Alexander touts power of Republican majority’s funding votes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said last week that the Republican majority continues to prove the appropriations process can work after he voted for two critical funding bills that were passed by the Senate on May 19.

“This appropriations bill allocates more than $800 million for Tennessee’s highways, consistent with the highway bill I supported that Congress passed last December,” Alexander said. “The bill also supports veterans’ programs, funds military construction projects across the country and helps protect mothers and children from the tragic effects of the Zika virus outbreak, by supporting response efforts such as mosquito abatement as well as research for vaccines and diagnostic tests.”

On May 19, the Senate passed fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies with a vote of 89-8. Both bills are consistent with the spending limits Congress set in the Budget Control Act and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

Alexander supported an amendment that was included, providing $1.1 billion to the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State, and the United States Agency for International Development to combat the Zika virus.

The FY2017 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill provides:

  • $44 billion for the federal-aid highway program to support U.S. road and bridge construction.
  • $525 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery “TIGER” grant program, which awards competitive grants to communities in Tennessee and across the country to fund significant transportation projects, including highways and bridges, public transportation systems, passenger and freight railroads and port infrastructure.
  • $3 billion in funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, which provides funding to low and moderate income communities to support economic development, housing and infrastructure needs in Tennessee and across the country.

The Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill provides:

  • $83 billion in discretionary funding for military construction projects across the country and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to support veterans programs and military infrastructure.
  • $103.9 billion in mandatory funding for veteran compensation programs and veterans pensions.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed the Fiscal Year 2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill by a vote of 90 to 8. Alexander, who leads the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, was the primary author of the bill and led it through committee and floor passage.

“The Senate is finally doing what it was elected to do: debate and amend the 12 appropriations bills so we can set spending priorities instead of moving from one short-term funding bill to another,” Alexander said.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) may be reached via his website’s contact page at