I know this may be hard for you to believe, but there was a major, bipartisan victory in Congress last week that failed to gain any of the attention it deserved. I want to highlight some of the progress we made last week and explain why it should matter to those of us back in Alabama.
Last week, both the House and the Senate passed a funding bill that covered three very important parts of our government: military construction and veterans services, energy and water development, and Legislative Branch operations.
I am pleased to see us passing targeted funding bills instead of waiting until the last minute to pass a massive omnibus funding bill. Over the last few years, the House has been able to pass funding bills only to see the process stall out in the Senate.
Thankfully, since Alabama Senator Richard Shelby became Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the process has actually been moving again in the Senate. This has allowed us to focus on passing the smaller funding packages that are targeted toward our priorities.
So why is this funding bill important? Obviously funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is important for our state given the large number of veterans that call Alabama home. The bill includes the largest dollar amount in funding for the VA in our nation’s history. This means the VA will have the resources necessary to take care of our veterans, hire high-quality employees, and cut back on the claims backlog.
There have been serious issues at the VA over the last few years, so I am pleased the funding bill dedicates more for the VA inspector general. This money will allow for stronger accountability at the VA as we work to make sure no veteran is left behind.
The bill also includes funding for military construction programs in Alabama and across the country. As we work to rebuild our nation’s military, we must not forget about our military infrastructure. This funding includes money set aside for military housing programs. If we are to retain the best and brightest in our military, we need to ensure they have first class facilities.
Next, the funding bill sets aside funding for the Army Corps of Engineers. Those of us in Southwest Alabama know the important work the Corps does on a daily basis to keep our waterways open and navigable. This is important to those of us who like to spend time on the water for recreational purposes, but it is especially important for our economy since so much of our commerce is conducted on waterways.
Just consider the Port of Mobile and the important commerce that goes in and out of that Port each day. Under this funding bill, the Corps will receive $7 billion for navigation projects, the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and to help with flood prevention and restoration projects. This money is very important for our country, but especially important for our state.
Finally, the bill funds our nation’s nuclear security strategy by dedicating money to support our nation’s nuclear weapons and the Navy’s nuclear reactors. The bill sets aside money to ensure nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands and funding to prevent against cyberattacks. Our national security must always be the top priority.
As you can see, this commonsense government funding bill is good for our country and Alabama. I was pleased to see it pass the House on a strong vote of 377 to 20, and I hope we can keep up the positive momentum to continue getting the job done for the American people.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) recently threw his support behind H.R. 6771, the Domestic Offshore Energy Reinvestment Act of 2018, which would increase the amount of revenue from oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico that is available to the Gulf states.
The bill, which was introduced by Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA), amends the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) to increase the amount of oil and gas revenue that is made available to Gulf states like Alabama. The bill advanced out of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.
Congressman Byrne said: “Money from the GOMESA program is critical to coastal Alabama and allows for important infrastructure, coastal restoration, flood mitigation, and other projects. Under this bill, Alabama and the other energy producing states in the Gulf would receive more money, in line with what onshore states receive for their energy production. I am committed to working with my Gulf Coast colleagues to get this bill across the finish line and support our coastal communities.”
Currently, 50 percent of oil and gas revenues goes to the federal government, 37.5 percent is shared among Gulf states, and 12.5 percent goes to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This bill would increase the state percentage to 50 percent and reduce the federal amount to 37.5 percent. The Land and Water Conservation Fund would continue to receive 12.5 percent. The bill also removes the current $500 million revenue sharing cap.
This year, Alabama received $21 million through GOMESA while Baldwin County received $2.47 million and Mobile County received $2.88 million.
Since coming to Congress Rep. Byrne has consistently offered an amendment to the Department of Interior Appropriations bill to protect important GOMESA revenue.
Click here for more information on the Domestic Offshore Energy Reinvestment Act of 2018.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement in response to passage of the first government funding package for Fiscal Year 2019, which included funding bills for Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch.
Congressman Byrne said: “This is a step in the right direction toward passing individual, targeted government funding bills instead of settling for a massive omnibus bill at the last minute. I want to especially commend Senator Richard Shelby for his work to end the backlog in the Senate and move the appropriations process forward.
“This funding package includes the highest dollar level ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides funding necessary to make improvements to our military infrastructure, increases funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, and supports our nuclear national security strategy.
