'Hard Won Rights' of Students With Disabilities

Betsy DeVos, the nominee for secretary of education, said in a letter to a senator after her confirmation hearing that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a "wonderful example of what happens when parents are regarded as full partners in their child's educational decision-making" and that she is "committed to enforcing all federal laws and protecting the hard won rights of students with disabilities." The Jan. 24 letter was addressed to Republican U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Geo… Continue Reading


Chattanooga Times Free Press: Cooper: Cures Act a strong dose of hope

In a day when approval of Congress barely exceeds 10 percent of poll respondents and few believe the body ever gets anything meaningful done, the 21st Century Cures Act is, if you will, a remedy of sorts. The $6.3 billion bipartisan legislation, shepherded through the Senate by Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, chairman of the body's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, overwhelmingly passed both houses of Congress and was expected to be signed by President Barack Obama. A… Continue Reading


Politico: Alexander spearheaded Cures' EHR reform

Aboard Air Force One headed for Tennessee on a frosty day two Januarys ago, President Barack Obama gave Sen. Lamar Alexander a preview of his Precision Medicine Initiative, the plan to get genomic and other data from a million Americans to use in developing targeted drug therapies. The Tennessean, who was about to take over the Senate HELP Committee, was a natural ally for Obama because of his own interest in biomedical innovation that grew out of years of discussions with academics from the sp… Continue Reading


Johnson City Press: Senate passed 21st Century Cures Act 94-5, includes $1 billion in opioid treatment funding

On the heels of bipartisan House approval, the Senate handily approved the wide-sweeping 21st Century Cures Act, which includes $1 billion in state grants to treat opioid addiction, by a 95-4 vote Tuesday afternoon. Now the bill will move along to President Barack Obama's desk, where it will likely be signed into law. Obama has been a vocal proponent of the act. In an Op-Ed column published in The Columbus Dispatch, Obama said, "(The 21st Century Cures Act) will build upon steps we have alre… Continue Reading


Chattanooga Times Free Press: New health care law touted as 'most important bill of the year'

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is touting the 21st Century Cures bill, which the Senate and House have now passed and President Barack Obama is expected to sign, as "the most important bill of the year." The sprawling 996-page legislation is the most significant health care law passed by Congress since Obamacare, and it won bipartisan backing, passing the U.S. House last week by a vote of 344-77 and winning Senate approval on Wednesday, 94-5. As chairman of the Senate Health, Education, La… Continue Reading


The Hill: The time to act is now: Bipartisan action will accelerate cures for Americans

With the election over, speculation is rampant on what this means for politics and policy in 2017. We need to take a step back however, and realize there is critical work to be completed by Congress in 2016, to set the stage for a new generation of medical innovation, and demonstrate to the American people that Washington is not broken. Congress has four remaining work weeks in Washington to hash out the budget and hopefully finish work on the "21st Century Cures" legislation which will accele… Continue Reading


74 Interview: Senator Lamar Alexander on Keeping ESSA From Becoming The Next Obamacare

(Washington, D.C.) - Sen. Lamar Alexander, it seems, is taking the long view on one of the major achievements of his legislative career, the Every Student Succeeds Act. His goal: making sure the new federal K-12 law isn't implemented in a way that negates neither Congress's intent nor the good will that emerged after its passage. Alexander told The 74 said he hopes ESSA enters the pantheon of respected bipartisan domestic policy achievements, legislation like the civil rights laws of the 1960… Continue Reading


The Hill: Passing 'cures' bill means better health possible for virtually every American

Last August, Douglas Oliver, 52, of Nashville, was legally blind. Today, he can see. His story is just one of many stunning breakthroughs in biomedical research that Congress is seeking to accelerate in a "21st Century Cures" Act. Early last year Vanderbilt University doctors told Mr. Oliver that there was no cure for the inherited form of Macular Degeneration that had gradually stolen his eyesight. But doctors suggested that he check the internet for promising research. Oliver found a clinic… Continue Reading


Knoxville News Sentinel: Overtime rule will increase tuition

Tennesseans have heard a lot of talk from the Obama administration about making college affordable and keeping costs down. So it's hard to see how President Barack Obama can justify the final overtime rule out of his Labor Department last week that could raise annual tuition at one Tennessee college by nearly $850 per student. One of the most radical, out-of-touch aspects of the Obama administration's agenda has been its labor policies, and this new overtime rule is a glaring example. It more t… Continue Reading


Knoxville News Sentinel: Man who regained sight works with Alexander on stem-cell legislation

WASHINGTON - Doug Oliver was legally blind. Now he can see. For the first time in a dozen years, Oliver can make out the dollops of sunlight sparkling on the tops of parked cars. He can read road signs, count the leaves on a tree and clearly see the faces of loved ones, including his wife, Ann, whom he met after his vision had begun to fade. Oliver, who lives in Nashville, passed another milestone in December when he finally got his driver's license back. He was barred from getting behind the… Continue Reading


Washington Post: Senator: The Obama administration is trying to skirt new federal education law

Sen. Lamar Alexander ripped into Education Secretary John King Jr. during a hearing on Tuesday, accusing the Obama administration of trying to unilaterally change key provisions of the nation's new federal education law. Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate's education committee, was particularly frustrated with proposed rules for how districts may spend billions of federal dollars meant for educating poor children. "We're seeing disturbing evidence that the Department of Education is i… Continue Reading


Knoxville News Sentinel: Alexander proud of work on medical research bill pending in Senate

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has had his hands on a lot of bills, but he believes none has been as far-reaching as the one he's working on now. "I will probably never have a chance to work (again) on something this important as a U.S. senator," the Maryville Republican said. Alexander and the committee he chairs completed work last week on the last of 19 bipartisan proposals that aim to speed up the approval of drugs and medical devices and boost funding for medical research into tre… Continue Reading


The Daily Caller: Republicans Give Feds A Taste Of Their ‘Own Medicine’

Senate Republicans introduced a measure Wednesday which would require a federal agency to comply with the same employment data collection rule it plans to impose on private employers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the main federal agency tasked with resolving workplace discrimination. It introduced a proposal Jan. 29 that would increase the amount of data employers must submit about workers from 180 to 3,660. The EEOC Reform Act would subject the agency to the same burde… Continue Reading


Washington Post: Can Alexander and Murray recapture bipartisan magic to pass higher education legislation?

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) accomplished something few of their colleagues in Congress could during the past year: pass bipartisan legislation. The pair worked tirelessly to craft a deal that would reform K-12 education, dismantling the controversial No Child Left Behind law that required schools to show academic progress through standardized tests or reckon with a series of penalties. Reaching a compromise was no cake walk, but Alexander, chair of the educat… Continue Reading


Education Week: Under ESSA, States, Districts to Share More Power

State and school district officials who have complained for years that an inflexible, overprescriptive federal role in public education is at the heart of the No Child Left Behind Act seem to have finally gotten their wish: a replacement law that scales back Washington's K-12 footprint for the first time in more than a quarter-century. Now, big questions loom about just where states and districts will take the leeway granted to them under the newly minted Every Student Succeeds Act-and just how… Continue Reading

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