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Latest from Lamar Alexander: Reviewing budget recommendations from President Donald Trump

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – This week, President Donald Trump announced his budget recommendations for fiscal year 2021. I appreciate the president’s budget suggestions and will carefully consider them as Congress begins the process of funding the federal government for the next fiscal year.

Under the Constitution, it is Congress’ job to set spending priorities and pass appropriations bills, and my priorities will continue to be making sure our national defense, national laboratories, the National Institutes of Health and national parks have the resources they need.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

In his budget, the president called for ending the practice of surprise medical billing.

Ending surprise medical billing is a problem almost everyone wants fixed, and is a perfect example of how Congress and the president can work together to reduce out of pocket health care costs for patients.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the necessity of fixing this problem earlier this week:

President Donald Trump tweets about suprise medical billing

I am also glad to see the budget continues to include the president’s proposal to rebuild our national parks. The Restore Our Parks Act, legislation that I introduced with Senators Portman, Warner, and King, is based on the president’s proposal and will cut in half the maintenance backlog at our national parks.

This legislation is the only way to address the deferred maintenance backlog in our 419 national parks, and the Trump Administration agrees. This is especially important for Tennessee, given that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country.

The budget proposes a major increase in funding for career and technical education programs to help train more workers for our growing economy. The budget also proposes new education tax credit scholarships to give low-income families more of the same choices that wealthier families already have when choosing a school for their children.

Chickamauga Lock construction will continue for sixth consecutive year

Under the work plan released this week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chickamauga Lock will receive $101.7 million to continue construction for the sixth consecutive year. This funding will keep construction of the new Chickamauga Lock on time and schedule.

This is great news for East Tennessee since it will help keep up to 150,000 trucks off I-75 and keep the cost of shipping goods low for manufacturers across the state. More U.S. senators ask to increase funding for the Army Corps of Engineers than any other part of the budget, and I worked hard to provide record funding for the Corps to ensure we could keep federal lock and dam projects on track.

The work plan also provides $8.1 million for the J. Percy Priest project, which includes an additional $2.2 million for maintenance of recreation features and greenway trail improvements. The work plan also includes $2.163 million for dredging at Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake, which is good news for West Tennesseans.

Important news from this past week:

  • I wrote an op-ed with Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina on the Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, now called COVID-19. As chairman of the Senate health committee, I will continue to monitor this outbreak, and I believe the actions of our public health officials, state and local partners, and the Trump administration are helping to prevent the spread of the virus in the United States. Read more here.  
  • President Donald Trump announced this week his intent to nominate Tyreece Miller to serve as the United States Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee. Deputy Chief Miller knows how to get results and how to get local, state and federal agencies to work together. 
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that construction of Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga will receive its sixth straight year of funding, which will help keep up to 150,000 trucks off I-75 and keep the cost of shipping goods low for manufacturers across the state.   
  • This week I voted to approve the Iran War Powers Resolution. This vote is about the United States Constitution. It preserves the commander in chief’s Article II constitutional responsibility to defend the country and Congress’ Article I responsibility to declare war. 

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