Tag Archives: congressional

DesJarlais to undergo cancer treatment; expects full recovery

News release from U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ office:
Washington, DC – Congressman Scott DesJarlais, MD (TN-04) today announced he has been diagnosed with early stage cancer in his neck. The Congressman will undergo radiation and chemotherapy and is expected to make a full recovery.

“I am extremely fortunate to have caught this disease in its early stage. My doctors and I expect a full recovery and that treatment will not interfere with my work in Congress. My wife, Amy, and our entire family are thankful for prayers and support during this period of treatment. I look forward to continuing to serve Tennessee’s Fourth District as we fight to return our nation back to the constitutional principles it was founded on.”

Congressman DesJarlais will be receiving care in Chattanooga, which will begin next week with the majority of it occurring during the August Congressional recess.

Alexander Replies to Conservative Letter Urging His Retirement

week, a coalition of tea party groups sent U.S. Lamar Alexander a letter urging him to retire, saying he has engaged in too much compromise and bipartisanship. (Letter is HERE). Today, Alexander has sent out a reply to media outlets. Here it is:

Dear fellow Tennesseans,

Last week, some well-meaning Tennesseans wrote a letter suggesting that I “retire with dignity” from the United States Senate because of a record of ‘compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous.’

Ever since walking 1,000 miles across our state, I’ve listened carefully to the 6 million Tennesseans I’m elected to represent. So the letter deserves respect and this response: I appreciate the suggestion, but if the people of Tennessee will allow it, I’d rather continue to serve — hopefully, with dignity.

Here’s why:

Our country’s on the wrong track. Our state’s on the right track. So the logical way to get our country on the right track is to transport some of Tennessee’s common sense to Washington, D.C.

One good way to do that is to send to Washington a conservative, problem-solving former Tennessee governor with a record of getting results: Auto jobs. Better schools. Better roads. Balanced budgets. Low taxes. Low debt.
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Joe Carr to Challenge Lamar Alexander in U.S. Senate Primary

State Rep. Joe Carr announced today he will challenge U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in the 2014 Republican primary rather than seek election to the 4th Congressional District seat now held by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

Carr, R-Lascassass, said he decided to switch races after “literally hundreds” ofpeople urged him to do so assure that Alexander, who he described as “the most liberal member of the Washington delegation from Tennessee,” has a credible Republican opponent.

His initial annnouncement came on a WTN radio talk show hosted by Ralph Bristol in Nashville. He planned a news conference for later in the day.

Since announcing as a candidate against DesJarlais in May, Carr said, he has toured the sprawling 4th District and people regularly asked him, “Whill you change your mind and run against Lamar Alexander instead.”

He said Alexander is popular in some ways, but there is a “disconnect” between that popularity and his voting record. Carr said Alexander votes in accord with President Obama 62 percent of the time.

“If Lamar Alexander votes with Barack Hussein Obama 62 percent of the time, he’s voting against Tennesseans 62 percent of the time,” Carr said.

Carr said he had raised “well over $300,000” for his congressional campaign. That money can now be shifted to the U.S. Senate campaign.

The announcement comes with tea party activists planning a series of “auditions” around the state, starting Aug. 31 in Nashville, with the intention of rallying behind a single candidate to oppose Alexander.

In the 4th District, DesJarlais still faces primary opposition from state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville.
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DesJarlais Begins Reelection Bid Rated Nation’s Least Likely to Succeed

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais kicked off his reelection campaign today while rated by the National Journal as the most likely incumbent congressmen to lose his seat in next year’s primary elections.

Here’s the excerpted Journal entry on DesJarlais (full article HERE), rated at the top of a list of the ten most likely members of Congress to lose their 2014 primary:

1) Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
It’s rare to see the name of Republican Scott DeJarlais without the adjective “embattled” attached to it these days. First, ex-wife of the antiabortion Tennessee physician had two abortions before they got married. Then came allegations that he slept with patients, and encouraged one to have abortion. (He was fined $500 by the state’s medical board for patient relationships–a no-no in the medical field.) As comedian Stephen Colbert quipped, “He is still adamantly against abortion except when it endangers the political life of the father.” DesJarlais has already drawn two GOP primary opponents in 2014, state Sen. Jim Tracy and state Rep. Joe Carr, who are both outraising the incumbent. Tracy ended the second quarter with $656,000 cash on hand, and Carr had $275,000. DesJarlais trailed, netting only $88,000 after raising a meager $39,000 in the second quarter.

