Tag Archives: Chuck Fleischmann

Fleischmann: Let states reduce federal deficit

News release from U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann
Washington, D.C.— Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R – TN) introduced H.R. 5933—the Returned Exclusively For Unpaid National Debt Act or the REFUND Act. This bill will allow states to identify unwanted federal funds and send that money back to the federal government to pay down the national debt.

“With our nation almost $20 trillion dollars in debt, it’s time to find innovative solutions to help balance our budget. We must tackle the fiscal challenges facing our country on every level in order to give future generations a chance for economic prosperity,” said Fleischmann. “I introduced the REFUND Act so Washington could see firsthand budgetary responsibility and debt reduction can begin at the state level.”

The opposite of a federal mandate, Fleischmann’s legislation gives states a voluntary avenue to designate returned federal funds solely for debt reduction. In doing so, the REFUND Act prevents those funds from going back to federal agencies simply to be redistributed, as is currently the case.

In a previous Congress the National Taxpayers Union named the REFUND Act its number one ‘“No-Brainer’ bill Congress should pass for taxpayers.” In addition, they called the bill “a common-sense measure toward short-circuiting the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ approach to accepting and spending federal grant money that has been a major contributor to Washington’s overspending problem.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has also introduced an identical bill in the Senate, S. 744.

More TN GOP congressmen climb aboard Trump train

U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais was the first Tennessee congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president, followed more recently by Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. After Trump’s win in Indiana Tuesday, other Republican congressmen are pledging their support.

From a Michael Collins report:

“It looks like the presumptive nominee of the party is going to be Donald Trump, and I think Republicans need to unify and get behind the Republican nominee,” said U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah.

Fleischmann, who initially backed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, had declined to endorse another candidate after Huckabee dropped out of the race.

…”I will back the Republican nominee for president 100 percent,” Fleischmann said. “If that is going to be Donald Trump, I will certainly get out and campaign for him and support him 100 percent.”

U.S. Reps. Phil Roe of Johnson City and Diane Black of Gallatin also pledged to support Trump.

“As I’ve said from the beginning, I will support our nominee,” Roe said. “It’s time for the Republicans to unite, and I am enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump. I look forward to helping him in any way that I can to take back the White House in November.”

Black said “the three scariest words in the English language today are ‘President Hillary Clinton.'”

“I will support our presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump, in the general election and call on Republicans across Tennessee to do the same,” she said. “After eight years of failed liberal policies, this is a time for our party to unite and put a conservative in the White House.”

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood didn’t mention Trump by name, but said, “I will support the Republican nominee, and I look forward to seeing a Republican in the White House.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander, as quoted in the Kingsport Times-News: . “Donald Trump wasn’t my first choice, but the people have a right to their choice, and I will support the Republican nominee when we have one.”

Navy asked to christen the USS Chattanooga

Members of Congress from Tennessee and Georgia have asked the Navy to name a ship the USS Chattanooga in honor of five servicemen killed in a terrorist attack in the East Tennessee city last summer, reports the News Sentinel.

In a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the lawmakers said Friday that naming an “appropriate naval vessel” after the city in which the servicemen were killed would be a way to honor their sacrifice.

“In the wake of this tragedy, we believe that it is appropriate for the U.S. Navy to honor the legacy of those who lost their lives,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both Tennessee Republicans; U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah; and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga.

A lone gunman opened fire last July on a military recruiting station and the Navy and Marine Corps Operational Support Center in Chattanooga.

Killed in the attacks were Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” Wells and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith.

The shooter, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, was killed in a gunfight with police.

All five of the servicemen were awarded the Purple Heart last December because the attacker was found to be inspired by propaganda from a foreign terrorist organization.

Note: Resolutions have been filed in the General Assembly urging the secretary of the Navy to name a ship Chattanooga, but the legislative website indicates no action on them (HJR526, SJR556.)

Fleischmann banks $1 million for reelection run

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann heads into his campaign for a fourth term with nearly $1 million in the bank, a hefty war chest that well-positions him for the possibility of another hard-fought race but also could have the benefit of scaring off potential challengers, reports Michael Collins.

The Ooltewah Republican said he has never had this much cash in the bank so early. While he has yet to draw an opponent, Fleischmann said he wanted to send a signal that he’s willing to spend whatever it takes to win.

“It’s just very prudent to have that — to be in the position where any potential challenger would know we have sufficient resources to participate in this campaign,” he said.

Records that his campaign will file this coming week show Fleischmann has $931,897 in the bank for the upcoming race. That’s double the cash he had on hand as he headed into his re-election campaign two years ago.

