Alexander tells Obama officials to keep nose out of transgender bathroom issue

Sen. Lamar Alexander speaks to reporters and editors at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today criticized the Obama administration's decision to issue guidance to the nation's public schools that tells educators to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their preferred gender identity.

In his statement, Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, reminded the Obama administration that "insofar as the federal government goes, it's up to Congress to write the law, not the executive departments.

"And guidance issued by the departments does not amount to federal law and should not be treated as such," Alexander added.

Earlier today, the Obama administration announced a joint letter was going out from the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice with guidelines to ensure "transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.

The directive comes in the midst of a court battle between the federal government and the state of North Carolina over the state's recent passage of a new transgender law.