Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn


Blackburn Acts to Block Obama’s Lawless Amnesty Program


The House of Representatives today approved H.R. 5272, legislation authored by Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to freeze the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and prohibit President Obama from taking future executive actions to expand amnesty for illegal aliens. The bill was approved by a vote of 216-192.

Congressman Blackburn’s legislation freezes the DACA program as of July 30, 2014 by prohibiting federal funds or resources from being used to adjudicate new applications under DACA. Blackburn’s bill also prohibits the Obama Administration from authorizing new deferred actions for any class of aliens and prevents authorization for work permits for aliens not lawfully present in the United States. This new language strengthens the original Blackburn-Cruz proposal by looking beyond the DACA program and ties the President’s hands on future executive actions.

“President Obama’s lawlessness, his executive actions and the overreach of federal agencies are the root cause of the current border crisis. That is why I worked tirelessly to craft this legislation to freeze DACA and prevent the President from circumventing Congress and granting blanket amnesty to the thousands of illegal immigrants who flood our nation’s border each year,” Blackburn said. “The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is at the root of this border crisis and my bill not only puts an end to this executive overreach, but it prohibits ANY executive action to grant deferred action or any new work authorizations to illegal aliens. My bill not only ends DACA, but also it would also prevent the Administration from trying to create a new ‘Son of DACA’ amnesty program by executive order.”

Blackburn also voted in support of the House proposal to secure the border by providing the Department of Homeland Security with the resources necessary to deal with border security and also increasing National Guard presence on the Southwest border solely at the discretion of border governors. In order to fund this effort to secure the border money would be reprogrammed from foreign aid, a proposal supported by Blackburn.

“This administration has shown an unrelenting desire to circumvent Congress and ignore our nation’s laws,” said Blackburn.“It is imperative that Congress takes action to address this administration’s failed border policies. While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on vacation, the House is working on behalf of our constituents to pass more solutions for America. It’s time for the Senate to end their summer vacation and get back to work considering these bills to fix the crisis on the border.”

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Blackburn Supports House Effort to Stop Obama’s Executive Overreach


Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today voted in support of H. Res. 676 giving the House Authority to Initiate Litigation Against the Executive Branch. Blackburn had the following to say regarding this significant step to stop President Obama’s overreach of Executive Power:

“The Constitution grants Congress the power to make laws, not the President. Yet, President Obama has repeatedly tried to circumvent Congress by dictating his own laws. The most glaring example of this is President Obama's numerous changes to his own health care law -- none of which were authorized by Congress. This is not a partisan issue. America’s chief executive must not be allowed to ignore our nation's Constitution. Throughout his Imperial Presidency, Congress has tried to rein in President Obama’s lawless behavior. In the face of even more blatant violations of the Constitution, this lawsuit is an appropriate step to restore order.” Read More

Blackburn Works to Improve Access to Care for America’s Veterans


Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement regarding House passage of legislation to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs and make it easier for veterans to get help. By improving access to care from non-department of Veterans Affairs doctors, veterans will be able to see providers more quickly. The Conference Report on H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, would improve the ability of veterans to seek private care.

“Provisions I have supported will allow a veteran to seek care more quickly by increasing access to private care. This bill includes needed reforms to ensure that our veterans are able receive the care they deserve,” Blackburn said. “Through the years, I have heard from the veterans and their families in my district who have made it clear that they want the opportunity to seek needed medical care outside the VA due to long wait times and the unacceptably slow bureaucratic system. Additionally, I have supported legislation, included in this bill, which clarifies the authority of the Secretary of the VA to fire or demote officials who do not do their jobs correctly. This bill is an incremental step to bring about necessary reforms to ensure that America keeps its promise to our veterans.”

