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Alexander, Black Release Statements on 5-Year Anniversary of Obamacare

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 23, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, today released the following statement on the 5th anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law:

“Five years ago this week, President Obama signed into law a piece of legislation Republicans said would be an historic mistake. Since this law passed, we have seen health care costs increase for the American people, many have lost their health care plans and their choice of doctors, and freedom and flexibility in health care choices have been severely limited. Republicans have been and are still ready to head step by step in a different direction – one that emphasizes more freedom, more choices, and lower costs.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; March 23, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse for more than forty years and member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on the fifth anniversary of Obamacare being signed into law:

“Five years after Obamacare was signed into law, the broken promises are many and the hurt is real. Just ask the 16,000 Tennesseans who lost their  affordable health insurance plans through CoverTN despite the President’s pledge that ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ or the 31 million Americans expected to remain uninsured even after this law is fully implemented. Obamacare is such a disaster that the Obama Administration itself has allowed more than 40 changes to the law so far and many of the politicians responsible for this train wreck – from Kathleen Sebelius to Marilyn Tavenner – are now out of a job. As a nurse for more than 40 years, I understand the need for health care reform, but this top-down rewrite of one-sixth of our economy was never the way to do it. On this unhappy anniversary, the results are in: Obamacare was a mistake that harms the very people it pretends to help. Today, our case for repealing and replacing this law couldn’t be stronger,” said Congressman Diane Black.

Alexander Aiming to Consider Legislation to Fix NCLB in Mid-April

Press release from U.S.  Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 9, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 9 – U.S. Senate education committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today released the following statement:

“During the last several weeks we have been working together to build the base for legislation to fix the problems with No Child Left Behind. We are making significant progress in our negotiations. We are aiming to consider and markup legislation to fix the law during the week of April 13th.”

Alexander Votes to Override Obama Keystone XL Veto

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today voted to override the president’s veto of legislation passed by Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. He released the following statement:

“The Keystone XL pipeline will create thousands of jobs for American workers and put our country one step closer to energy independence, and there is no reason for the president to have vetoed it. Our Republican majority allowed nearly double the number of roll call votes on amendments to this bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline legislation than Democrats did in all of 2014, and it stands as proof that Republicans are working to get things done.”

The legislation, introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and cosponsored by Alexander, all other members of the Republican majority, and six Democrats, would allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate, and maintain the Keystone XL pipeline. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate’s majority leader, allowed dozens of amendments pertaining to a range of issues, including energy and the economy, to be debated and voted on during consideration of the Keystone Pipeline XL bill in January.

Alexander is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He is also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development.

Alexander Receives Ashbrook Award for Championing History, Civics Education

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 5, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was presented Wednesday evening with the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University’s 2015 John M. Ashbrook Award for his work in championing American history and civics education.

“In my first address as a U.S. Senator, I proposed that we create summer academies for outstanding teachers in United States history. The next year, Congress passed legislation to create the Presidential and Congressional academies to inspire better teaching and more learning of the key events, persons and ideas that shape our nation—helping our children to grow up knowing what it means to be an American,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee. “I thank the Ashbrook Center for their important work in continuing to inspire a love of American history and civics, and I’m glad to accept their award.”

In presenting Alexander with this award, Ashbrook Center Executive Director Roger L. Beckett cited Alexander’s “commitment to educating the next generation about our unique form of constitutional government.” Beckett added, “He pioneered the idea of hosting educational programs at key historical sites during his early days in the Senate. The Ashbrook Center embraced this concept then and continues these types of programs now to great success.”

In 2004, Alexander introduced the American History and Civics Education Act, which allowed for the creation of the Congressional Academies for high school students and the Presidential Academies for teachers to focus on American history and civics. The Ashbrook Center’s program allows high school juniors and teachers of American history and civics to learn first-hand through visits to historical sites in Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. At the Ashbrook Center, the programs focus on three critical eras in American history through study of the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

According to the Ashbrook Center, the award is presented annually to “honor individuals in politics and related fields who exemplify the ideals” of the late Ohio Congressman John M. Ashbrook, who served in the House of Representatives from 1962 until his death in 1982. These ideals, the award says, “include integrity of thought and conduct; the knowledge of what is right and a determination to do right.”

