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Senate Proceeding on May 3rd, 2010 :: 3:17:00 to 3:26:45
Total video length: 4 hours 32 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Lamar Alexander

3:17:00 to 3:26:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

3:17:00 to 3:17:20( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. a senator: unanimous consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. we're in a quorum call. mr. alexander: mr. president, i ask consent to vitiate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: and ask consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. alexander: thank you,

Lamar Alexander

3:17:21 to 3:17:41( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: mr. president. mr. president, nashville and middle tennessee have been hit with what the corps of engineers officials tell us is a 1,000-year rain event. in a thousand years, we wouldn't expect to have this much rain. it is providing enormous hardship to the people, not just of nashville and davison county but the counties in and around nashville.

Lamar Alexander

3:17:42 to 3:18:02( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i wanted to give a brief report on what we know about that, what nor corker a i and congressman cooper and the other members of congress from that region are doing working together so that the people of our area can know what -- what to expect. there is a telephone number to

Lamar Alexander

3:18:03 to 3:18:23( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: call, and i'd like to -- i can -- if i i'd like to give it. 615-862-8574. that's a telephone number for the people in the nashville and middle tennessee area who are concerned about what to do, who have an emergency who want information about what help may

Lamar Alexander

3:18:24 to 3:18:45( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: be available to them. 615-862-8574. the cumberland river and the harpith river are the two rivers that are causing most of the problem. we have been waiting all day for the cumberland river which runs through nashville down from clarksville -- on up to clarksville to -- to crest. that crest hasn't happened yet.

Lamar Alexander

3:18:46 to 3:19:06( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: the latest predictions are that it might happen around 7:00. it may be later. in the meantime, the corps of engineers with whom we're working are trying hard to minimize the damage from the lakes that they are responsible for. there are three major lakes in the middle tennessee region -- old hickory, percy priest and

Lamar Alexander

3:19:07 to 3:19:28( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: center hill. these damns, these -- these dams, these lakes hold the water, of course, and the corps of engineers releases water from the overflow of these lakes and that just puts more water into the cumberland river and that just floods nashville more. this is the latest report on those three lakes. the corps is currently not

Lamar Alexander

3:19:29 to 3:19:49( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: releasing water from percy priest lake, and they have told us that they will not release water from percy priest lake until the river crests. this is important information for people in downtown nashville. first, -- first avenue, second avenue, both have a lot of water.

Lamar Alexander

3:19:50 to 3:20:11( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: some of the big buildings, the pinnacle building has a lot of water. the fact that the corps is not releasing water from percy priest lake until the river crests is anmportant piece of information. the water level, on the other hand, at old hickory lake is at historic levels, and the corps is releasing water from old

Lamar Alexander

3:20:12 to 3:20:32( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: hickory lake but only when absolutely necessary to maintain the stability of the old hickory dam. fortunately, the corps is not having to release water from the third lake, the center hill lake. it has some room to spare, and this is an example of the congress and the federal government doing something right, mr. president, because

Lamar Alexander

3:20:33 to 3:20:53( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: over the last several years, we have added funds to the appropriations bills -- i have and others have, in order to improve the safety of center hill dam because up to the last couple of years, the water level had to be low because the dam was weak. if the dam was as weak as it was two or three years ago, why, the

Lamar Alexander

3:20:54 to 3:21:15( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: corps of engineers would have had to be releasing a lot more water from center hill lake into the cumberland river, causing more flooding in nashville. our staff, over the weekend, we have been in touch with about the governor's office and mayor dean's office. they are doing a first-rate job.

Lamar Alexander

3:21:16 to 3:21:36( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: i have had the -- part responsibility has been to work with the governor over the last several years on disasters as they occur. such as the tornado in macon county which is near nashville, the tornadoes in jackson county. he, the governor, and the head

Lamar Alexander

3:21:37 to 3:21:58( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: of the tennessee emergency management agency, they have a first-rate operation there. they have been working hard ever since the rains hit. the federal emergency management agency has a liaison stationed at the tema, the tennessee emergency management agency office, and they are working well together.

Lamar Alexander

3:21:59 to 3:22:22( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: what those people are doing is using every available resource in support of state and local efforts to try to rescue people, to make life easier, to get the water plant running again, and to begin to assess what the damage is, which is where the federal government generally can help -- can help.

Lamar Alexander

3:22:23 to 3:22:43( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: as i mentioned, this is just not nashville that's involved. macon county, williamson county, montgomery county, cheatham county, all the counties right around nashville up to clarksville are -- are involved. my chief of staff from

Lamar Alexander

3:22:44 to 3:23:04( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: washington has been on site in nashville since last night. my state field director has been on site since last night as well. they are busy dealing with the local officials. i'm prepared to go whenever it would be helpful, but there is no need for me go and get in the way if there is nothing for me to do. the best thing for me to do right now, along with senator

Lamar Alexander

3:23:05 to 3:23:26( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: corker and congressman cooper, is to stay in touch with the governor's office and the mayor's office and be ready to help with the disaster requests when it is made. now, when the governor makes a disaster request, the procedure is that we then go to work to help persuade the preside, and i' sure he will act as promptly as he can to appve that disaster request.

Lamar Alexander

3:23:27 to 3:23:47( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: there are two or three kinds of help that may be forcoming. one would be public assistance for debris removal, to replace public buildings that are damaged, water or sewer facilities or infrastructure. for example, one of the major water treatment plants is down, and the mayor has asked

Lamar Alexander

3:23:48 to 3:24:08( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: nashvilleians to conserve water. that may be an area where federal support will be available to help. then there is the matter of private assistance, temporary housing may be available. there may be loans available to businesses that are -- that are hurt and other forms of assistance to individuals in

Lamar Alexander

3:24:09 to 3:24:29( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: households. this is a major event in our city. the opryland hotel, one of the biggest hotels anywhere in america, has had to empty itself and it has 1,500 residents who are staying in a -- in a high school, and it may be several months, we'r told, before the

Lamar Alexander

3:24:30 to 3:24:50( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: opryland hotel is able to function again. we hope not because its tax revenues provide 25% of all the hotel and motel tax revenues for the city, and that would come at a difficult time. so my purpose on the floor today, mr. president, is simply to express my concern to the residents of the city where we

Lamar Alexander

3:24:51 to 3:25:11( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: live in nashville, tennessee, and to all others who might be affected in the middle tennessee area, and to let them know that i believe that governor bredesen and the mayor are doing a first-rate job in responding to the immediate requests, that the federal and state management agencies are hard at work, that

Lamar Alexander

3:25:12 to 3:25:33( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: there is a telephone number that individual tennesseans who have questions can call. it's 615-862-8574. and that after getting themselves and their families in order, the best thing to do is to document your losses so that when the governor makes his

Lamar Alexander

3:25:34 to 3:25:55( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: request for disaster assistance and the president approves it, that -- that those losses can be proven and that help can come more quickly. the governor will move as swiftly as he can on this. our experience is that it's better to be complete than quick because we want to make sure that when the request comes in,

Lamar Alexander

3:25:56 to 3:26:17( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: that it involves everybody, that it involves all the claims, that they are properly documented. that's been our experience before. so that's our report to the people of middle tennessee. i want them to know that i care about it, that i'm on the phone about it, that we have staff members on site, and i believe that the governor and the mayor and the federal and state emergency agencies are doing all

Lamar Alexander

3:26:18 to 3:26:35( Edit History Discussion )

Lamar Alexander: they can and we will hope for the best as the cumberland river crests, we hope sooner rather than later. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i notice the absence of quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.

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