And here’s Erik Schelzig’s story on the reelection kickoff event:
WINCHESTER, Tenn. (AP) — Short on campaign cash and facing two formidable opponents from within his own party, Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais kicked off his bid for a third term in office Wednesday.

DesJarlais launched his re-election campaign from the steps of the courthouse in Winchester before about 100 supporters huddled under umbrellas as a storm approached.
The congressman got his loudest cheer for pledging to continue to fight President Barack Obama’s health care law.

“We’re the last line of defense between President Obama and his radical vision for America,” he said. “If we do not take a stand, then who will?”

In the 10-minute speech, DesJarlais dismissed attention to personal issues that have plagued his political career. The Jasper physician, who was reprimanded and fined by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners in May for having sex with patients before he was elected, said those events have no bearing on his performance in office.
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GOP Plan for Bashing Washington Brings DCCC Bashing of DesJarlais

Roll Call has an interesting piece on U.S. House Republicans planning their politicking for the upcoming August piece. And, not surprisingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has localized it – for Tennessee purposes, an attack on U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.
Here’s an excerpt from the Roll Call blog article:
The August House Republican Conference planning kit, titled “Fighting Washington for All Americans,” offers a rare glimpse into the constituent outreach efforts of the GOP. Those efforts, it turns out, are highly calculated, hashtag-heavy and rife with references to the video app Vine.
The best way to stay in Washington appears to be to deride Washington, and Republican leadership isn’t going to deviate from that familiar formula.
Of the many topics Republicans could delve into — the impending debt ceiling debate, immigration or, perhaps, the sequester — the 31-page GOP packet focuses on safer ground: Obamacare, jobs and the fierce hatred of all things Washington.
It includes a cookbook of events largely aimed at whacking the Obama administration and highlighting House Republicans’ efforts to fight it — while using social media every step of the way.
There’s an “Emergency Health Care Town Hall,” for starters, with detailed recipes on where to hold the event, how to promote it — tweet it, Vine it, Instagram it, Facebook it — and how to hold an “impromptu” media availability to “frame the key takeaways.”
Riva Litman, the spokeswoman for Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, said it is the job of the House Republican Conference to equip members with “the tools and resources they need to take our message to all corners of this country.”

And here’s the DCCC DesJarlais-bashing press release:

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Tracy Leads 4th District Fundraising; DesJarlais trails Carr

Jim Tracy leads in fundraising for the 4th Congressional District Republican primary with Rep, Joe Carr second and embattled incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais third, according to the Chattanooga TFP.
State Sen. Tracy, R-Shelbyville, reported raising $303,000 from April 1 through June 30 while the embattled DesJarlais disclosed raising just $39,153. Carr, R-Lascassas, said he raised $100,255.
Both Tracy and DesJarlais’s net contributions were slightly lower after refunds to contributors. Tracy’s net was $296,393, while DesJarlais, a Jasper physician, netted $35,155.
Tracy also dominates in cash on hand with $656,201. That’s seven times as much as DesJarlais’ $88,361. Carr reported $275,000 in cash on hand.

Tracy Trumpets $303,000 in new 4th District Fundraising

The financial stakes are a little higher today in Tennessee’s 4th District, where state Sen. Jim Tracy had another big-money fundraising quarter and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is keeping his campaign fundraising data close to the chest.
Further from Chris Carroll:
In a Wednesday news release that calls DesJarlais “the embattled incumbent,” Tracy, a Shelbyville Republican, said he raised $303,000 between April and June. The announcement came several days before the deadline for federal candidates to file detailed campaign finance reports with the government.
DesJarlais and another 4th District Republican challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas, declined requests to provide their second-quarter hauls and said to expect numbers on the July 15 deadline. That represents a departure from last quarter, when Carr was first to release his $200,000 haul well ahead of the final day to do so.
In a phone interview, Tracy said he has $656,000 left after expenses.
In the year’s first fundraising quarter, Tracy doubled Carr’s haul and held a 4-to-1 cash-on-hand lead over DesJarlais. At the end of March, DesJarlais reported $87,000 on hand and Carr had $192,000 left.
“I will not be outworked in this race,” Tracy said