Under the agreement reached by House and Senate leaders, $5 billion in VA funds would be reprogrammed to hire new doctors and nurses; provides authorization for 27 new “major medical facility” leases; and gives the VA Secretary new authority to fire or demote senior officials accused of mismanagement. It also removes bureaucratic barriers that slowed hiring and prohibits bonuses for VA employees through fiscal year 2016. The conference report now goes to the Senate for consideration. Read More

House Approves Blackburn Legislation to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse


The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation authored by Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to combat prescription drug abuse. H.R. 4709, the Ensuring Patient Access to Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which Blackburn authored with Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Judy Chu (D-CA), would help prevent prescription drug abuse and diversion, and ensure patient access to necessary medications by creating a more collaborative partnership between drug manufacturers, wholesalers, retail pharmacies, and federal enforcement and oversight agencies.

“Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year. It is a problem that is in great need of a solution,” Blackburn said. “That is why I worked with my colleagues Tom Marino, Peter Welch and Judy Chu, in sponsoring this bipartisan legislation to facilitate greater collaboration between industry stakeholders and regulators in our nation’s effort to combat prescription drug abuse, while also ensuring that patients who need medication are able to receive it.

“Simply acknowledging the epidemic of prescription drug abuse isn’t enough. Congress has a responsibility to make sure the law is crystal clear for both DEA and legitimate businesses who want to understand what the rules are so they can do the right thing. That is why I am so pleased the House has acted today on our legislation that seeks to ensure the prescription drug supply chain is safe and secure for the patients that truly rely upon it to alleviate pain and treat illnesses.”

H.R. 4709 passed the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote. Congressman Blackburn has been a leader in the fight to combat prescription drug abuse since her 2012 letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging greater collaboration between HHS and DEA with industry stakeholders in the pharmaceutical supply chain. Read More

Blackburn Fights for Hard-Working Taxpayers


As part of ongoing efforts to fight for America’s families, House Republicans today passed the Student and Family Tax Simplification and the Child Tax Credit Improvement Acts. Blackburn said the following in response to the House's activity:

“Under President Obama’s economic policies, America’s hard working taxpayers have been hit where it hurts the most- in their wallets. I’m pleased to join with my house colleagues to pass two pieces of legislation that will lighten the financial loads of many families in the Tennessee 7th.  H.R. 3393, the Student and Family Tax Simplification Act, simplifies tax benefits to families can actually use those benefits to plan for and afford higher education.

“Real wages, what Americans use to pay their mortgage and put their kids through school, are falling. I voted for H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014, because this commonsense reform makes sure the child tax credit keeps up with the rising cost of living. More importantly, it eliminates the current marriage penalty. Children shouldn’t be punished because their parents chose to be married.

“Along with rolling back bureaucracy, these bills contain strong anti-fraud provisions to combat waste, fraud, and abuse. Washington has a moral obligation to be the best steward of the taxpayer dollar. I call on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to take these two bills up and get relief to the taxpayer as soon as possible.”

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Blackburn Introduces Legislation to Protect Americans from Obama’s Lawless Border Policies


Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today introduced a bill to prevent the continuation or expansion of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Blackburn’s legislation will serve as the House companion to a bill recently introduced by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

The legislation proposed by Congressman Blackburn and Senator Cruz would prohibit federal funding from being used to continue or expand DACA. It also prevents aliens from being authorized to work if they are not in a lawful status.

“Central American children have fled to the United States based on a false hope that they will be allowed to remain permanently. This false hope created by the Obama Administration is putting children’s lives in danger as they are escorted by individuals who have been known to abuse these children during their journey and even leave some for dead,” Blackburn said. “It is now clear that the Obama Administration saw this problem coming and that children were used as pawns in the President’s political game. President Obama’s failure to act has forced Congress, once again, to lead the effort to address the crisis on our border.”

President Obama through Executive Memorandum created DACA in June 2012. The policy became effective on August 15, 2012 and employs “prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual..” Removal can be deferred for two years and is subject to renewal. Customs and Border Protection projects a 1,381% increase in the number of unaccompanied minors who will arrive in our country in FY2014.

“I am honored to work with Rep. Blackburn on this critical legislation,” said Sen. Cruz, “The only way to stop the border crisis is to stop President Obama’s amnesty. If we do not put an end to its expansion – to the promise of amnesty that is the reason so many are coming – then more little boys and girls will be trafficked, abused, and even killed. We have an obligation to make sure that not one more child is hurt by this president’s lawlessness.”

