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Visiting Tennessee communities impacted by Tuesday’s catastrophic Tornadoes

 

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – Tennesseans who were impacted by Tuesday’s storms continue to be in my prayers, particularly those whose loved ones were injured or killed. I have seen floods, and I have seen fires – the damage they cause is terrible, but there is nothing quite like seeing what a tornado can do. It can arrive in 30 seconds or a minute and then be gone, leaving behind it death and buildings laid flat to the ground.

I have been visiting the areas affected by this storm, and it’s heart-wrenching to see the devastation caused by the tornadoes, but we are taking aggressive action to help Tennessee families recover.

President Trump visited some of Tennessee’s affected communities, and I appreciate his support. Tennesseans are resilient, and we will come through this difficult time stronger than ever. (Photo credit to George Walker IV, The Tennessean)

President Trump visited some of Tennessee’s affected communities, and I appreciate his support. Tennesseans are resilient, and we will come through this difficult time stronger than ever. (Photo credit to George Walker IV, The Tennessean)

My office has been in touch with mayors in all of the counties and communities affected, and Senator Marsha Blackburn and I are working together, along with the rest of the Tennessee delegation, to ensure that we give full federal support to Governor Lee.

We will do everything we can to help Tennesseans and their communities rebuild and recover.

The Donald Trump Administration, Congress are prepared to fight the Coronavirus

On Thursday, I voted to provide $7.8 billion in funding to fight coronavirus, including $950 million for state and local governments. Those dollars, the travel restrictions on people coming from China and certain other locations, and a speed up in making diagnostic kits available are all a part of an effort that makes the United States among the countries that is best prepared to keep Tennesseans – and all Americans – safe from the coronavirus

I also chaired a hearing in the Senate health committee this week on the coronavirus to hear from respected professionals with decades of experience, who are the right people to give Americans accurate information about the coronavirus, about both what individuals can do and what the federal government is doing to respond.

Around the world, the spread of the coronavirus is alarming, with around 100,000 cases in at least 85 countries and over 3,000 deaths. This week, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced the first case of the coronavirus in Tennessee, and the United States has over 200 cases, according to some news reports. But the fact remains that most people in the United States are at low-risk, and the United States is one of the countries best prepared to deal with the coronavirus.

Here is what the New York Times said on their front page on Sunday: “Much about the coronavirus remains unclear, and it is far from certain that the outbreak will reach severe proportions in the United States or affect many regions at once. With its top-notch scientists, modern hospitals and sprawling public health infrastructure, most experts agree, the United States is among the countries best prepared to prevent or manage such an epidemic.”

President Donald Trump supports most important conservation legislation in 50 years

President Donald Trump announced his support this week for bipartisan legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and to cut in half the $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks.

This bipartisan legislation combines two bills that together make it the most important piece of conservation legislation in the last half century. It includes my Restore Our Parks Act, which will cut in half the deferred maintenance backlog for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and other national parks, in addition to fully funding the LWCF permanently, which has been a goal of Congress for 55 years.

None of this would have happened without bipartisan support and none of this would have happened without President Trump’s strong support and endorsement of both bills.

Working to increase funding for Oak Ridge National Laboratory

I held a hearing this week to review President Trump’s fiscal year 2021 budget request for the U.S. Department of Energy, which funds important energy research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in East Tennessee.

As chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Energy Department, I will work to ensure that our 17 national labs, including Oak Ridge, have the federal funding needed to achieve priorities such as maintaining our place as the world’s leader in supercomputing.

I’m pleased that this budget request proposes to continue development of exascale supercomputers – the next generation of supercomputers –which will be thousand times faster than the supercomputers the U.S. built in 2008. This week, Oak Ridge announced that Summit, the world’s most powerful supercomputer, is being used to identify potential treatments for coronavirus.

Important news from this week:

  • Honey and I continue to pray for the Tennesseans impacted by Tuesday’s catastrophic storms. It’s always shocking to see the damage a tornado can do, and I’m grateful for our state’s first responders. President Trump has approved Tennessee’s request for federal disaster assistance, and I will continue working with Governor Lee’s office and other local officials to make sure we that we do everything within our ability to respond to the needs of Tennesseans and their communities.
  • On Thursday, Governor Lee announced Tennessee’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus. The Senate approved this week, with my support, nearly $8 billion in funding, including $950 million for state and local governments. Those dollars, along with screening and travel restrictions on people coming from China and other affected places, and a speed up in making diagnostic kits available to detect coronavirus are all a part of that effort. The Trump Administration is using the resources and tools that Congress has provided to respond to the coronavirus and the federal government is doing everything we can to assist Tennesseans.
  • President Donald Trump announced his support for bipartisan legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and cut in half the $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks, which would provide much needed assistance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • The Senate passed the Older Americans Act, which supports programs like meals on wheels and grants to states so they can help seniors live more comfortably at home or ensure high-quality care at a nursing home.

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