Alexander, Cohen Statements on King v. Burwell Oral Arguments

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 4 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate health committee, released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case, which Alexander attended:

“Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule that the law means what it says. If the court does, states will have two options for the 6 million Americans who today receive tax credit subsidies. First, states without exchanges can still create them, but Republicans in Congress will provide a better option. We will act to provide financial assistance those Americans hurt by this as well as offer states more flexibility in offering lower cost insurance policies to their citizens.”

On Monday, Alexander, along with U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch of Utah (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) and John Barrasso of Wyoming (chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee) published an op-ed in the Washington Post about what Congress should do if the Court decides against the president in this case.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; March 4, 2015:

As the United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments in King v. Burwell, the case regarding the legality of tax subsidies going to consumers of health insurance purchased through the federal health care marketplace, Tennesseans should be made aware of what is actually at stake in this lawsuit.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 187,856 Tennesseans currently receive monthly pro-rated tax subsidies to help them afford insurance coverage purchased through the federally-run marketplace. Nationwide, these subsidies average $268 per person, per month. In the event that the Court rules in favor of the Burwell plaintiffs (a ruling that would directly contradict Congressional intent as it has been clearly and explicitly expressed by the law’s authors) 187,856 Tennessee citizens would immediately lose these subsidies, effectively causing their monthly insurance premiums to skyrocket by hundreds of dollars each month and making health coverage unaffordable for many, if not all.

Estimates from the Urban Institute indicate that, despite years of the number of uninsured Americans falling because of the President Affordable Care Act, the United States uninsured rate would jump by 30%, disproportionately in the South, should the Court rule in favor of the plaintiffs. This is an unacceptable outcome, and it would throw our state’s—and our nation’s—health insurance systems into chaos while measurably and significantly harming the health of our citizens.

Alexander: U.S. Needs More Nuclear Reactors, Not Less

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today held a hearing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016, in which he told regulators the United States “needs more, not fewer, nuclear reactors” and discussed ways to accomplish that goal.

Alexander discussed solving the stalemate on nuclear waste, avoiding excessive regulation of nuclear plants, licensing new and existing reactors in an efficient manner and making sure the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is running effectively as key to unleashing nuclear power in the United States.

“We must solve the 25-year-old stalemate about what to do with used fuel from our nuclear reactors to ensure that nuclear power has a strong future in this country,” Alexander said at a hearing of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development, which he chairs. “But let me be clear: Yucca Mountain can and should be part of the solution. Federal law designates Yucca Mountain as the nation’s repository for used nuclear fuel.”

Alexander said he plans to reintroduce legislation with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and perhaps others to create both temporary and permanent storage sites for nuclear waste in addition to Yucca Mountain. He also plans to include a pilot program for nuclear waste storage in the subcommittee’s appropriations legislation for fiscal year 2016.

The senator noted that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not asked for money in the president’s budget request to continue the licensing of Yucca Mountain, even though the commission will need more than its current unspent balance, and there is about $36 billion available in the Nuclear Waste Fund.

Alexander said, “Knowing that there are additional steps and they will cost money, why would you not request additional funds in your budget?”

The subcommittee oversees funding for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His full opening remarks as prepared follow:

We’re here today to review the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget request for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the independent federal agency responsible for regulating the safety of our nation’s commercial nuclear power plants and other nuclear materials.

This is the first time in many years that the subcommittee has held a hearing to examine the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s budget.

It is also the first of several hearings that the subcommittee will hold this year on nuclear power. These hearings are important because nuclear power provides about 20 percent of our nation’s electricity and more than 60 percent of our carbon-free electricity.

I plan to focus my questions today on four main areas:

            1. Licensing nuclear waste repositories;

            2. Avoiding excessive regulations;

            3. Licensing for new and existing reactors; and

            4. Making sure the agency is running effectively.

Licensing Nuclear Waste Repositories, including Yucca Mountain

First, we must solve the 25-year-old stalemate about what to do with used fuel from our nuclear reactors to ensure that nuclear power has a strong future in this country.

Later this year, I will reintroduce bipartisan legislation with Senators Feinstein, Murkowski and perhaps others, to create both temporary and permanent storage sites for nuclear waste. Also, Senator Feinstein and I plan to include a pilot program for nuclear waste storage in the Energy and Water appropriations bill, as we have for the past three years.

The new sites we’d seek to establish through  the legislation Senator Feinstein and I are reintroducing this year would not take the place of Yucca Mountain — we have more than enough waste to fill Yucca Mountain to its legal capacity — but rather would complement it.

This legislation is consistent with the president’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.

