Tag Archives: marsha blackburn

Blackburn subpoenas bring ‘witch hunt’ claims

Medical researchers and abortion-rights groups accused a special investigative panel headed by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of conducting a “witch hunt” after the panel issued a dozen subpoenas Wednesday to compel medical supply companies and others involved in fetal tissue research to divulge information about their practices, reports Michael Collins.

The subpoenas seek documents related to fetal tissue research and the names and titles of current and former personnel involved in the procurement of fetal tissue.

Blackburn, a Brentwood Republican, said the information is needed to get a complete picture of what the organizations are doing.

But medical researchers and others argued the committee’s investigation could slow or halt important research into cures for diseases such as Ebola and the Zika virus. What’s more, they said, demanding the names of researchers, graduate students, laboratory technicians and others could potentially put their lives at risk.
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Blackburn would mandate teacher background checks

News release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Washington, D.C. — In 2015, 496 school employees were arrested nationwide for child abuse, and a publication recently suggested it’s occurring in Tennessee. As a result, Congressman Blackburn introduced H.R. 4666, the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act.

This legislation requires schools receiving federal funds to perform background checks on all existing and new employees as well as contractors who have unsupervised access to children. The background checks must be vetted through multiple state and federal databases. Under the bill, a school may not hire a person if he or she has committed certain crimes, including any violent or sexual crime against a child.

A study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the average offender, who is a school employee, abuses 73 children over a lifetime.
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Marsha Blackburn open to being Trump’s VP

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Friday she’d be open to becoming GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s vice president if he wins the nomination, and she believes the party is prepared to rally around him come November, according to the Washington Times.

You have some who say, ‘Oh we have different nominees,’ but look at it like this — it’s an outsider year. We’re going to have an outsider candidate who gets the nomination who becomes the next president of the United States,” said Ms. Blackburn during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference at National Harbor, Maryland.

Republicans should be encouraged at the high turn-out this cycle, taking it as a sign the party isn’t fractured, but growing, the Tennessee Republican said.

…Asked if she’d be willing to serve down-ticket from Trump, she said she’d consider it but it isn’t likely given the red state she hails from.

“Anybody would consider that offer,” Ms. Blackburn said. “I know it won’t be me. I’m not from a toss-up state or a purple state, but it is so nice when your colleagues and friends and people that you know say we think you would be worthy of consideration. That’s just nice to hear.”

See also The Hill’s piece speculating on Trump vice presidential possibilities, where Blackburn also gets a mention — along with Chris Christie, Scott Brown, Susana Martinez, Susana Martinez, Herman Cain and several others.

Here’s the Hill squib on Blackburn:

Blackburn, who’s leading the House panel investigating Planned Parenthood, could help boost Trump’s standing among Republicans who worry the businessman isn’t a true conservative.

She could also help Trump reach out to female voters.

Blackburn has brushed off rumors that she’s being vetted for vice president, but expressed her interest in having a woman on the ticket. “I don’t know of anybody that would not consider,” she said.

At CPAC on Friday, Blackburn said she’d consider sharing a ticket with Trump.

The Tennessee congresswoman was critical of Trump for not disavowing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in a recent CNN interview. Trump has since repudiated Duke’s support.

Blackburn has also been in Congress since 2003, a boost for Trump if he wins the nomination and looks to strengthen his ties with congressional Republicans.

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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Clinton emails show Corker sought her help

Emails from Hillary Clinton’s days as U.S. secretary of state show Sen. Bob Corker in 2012 pushed the state department to resolve a visa problem for a Nashville-based company with strong political connections, according to The Tennessean.

Corker, R-Tenn., was a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he called Clinton about visas being denied to foreign students seeking summer work at Southwestern Advantage, which does door-to-door sales.

Corker and Clinton spoke by phone on May 29, 2012, and the next morning, Clinton emailed her staff with the resolution.

“I believe we have decided to issue visas to this year’s students and then make a decision going forward that gives ample notice to everyone,” Clinton wrote. “If that is correct, please be sure Corker hears from us today.”

Soon after, instructions went out reaffirming that Southwestern Advantage was an authorized employer in the Summer Work Travel program and that “Sen. Corker was apprised of this outcome,” according to an email sent to Clinton on May 31.

The State Department emails mentioning Corker and the Tennessee company are among thousands being released over several months in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit related to Clinton’s use of a private email address and server while she was secretary of state. The emails provide a rare window into Clinton’s daily work life and into what happened when a member of Congress contacted her with a concern.

