Congressman Marsha Blackburn
7th District of Tennessee
Washington, D.C. – The Tennessee Valley Corridor summit is an annual event bringing together the best of our innovators, engineers and technologists. It was an honor to return to provide an update on some of our work.
We had a wonderful discussion about ways that the United States will continue to lead the world when it comes to technology. Whether it’s the transition from 4G to 5G, which will bring industries together to develop new technologies, or how self-driving cars factor into that equation, America must lead.
One of the most fascinating topics we touched on was 3D printing.
You can take this to technology into the operating room for heart valve replacements, or onto the battlefield to repair a gun or a Humvee in the field without having to wait for materials to be sent out to you. That might be the different between life and death.
That kind of creation might also be the difference between merely visiting the moon, and being able to build on the moon.
I hope their main takeaway was that they have someone who is willing to listen to their concerns, and help them work through these issues in Congress. We may not always see things eye-to-eye, but I firmly believe in approaching these issues from a bipartisan standpoint. So much of what we discussed is still in its early stages – we can’t allow the law to hinder progress because it’s simply too rigid to keep up with the times.
Right To Try
Last week, I shared the good news that the House had passed S. 204, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act (Right to Try Act). This week, I am thrilled that U.S. President Donald J. Trump signed the bill into law. This bill gives terminally ill patients a new pathway for access to treatments and cures still in the Federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval pipeline.
While some patients with severe illnesses may have access to these treatments through clinical trials or through other FDA processes, oftentimes the sickest patients are not eligible to participate in these programs. The Right to Try Act gives these patients and their families hope even in the darkest of times by granting a new pathway to access promising treatments that are not yet approved by the FDA.
On Monday, we paused to reflect and remember the brave, selfless sacrifices made by our military men and women who were killed in service to our great country. We also honor their families and grieve with them.
We may not know each of their stories, nor do we know some of their names, but we give our whole appreciation and gratitude to these men and women who gave what President Lincoln called “ last full measure of devotion.” The sacrifices made for our freedom and the cause of liberty must not be taken lightly and must be remembered always.
Better Online Ticket Sales Act
The speed and reach of the internet has made buying tickets more efficient than ever. Unfortunately, it has also made it easier for bad actors to utilize automated methods to jump in front of you to buy tickets once they go on sale, and then double the price. That’s not the free market – that’s cheating the system.
That’s why I originally introduced the Better Online Ticket Sales Act in 2015 with a bipartisan coalition of the Tennessee delegation. We wanted to create a level playing field, where consumers were not going to be taken advantage of by others. The BOTS Act allows the Federal Trade Commission to go after online scalpers for unfair and deceptive practices; additionally, individuals may also sue for damages.
With a lot of hard work on both sides of the aisle, and in both chambers, we were able to get this to President Obama’s desk, and he signed it in December 2016. I have that signed legislation hanging on my wall, right next to my desk, because it reminds me of the bipartisan work you hear little about that gets done in Washington.
You can read the entire op-ed Here.
Happy Birthday Tennessee
On June 1st, 1796, Tennessee became the sixteenth state to join the Union. Over the years our great state has been influential in the formation of the United States, both politically and culturally. Not only is Tennessee home to three presidents: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, but our state was also vital in ratifying the 19th amendment, which allowed women the right to vote.
We pride ourselves in being known as the Volunteer State. Whether it’s contributing to the massive westward expansion, helping to defend the Alamo in Texas, or building a “Secret City” that was responsible for helping to end WWII – we have always been ready to help our fellow Americans.
Tennessee is home to many industries, but music is what we’re known for. Since 1925, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville has broadcast a live show every weekend, making it the longest running live radio program in the world. While Nashville is known as Music City, other cities boast grand ties to the industry as well, from Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.
Tennessee is also a major player in the country’s healthcare industry. In recent years the healthcare industry has added nearly $40 Billion to the economy. Aside from these booming industries, Tennessee is also home to incredible national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains and Lookout Mountain, where on a clear day, visitors can see seven states from its park.
It’s abundantly clear that Tennessee has made many important contributions to our country, and we have a lot to be proud of. On this 222nd birthday, we are all looking forward to many more productive and historical years ahead.
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