“Giving the Administration a $3.7 billion emergency check is the not answer,” said Blackburn. “The lawless policies of this Administration are to blame and they must be fixed. I look forward to working with Senator Cruz in this effort to freeze the Administration’s DACA Program, which has been the root cause of unaccompanied minors crossing our Southern border.”

Click here to read the full text of Blackburn's legislation.

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Blackburn Acts to Prevent FCC from Trampling on States’ Rights


Congressman Marsha Blackburn today secured an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services Appropriations Bill that would prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from trampling on the rights of states when it comes to municipal broadband. Blackburn’s amendment was approved with a vote of 223-200.

Municipal broadband projects have had a mixed bag of results.There have been some successes and there have also been some spectacular failures that have left taxpayers on the hook. Blackburn’s amendment prohibits any taxpayer funds from being used by the FCC to pre-empt state municipal broadband laws.

“The People’s House has spoken. We don’t need unelected bureaucrats in Washington telling our states what they can and can’t do with respect to protecting their limited taxpayer dollars and private enterprises,” Blackburn said. “As a former State Senator in Tennessee I strongly believe in States’ rights. That’s why I have found it deeply troubling that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly stated this past year that he intends to pre-empt states’ rights when it comes to the role of state policy over municipal broadband.

“Chairman Wheeler’s statements pose a direct challenge on the constitutionality of states’ sovereign functions. It wrongly assumes Washington knows what is best and ignores the fact that the right answer doesn’t always come from the top-down.”

This past June, Congressman Blackburn was joined by 59 of her House colleagues in sending a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stating their concerns and requesting a response to a list of questions. The FCC has still not responded to this request. The FCC has also failed to respond to a similar request made by members of the United States Senate.

“It seems that the FCC is content to tell our states how they will manage their sovereign economic affairs, but they won’t answer to the Congress who is responsible for exercising oversight over the agency,” stated Blackburn. Inserting the FCC into our states’ economic and fiscal affairs sets a dangerous precedent and violates state sovereignty in a manner that warrants deeper examination.

“This Congress cannot sit idly by and let an independent agency trample on our states’ rights. This is an issue that should be left to our states and if it comes to a point where we need a national standard then that debate should be held by Congress with participation from the American people.”


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Blackburn Amendment to Block Detroit Bailout Passes House


Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today secured several provisions that seek to protect hard-working American taxpayers from government waste and mismanagement as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 Financial Services Appropriations Bill that was approved by the House of Representatives.

The bill includes an amendment offered by Blackburn that would prevent the federal government from bailing out the public pensioners in cities such as Detroit and Chicago.

“I refuse to stand by and watch hard-working taxpayers be left on the hook for the irresponsible decisions of liberal big labor groups,” Blackburn said. “Cities such as Detroit, Chicago and others where big labor has created extremely generous retirement benefits for public service workers are going to have find their own way out of the mess they have created. We must foreclose the Administration’s bailout of big labor bosses as a possibility. It simply should not be an option.”

The House also accepted Congressman Blackburn’s proposal to cut $2 million in funding from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and transfers part of the money to the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC) in order to enhance third party testing relief.

“Third party testing burdens hinder the ability of American companies to hire more employees, and to expand their product lines. It hinders the ability of businesses to grow our economy, and is detrimental to our workforce,” said Blackburn. “Businesses and families are hurting because of the bureaucratic mess at the CPSC and their refusal to serve the American people dutifully. It’s time for the CPSC to be responsive by taking ownership of its mandate and release industry and small businesses from the hefty economic burdens that do not always lead to the increased safety of products.”

Blackburn also secured a provision in the bill that would prohibit any funds from being used by CPSC to move forward with a proposed rule that would cripple the highly successful voluntary recall program currently in place. For nearly 40 years, the CPSC and manufacturers and retailers—both big and small—have partnered to ensure that the system of voluntary recalls is effectively reducing the safety risks posed to the public. In fact, the CPSC recently highlighted the success of program, noting that 90 percent of recalls through the award-winning Fast Track program are implemented within 20 days. The Fast Track program was created by former CPSC Chairman Ann Brown to greatly reduce the amount of time it takes recalls to be implemented.

