Alexander: Things will be good when GOP controls the U.S. Senate

Sen. Lamar Alexander says a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate won in next week’s election would grease the wheels of that body and produce results for Tennessee, reports the Commercial Appeal.

“Sen. (Mitch) McConnell has said with Republicans in charge, we’ll put bipartisan bills on the floor, we’ll debate them, we’ll work Mondays and Fridays, and we’ll start dealing with the problems that Americans expect us to deal with,” Alexander said. “And it’s absolutely ridiculous that we haven’t been in Washington these last several weeks.”

Alexander said this could mean replacing the Affordable Care Act “as rapidly and responsibly as we can,” stressing local decision-making on education, defending right-to-work laws and reducing the “growth of runaway spending and fix the debt.”

“Perhaps more important than anything else, we’d try to restore the Senate,” he said. “We’d try to put the Senate back to work.”

Alexander spoke to The Commercial Appeal Tuesday afternoon after spending some of the day in Jackson, where he helped Republican state Senate candidate Ed Jackson campaign. Alexander was to hold a fundraiser, his last of the 2014 cycle, in Memphis Tuesday night before heading to East Tennessee Wednesday to continue his efforts in the final week of a campaign against Democratic nominee Gordon Ball.

In Memphis Monday at the first stop of a West Tennessee bus tour, Ball said the recipe for change wasn’t in changing leadership, but in changing Tennessee’s senator.

“If you want six more years of Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander, then the people of this state can go vote for them,” Ball said.

McConnell, the Senate minority leader from Kentucky, is poised to become majority leader if Republicans claim the Senate — and if he defeats Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Rhodes College graduate, in that state’s race. The New York Times’ statistical projection gives Republicans a 68 percent chance of winning the Senate, which is about in the middle of the various projections it has collected on its site.

Republicans need to win six seats to win the majority.

Alexander, 74, who is seeking a third six-year term, shrugged off a question about whether this is his last campaign — “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it” — but said the chances of serving in a GOP majority were central to his desire to seek re-election. He is poised to become the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.