Southwestern Advantage, part of the Southwestern conglomerate of affiliated companies, has ties to prominent GOP figures in the state. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, worked there early in her career. Longtime national Republican fundraiser Ted Welch, who died last year, was a former executive vice president of Southwestern Publishing, which later became Southwestern Advantage.

In 2011 alone, employees of Southwestern and its affiliated companies donated more than $30,000 to Corker’s (2012) re-election campaign.

…Other officials who contacted the State Department about the rule were Blackburn (who is listed among the company’s “famous alumni”), Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Gov. Bill Haslam.

…A spokeswoman for Corker said one of his office’s main responsibilities is to help Tennesseans resolve issues with federal government agencies.

“In this particular instance, a Tennessee company needed help navigating massive federal bureaucracy,” said spokeswoman Micah Johnson. “Our focus was to ensure that the federal rules and regulations in place were fairly applied and that the company’s inquiry was dealt with in a timely, appropriate manner.”

Johnson said the campaign donations played no role in the senator’s efforts to help the company.

Blackburn worked for Southwestern during and after college, and said the State Department was pushing a “liberal worldview” by requiring a “guaranteed outcome” for participants.

“I was happy to weigh in with the State Department over a proposed bureaucratic regulation that would have harmed a program that teaches young people how to run their own business and make it profitable,” Blackburn said.

…A spokesman for Alexander said the campaign donations from Southwestern employees played no role in the senator’s decision to contact the State Department.

“Sen. Alexander and his staff help hundreds of Tennessee businesses and thousands of Tennesseans every year to navigate through what can often be dizzying, frustrating federal red tape in securing visas, getting Social Security checks, and making sure veterans receive their benefits, among many other issues,” spokesman Jim Jeffries said.

Blackburn criticizes Vandy Planned Parenthood polling

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., has accused Vanderbilt University of trying to advance a political agenda through the handling of a question on Planned Parenthood, reports The Tennessean.

According to the survey, Tennesseans support the state funding many of the health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. Blackburn says the poll is flawed because it doesn’t mention that abortion is also funded by the organization as part of the questioning of those surveyed.

“I am disappointed that an institute such as Vanderbilt is publishing a poll that has such a thinly veiled agenda. Vanderbilt has a responsibility to educate women, men and children about access to quality health care,” Blackburn said in a statement to The Tennessean.

“Our community health centers provide the services mentioned and many more important health care services, including dental, mental health care, and coordination of health care — many of those services are provided at no cost or low cost to Tennesseans. Vanderbilt missed an opportunity here.”

Blackburn was recently named leader of the “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives,” a congressional panel investigating abortion providers.

The Vanderbilt Poll found at least two-thirds of the 512 people surveyed support the Tennessee state government giving Planned Parenthood funding for the following services:

Preventative care screenings, such as breast exams
HIV testing or counseling
Testing or treatment of other sexually transmitted diseases
Limited primary care, such as flu shots
Pregnancy testing
Pregnancy counseling
Birth control or contraception.

…John Geer, co-director of the poll, said some of the results “absolutely” would have been different if people had been asked about Planned Parenthood in the context of abortions.

The Vanderbilt Poll also asked a separate sample group of 501 people the same questions related to services, referencing health care organizations in general, as opposed to Planned Parenthood in particular. The results showed slightly more support for funding the same services listed above. Overall, though, support didn’t really differ too much when people were asked about a generic health care organization or Planned Parenthood specifically.

Blackburn got a vote for House speaker

Congressman Paul Ryan won a U.S. House Republican Caucus vote to be the next speaker Wednesday, though 43 members voted for someone else — in one case, for Tennessee’s 7th District Congressman Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood. Since the voting was secret, it’s unknown who cast any vote.

From ABC News:

Ryan received 200 votes in the GOP conference meeting. Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Florida, the only other GOP speaker candidate, received 43 votes, while House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, each received one vote.

He needs 218 votes from the full House tomorrow to win the speaker’s gavel. Supporters left the conference meeting Wednesday confident Ryan would surpass that threshold, given the commitments he’s previously received.

Blackburn to lead GOP abortion provider investigation

Tennessee’s two women members of the U.S. House, Diane Black and Marsha Blackburn, have both been named to a committee of eight Republican congressmen that will investigate abortion providers and their practices. Blackburn will chair the panel.

Below are the news releases from both noting the appointments.