…Fleischmann won the seat in 2010 by beating out nine other candidates in the GOP primary and then easily knocking off his Democratic opponent, John Wolfe, the following November.

He has faced formidable Republican opposition in every one of his races for re-election. In 2012, he squeezed out a victory in a contentious race against Republicans Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp, and in a rematch two years later, he beat Wamp again by fewer than 1,500 votes out of more than 91,000 cast.

So far, Fleischmann has failed to draw an opponent for this year’s contest. State Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson, R-Hixson, had considered running but disclosed last month he would not jump into the race.

Watson won’t challenge Fleishmann in 2016

State Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson, R-Hixson, has shelved the idea of challenging U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga in the 2016 election, reports the Times-Free Press.

“I sure hadn’t announced anything, so that’s a pretty good indicator,” said Watson, who earlier this year weighed a potential challenge. “I really enjoy doing what I’m doing right now.”

His post as vice chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee and chairman of the panel’s budget subcommittee “allows me to be a real participant in the process and, I think, make a significant difference in what we’re doing in Tennessee,” Watson said.

In an earlier interview, Fleischmann said he had not yet heard from the state lawmaker on his intentions.

“We have always been good friends,” said Fleischmann. He added that if a challenge does come, his campaign is “much better prepared than we have been in the past” with a “fiscally sound” war chest of some $900,000.

“We’ve continued to do the thing we have been doing, not just on legislation but on constituent service,” he said.

Fleischmann, an attorney from Ooltewah, first ran for Congress in 2010 in a multicandidate GOP slugfest to succeed long-time incumbent Zach Wamp of Chattanooga. He scraped through in a bitter battle with former Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith, winning 30 percent of the vote to Smith’s 28 and handily taking the general election.

Two Republicans stepped up in the 2012 GOP primary — Weston Wamp, son of the former congressman, and Athens businessman Scottie Mayfield. That, too, was a bitter fight and Fleischmann won with a plurality of 39 percent.

The younger Wamp tried again in 2014 but Fleischmann eked out a primary win by a slim 51-49 percent. Wamp said afterward he wouldn’t challenge Fleischmann in 2016.

Fed budget deal passes House; Fleischmann only TN GOP ‘yes’

The U.S. House approved a $1.1 trillion federal budget deal today with only one Republican member of the Tennessee delegation – Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga — voting for the measure. The state’s two Democratic congressmen, Reps. Steve Cohen of Memphis and Jim Cooper of Nashville, joined him.

Republican Reps. Phil Roe of Johnson City, John J. “Jimmy” Duncan of Knoxville, Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburgh, Diane Black of Gallatin and Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood voted no. Rep. Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump did not vote.

The bill was approved 316-113 with 166 Democrats and 150 Republicans in the yes column. (Note: Full roll call vote, HERE; The Hill overview story HERE.) It cleared the Senate 65-33 later in the day with both Tennessee senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, voting yes. President Obama has indicated he will sign it.

The bill includes several Tennessee-related provisions. Many millions of dollars go to Oak Ridge and its nuclear facilities, located in Fleischmann’s district (Note: Michael Collins has a rundown HERE.) There is $181.5 million for a new federal courthouse in Nashville and $29 million for continuing repairing TVA’s Chickamauga Lock near Chattanooga (also in Fleischmann’s 3rd District.)

Press release statements from Fleischmann and Blackburn are below.
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Bill would return 76 acres in East TN to Cherokees

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians could get back 76 acres of original homeland in East Tennessee, including sites where the tribe once was headquartered, under legislation proposed by U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Chattanooga, reports the Times-Free Press.

The Tanasi Memorial, built to mark the Cherokee capital that now lies under the Tellico Reservoir and other sites are targeted in Fleischmann’s bill. Tribal leaders began discussions with federal officials earlier this year.

Patrick Lambert, the principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, said the Eastern Band Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act would be historic for the descendants of the Overhill Cherokee — so named for crossing the Appalachians to live in East Tennessee and the Little Tennessee River Valley.

In the mid-1980s, “the Eastern Band of Cherokees were deliberating with TVA about securing certain tracts of land that would become Tellico Lake shoreline,” Lambert said. “These were lands that held special value to the Tribe because of their special cultural significance.”

The bill seeks to place the land in trust status, a designation Lambert said has been used by other tribes for similar purposes.

“This would be a very meaningful action, allowing the lands to again become tribal reservation,” he said. “They would be under our control and ownership as official homelands of the Overhill Cherokee once again. This would, in fact, represent the official and formal return of the Cherokee to their homeland — to what is now known as Tennessee.”

