Weekly Columns

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  • Veterans Day
    Posted in Weekly Columns on November 2, 2016 | Preview rr

    Veterans Day is an important celebration of service, a time for our nation to honor the men and women who have defended our country to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Since coming to Congress, I have proudly served on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and I take the commitment we’ve made to veterans and their families very seriously. In the aftermath of Vietnam, I experienced firsthand a nation that did not respect the sacrifices made by soldiers who were asked or told to go to war, and ... Read more

  • Obamacare: An Abysmal Failure
    Posted in Weekly Columns on October 26, 2016 | Preview rr

    Just days after President Obama gave another speech touting the success of his health care law while blaming Republicans for its failures, the Obama administration confirmed premiums for the average insurance plan on the exchange will increase an average of 22 percent. Additionally, roughly 1 in 5 consumers will have only one health insurance provider to choose from. In Tennessee, things are looking even worse. Exchange beneficiaries will see their premiums increase an average of 56 percent if t... Read more

  • Education & Economic Security
    Posted in Weekly Columns on October 19, 2016 | Preview rr

    This week, the White House announced that the U.S. high school graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year reached a record high at 83.2 percent. In Tennessee, the rate is even higher at 88.5 percent, up almost one percent from last year, and more than half of Tennessee school districts saw their graduation rates increase or hold steady. This is great news, and a direct result of the hard work of students, parents, educators and school administrators. A quality education is one of the most eff... Read more

  • Manufacturing, Jobs & Economic Growth
    Posted in Weekly Columns on October 12, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last Friday, October 7th, we observed Manufacturing Day. Despite the difficulties the manufacturing industry has faced over the last several years, manufacturing accounts for more than 8 percent of U.S. employment. The industry employed roughly 12 million Americans in 2013. According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than 45,000 Tennesseans in the First Congressional district are employed in the manufacturing industry. Statewide, more than 300,000 Tennesseans have jobs in the industry. Ther... Read more

  • Protecting Workers, Students and Small Businesses
    Posted in Weekly Columns on October 5, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last May, the Department of Labor released their finalized overtime rule, a misguided regulation that is set to wreak havoc on employers throughout the state of Tennessee, particularly small businesses, nonprofits and schools. This rule, set to take effect December 1, would be particularly detrimental to Tennesseans, as the average annual wage is $41,300 in Tennessee. In my district, the median household income is even lower at $39,081. The Department’s proposed threshold for overtime is $47,476... Read more

  • Obamacare is An Irreparable Disaster
    Posted in Weekly Columns on September 28, 2016 | Preview rr

    This week brought more bad news for President Obama’s health care law. BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) of Tennessee, the state’s largest insurer, announced they were pulling out of the exchanges in three Tennessee regions: Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville. BCBS provides coverage to roughly 83 percent of Tennesseans in the individual market, and roughly 131,000 across the state are losing their coverage because of this announcement. I find this deeply troubling, and I am working to find a solution fo... Read more

  • Protecting Our Homeland
    Posted in Weekly Columns on September 21, 2016 | Preview rr

    I want to begin this week’s column by sending my thoughts and prayers to those across the country, particularly Minnesotans, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, who were targeted by senseless acts of terrorism over the weekend. Unfortunately, these attacks are seemingly becoming the new normal in our country, and it’s clearer than ever that these radical Islamic terrorists present a serious threat to our security. The cowards who carry out these acts are weak, and desperately want to change the way w... Read more

  • The Most Transparent Administration in History?
    Posted in Weekly Columns on September 14, 2016 | Preview rr

    Earlier this year, media outlets began reporting that the prisoner swap announced the same time President Obama shared the details of his misguided and dangerous Iran deal could be the result of a $1.7 billion payment included in the deal to “settle an arms dispute”. Unsurprisingly, the Obama Administration denied these claims, but a Wall Street Journal investigation this summer uncovered the administration secretly sent a plane loaded with cash, equal to about $400 million, to Iran just as four... Read more

  • A Better Way To a Strong Economy
    Posted in Weekly Columns on September 7, 2016 | Preview rr

    On Monday, we observed Labor Day, a federal holiday that began as a way to honor the contributions and achievements of the American worker. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has hovered around 4.9 percent for most of 2016, meaning many are still struggling to find work. Worse, many Americans – 94 million to be exact – have given up looking for work altogether. The labor-force participation rate is around 62 percent, the lowest since 197... Read more

  • Skyrocketing Premiums Further Proof Affordable Care Act is Unaffordable
    Posted in Weekly Columns on August 31, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last week, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance approved double-digit premium increases for Tennesseans who purchase their insurance through the exchanges created by Obamacare. These premium increases ranged from 44 percent to 62 percent, and Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak told The Tennessean these premium increases were necessary, in part, because the exchange market in Tennessee is “very near collapsing.” While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must still approve t... Read more