by Senator Lamar Alexander
When I travel across Tennessee some people say, “I sure am glad I don’t have your job.” My answer is always, “I’m also glad you don’t have my job because I like my job, and I thank you for it.”
And then someone will say, “Why don’t you guys ever do anything? What difference does a Republican majority make?”
My answer is to hand them my Republican accomplishments card – a scorecard that lists what President Trump and a Republican Congress have been able to accomplish in the last 18 months.
Best economy in 18 years, the biggest tax reform in 31 years, military support is the strongest it has been in 15 years, numerous regulations have been repealed, one confirmed Supreme Court justice and another Supreme Court nominee, 23 conservative U.S. Circuit Court judges confirmed, opened up Alaska to energy development after 38 years. We have a new National Labor Relations Board. We repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty, repealed Dodd-Frank mortgage rules, passed legislation to improve veterans’ health care, and passed sanctions on Iran, Russia and North Korea.
All of this in the last 18 months – the most important accomplishments by a conservative government in thirty years, and none would have happened without both a Republican president and a Republican Congress.
And the person who asked me the question will almost always say, “Oh, I didn’t know that.”
Whether I’m traveling around Tennessee or walking to a vote in Washington, I like to carry around this card as a reminder of what we’ve been able to accomplish. Not long ago, I gave it to President Trump, and as you might expect, he liked it.
Our accomplishments have made a profound and meaningful impact in the lives of Tennesseans.
Nationwide, workers are in the middle of a booming economy. This has proven life-changing for Tennesseans who struggled to find work and provide for their families.
As a result of the new tax law, Tennesseans will be keeping more of the money they earn in their pockets. For example, a family of four in Dickson making a little over $70,000 a year should save more than $2,000 on their taxes, and a single mother making $41,000 a year should see a $1,300, or 73 percent, reduction in her taxes. Parents should receive a tax credit worth up to $2,000 per child – and you could receive as much as $1,400 of the child tax credit as a refund. More than 450,000 Tennessee families claimed the child tax credit in 2015 so that means for these families we’ve doubled the amount they can deduct from their taxes for each child.
Businesses in Tennessee are also able to do more for their employees. FedEx announced more than $200 million in pay raises, First Tennessee gave its employees a $1,000 bonus, and Wal-Mart increased its starting wage and provided a $1,000 bonus to eligible employees.
The tax reform legislation also repealed the Obamacare individual mandate penalty, which was an especially cruel tax on thousands of lower-income Tennesseans.
Congress provided $700 billion for the military this fiscal year, the largest increase in 15 years, which included pay raises for our troops at Fort Campbell as well as resources and equipment for our servicemen and women who put their lives on the line day after day to preserve our freedom. We’re also better fulfilling our duty to those service members when they return home. Tennessee veterans will have access to more health care options closer to home as a result of the Veterans Choice program and the VA MISSION Act, which the president signed into law this year.
Congress has repealed more than a dozen Obama-era regulations that were a big, wet Washington blanket on job creators and our local communities.
A new law providing relief from the Democrats’ Dodd-Frank law will help Tennessee bankers and credit unions who have been overregulated for too many years and allow more Tennesseans to seek help from their local financial institutions in buying a home or investing in a small business.
For all of these reasons, it is important to continue our Republican majority in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Perhaps you can see why I’m grateful for my job and why I don’t have any trouble answering the question, “What difference does a Republican majority make?”
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Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has served in the US Senate since 2003. Prior to his election to the Senate, Alexander served as the Governor of Tennessee from 1979 – 1987.