Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

US Should Listen To Israel on Iran Nuclear Deal, Byrne Says

2015/03/02

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today spoke on the House floor about the serious threat posed by a nuclear Iran and previewed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress. A transcript of Congressman Byrne’s remarks can be found below. Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my serious concerns about the ongoing Iran nuclear talks. “Iran is no friend to the United States or our allies. Iran remains the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran has continued to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missile technology, the only legitimate purpose of such technology is to deliver a nuclear payload. “Don’t just take my word for it. Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently wrote in his statement for the record to the House Armed Services Committee that “The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to threaten US strategic interests in the Middle East. Iran’s actions and policies are designed to further its goal of becoming the dominant regional power, as well as to enhance its strategic depth. Tehran views the United States as its most capable adversary and has fashioned its military strategy and doctrine accordingly. “In terms of nuclear capabilities, General Stewart goes on to say “We continue to assess that Iran’s goal is to develop capabilities that would allow it to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, should a decision be made to do so. The regime faces no insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon, making Iran’s political will the central issue.” “One Arab official recently told the Wall Street Journal: “We prefer a collapse of the diplomatic process to a bad deal.” “Since they started in 2009, the negotiations with Iran have been marked by missed deadline after missed deadline. It seems like each time details of the deal are leaked to the press the United States is giving up more, whether it be the number of centrifuges or the length of the deal. “Just last week Secretary of State John Kerry came before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and pleaded for more time and understanding as the State Department continues to hold talks about Iran’s nuclear program. He asked us to sit silently while the details are negotiated in secret. He urged us to just trust him and his team. “It’s becoming increasingly hard to trust an administration that continually fails at these kinds of negotiations. Look at the Bergdahl deal when we gave away five high-level al-Qaeda officials. Look at the recent talks with Cuba in which the United States received very little while we released Cuban spies and pledged to open trade relations.  And we can’t forget about President Obama telling Russian President Demitry Medvedev that he will have “more flexibility” to deal with nuclear issues after the 2012 presidential elections – flexibility to deal with Vladimir Putin. “Far too often they give away the bank and we get very little in return. “Tomorrow, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will come to this Chamber to share his perspective on the threats posed by a nuclear Iran. “Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have complained that the speech is somehow out of line or for political purposes only. They have pledged to boycott the event, and the Vice President has refused to attend. “I remain greatly disturbed by the way the Obama administration has treated Israel, our greatest and most important ally in the Middle East. “I suspect the real reason the Obama administration is so opposed to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is because they are afraid of what he is going to say. They know he will speak the truth and that his statements will stand in direct contrast to what is being said by Secretary of State Kerry. Prime Minister Netanyahu won’t hide the real issues. These nuclear talks threaten not only Israel but also the Middle East and the entire world. “Last summer I traveled to the Middle East with the Armed Services Committee. During that trip, we met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and he really impressed me. He has a clear vision and message about his country’s defensive needs. And he is very determined to meet those needs. “Israel is our strongest and most consistent ally in the region. We should listen to what they have to say.” Read More