Farm Bill Creates Odd Alliance in TN Congressional Delegation

Tennessee’s congressional Republicans usually find themselves on the same page as think tanks and advocacy organizations that call for restraining government spending, observes The Tennessean. But when it comes to setting federal agricultural policy for coming years through a farm bill currently making its way through Congress, that’s not the case.
While there is uncertainty over what happens next, the versions of the farm bill offered so far have been backed by seven of the nine Republicans in the congressional delegation — Reps. Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, Diane Black of Gallatin, Scott DesJarlais of Jasper, Scott Fleischmann of Ooltewah and Phil Roe of Johnson City. And Sen. Lamar Alexander voted for his chamber’s version.
Among Tennessee Republicans, only Rep. John Duncan Jr. of Knoxville and Sen. Bob Corker voted the way farm bill critics preferred.
“For a bill that spends close to $1 trillion, just under $18 billion in savings is not nearly enough,” Corker said.
Both Democrats in the delegation — Reps. Jim Cooper of Nashville and Steve Cohen of Memphis — voted against the bill, but Democrats had slightly different reasons for opposing the legislation. They especially disliked a $20 billion cut in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps, in the House bill.
“It would have cut programs that help children and seniors while protecting subsidies for millionaires, agribusiness and even foreign banks,” Cooper said. “We must do a better job of protecting taxpayer dollars and prioritizing our nation’s agricultural policies.”
As it happened, advocates for the poor and the environment joined the conservative and anti-government spending groups in opposition.

CMS Says 30 TN Medicare Contractors Not Licensed in TN

Joint news release from Tennessee congressional delegation:
WASHINGTON – Members of the Tennessee United States congressional delegation today announced that their inquiry into whether the administration awarded Medicare contracts to businesses not licensed in Tennessee has resulted in the finding that 30 of 98 suppliers were not licensed and will have their contracts voided.
On May 21, Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), along with Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood), Phil Roe (R-Johnson City), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Knoxville), Chuck Fleischmann (R- Ooltewah), Scott DesJarlais, (R-Jasper), Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), Diane Black (R-Gallatin), and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) sent a letter to the administration requesting details on its policy of awarding Medicare contracts for durable medical equipment to businesses not licensed in Tennessee, a violation of the administration’s bid policy and a violation of Tennessee state law. Durable medical equipment includes products that are intended for at-home care of sick or injured individuals. The category includes wheelchairs, crutches, blood pressure monitors, and hospital beds.
In a letter responding to the May 21 inquiry from the members, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Marilyn Tavenner, said: “We have determined that certain out-of-state suppliers that were licensed in their home state, but that did not meet aspects of existing Tennessee licensing requirements at the time of bid submission, were awarded contracts. As a result, CMS will take steps to void contracts for these suppliers in the Tennessee competitive bidding areas, consistent with the policies and guidelines established for the competitive bidding program. This applies to approximately 30 out of the 98 contract suppliers in the Tennessee Competitive Bidding Areas.”
Note: The full text of the CMS response is below:

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Fleischmann Plays Ball With Democrats (with an assist from Wamp)

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he has avoided much of the social circuit in Washington but discovered a different way to bond in 2011, when he went out for the congressional Republican baseball team and found camaraderie, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
On Thursday at Nationals Park, Fleischmann was the only Tennessean on either team in the annual Dems-versus-GOP showdown — a distinction he’s held for three consecutive years.
“I wanted to be a major league ballplayer growing up,” he said, “so it’s amazing to have fun with everybody — even those on the other side — and play at a big-league park.”
The congressman had some help representing Tennessee and its 3rd District. Before the game, Fleischmann’s eight-term predecessor, former Rep. Zach Wamp, was inducted into the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame. Heralded for his .500 career batting average and slick shortstop skills, Wamp thanked the fans and threw out the first pitch.
Despite the Chattanooga connection, Wamp and Fleischmann aren’t tight. Wamp’s 26-year-old son Weston unsuccessfully challenged Fleischmann in last year’s Republican primary.
They differ on baseball, too. Wamp is a Braves fan while Fleischmann, a childhood New Yorker, loves the Mets. (Common ground exists, however: Both men said their Tennessee-bred sons cheer for the Braves.)