“Instead of working to increase the efficiency of its programs, the CPSC’s proposed rule change effectively kills its most successful program,” Blackburn said. “This proposed rule would slow the process and put consumers making it more difficult to remove defective products from the marketplace. The public would ultimately be more at risk through a hostile process involving more time, lawyers and greater costs.My amendment seeks to remind the Commission that its mission is to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products in an efficient and responsible manner.”

Finally, Blackburn offered her amendment to cut spending in the FY15 Financial Services Appropriations bill by an additional one-percent across-the-board, which would have saved taxpayers more than $228 million.

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Border Crisis: My Visit to Fort Sill, Oklahoma


Many of you know I visited an unaccompanied child (UAC) detention center at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma last Saturday. It is clear that many Oklahomans are working hard to make the most of a terrible situation. Any action Congress takes must actively address. A political ploy will only make it worse. Now, I wanted to share some of my thoughts, concerns, and action points from that day.

The Ft. Sill UAC detention facility houses approximately 1,000 male and female teens who have been apprehended crossing the border. The facility is managed by BCFS out of Ft. Worth, Texas, on behalf of HHS. Most of the personnel are private sector employees; neither DHS nor ICE is located on site.  The shelter carries a 1 to 12 ratio of staff to children and is one of the 94 Office of Refuge Resettlement facilities standing up in the country. The Ft. Sill facility anticipates being open into the fall.

Many of the children here arrived with nothing more than a piece of paper containing the name and phone number of their “host.” Caseworkers are to contact the name listed to verify their validity and relationship to the child. It is very likely many of these individuals are in the country illegally, so precise verification and vetting for these children is not possible. Estimates are that at least 25% of the children at the Ft. Sill facility have been sexually abused and the Border Patrol estimates that over 50% of all illegal entrants have been sexually abused on their journey.  All girls over the age of 10 have to be given a pregnancy test.  Public health is engaged with the CDC to track communicable diseases and parasites that are being brought in by this population.

I am disgusted by the fact that these children have become pawns in the President’s political game. This crisis began in June 2012 when President Obama issued an executive order stating he would not deport illegal alien children who came here as minors. Coyotes and traffickers saw this as an open door to sell false hope and false dreams to parents seeking to get their children out of violence in their home countries.

What are we going to do about it? Here are my suggestions. First, absolutely first, we must secure the border. It is the only proper first step. The National Guard should be deployed to the border to provide back up for the Border Patrol. Secondly, President Obama should rescind the June 2012 Executive Order. As the politics of this crisis plays out, we must simultaneously work to protect these unaccompanied children by returning them to their parents in their home countries. How do we pay for it? We deduct the cost from the foreign aid accounts of each of these countries. Securing these countries from gang violence should then become the focus of our foreign aid. 

This crisis can’t be solved with legislative acts from Congress alone. President Obama has to send a strong message that those who illegally enter the United States will be returned home. President Obama must end the release of criminal illegal aliens. President Obama must direct his administration to use their authority to crack down on fraudulent asylum claims. President Obama must provide the border patrol with access to federal lands. 

Many of the Central American children who have come here were abused or injured along the way. Some even had friends who died on the trip. Many of the children we spoke with talked about going from facility to facility confused and bewildered. They are uncertain of where they will end up or even if they will survive the rest of their journey. These are souls made precious in the eyes of the Almighty who deserve compassion. I am convinced the most compassionate thing for these children is not a life given over to someone who can’t be vetted and secured; who a quarter of the time will throw that child into human trafficking. The most compassionate thing we can do is to return these children to their families and homes. We must find a way to humanely repatriate these children back to their country of origin, secure our border, and stem this tide before it is too late.

I also wanted to share with you an interview I gave today on Fox News. Please feel free to share with your networks.