“This is a first step. We should continue to pass targeted government funding bills that reflect our Alabama and conservative priorities.”
The funding package, which passed by a vote of 377 to 20, has already cleared the Senate, so it now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
Click here for more information on the funding package.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to issue a new rule regarding the joint-employer standard.
Congressman Byrne said: “I applaud the NLRB and Chairman Ring for their action to protect American workers and bring much needed clarity for small businesses across the country. The ambiguous and expansive joint-employer standard of the Obama NLRB has caused confusion and threatens thousands of jobs, so it is imperative we move forward with a new rule.
“While the new rule is an important step, it does not change the fact that we continue to need a permanent legislative solution, like the Save Local Business Act. I will continue to push for legislative action to bring certainty to our small businesses and their workers.”
Last year, the House passed Congressman Byrne’s bill, the Save Local Business Act, which would roll back the vague and expansive joint employer standard. The Save Local Business Act amends the National Labor Relations Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act to restore the commonsense definition of what it means to be an employer. The legislation clarifies that two or more employers must have “actual, direct, and immediate” control over employees to be considered joint employers.Read More
When you turn on the TV or log onto your computer these days, you are bombarded with negative news stories about the latest s0-called scandal from Washington.
I’ve said it before, but I believe it is so true: we need to tune out the noise from the national news media and look at what is actually happening. The U.S. military is being rebuilt, and our communities are becoming safer. But, nowhere is the positive direction of our country more apparent than when it comes to the economy.
The American people are thriving under a strong economy that is providing promising opportunities for American families. Thanks to lower taxes, fewer regulations, a stronger focus on fair trade, and a less invasive federal government, the American economy is truly booming. Just consider some of the numbers.
The August jobs report found that 201,000 new jobs were created in the United States and the unemployment rate sits at a low 3.9%. At the same time, the report found that wages increased at the best rate since 2009.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits is at the lowest point in almost 49-years. Surveys have found that consumer confidence has reached its highest level since October 2000. And, second quarter growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 4.2%, the best performance in nearly ten years.
The economic gains are also reaching populations that have generally lagged behind during other economic booms. For example, youth unemployment has hit the lowest level in 52-years. The unemployment rates for African Americans and Hispanics are also at or near record lows.
Here in Alabama, we are experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in our state’s history. New businesses continue to locate in our area, and Alabama workers are seeing more money in their pockets.
Right here in Southwest Alabama, our communities are experiencing economic growth, and the growth is not just confined to the larger cities.
For example, I recently visited Provalus in Brewton. This is a high-tech company bringing good-paying jobs to the people in Escambia County. I also stopped by Sterling Packaging in Monroeville recently. This company moved from Canada to Monroe County due to our great economic climate and a dedicated workforce. These are just two examples from rural Alabama where new businesses are opening and providing opportunities for Alabama families.
The economic gains show that our conservative, pro-growth policies are working, but there are other priorities we must address to ensure we continue to grow and create opportunities for Americans. Health care remains at the top of the list. We need to make sure our health care system works and is affordable for Americans. Here in Alabama, a top health care priority that directly impacts the economy is saving our rural hospitals. Without a hospital, communities won’t be able to attract new industry.
Also on the list is passing a new Farm Bill that supports our farmers. Agriculture remains the top industry in Alabama, so having a strong, fair Farm Bill is so very important. A big part of the Farm Bill this year is a focus on expanding rural broadband. This is vital to the economic success of rural America.
We know the government does not create jobs, but we can help promote job growth with the right policies. These are just a few tangible ways we can keep our foot on the gas and fully unleash our economic potential.
At the end of the day, we should not let some talking head on television tell us how terrible our country is today. Instead, simply look at the facts about the booming American economy.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will host his annual Academy Night on Monday, September 10th for students interested in attending one of our nation’s military service academies. The event is open to all high school students, parents, and teachers in Southwest Alabama.
Representatives from the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy (West Point), and U.S. Naval Academy will be on hand to answer questions and meet with prospective students.
In order to attend most of the service academies, students must have a nomination. Congressmen, Senators, the Vice President, and the President are the only ones who can nominate a student to a service academy. Once students complete their education, they must fulfill a service commitment. Most of these commitments are at least five years active duty, but the service requirement may be longer for certain specialized fields.
