The senior senator on our Libyan adventure:
Acknowledging that "there can only be one president," U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander told a Sevier County group today that "I suggest" President Obama consult with Congress on America's role in the current crisis in Libya.
U.S. involvement, he said, should be predicated on "a limited objective, sufficient force" to get the job done and a way out.
From the governor's office:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will join Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan in serving on a bi-partisan, federal study group co-chaired by U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennett (D-CO). The group's mission is to review the effectiveness of education regulations and assessment evaluations in Tennessee and Colorado.
"We are already at the center of historic education reform, and this effort will keep Tennessee at the forefront of the national discussion," said Haslam. "This is one more way that we can focus on education as a state and ensure we're making children in Tennessee classrooms our top priority.
"Senator Alexander has devoted his career to improving education in Tennessee and around the country, and I look forward to working with him and the other distinguished members of this working group."
Alexander and Bennett announced the study group as part of a bipartisan bill they introduced today aimed at cutting red tape and improving schools. The bill calls for a long term, national task force that will examine federal, state and local regulations as well as testing and assessment systems that govern public schools.
The Colorado-Tennessee Working Group will begin immediately to address these issues as first steps in the broader task force's charge.
Bennet, former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, and Alexander, former Education Secretary, are members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and are part of the committee's negotiating team crafting a bill to reform No Child Left Behind.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) made the following statement today regarding President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal. “The president has missed an opportunity to show real leadership on the number one issue threatening our country’s future. Getting spending under control and reducing our deficit will be difficult without presidential leadership. I hope in the coming weeks he will come to the table in a meaningful way to address these issues,” said Corker. “As we approach our debt limit of $14.29 trillion, I see no better time to impose a fiscal straitjacket on Washington. We need to vote on and pass spending cuts this year, and we need to pass the CAP Act Senator McCaskill and I have offered to force Congress to dramatically cut spending over 10 years. By capping spending – discretionary and mandatory – to a declining percentage of GDP, we would put our country on a path to fiscal sanity, while incentivizing Congress to pass policies that promote economic growth.” The Commitment to American Prosperity Act, the “CAP Act,” would: (1) Put in place a 10-year glide path to cap all spending – discretionary and mandatory – to a declining percentage of the country’s gross domestic product, eventually bringing spending down from the current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to the 40-year historical level of 20.6 percent, and (2) If Congress fails to meet the annual cap, require the Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed, simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to bring spending down to the pre-determined level. Only a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress could override the binding cap, and (3) For the first time, eliminate the deceptive “off-budget” distinction for Social Security – providing a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending. The Corker-McCaskill CAP Act is currently cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
“Nearly 48 years ago, I found a spot at the back of the crowd gathered on the Washington Mall and listened to Dr. King proclaim that even the most righteous of fights must be waged in peace: ‘We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline,’ he said. ‘We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.’ Today we honor his nonviolent struggle to end racial prejudice, and we continue to strive to be a nation that recognizes all citizens—regardless of race— as equals who deserve the same opportunities to achieve the American dream.”
“The National Weather Service report confirms the breakdown in communication during the historic flooding last year,” Cooper, a Democrat who represents Tennessee’s 5th District, said in a release. “We can’t stop the rain, but we can and must do a better job at warning people of the potential for dangerous flooding. A few hours of warning could have saved lives and prevented millions of dollars in damage.” Cooper has been outspoken in his request for information regarding government agencies' handling of the flood. Alexander called the report “an important step” toward making the agency’s flood warnings more like its tornado predictions. “During our Senate hearing in July, I urged the National Weather Service to do as good a job with flood warnings as it does with predicting tornado activity,” the Republican senator said in a release. “This new system for predicting water levels and communicating flood warnings is an important step in that direction, at first in Nashville, but eventually nationwide. Tornadoes can be devastating, but flooding causes three times as much damage nationwide each year as all other disasters combined.”
The 107th General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, January 11, at noon. The General Assembly has convened in January since 1873. Prior to 1873, the General Assembly convened on the first Monday in October, after being elected in August. From 1873 until 1966, the General Assembly would convene on the first Monday in January “next ensuing the election” (every two years). From 1967 until 1978, the General Assembly would convene on the first Tuesday in January, and since 1979, the second Tuesday in January. The General Assembly has met in Nashville since 1826. From 1796 until 1812, the General Assembly met in Knoxville; from 1812 until 1815 in Nashville; from 1815 to 1817 in Knoxville; and from 1817 until 1826 in Murfreesboro. Also, for one day in 1807, the General Assembly convened in Kingston. In the Legislative Library is an undated petition from the “Citizens of Cannon County” requesting that the legislature amend the Constitution to allow the General Assembly to meet “but once in six years and each session to be allowed to sit but sixty days”. There are 21 new members of the House of Representatives, along with one new Senator. This is the largest incoming class since the 89th General Assembly (1975 – 1976), which had 26 new House members and five new Senators. The first General Assembly (1796) had a total of 22 Representatives and 11 Senators. Governor Bill Haslam is scheduled to be inaugurated on Saturday, January 15. Other governors inaugurated on January 15 include Governor Alexander (1983) and Governor Clement (1953, to a two-year term, and 1963, to a four-year term). Governor Isham Harris has the shortest inaugural address on record: “I am ready to take the oath of office.” Governor Hill McAlister in 1933 was the first governor to use the War Memorial Building Auditorium for his inauguration. The Ryman Auditorium was often used for inaugurals prior to 1933. On January 15, 1963, during Governor Frank Clement’s inauguration, there was a 19-gun salute. This salute set the Capitol Hill grass on fire; National Guardsmen stamped out the fire before it could spread.