But let me be clear: Yucca Mountain can and should be part of the solution. Federal law designates Yucca Mountain as the nation’s repository for used nuclear fuel.

The Nuclear Waste Fund, which is money that utilities have paid the government to dispose of their used nuclear fuel, has a balance of about $36 billion and there are still several steps to go in the licensing process for Yucca Mountain.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a balance of unspent funding that you are supposed to use to continue the licensing process. But more resources will be required, so I think it’s fair to ask the question:

Knowing that there are additional steps and they will cost money, why would you not request additional funds in your budget?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently completed the Safety Evaluation Report that said Yucca Mountain met all of the safety requirements through “the period of geologic stability.”

The commission and the Environmental Protection Agency define the “period of geologic stability” as one million years. To continue to oppose Yucca Mountain because of radiation concerns is to ignore science – as well as the law.

The next steps on Yucca Mountain include completing a supplemental environmental impact statement and restarting the hearings before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, which were suspended in September 2011.

Money is available for these activities, and I want to hear why there is no request to use it.

Avoiding Excessive Regulations

Federal law requires that nuclear power plants be built safely, but the law doesn’t say it should be so hard and expensive to build and operate reactors that you can’t do it.

A 2013 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that up to 25 of our 99 nuclear reactors could close by 2020.

The decision to close a reactor could be due to a number of factors, including the low price of natural gas, and the wasteful wind production tax credit, which is so generous that in some markets wind producers can literally give their electricity away and still make a profit.

But the decision to close a reactor can also have to do with excessive and unnecessary regulations. I want to work with the commission to address this.

Licensing for New and Existing Reactors

Over the next several decades, most of our 99 nuclear reactors will go through the commission’s license renewal process to extend their licenses, which is critical to the future of nuclear power. I want to make sure that the commission is prepared for this additional work.

I also want to make sure the commission has devoted the appropriate resources to the licensing process to keep new reactors – like Watts Bar 2 in Tennessee – on time and on budget.

I have proposed that we build 100 new reactors, which may seem excessive, but not if about 20 percent of our current capacity from coal goes offline by 2020 as projected by the Energy Information Administration.  If this capacity were replaced entirely by nuclear power it would require building another 48 new, 1,250-megawatt reactors – which, by the way, would reduce our carbon emissions from electricity by another 14 percent. Add the reactors we may need to replace in the coming decades due to aging and other factors, and my proposal for 100 may not seem so high.

Additionally, the commission needs to move forward with new small modular reactors.

This subcommittee has provided funding to help small modular reactors get through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s licensing process. I’d like to get your views on what you need to continue your efforts.

Making Sure the Agency is Running Effectively

One of the challenges for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is to ensure that the agency is running effectively and focusing staff on the right goals.

In fiscal year 2000, Congress appropriated about $470 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The budget request this year is more than $1 billion.

Much of the increase was due to the significant number of new reactor licenses that were anticipated – however most were never actually submitted.  So, it is fair to ask whether this additional funding is being used for unnecessary regulation.

Conclusion

The best way to understand the importance of nuclear power is to look at the stories of three countries: Japan, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

Japan and Germany have recently experienced what happens when a major manufacturing country loses its nuclear capacity. In Japan, the cost of generating electricity has increased 56 percent and Germany has among the highest household electricity rates in the European Union – both because they moved away from nuclear power.

The United Arab Emirates has shown what a country can do when a country decides to take advantage of nuclear power. By 2020, the Emirates will have completed four reactors that will provide nearly 25 percent of its annual electricity.

It will take building more nuclear reactors to avoid the path of Japan and Germany, and today’s hearing is an important step to making sure the United States does what it must to unleash nuclear power.

I look forward to working with the commission and our Ranking Member, Senator Feinstein, who I will now recognize for an opening statement.

Alexander, Corker, Blackburn File Legislation to Allow Songwriters to Receive Fair Market Compensation

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2015 – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), along with U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and others, today introduced legislation that would allow songwriters to receive compensation based on the fair market value of their songs.

The Songwriter Equity Act would amend federal law to allow songwriters to receive market-based compensation and would remove government price controls. Hatch is a songwriter himself and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee that would consider the legislation. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is also a cosponsor in the Senate. Collins serves as the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. In addition to Blackburn and Collins, U.S. Reps.Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) are also cosponsors in the House.