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Blackburn Statement on Visit to UAC Facility at Fort Sill


Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement regarding her visit on Saturday, July 12th to the Department of Health and Human Services Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) facility at Fort Sill. Oklahoma:

“President Obama’s lawlessness led to this border crisis. His failure to enforce deportation laws has given children false hope that they can cross the border and remain in America permanently. I visited an unaccompanied child (UAC) detention center at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma last Saturday. Many of the Central American children who have come here were abused or injured along the way. Some even had friends who died on the trip. I am disgusted by the fact that these children have become pawns in the President’s political game. We must find a way to humanely re-patriate these children back to their country of origin and secure our border.” Read More

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Washington, DC 20515
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Committee Assignments


Energy and Commerce

Growing up, Marsha Blackburn learned that the promise of our nation depends on each generation of Americans working hard to leave the country a better place than they found it. As a small business woman, author, mother, grandmother, and Member of Congress, Marsha Blackburn has dedicated her service to the sacred obligation all citizens have to their communities: making Tennessee and America a better, more prosperous, and freer place.

Congressman Blackburn began her elected service career in 1998 as a Tennessee State Senator. Blackburn’s Senate career was marked by her commitment to fiscal common sense and government accountability. She became known to her constituents for holding “budget school” in her district and across the state; identifying waste and offering solutions for a state in a budget crunch.

While serving in the Tennessee Senate, Blackburn led a statewide grassroots campaign to defeat a proposed state income tax. She earned the reputation as a champion of anti-tax and government reform issues, frequently appearing on local talk radio and even earning the attention of national publications like the Wall Street Journal and conservative groups such as Americans for Tax Reform.

Blackburn’s reputation for focusing on individual freedom and free enterprise boosted her from the Tennessee Senate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Blackburn was first elected to represent Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District in 2002, quickly becoming a leader in Congress and a leading voice advocating for a small, efficient federal government that is accountable to its citizens. She is regularly praised by good government groups like the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Farm Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and the American Conservative Union. She has been named a Taxpayer Hero by Americans for Tax Reform each year she has served in Congress. In 2007 Blackburn received the Conservative Leadership Award from the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.

Congressman Blackburn is often selected by her colleagues to lead the charge for common sense reform. In February 2010 she was selected to represent conservative views on health care reform at the President’s Blair House Summit. She has served on the majority and minority whip teams since her election in 2002, and holds a seat on the vital Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over health care, energy regulation, and telecommunications issues. In 2006 the Independent Electrical Contractors recognized her as their Lawmaker of the Year.

Marsha has earned a special reputation as a bi-partisan leader and policy expert on telecommunications issues and intellectual property rights. She has strong ties with Tennessee’s recording industry and the songwriters and performers who make it great. In 2003 Blackburn founded and serves as Chairman of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus to give the nation’s creative community a voice on Capitol Hill. In 2007, she was awarded the Congressional Grammy by the Recording Academy; the White Hat award from the Nashville Songwriters Association and in 2008 received the Platinum Award from the RIAA.

In 2012, Health IT Now presented her with the HITN Innovation Award for her work in support of innovative solutions to our most pressing healthcare problems. Marsha has also been honored by the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony list for her pro-life, pro-family work. And recognized by the Association of Children’s Hospitals and the American College of Radiology for her leadership on healthcare issues. In April 2013 at the “Women Run The World” Half Marathon in New York City, More Magazine recognized Blackburn for her service in government by honoring her as one of 10 women who are making a difference in the world.

Blackburn was selected to serve as Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the 113th Congress where she will continue to serve on four critical Subcommittees: Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade (CMT); Oversight; Health; and Communications and Technology. She serves on the House Budget Committee and is a founding member of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee. Blackburn is also a member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board.

Marsha and her husband Chuck live in Williamson County, Tennessee. They have two children, Mary Morgan Ketchel and Chad Blackburn; and two grandsons. Blackburn is a native of Laurel, Mississippi and graduate of Mississippi State University.


Serving With

Phil Roe


John Duncan


Chuck Fleischmann


Scott DesJarlais


Diane Black


Stephen Fincher


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