The bill stipulates gambling operations cannot be established on the land, and any shoreline work would be subject to TVA approval.

Lawsuit against Fleishmann, Saltsman dismissed

The state Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed by former state GOP Executive Director Mark Winslow against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., and his 2010 campaign manager, John “Chip” Saltsman.

From the Times-Free Press:

The suit grew out of the 3rd Congressional District’s bitter 2010 GOP primary, a multicandidate slugfest in which Winslow managed the campaign of former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith.

Fleischmann eked out a victory over Smith. In January 2011, Winslow filed suit against Saltsman and the state Republican Party. He charged he had been defamed in Fleischmann campaign ads and by Saltsman’s public comments.

Winslow also charged the state Republican Party violated confidential agreements on a buyout. Fleischmann was added later to the lawsuit. The state GOP settled out of court in 2013.

In dismissing the case, Appellate Judge David Dinkins wrote that “because Mr. Fleischman and Mr. Saltsman demonstrated that the undisputed facts negate the element of actual malice which is essential to the defamation and false light claims, we affirm the trial court’s grant of summary judgment.”

…Winslow alleged Saltsman obtained a confidential agreement regarding his severance pay from the state GOP, where Winslow had worked for Smith prior to her congressional bid, and used the information to pummel Smith in an avalanche of television attack ads.

Fleischmann and Saltsman, then the congressman’s chief of staff, were deposed under oath. Fleischmann paid Saltsman’s legal bills.

Winslow asked for $750,000 in damages, claiming he couldn’t find a job with other Republican groups or candidates.

Saltsman said in his deposition that the employment documents were left in an envelope in his garage.

Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley Jr. dismissed the remaining case against Fleischmann and Saltsman in 2014. Binkley said Winslow was a public figure and that he failed to show that Fleischmann and Saltsman showed actual malice in the ads, which were mainly aimed at discrediting Smith.

Note: The full opinion is HERE.

Fleischmann banks $800K for reelection campaign

Third District Republican congressman Chuck Fleischmann tells the Times-Free Press that he raised more than $250,000 in the third quarter that ended Sept. 30 and will report this week to the Federal Election Commission that his total campaign cash on hand is nearly $800,000.

“We’ve been very fortunate again,” Fleischmann said in an interview Friday. “This year we have had three robust quarters. We will be filing with a cash-on-hand [amount] in excess of $785,000, which is really a wonderful situation for us to be in.”

Fleischmann said he believes the “vast majority of our constituents now in my third term have been able to see what I have been able to do as an effective leader in our Congress, working on so many endeavors, and they wanted to make a statement that they wanted me to remain as their congressman. And I’m feeling thankful for that.”

While he doesn’t know if he’ll get a GOP challenger, Fleischmann said he wanted this year to “remain absolutely certain on the political side that in the event we did get a big challenge that we would be vigilant, diligent and well prepared. And we are.”

In a solidly Republican district, Fleischmann first won the 2010 GOP primary in a multi-candidate, brutal slugfest to succeed then-U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. He then easily won the general election.

But residual ill feeling from the 2010 GOP primary, a low campaign war chest and what has been described as Fleischmann’s sometimes-awkward public style helped contribute to his drawing GOP primary challenges in 2012 from Weston Wamp, son of the former congressman, and Athens businessman Scottie Mayfield.

Fleischmann won with 39 percent of the vote in that contest. In 2014, the younger Wamp challenged him again in a hard-fought, bitter contest that Fleischmann won by less than 2 percentage points.

Then last spring, state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, told the Times Free Press he wasn’t ruling out challenging Fleischmann. Even as he was saying it, supporters were pushing him to run and predicting he would…. Asked about Watson, Fleischmann said “he has not told me one way or another. Obviously he’ll have to make that decision.” The congressman said “the great thing about Bo is that we’ve retained our friendship and relationship throughout this process.”

Fleischmann, Luttrell head Huckabee’s TN campaign

News release from Mike Huckabee campaign
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Former Arkansas Governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee announced his Tennessee leadership team today, which includes U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. The Washington Post reported that Huckabee is building a “southern firewall”.

“Governor Huckabee has been a steadfast fiscal and social conservative and has the proven executive leadership our country desperately needs. The people of Tennessee share his values. I am honored to be on his team and look forward to helping him to victory in Tennessee,” said Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, Huckabee for President Tennessee State Chair.

“I personally know Mike Huckabee’s character as he successfully led the State of Arkansas as Governor for 10 years. He is a man of high principles and fiscal integrity which are key ingredients needed to lead our nation and restore America to greatness,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Huckabee for President Tennessee Co-Chair.
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