Alexander said: “Italy has its art, Egypt has its pyramids, Napa Valley has its wines and Nashville has its songwriters. Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City, and their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs – so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds. My hope is that in this new Congress, we will pass this legislation to help give our nation’s songwriters the fair pay they have earned.”

Corker said: “Music showcases the incredible talent and vision of Tennesseans – its songwriters, musicians, and small and large businesses – across the country and around the world. Unfortunately, it’s easy for some to forget the countless people who bring to life the music we enjoy each day. We turn the knob, hit the button, click the mouse, and our favorite songs are there. As technology advances, it’s important that we remember where the music begins and modernize the way songwriters are compensated for their work.”

Hatch said: “The music business is among the toughest and most competitive industries, and our songwriters and composers should not have to accept below-market rates for their work. Ensuring that they are able to receive the fair market value for their songs is the right thing to do.”

Blackburn said: “Behind every great song is a great songwriter who deserves to be fairly compensated for their creative works. I am happy to once again join my House and Senate colleagues in this bipartisan effort to ensure fairness for our songwriters.”

Collins said: “In my home state of Georgia alone, there are close to 50,000 songwriters who have dedicated their lives to a talent and a calling that, in my view, God gave them. It is critical to ensure that songwriters – the engines that drive the music industry – are compensated fairly for their work. Copyright laws were never intended to create barriers to creativity that forces songwriters to sell their intellectual property at below-market rates. Congress should write laws that not only promote creation and pay creators, but also remain relevant even in times of rapid technological change. The Songwriter Equity Act is a vital step toward a music licensing system built on free market principles and fair compensation to creators. ”

The legislation would allow songwriters to receive market-based compensation and remove government price controls in two ways:

  • First, it would direct the Copyright Royalty Board to set compensation according to the fair market value when songs are sold, such as through music downloads and CD purchases, replacing the current below-market standard.
  • Second, it would remove a provision of law that narrows the scope of evidence the federal rate court may examine when asked to set songwriter compensation for when their song is played, such as in a restaurant or at a concert.

Songwriter compensation is dictated by the federal government. The rate of compensation that is set by the Copyright Royalty Board has increased only 7 cents over 100 years, and is currently 9.1 cents per song. The so-called “federal rate court” determines compensation rates for public performances, occasionally requiring songwriters to engage in complex litigation to be paid reasonable fees for their work.

U.S. Senate Passes Resolution to Halt NLRB ‘Ambush Election’ Rule

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 4, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Mar. 4 – The Senate today passed a joint resolution offered by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-Ky.), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to stop the National Labor Relations Board from implementing its “ambush election” rule. The rule was finalized in December to shorten the length of time in which a labor union certification election is held—currently a median 38 days—to as little as 11 days. The senators introduced the resolution under the Congressional Review Act last month, and it is the first step in halting implementation of this rule.

“The NLRB’s ‘ambush’ rule is aimed at enriching political bosses at the expense of middle class workers,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “Republicans think workers should have the right to make an informed decision when casting their ballot in a union election. Among other things, the Administration’s ‘ambush’ rule would allow union bosses to access things like personal email addresses and cell numbers without a worker’s permission. Republicans refuse to stand by while the Administration attempts to strip away the most basic worker freedoms via regulation, which is why we are challenging this extreme and partisan rule.”

“The NLRB’s rule to shorten union elections to as little as 11 days allows a union to force an election before an employer has a chance to figure out what is going on,” said Alexander, chairman of the Senate labor committee. “Senate passage of this joint resolution is an important first step in stopping the NLRB’s harmful rule and preserving every employer’s right to free speech and every employee’s right to privacy.”

“The current process for union elections is fair and timely. The National Labor Relations Board’s rule would undermine that process, hurting employees and employers alike,” said Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “Congress needs to make it clear that unnecessary regulations that make it harder for small businesses to go through the union election process and deny employees the time they need to make informed decisions are non-starters.”

Under the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate can vote on a joint resolution of disapproval to stop, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or regulation or issuing a substantially similar regulation without congressional authorization. The resolution, which has 51 cosponsors in the Senate, passed today by a vote of 53-46. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and House Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) have introduced a similar resolution, which will require a simple majority to pass the House before being sent to the president.

In December, the NLRB released its final rule to authorize “ambush elections,” in an attempt to speed up union elections, which could take place in as few as 11 days. The rule gives employers no time to communicate with their employees before a union election and undermines the ability of workers to make an informed decision. In addition, it will compromise worker privacy by forcing employers to provide employees’ personal email addresses, work schedules, personal cell phone numbers, and other personal information to union organizers without employees’ consent. The rule only gives employers seven days to find legal counsel and prepare for a pre-election hearing before an NLRB regional officer. During those seven days, employers will have to identify every legal concern or forfeit the ability to raise the concern at all. The ambush election rule will go into effect April 14, 2015.