Click here for more information on the nomination process.
What: Academy Night 2018
When: September 10, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. CT to 8:00 p.m. CT
Where: St. Paul’s Episcopal School; Dr. Monte L. Moorer Theatre (161 Dogwood Lane; Mobile, AL)Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) spoke today at a press conference with leadership from the House of Representatives about his “Better Off Now” Town Hall Meeting Tour and lessons he learned while traveling throughout Southwest Alabama.
In his remarks, Congressman Byrne highlighted how the economy in Southwest Alabama continues to grow, and he specifically highlighted Provalus in Brewton and Sterling Package in Monroeville.
Byrne began by sharing his appreciation with first responders who worked throughout the night along the Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Gordon came ashore.
Throughout the August District Work Period, Congressman Byrne held twelve town hall meetings in Salipta, Atmore, Brewton, Dauphin Island, Millry, Citronelle, Mobile, Grand Bay, Monroeville, Seminole, Loxley, and Spanish Fort. All the town hall meetings were open to the public.
A transcript of Congressman Byrne’s remarks can be found below.
Congressman Byrne said: “And I'd like to give a quick shout-out to the first responders and utility linemen in Southwest Alabama who are responding to the aftermath of Tropical Storm Gordon. We took a pretty big hit, but it looks like we're going to be OK, but I appreciate their efforts.
“As Cathy said, I spent my August going all over my district. I held 12 town hall meetings. I visited dozens of businesses, talked to dozens of groups of people. I called all of this the Better Off Now Town Hall Meeting Tour. And it was wonderful.
“Literally everywhere I went, there was optimism. There is real progress in local economies that we haven't seen in years. And it was very uplifting.
“We are also, in my district, making one of the ships for the United States Navy, the Littoral Combat Ship. Very important to building our fleet to 355. We're going to be christening another one of those ships in two weeks. That shipyard is at full tilt.
“We have some shipyards in a little town called Bayou La Batre, by the way, that was affected by the storm. Those shipyards have been in a down spot for years now. They're coming back to life. They're actually back to ship building, back to ship repair.
“But I was really struck by what I saw at some of the rural areas in my district, and let me just tell you about two of them.
“There's a little town in my district called Brewton. They have a new company there called Provalus, that's a high-tech I.T. business. Now, Brewton is a very rural part of my district. It's one of those places that I've done town halls before and people would show up at the town hall and say, ‘Our little town is dying.’
“And then when I went to it this time, Provalus is actually up and going. They've got 70 employees -- high-tech I.T. jobs in Brewton, Alabama.
“Another town I went to, Monroeville. A great town.
“You all know Monroeville, by the way. You don't know that you know it. That's where Harper Lee's from. That's where "To Kill A Mockingbird" was based.
“So I did my town hall in the old courthouse there. But before I went to the courthouse, I got to go to Sterling Package. Sterling Package is -- was originally a Canadian company. They've moved from Canada to Monroeville, Alabama. They make the cartons that you put craft beer in, which is a growing market, as we all know. They also make the cartons you put specialty vegetable products in. Doing great stuff.
“Now, you have communities like Brewton and Monroeville who I can tell you even last year were still struggling, and now they have this sense of optimism and economic growth and a rising quality of life that they just didn't have.
“So, from the metro area of my district, Mobile, to these rural areas, people not only are better off, they feel that they're better off, they express that they are better off.
“So when I go to my town hall meetings, we talk about what can we do to keep it rolling. And the one message that I continue to hear from people in my district is, ‘Keep doing what you've been doing. Do more of it. 'cause it's making the lives of everybody in this community better.’
“Our towns are not dying, they're thriving and we need to continue to thrive.
“Thank you.”Read More
The House returns to session this week after the month-long August District Work Period, and there are many important legislative items that need our attention.
August was a busy time back in Southwest Alabama listening to the people I have the honor of representing. I appreciate all those who took time to visit my office, attend a town hall meeting, or host me at their business. I look forward to taking back all I learned to Washington as we address the range of issues before us.
Midterm elections for every House seat and one-third of the Senate seats will occur in November, and elections traditionally slow down legislative action in Washington. That said, there are many priorities that require our attention, and I know many of us are committed to getting the job done.
