Scott DesJarlais

Blackburn, DesJarlais rally for Reeves; another Republican urges ‘protest vote’ for Democrat

U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais urged support for Republican state Senate candidate Shane Reeves on Saturday while the Murfreesboro Post reports a former GOP congressional and state Senate candidate is urging voters to cast a “protest vote” for Democrat Gayle Jordan instead.

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DesJarlais: If earmarks are restored, ‘I can be more of a spokesman for the people’

Even some conservatives – including Tennessee’s U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais — seem open to return to earmarks since President Trump floated the idea, reports The Hill.

But don’t call them earmarks: lawmakers say they’re in favor of “congressionally directed spending.”

In a sign of the changing attitudes on Capitol Hill, conservatives are divided on whether to reverse the earmark ban in place since Republicans took over the House majority after the 2010 midterm elections.

Conservative leaders like House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) reject the idea, warning that allowing lawmakers to carve out spending for projects specifically designed to benefit their districts would undercut Trump’s “drain the swamp” message.

…But even some Freedom Caucus members sound open to a return to earmarks ahead of House Rules Committee hearings next week on whether to revive the practice.

“I don’t know that I’m opposed to it,” Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), a Freedom Caucus member, told The Hill. “We’re spending more money than ever and it’s still going out, but it doesn’t seem to come to my district.”

If earmarks were restored, “I can be more of a spokesman for the people in Tennessee who need it,” DesJarlais continued. “There is an overpass in Rutherford County that we need to get funding for. We’ve got things up in Nashville, the Percy Priest Reservoir … so yeah, I would like to have a better voice.

“I don’t know if earmarks is the answer. I’ve never had them, so I don’t know if it’s good or not.”

Other conservatives also expressed openness to allowing earmarks or something similar, saying that ensuring money for specific projects would give the legislative branch more power.

… Trump said at a White House meeting with roughly two dozen lawmakers on Tuesday that Congress should consider allowing earmarks again.

He suggested that doing so would allow Congress to function better, lamenting that the “levels of hatred” among Republicans and Democrats are “out of control.”

“Maybe we should think about it,” Trump said. “Maybe all of you should think about going back to a form of earmarks. You should do it.”

“We have to put better controls because it got a little out of hand, but that brings people together,” Trump added.

Alexander, Corker, Blackburn and DesJarlais lose 18 staffers (combined) to Trump administration

Eighteen congressional staff employees who were working for members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation have moved to positions working for President Donald Trump administration since January, reports Michael Collins.

Sen. Lamar Alexander has lost 10 staffers from the Senate office committee he chairs and his own office. Sen. Bob Corker has similarly seen six staffers depart to join Trump. Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Scott DesJarlais each have lost one staffer to Trump’s team.

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DesJarlais among six congressmen on reported Hodgkinson ‘assassination list’

Tennessee’s Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ name was on a handwritten list of six Republican congressmen – all members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — found in the van of James Hodgkinson, the slain shooter who wounded Rep. Steven Scalise and five others on Wednesday.

The Daily Caller initially reported the FBI’s discovery of the note late Friday. Multiple other media outlets have followed with similar reports.

Besides DesJarlais, Fox News says those on the “assassination list” were Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona,  Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Morgan Griffith of Virginia.

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Republican, Democrat announce runs at DesJarlais in 2018

A Cleveland businessman has declared as a candidate against U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the 4th Congressional District Republican primary while a Rutherford County school teacher has announced as a Democratic candidate for the seat.

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National park designation sought for James K. Polk home

News release from Rep. Scott DesJarlais

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Scott DesJarlais and Marsha Blackburn joined Senator Lamar Alexander today to introduce the James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act in Congress. Their legislation would require the Interior Department to study the “suitability and feasibility” of designating the President James K. Polk Home and Museum in Columbia, Tennessee, a unit of the National Park Service.

The designation would ensure preservation of the historic site, which a nonprofit organization currently operates with limited state funding.“Tennessee has played an enormous role in the history of our country, especially its early founding, when leaders like Andrew Jackson and James Polk gave voice to western settlers and helped to create a land of vast expanse and opportunity for Americans,” said Rep. DesJarlais (R-TN-04). “I’m proud to join my colleagues and museum staff to help preserve the legacy of a great yet overlooked president, who called the Fourth District home.”

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Rep. DesJarlais: Man of few words (at least on House floor)

Rep. Scott DesJarlais was one of the least loquacious House members during the 114th Congress, according to a C-SPAN review of its live broadcasts on congressional proceeding, reports Michael Collins.

DesJarlais, who represents Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District, spoke from the House floor just one day during the 114th Congress, which included the years 2015 and 2016.

DesJarlais spoke the least of any of the House’s 435 members, except for former Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., who died just a month after Congress convened, and Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who was sworn in just three weeks before Congress adjourned.

Comer also spoke once from the floor. Nunnelee, who was battling terminal cancer, didn’t speak at all.

DesJarlais’ only floor remarks of the past two years came last April 14, when he gave a one-minute speech extolling the National Cornbread Festival in his hometown of South Pittsburg, Tenn.

DesJarlais said he’s not camera shy. He just tends to speak out more during committee meetings and hearings, which are sometimes broadcast but are not included in the C-SPAN tally.

The most frequent orator in the House was Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., who spoke 209 days from the House floor.

Among Tennessee’s congressional delegation, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, spoke the most frequently – 68 days. She was followed by Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who spoke 51 days.

Other Volunteer State lawmakers and the number of days they spoke: Reps. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, 47; John J. Duncan Jr., R-Knoxville, 38; Phil Roe, R-Johnson City, 32; Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, 18; Stephen Fincher, R-Frog Jump, six; and Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, five.



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