Economy and Jobs

As the nation recovers from the deepest recession in generations, Jim is working to bring jobs back to Middle Tennessee.  As a former small businessman who teaches at Vanderbilt business school, he understands the stresses of the current economy and voted to save our failing banking system when we were facing our darkest hour.

Jim supported the Recovery Act, which provided funding for local infrastructure projects and kept teachers in the classroom and police on the streets.  Because Tennessee saw its unemployment rate top 10%, and over 25% in some counties, Jim has voted to extend unemployment insurance and COBRA assistance to those who’ve lost their jobs.

Through his work as co-chair of the congressional Savings and Ownership Caucus, Jim works to promote financial literacy and economic security for all Americans.


Jim Cooper has been called everything from “Mr. Fiscal Responsibility” to the “Cassandra of Democratic deficit hawks.”  He is a prolific writer and commenter on the federal budget, including writing a forward to The Financial Report of the United States.

Jim believes that taming the deficit is the single most important issue facing America today.  As a leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, Jim pushes his colleagues to face up to the federal government’s long-term budget crisis. 

In addition to being a long-time supporter of pay-as-you-go budgeting, Jim introduced legislation to create a bipartisan commission to recommend deficit reduction and force Congress to vote on their package.  The President recently created a commission modeled after Jim’s bill.


Respected for his knowledge and objectivity, Jim is regarded as a “defense intellectual” in Congress.  The only member of the Armed Services Committee without a major military base or defense contractor in his district, he isn’t beholden to entrenched interests and looks out for what’s best for the country.

He was Chairman of the Panel on Roles and Missions, and works to streamline defense acquisition to save tax payer money and get the right equipment to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jim focuses on the changing demands on our military and other national security institutions in the 21st Century.  His first question when considering any national security issue is “How do we keep America number one?”

Music and Intellectual Property

Music is the lifeblood of Nashville, and it's everywhere you turn in our city.  Music policy impacts Nashville more than other cities, which is why Jim makes it a top priority

Intellectual property is almost exclusively the subject of federal legislation, and music policy that affects us locally is hatched in Washington, D.C.   Jim is a strong supporter of intellectual property rights and rights-holders, but he is also strong believer that an appropriate balance must be struck between intellectual property owners' protections and the public's interest in accessing and making fair uses of protected works.

For example, Jim is working to finally pay our artists and musicians when their works are played on the radio, while protecting small broadcasters

Energy and Environment

Jim knows our dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security, and rising energy prices threaten our wallets.

Jim believes that new energy solutions can create thousands of jobs in Middle Tennessee and protect our environment.  When Congress voted to address global warming last year, Jim introduced a bill to make sure that energy prices remain stable for everyday Americans – and that new rules weren’t manipulated by Wall Street.

Jim works to help Tennessee families get a fair deal from their electric co-operatives.  He has joined TVA in appealing a frivolous lawsuit to make sure Tennesseans don’t pay hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary fines, and continues to support efforts to keep coal mining waste from harming our water supplies in Middle Tennessee.

Health Care

Jim has studied health care for decades and taught health policy at Vanderbilt.  Acknowledging his leadership on the issue, President Obama invited Jim to the Blair House summit in February and the White House Forum on Health Reform last March.

Jim believes health care reform is both a moral and fiscal imperative.  He worked on a bipartisan basis to control cost and improve quality for patients, businesses, and medical professionals, and demanded that any health reform legislation meet the strict budget targets.

Jim supported the new health care reform law signed by the President on March 23rd, 2010, believing it is the only realistic hope to curb explosive cost growth and ensure Americans get a fair deal in today’s private health insurance markets.  It had the support of every Nashville hospital, 59,000 Catholic Sisters, and the majority of doctors and nurses in town who contacted him.  The final package included Jim’s proposals on transparency for the cost of health insurance and an independent advisory board on Medicare payments.

"Jim is one of the most knowledgeable Members in Congress who is respected by people on both sides of the aisle.  His thoughtful, balanced approach is an asset to Middle Tennessee and our nation"
Vic Campbell
"Congressman Cooper is a man of substance and integrity - whose reputation is defined by his commitment to all of the people of the 5th Congressional District."
James "Tex" Thomas
"Jim is in tune with Nashville and his understanding of the issues unique to Music City make him the right man for the job. "
Mary Ann McCready, FBMM Entertainment Business Management
"We are fortunate to have Jim Cooper in Congress to protect our values and currency."
Jim Beard, Former CEO of Caterpillar
"Cooper one of 8 Tennessee lawmakers (2 Democrats) who are 'pro-business.'"
"One of the most bipartisan public officials in Tennessee."
The Tennessean
"Cooper was awarded the Health Care Heroes lifetime achievement award along with former majority leader Bill Frist 2009."
Nashville Business Journal 2009
"One of the real experts on (health care) in the House."
Face the Nation - Bob Schieffer
" of the most thoughtful, cordial and well-prepared members of the House."
"A Democratic crusader for honestly balanced budgets."