Tennessean Profiles Cooper

Jul 22, 2014
Press Release

Rep. Jim Cooper avoids partisan extremes
By Paul C. Barton

(Excerpts from The Tennessean)

Cooper’s track record shows liberal views on the environment, immigration, civil rights, women’s rights and gay rights. And after the Newtown, Conn., massacre in December 2012, he and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, were the only Tennessee members willing to look at tighter gun control laws.

But he mixes all that with a hawkish determination to do something about the nation’s deficit spending and keep its military No. 1.

But it is Cooper’s attention to budget issues, both the broad and the microscopic, that fuel his wonkish reputation.

“If you don’t have a good budget, you don’t have an ability to solve any problem,” Cooper said.

In 2012, he won praise from editorial writers for leading the “Brave 38,” a group of 38 House members who voted for a budget mixing tax increases with cuts in entitlement programs to square the nation’s finances. It was based on ideas from the 2010 National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

In 2013, Congress adopted a watered-down version of the Nashville Democrat’s “No Budget, No Pay” proposal, which called for withholding members’ paychecks if they failed to pass a budget and all major spending bills by Oct. 1, the start of the federal fiscal year.

Full article published July 17, 2014.