Our biggest priority is passing government funding bills for the next fiscal year. Government funding expires on September 30th each year, so Congress needs to pass funding bills by the end of this month.
The good news is that we have finally reached a bit of a breakthrough in the Senate on passing smaller individual funding bills instead of a massive omnibus bill that no one likes. We must get away from these big omnibus bills and focus on passing smaller, targeted bills one at a time.
Thanks to Alabama’s own Senator, Richard Shelby, the Senate appropriations process is actually moving forward, unlike in years past. This is a big victory as we try to fix the broken process and pass responsible government funding bills on time. I’m optimistic we can pass many of the funding bills before the end of September. This is especially important for our military as years of delayed funding has deteriorated our readiness leaving our servicemembers without the resources they need to defend our country.
There is also a lot of talk in the House about doing “Tax Reform 2.0.” I’m sure you remember last year when Congress passed and President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. This year’s tax reform efforts will focus on making many of those tax cuts permanent to ensure taxes remain low for American families.
The House is also waiting for the Senate to act on a package of bills to address our nation’s opioid drug epidemic. The House has passed over 50 bills to help prevent and treat opioid addiction and abuse while ensuring our drug laws are effective in stopping the flow of illegal drugs. The Senate must act on these bills or pass their own. Far too many Americans are losing their lives to opioid addiction each year, and we must act to stop this alarming trend.
While the path forward is not quite as clear, I remain strongly committed to passing an immigration bill to secure our borders, allow for construction of President Trump’s border wall, crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities,” and close loopholes in our current system. Border security is national security, so I am going to keep pushing for the House to pass strong immigration reform.
At the committee level, I will continue working on the Armed Services Committee to advocate for full funding for our nation’s defense and provide critical oversight as we continue to rebuild our military. On the Education and the Workforce Committee, we remain focused on reauthorizing of the Higher Education Act and oversight hearings on Department of Labor policies.
So, despite what you might hear in the media, the remainder of 2018 will be busy for Congress. I refuse to allow the midterm elections to slow us down from our job: addressing the priorities of the American people.Read More
No one can deny that the political climate in our country today is pretty divisive. Protests and outbursts are becoming more and more common. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise when you consider that a certain group now considers themselves “the resistance.”
Given the volatile condition of our politics today, many Members of Congress are no longer hosting town hall-style meetings to meet with their constituents. These events have become too risky as they provide an avenue for “the resistance” to cause problems and create negative attention.
Despite the national trend away from town hall meetings, I continue to believe town halls are one of the best ways to stay in touch with the people we represent. My town hall meetings are always open to anyone and provide for an hour of open dialogue between residents and the person elected to be their voice in Congress.
While I know some town halls around the country have turned confrontational, I believe that the people of Alabama have enough decency to be able to openly debate and discuss political issues without becoming nasty. I’ve held over 115 in-person town hall meetings since being elected to Congress, and I can count on one hand the number of times someone has been intentionally disruptive or hateful.
Last year, a national news crew from CBS came down to Alabama to cover a day of my town hall meetings. I think they were expecting some hostile moments. At the end of the day, they commented about how nice, friendly, and hospitable the people were. I told them that was just how we operate in Alabama.
See, I think being able to debate – and even disagree – about important issues is fundamental to our country. If you look at places like Russia, North Korea, and Iran, they don’t allow for open debate and dialogue about issues. It is this type of conversation and the freedom to disagree that makes our country great.
So, over the past month, I hit the road to visit communities across Southwest Alabama to hold town hall meetings. Known as the “Better Off Now” Town Hall Tour, I held open meetings in Salipta, Atmore, Brewton, Dauphin Island, Millry, Citronelle, Mobile, Grand Bay, Monroeville, Seminole, Loxley, and Spanish Fort.
For me, it is very important to spread out where I hold town hall meetings. Instead of just staying in larger cities, I have made a commitment to visiting communities of all sizes and in each of the six counties that make up the First Congressional District. The voice of the people in the Salipta community of Clarke County matters just as much as the voice of those in Mobile.
During my recent town hall meetings, hot topics were problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, concerns about illegal immigration, issues with the “Deep State” and government bureaucracy, and the need for improvement to local roads and infrastructure. Each town hall meeting was different, but these were some of the overarching themes.