Veterans Deserve More Choice in the VA System

2015/02/28

We all have special veterans in our life. These are the countless men and women across the country who sacrifice so much in defense of our nation. They serve valiantly in conflicts across the globe as part of the United States military. When they finish their service to our nation and leave the military, these veterans deserve the highest level of respect and care possible. Unfortunately, too many veterans are being left behind in a VA system that lacks accountability and any understanding of commonsense. Last year, all of our eyes were opened to the harsh reality that too many of our veterans already realized. VA officials were rigging the system by hiding veterans on secret waiting lists. These alarming revelations led Congress to pass the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act. This legislation included a number of important accountability measures including provisions that make it easier to fire senior VA officials and a reduction in money that could be used to provide bonuses to VA employees. The bill also included a provision designed to increase veteran access to private care, through what is called the VA Choice Program. The idea was that veterans who experienced wait times of more than 30 days or those that lived more than 40 miles from a VA facility could seek care from a private doctor. I was especially pleased to learn of this provision and enthusiastically championed the bill’s passage because I knew how important greater access to care would be to our area. Sadly, I have come to learn that the VA is interpreting the legislation in way that continues to force veterans to travel hundreds of miles to receive care at VA facilities. Let me explain the problem with the VA’s interpretation of our law. Current law says that any veteran who resides more than 40 miles from a VA facility is eligible to receive care from a private medical provider. That should be good news for veterans in Southwest Alabama. Unfortunately, the VA has interpreted that the 40 mile rule does not refer to whether the specialty need of the veteran (for example, orthopedic surgery) is available within 40 miles. So regardless of whether the VA facility near a veteran provides the actual service or care the veteran needs, the veteran is not eligible for private care.  This interpretation has resulted in a significant number of veterans who need access to important medical treatment being forced back into the VA system even though they could receive the same care from hospitals and doctors in their community. When I learned of this, I immediately went to work on legislation to make things right. Last week, I introduced H.R. 1096, the Real Choice for Veterans Act. My short, two-page bill would make clear that veterans may seek private care when they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility “that is able to provide to the veteran the care and services that the veteran needs.” Southwest Alabama is a great example of how my legislation would work. While we have VA clinics in Mobile and Monroeville, the nearest VA hospital is more than 40 miles away. That said, our district is home to a number of first-class, private hospitals, which could provide adequate care to our veterans. Instead of forcing the veteran to travel miles out of the way to seek care at a VA hospital, my bill would allow the veteran to get that care from a local hospital or physician. So whether you are a veteran in Atmore or Chatom or Loxley, my bill would likely allow you to seek some care from a local physician instead of traveling miles out of the way to VA hospitals in Montgomery, Pensacola, or Biloxi. Sometimes in Washington, people try to make things more complicated than they need to be. This is a commonsense, two-page bill that would do right by the men and women who have served our nation. I am hopeful my legislation will get a vote in Washington, and we can bring some real positive reform to our broken VA system. Read More

Byrne Introduces Real Choice for Veterans Act

2015/02/26

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today introduced legislation to increase veteran access to private care in areas lacking a major VA facility. The legislation, known as the Real Choice for Veterans Act, would clarify language in the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which passed the House in 2014. While the legislation was intended to give veterans greater access to private care, the VA has found loopholes which force veterans to continue traveling hundreds of miles to receive care at VA facilities. Current law says that any veteran who resides more than 40 miles from any VA facility is eligible to receive care from a private medical provider. Unfortunately, the 40 mile rule does not refer to whether the specialty need of the veteran (for example, Orthopedic Surgery) is available within 40 miles. This language has resulted in a significant number of veterans who need access to important medical treatment being forced back into the VA system even though they could receive the same care from hospitals and doctors in their community. Congressman Byrne’s short two-page bill would change that by providing that veterans may seek private care when they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility “that is able to provide to the veteran the care and services that the veteran needs.” Byrne said: “I have heard from too many veterans in Southwest Alabama who are still struggling to get timely care from the VA. When Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act last fall, I hoped that legislation would open the door to more private care for our veterans. Instead, the VA has found loopholes to keep veterans in their besieged system instead of allowing veterans to receive care outside the VA system. “That’s why I have introduced the Real Choice for Veterans Act, which requires the VA to give veterans the choice of private care when they live more than 40 miles from a VA facility that provides the services they need. This commonsense change will take pressure off the VA system and provide veterans with more timely access to care. “Mobile is a great example of why this is a problem. While we have a VA clinic, the nearest VA hospital is more than 40 miles away. That said, Mobile is home to a number of large, first-class private hospitals which could provide adequate care to our veterans. Instead of forcing the veteran to travel miles out of the way to seek care at a VA hospital, this bill would allow the veteran to get that care from a local hospital or physician.” In a recent Associated Press story, VA Secretary Bob McDonald even went so far as to request an authorization from Congress to allow for the transfer of funds from the $10 billion Choice Program Fund to pay for other needs within the VA. Congressman Byrne strongly rejects the Secretary’s request. Byrne said: “Secretary McDonald says the program is being underutilized and the funds could be better spent elsewhere within the VA.  If this is in fact the case, there’s no reason we cannot increase the size and scope of this program by allowing Veterans to seek care elsewhere if their specialty need cannot be met by a VA facility within 40 miles of their home.” Alabama Congressmen Mike Rogers (AL-3), Martha Roby (AL-2), and Robert Aderholt (AL-4) are original co-sponsors of the legislation. The complete text of the legislation can be found here. Read More

