Local group to counter white supremacists
The Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center in Chattanooga is joining other faith-based groups recruiting volunteers to oppose white supremacist rallies planned for the weekend in Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, Tenn.
"We invite you to join us in putting your bodies on the line to proclaim that God rejects white supremacy," Mercy Junction said in a news release. The local group is working with the Harriet Tubman House in Nashville, Food Not Bombs Nashville and others, the release states.
White supremacists and neo-Nazis including the National Socialist Movement, Traditionalist Worker Party, League of the South, Vanguard America, White Lives Matter and others are planning marches and rallies Saturday and Sunday in the two Middle Tennessee towns.
The Mercy Junction release warned of the possibility of danger but added, "As people of faith, we are committed to nonviolent direct action, standing in solidarity with other residents of Tennessee and allies around the world proclaiming not only that God rejects white supremacy — but, also that God is present with those who are hurt, angered, afraid and confused by this evil."
For more information or to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-521-0642.
Alexander, Corker vote to move tax reform ahead
U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker both voted last week to move forward with reforming the U.S. tax system, the Tennessee Republicans said in news releases.
Both said they voted for the fiscal 2018 budget resolution that enables lawmakers to rework the tax code.
"You don't need to be an accountant to know that our tax code is too complicated, takes too many dollars away from Tennesseans and makes it harder to create good-paying jobs for Tennessee families," Alexander said.
"The sole purpose of this budget resolution was to kick-start the legislative process on tax reform," Corker said. He hopes the tax-writing committee "will produce a bill that — while allowing for current policy assumptions and reasonable dynamic scoring — does not add to the deficit, sets rates that are permanent in nature, and closes a minimum of $4 trillion in loopholes and special interest deductions."
2 dozen senators co-sponsor health premium fix
Sen. Lamar Alexander said 24 senators, including Tennessee's Bob Corker and 11 other Republicans, have signed on as co-sponsors to a bipartisan bill aimed at continuing cost-sharing subsidies for health insurers for two years and giving states more freedom to design coverage.
President Donald Trump said last week he was canceling the subsidies, which Alexander said could force premiums up by 20 percent and ratchet up the national debt by $194 billion over 10 years. Alexander, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he and ranking Democrat Patty Murray of Washington worked out the bipartisan deal.
"Our agreement permanently amends the Affordable Care Act to give new flexibility for states to create insurance policies that have a larger variety and lower costs," Alexander said.
" Some conservatives object to the idea of paying them at all, but I would ask what's conservative about unaffordable premiums? What's conservative about $194 billion of new federal debt? What's conservative about creating chaos so millions can't buy insurance? What's conservative about a four-lane highway that would be the chaos that leads to a single-payer solution for insurance in this country?
"We haven't moved an inch toward our objectives in the last seven years of giving states more flexibility in creating insurance policies in the individual market. This agreement does," he said.
Jack Maddux says people want Congress to act
Jack Maddux, who is challenging Scott DesJarlais for the 4th Congressional District seat, said voters in the district tell him they want Congress to start getting something done.
In a news release, the Cleveland, Tenn., Navy veteran and former police officer said he's driven more than 7,300 miles in his truck meeting with residents in the district's 16 counties.
"I've been listening to the concerns from people of all walks of life in the 4th District; small business owners, pipefitters, college students, single parents, short order cooks, farmers — you name it," Maddux said in the release.
"Whether it's jobs, drugs or Obamacare, I keep hearing the same theme from town-to-town: we need Congress to take action on our concerns. The people in Washington have been saying 'repeal Obamacare' for so long, the folks here in Tennessee think Congress has forgotten what 'repeal' means."
He added, "I have been told it would take two million dollars to defeat Scott DesJarlais. That figure astounds me! I want the headlines to read 'Maddux Wins with least amount of Money Spent; that's putting People First."
Maddux is hoping to wrest the Republican nomination from DesJarlais, of South Pittsburg, who is seeking his fifth term in Congress.
On the Democratic side, Mariah Phillips, of Rutherford County, and Steven Reynolds, of Manchester, are competing for the nomination.
The primary election is in August 2018, and the general election follows in November.