McConnell's Status Secure as GOP Senate Head, Says Alexander

Despite attacks from Republican right wing, Kentuckian's leadership rated as "excellent" by Tennessee's senior Senator, in town to promote bills on behalf of medical devices.


Alexander at Smith & Nephew - JB
  • JB
  • Alexander at Smith & Nephew

Even as a scramble for leadership persists upon Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, where hard-pressed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has announced he will step down, the position of Boehner’s counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell (R-Kentucky) remains secure.

That’s the judgment anyhow of Tennessee’s senior Republican Senator, Lamar Alexander, who said in Memphis on Monday that McConnell has been an “excellent” leader who has accomplished much and would have accomplished more, but for the obstinance of the Democratic minority.

McConnell has been elected to his successive terms as Republican leader “unanimously,” up to this point, noted Alexander, who estimated that at least “80 percent” of the party membership in the Senate continue to support the Kentuckian despite open attacks on McConnell as unreliably conservative from such GOP right-wingers as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Persistent attacks on Boehner from “Freedom Caucus” GOP House members with views similar to those of Cruz are credited with forcing the departure from his leadership post by Boehner, who remains in office during a so far inconclusive search for a successor.

Alexander, as he pointed out Monday, is one of five Senate Republicans appointed by McConnell to look into a revision of the Senate’s procedural rules.

After completing a tour of the Brooks Road plant of Smith & Nephew, characterized by the Senator as makers of innovative medical device products, Alexander called for the passage of legislation to facilitate public accessibility for such products — including the “Patient Access to Disposable Medical Technology Act of 2015,” which would expand Medicare coverage for them, and the “Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act” to repeal the 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers.

Alexander is a co-sponsor of both pieces of legislation.

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