Byrne to Co-Chair Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus

2015/02/24

Congressman Bradley Byrne announced today that he will serve as one of 8 co-chairs of the new, bipartisian Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus. The caucus is designed to help better address the needs and issues facing those living on coastal communities. “I am excited to be a co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus. Whether it is the shores of Washington, the Gulf Coast of Alabama, or the New Jersey beaches, all of our coastal communities share similar concerns. I know this caucus will give a voice to our coastal communities and provide a great venue to collaborate on the unique issues that impact our coastal areas,” said Byrne. The other co-chairs of the bipartisian caucus include Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), Rep. David Jolly (R-FL), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC). “Communities across the country face unique opportunities and challenges by living and working along our nation's coastlines,” Jolly said.  “From pre-storm mitigation to flood insurance, to critical marine and shore habitats, to weather-related disaster, erosion, and tourism - these are not partisan issues, nor are they confined to only one coastal community. In an effort to best advocate in the United States Congress for communities along our Gulf, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts, I have joined with my colleagues who represent these districts to form a bipartisan, bi-coastal Congressional Coastal Communities Caucus to give a unified voice to our districts and advocate for our unique community needs in a unified, bipartisan manner.” “The people that live, work and recreate on the coast face specific needs and challenges, and that is why the Coastal Communities Caucus is so important,” noted Murphy.  “Whether it’s tackling flood insurance, protecting our regions from natural disasters, dealing with sea-level rises or preserving coastal ecology, this coalition of members will help to represent the key needs of our constituents.” “With the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay and River surrounding my district on three sides, I know firsthand the issues unique to coastal communities and the residents who call them home,” added LoBiondo.  “From beach erosion and environmental restoration to tourism, these populous areas often serve as economic drivers for their states. I look forward to working with my colleagues to promote economic growth and long-term sustainability of the nation’s coastal communities.” Read More

President Picks Politics Over Jobs, Byrne Says

2015/02/24

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s decision to veto S. 1, the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act. Byrne said: “President Obama decided to pick politics over jobs by vetoing bipartisan legislation to approve construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Even President Obama’s own State Department admits that the project would support approximately 42,100 jobs and found that there are no major environmental risks caused by constructing the pipeline. Instead of following the facts, the President chose to pander to the far-left environmental extremists instead of listening to a majority of the American people, who approve of the Keystone project. “Despite pledging to work with the new, Republican-controlled Congress, President Obama has now made clear that he has no interest in advancing commonsense solutions. That’s a disappointing development for all Americans.” Read More

Byrne: Senate Democrats Must Act on DHS Funding Bill

2015/02/23

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) commented today regarding the impasse over funding for the Department of Homeland Security. On January 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and halt President Barack Obama’s illegal executive action to provide amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants currently in the United States. Congressman Byrne supported that legislation. In the Senate, the Republican-majority has repeatedly tried to bring the funding bill up for a vote, only to have Senate Democrats refuse to allow debate on the bill to even begin. Funding for the Department of Homeland Security will run out on Friday, if the Senate does not act. Byrne said: “The House has done our job and passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security while also halting President Obama’s plan for illegal executive amnesty. Now, Senate Democrats are blocking the funding bill. Are Senate Democrats so committed to President Obama’s radical agenda that they are willing to play politics with our national security? “Let’s be clear here: Senate Democrats are refusing to even let debate begin on the House-passed funding bill. If Democrats don’t like the current bill, then they should allow debate to move forward and offer amendments. Instead, they are shutting down the entire legislative process. “The American people have had enough of these childish antics. I implore Senate Democrats to stop playing politics and to move forward with our House-passed bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.” Read More