At the end of the day, I refuse to give in to the narrative that we can no longer openly discuss political issues in our country. We need to embrace the diversity of opinions and views, and town hall meetings are a great way to do that.
So, I promise that as long as I am your Congressman, I will continue to hold public, in-person town hall meetings throughout our area to hear directly from the people I represent. Through these meetings, I become a better Congressman, and I think our society becomes a little stronger.Read More
A Congressional internship is an incredibly rewarding experience that helps young people gain skills and knowledge that will serve them well in whatever career path they choose.
I’m pleased my office offers internships to college students and recent graduates from Alabama throughout the year. This year, it was an honor to host eleven interns in my D.C. office and two interns in my Mobile office over the course of the summer. These were all high-quality individuals who helped our office function and served as great ambassadors for Southwest Alabama.
During their internships, they assisted with legislative and administrative tasks including answering the phones, researching legislation, attending events throughout Southwest Alabama, observing Congressional hearings, and assisting constituents with various government agencies.
This year’s summer interns were:
Harrison Adams, a native of Selma, is a junior at the University of Alabama, where he is majoring in Economics and Finance with a minor in Social Innovation and Leadership.
Anna Casteix, a Mobile native, is a junior at the University of Alabama, where she is majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology.
William Chandler, a native of Montgomery, is a junior at Sewanee, where he is double-majoring in Politics and English with a minor in Rhetoric.
Emma Goodloe, a native of Mobile, is a senior at the University of Georgia, where she is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Public Affairs Communication.
Win Gustin, a Mobile native and Murphy High School graduate, is a rising junior and History major at Washington and Lee University.
Summer Hinton, a native of Mobile, is a sophomore at the University of Alabama, where she is double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science.
William Kelly, a native of Mobile, is a senior at Auburn University, where he is majoring in Finance. He is planning to graduate next May.
John Loris, a Mobile native, is a junior at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi. He is majoring in Sports Medicine and Exercise Science with a Sports Administration minor.
Trinidad Miller, a native of Brewton, is a senior at the University of Alabama, where he is majoring in Marketing with a double specialization in Sales and Services Marketing.
Casey Nelson, a native of Tuscaloosa, is a senior at the University of Alabama, where she is pursuing dual bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Political Science.
William Newman, a native of Montgomery, is a senior at the University of Alabama, where he is majoring in Finance with a specialization in Investment Management.
Aaron Seeley, a native of Fairhope, is a sophomore at Auburn University, where he is majoring in Political Science with a double minor in Economics and English.
Jackson Tunks, a native of Fairhope, is a junior at Queens University of Charlotte, where he is majoring in History with minors in Business Leadership and Political Science.
I sincerely appreciate all their help over this past summer, and I wish them each all the best as they conclude their studies and prepare for the next chapter of their lives. I have no doubt they have bright futures ahead.
My office accepts interns all through the year, so I would encourage any interested students to contact my office and apply. If you want to learn more about internships in my Mobile and D.C. offices, simply visit Byrne.House.Gov/Services/Internships.
We should all take great pride in helping develop the next generation of leaders for our communities, state, and nation. Congressional internships are just one way we can equip our nation’s young people with important life skills, and I am glad my office is able to offer such a productive internship program.Read More
119 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Bradley Byrne was born and raised in Mobile, just a few miles from the site where his great-great-great grandfather, Gerald Byrne, settled in the 1780’s.
After completing his undergraduate studies at Duke University, Byrne received his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law. He has practiced law in Mobile for more than 30 years, always active in the local community through various service and economic development organizations.
Byrne served as a member of the Alabama State Senate representing District 32 from 2003 to 2007. Byrne was elected to Congress in December 2013, to complete the term of Congressman Jo Bonner, who announced his retirement in May 2013. Congressman Byrne was elected to his first full term on November 4, 2014.
In Congress, Byrne has established himself as an effective legislator by successfully advocating for local interests while also championing a smaller, less invasive federal government. Byrne is a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, House Committee on Rules, and House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
Byrne has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for over 30 years. Rebecca is the President and CEO of The Community Foundation of South Alabama, and they are the parents of four children: Patrick, Kathleen, Laura, and Colin. Bradley and Rebecca welcomed the birth of their first grandson, MacGuire Arthur Byrne, on September 4, 2014. Bradley lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.
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