Alexander Advocates ‘Weeding the Garden’ of Federal Higher Ed Regulations

Press releases from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; March 2, 2015:

Weekly Column by Lamar Alexander

The Higher Education Act totals nearly 1,000 pages. There are more than 1,000 pages in the official Code of Federal Regulations devoted to higher education, and on average every workday the Department of Education issues one new sub-regulatory guidance directive or clarification.

No one has taken the time to weed the garden, and America’s 6,000 colleges and universities are living in a “jungle of red tape” that is expensive, confusing and unnecessary.

The result of this piling up of regulations is that one of the greatest obstacles to innovation and cost consciousness in higher education has become the federal government.

That is why the Senate education committee that I chair held our first hearing this Congress on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act last week, during which we discussed how findings in a report by a group of distinguished educators—and commissioned by Senators Mikulski, Burr, Bennet, and me—can help guide our efforts to weed the garden and allow colleges to spend more of their time and money educating students. Educators who worked on the report included Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nick Zeppos—who co-chaired the effort and also testified at the education committee—and Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.

The document entitled “Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities,” outlines 59 specific regulations, requirements and areas for Congress and the Department of Education to consider—listing 10 especially problematic regulations.

The report makes clear that colleges and taxpayers expect appropriate regulation. But neither taxpayers nor colleges are well-served by the jungle that exists today. Consumer information that is too complicated to understand is worthless.

Colleges must report the amount of foreign gifts they receive and disclose the number of fire drills that occurred on campus. “Gainful employment” disclosures require 30 different pieces of information for each academic program subject to the regulation.

When a student withdraws from college before a certain time period, a student’s federal money must be returned to the government. This is a simple concept, yet the regulations and guidance implementing this are ridiculously complex – 200 paragraphs of regulatory text accompanied by 200 pages in the Federal Student Aid Handbook.

Institutions offering distance education are subject to an additional set of bureaucracy that can result in additional costs of $500,000 to $1 million for compliance.

All of these are examples of colleges and universities spending time and money on compliance with federal rules – and not on students. These examples, and others like them, represent sloppy, inefficient governing that wastes money, hurts students, discourages productivity and impedes research.

With bipartisan support and this groundbreaking report, I feel sure that our committee can send a Higher Education Act reauthorization bill to the Senate floor this year that will eliminate unnecessary red tape, save student’s money, and remove unnecessary regulatory obstacles to innovation in the best system of higher education in the world.

Alexander, DesJarlais Respond to Obama’s Veto of Keystone XL

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; February 24, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2015 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today released the following statement on President Obama’s veto of legislation passed by Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline:

“There is simply no reason whatsoever for the president not to approve this project that will create thousands of jobs for American workers and put our country one step closer to energy independence. Our Republican majority allowed nearly double the number of roll call votes on amendments to this bipartisan Keystone XL pipeline legislation than Democrats did on all legislation in 2014, which is proof that Republicans are working to get things done. And yet, the president decided to veto this legislation before he even saw it in its final form, instead of working with Congress.”

The legislation, introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and cosponsored by Alexander, all other members of the Republican majority, and six Democrats, would allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate, and maintain the Keystone XL pipeline. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate’s majority leader, allowed dozens of amendments pertaining to a range of issues, including energy and the economy to be debated and voted on during consideration of the Keystone Pipeline XL bill in January.

Alexander is a member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He is also chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development.

***

Press release from U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn. 04; February 24, 2015:

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (TN-04) released the following statement in response to President Obama’s veto of S.1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support:

“President Obama’s veto of this bipartisan legislation makes it clear the White House is more concerned about partisan politics than American jobs. Not only would building the pipeline create more than 42,000 good-paying jobs, it would provide energy security by reducing our reliance on oil from unstable Middle Eastern countries. After conducting five safety and environmental reviews, the president’s own State Department determined the pipeline’s construction is environmentally safe. I hope Congress will find another way to move this vital jobs project forward.”

In September of 2008—more than six years ago—Canadian pipeline company TransCanada filed an application with the United States Department of State to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border. The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January of 2014 determined that no significant environmental impact would be caused by the pipeline.