Byrne Announces February Staff Community Office Hours

2015/02/23

Staff members from the Office of Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) will hold office hours in each of the six counties that make up Alabama’s First Congressional District from February 24-26. The staff members will be on hand to help constituents with problems they may be experiencing with federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Medicare, and Social Security. Staff members can also assist constituents who need help applying for or receiving a United States passport. Baldwin County Tuesday, February 24 8:30 – 9:30 am: Orange Beach City Hall 10:00 – 11:00 am: Gulf Shores City Hall 1:00 – 1:45 pm: Foley City Hall 2:00 – 3:00 pm: Robertsdale City Hall 3:30 – 4:30 pm: Bay Minette City Hall   Wednesday, February 25 9:00 – 10:00 am: Magnolia Springs Town Hall 10:30 – 11:30 am: Fairhope City Hall 1:30 – 2:30 pm: Daphne City Hall 3:00 – 4:00 pm: Spanish Fort City Hall   Clarke County Wednesday, February 25 10:00 – 11:00 am: Grove Hill Town Hall 11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Jackson City Hall   Escambia County Tuesday, February 24 9:30 – 10:30 am: Atmore City Hall 11:00 – 12:00 pm: Brewton City Hall   Mobile County Thursday, February 26 11:00 am – 12:00 noon: Citronelle Town Hall 3:00 – 4:00 pm: Bayou La Batre Town Hall   Monroe County Tuesday, February 24 2:00 – 3:00 pm: Monroeville City Hall   Washington County Wednesday, February 25 2:30 – 3:30 pm: Washington County Public Library, Chatom   Thursday, February 26 9:30 – 10:30 am: McIntosh Town Hall For more information on visits to Clarke, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties, constituents should contact Congressman Byrne’s Mobile office at 251-690-2811. For more information on visits to Baldwin County, constituents should contact Congressman Byrne’s Baldwin County office at 251-972-8545. Read More

Long-Term Solution to Transportation Funding Needed

2015/02/20

Our nation's roads, bridges, interstates and waterways are the lifeblood of our economy. From the founding of our nation, our leaders have realized the importance of having a safe, efficient system of roads. In fact, in the early 1800s President Thomas Jefferson put forward a national plan for the construction of ports, roads, and inland waterways. I believe that funding transportation projects is a clear responsibility of the federal government. The Constitution gives Congress the power over “regulation of commerce with foreign nations and among the several states” in addition to the power to “establish Post Offices and Post Roads.” Having a viable system of roads is a critical component for commerce. Many companies transport their goods from state to state on roadways, and almost every business depends on the highway system in some way. It is clear that a  reliable funding stream for our nation’s infrastructure is vitally important to our competitiveness on the world stage. Right here in Southwest Alabama, we have a number of important road projects. During my meetings with local county commissioners and mayors, I often hear about different projects that need attention. While most control over state and county roads falls to the Alabama Department of Transportation, I am always happy to work with local officials to move these projects forward. I know about the need for four laning Highway 84, which runs through Monroe and Clarke counties. I’ve heard from multiple officials about the need for widening Highway 45 in north Mobile and Washington counties to make the road safer. In Baldwin County, Highway 181 on the Eastern Shore and the Baldwin Beach Express are both pressing needs. There is also a major need for four laning US 31 from Flomaton to Bay Minette. Without a doubt, a new I-10 Bridge over the Mobile River is the most important transportation project for Southwest Alabama. Anyone who has driven on Interstate 10 during rush hour or on a Friday afternoon in the summer can likely attest to major traffic issues caused by the Wallace Tunnel. This project would boost our area’s economic competitiveness, provide a safe Hurricane Evacuation Route for the entire Gulf Coast, and boost tourism. I was pleased to learn that the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) recently announced that they would “fast track” the design phase for the bridge project. While the work continues on finalizing the required Environmental Impact Statement, ALDOT has settled on a bridge route and is moving ahead with the design phase. I have invited the federal Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, to visit Mobile to learn more about this project, and I look forward to his visit later this year. With the I-10 bridge and the other projects, the number one obstacle standing in the way deals with a lack of funding. Unfortunately, our nation’s current source for funding transportation, known as the Highway Trust Fund, is running out of money.  The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) receives funding from the federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel.  Since 2008, the HTF 's spending has exceeded the amount it's collected, and more than $53 billion has been supplemented from the Treasury. Over the last ten years, Congress has repeatedly passed short-term funding solutions for the Highway Trust Fund instead of getting serious about solving the long-term insolvency of the fund. Continually kicking the can down the road isn’t acceptable. We need a long-term funding solution. Some have argued that the answer is raising the gas tax, but I completely disagree with this proposal. Instead, I believe we should pay for transportation projects out of the general revenue of the federal government. I understand that this will require cuts to other parts of the government, but I believe we can find enough areas of waste and duplication that deserve being cut. Having a reliable transportation system is critical to our nation’s economic success, and Congress must get serious about finding a long-term funding solution for our highway program. I am committed to being a part of finding that solution. Read More