News release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Washington, DC – Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today has been chosen by Speaker John Boehner to lead the new Select Investigative Panel at the Committee on Energy and Commerce to review medical procedures and abortion business practices.

“No issue is more deserving of our undivided attention than protecting the dignity of human life,” said Chairman Blackburn. “This will be a broad based – information gathering – fact finding mission – to answer questions about how we treat and protect life in this country. This is a discussion that this country must have. This is a discussion that we should not shy away from.”

Specifically, the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will have jurisdiction to review the following:

• Medical procedures and business practices used by entities involved in fetal tissue procurement;
• Any other matters with respect to fetal tissue procurement;
• Federal funding and support for abortion providers;
• The practices of providers of second and third trimester abortions, including partial birth abortion procedures that may lead to a child born alive as a result of an attempted abortion;
• Medical procedures for the care of a child born alive as a result of an attempted abortion;
• Any changes in law or regulation necessary as a result of any other findings made.

Below is the complete list of Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel:

• Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Chairman (R-TN)
• Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
• Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
• Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
• Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
• Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD)
• Rep. Vicki Hartzler (R-MO)
• Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)

News release from Rep. Diane Black
Washington, DC– Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), a nurse of more than 40 years and member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, was appointed as one of eight Republican members to the House of Representatives’ select investigative panel on Planned Parenthood. Black released the following statement:

“I am grateful for the opportunity to bring my health care expertise to the critical work of this panel,” said Congressman Diane Black. “It is no secret that I am passionately pro-life and have long opposed the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, but every American deserves to know that our laws are followed and that taxpayer dollars are spent with integrity. This panel will help ensure that is the case. We will be relentless in the pursuit of the facts, we will bring the truth out into the light of day, and we will hold responsible parties accountable. This panel has an obligation to taxpayers to conduct a thorough investigation that produces real answers. I am ready to get to work.”

Background:
The House of Representatives’ select investigative panel was authorized by the House passage of H. Res. 461, which passed with Congressman Black’s support on October 7, 2015. A longtime pro-life leader, Congressman Black was the author of the House-passed Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 and led floor debate in support of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act earlier this year.

MS congressman promotes Blackburn for speaker

A Mississippi congressman is urging Rep. Marsha Blackburn to run for House speaker, reports The Tennessean, and the Brentwood Republican has not ruled it out.

Rep. Steve Palazzo penned an op-ed Friday promoting Blackburn’s conservative credentials.

“From her strong pro-life stance to her fight to protect our Second Amendment right to bear arms, Congressman Blackburn is a proven conservative fighter,” Palazzo wrote.

Blackburn has not dismissed the idea of trying to replace House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who plans to resign at the end of the month.

“Marsha has heard from a lot of people encouraging her to run,” said Blackburn’s spokesman, Mike Reynard. “Right now she is listening and having conversations with her colleagues about the best way to unite the conference moving forward.”

…Blackburn is a native of Jones County, which is in Palazzo’s southeastern Mississippi district.

Politico mentioned Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, as a possible candidate, but her spokesman said Monday she will not run for speaker.

Note: Previous post HERE.

Marsha Blackburn for U.S. House Speaker?

Tennessee’s Rep. Marsha Blackburn is getting some attention in national media speculation about prospective candidates to become the next speaker of the U.S. House – and her Tennessee Republican colleague, Diane Black, has at least been mentioned.

From a Politico piece:
More than a half-dozen GOP lawmakers are considering running to lead the fractious Republican Conference if Ryan doesn’t step up. Texas Rep. Mike Conaway and Tennessee Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black have all been approached about jumping into the race. Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, California Rep. Darrell Issa and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole are considering making a play for the speaker’s gavel as well.

….Blackburn, who ran for conference chair in 2007 and lost, is also looking at a run.

“I’ve had lots of my colleagues contact me yesterday evening and this morning and I’ve promised I would listen to them,” Blackburn said. “It’s good to hear them out. I’ve promised to listen to them and that’s at this point all I do. We’re eventually going to come around to the right person who can lead our caucus.”

The Los Angeles Times has a more cryptic quote from Blackburn suggesting she may be among GOP congressmen who don’t want the job: “It’s not on my to-do list.”

But Blackburn is backed for the position by the American Conservative Union’s executive director, Daniel Schneider, according to Breitbart News:

“Blackburn is the most conservative woman in all of Congress. She has a lifetime ACU rating of 96 – that puts her in a solid ‘A’ camp. Year-in and year-out she is consistently been a solid performer,” Schneider said. “I would hope she would run.”