Byrne Statement on the Death of Bishop State President James Lowe

2015/02/18

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1), former Chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, issued the following statement upon learning that Bishop State Community College President James Lowe had passed away. Byrne said: “My heart is full of sadness this evening because I’ve lost a personal friend and the entire Mobile community has lost a remarkable leader. I can honestly say that Jim Lowe was the most decent, honorable man I have ever known. I first met Jim when I was on the State School Board, and he was working with the State Department of Education on intervening with failing K-12 schools in Mobile County. He did great work on that project and was especially successful because he could relate to the faculty and staff so well. “When I became Chancellor of the Two-Year College System, Jim Lowe was working at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City. When things really started falling apart at Bishop State, Jim Lowe was the obvious choice to help us turn things around. I can’t overstate just how bad things were when Jim took over. The school was in complete disarray. There was an ongoing corruption investigation by the Mobile District Attorney’s office, they were on Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) probation, and they literally had to run Bishop State week to week financially. “Jim Lowe was the leader that turned Bishop State around. Without his leadership, Bishop State would have had to close its doors. He has completely turned the school around and placed a real focus on boosting skills training, especially in terms of manufacturing. I have been working with Jim on getting a new campus open in Washington County, which would be the first community college presence ever there. He was constantly looking for ways to grow and develop Bishop State for the betterment of our area. “Jim didn’t have to take on the problems he did at Bishop State, and he certainly didn’t have to stick around for as long as he did. But it is a testament to the type of person he was and shows just how committed he was to our area. We all owe him a tremendous debt. I hope that Jim’s family and friends can take comfort in knowing that thousands of young men and women had an opportunity to be successful because of the work of Jim Lowe. “We will all miss him and extend our condolences to his family” Read More

Byrne Introduces Red Snapper Regulatory Reform Act

2015/02/18

During a press conference this afternoon in Mobile, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) announced the introduction of legislation designed to provide much needed relief to Gulf Coast fishermen. Byrne introduced H.R. 981, the Red Snapper Regulatory Reform Act. The bill includes four major provisions: Repeals inflexible quotas for the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper fishery Extends state water boundaries for each Gulf state to nine nautical miles Removes data collection and stock assessments from federal control Updates processes and qualifications for Gulf Council appointees to ensure more balanced input from the Gulf states Byrne said: “I have made it a top priority to give more control to Gulf states and provide real relief to our Red Snapper fishermen. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service has failed to adequately account for the size and health of the Red Snapper stock in the Gulf of Mexico. They have continued to use outdated and ineffective methods to both sample for Red Snapper and measure how many fish are being caught once the season begins, and they have frankly lost all credibility. “On the other side, individual Gulf states and public universities, like the University of South Alabama, have used new, innovative methods to track the size of the Red Snapper stock, and they are more than capable of handling the stock assessment and data collection responsibilities themselves. “Additionally, my bill repeals the inflexible quotas which have tied the hands of the Gulf Council in its ability to properly manage the Red Snapper fishery. Even more, my bill brings jurisdictional parity to all five Gulf states by giving each state a 9 nautical mile water boundary. Finally, the Red Snapper Regulatory Reform Act gives Gulf state governors the ability to appoint members to the Gulf Council instead of the federal Secretary of Commerce.  These commonsense provisions empower Gulf states to better oversee the Red Snapper fishery.” Byrne noted that in addition to the standalone legislation, he will push to have language from the Red Snapper Regulatory Reform Act included in the larger Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization bill. Magnuson-Stevens is the law which governs fisheries in the United States. Byrne said: “From the start we have been committed to using every avenue possible to bring relief to our fishermen. While I am hopeful that the House will consider my standalone legislation, I will also work with my colleagues on the Natural Resources Committee to have this language included in the larger reauthorization bill. “It is time we get the federal government out of the way, give more control to Gulf states, and bring some real relief to our fishermen.” More information on the Red Snapper Regulatory Relief Act can be found here. Read More

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Contact Information

119 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4931
Fax 202-225-0562
byrne.house.gov

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 Natural Resources, 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.


Serving With

Martha Roby

ALABAMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

ALABAMA's 3rd DISTRICT

Robert Aderholt

ALABAMA's 4th DISTRICT

Mo Brooks

ALABAMA's 5th DISTRICT

Gary Palmer

ALABAMA's 6th DISTRICT