Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after voting in favor of the government funding bill for Fiscal Year 2018.
Congressman Byrne said: “With today’s vote, we are finally getting the resources to our military men and women they need to keep our nation safe. Also important, the bill adequately funds long-needed infrastructure improvements, programs to address the opioid epidemic, border security, and medical research programs. I am confident in the Trump Administration’s ability to spend this money in a way that reflects our conservative priorities and rebuilds our national defense.”
Rep. Byrne was especially pleased to see priorities important to Southwest Alabama and the entire state included in the final bill.
Congressman Byrne said: “Very important to me, this bill funds the construction of three Littoral Combat Ships and one Expeditionary Fast Transport. It also supports the various other military programs and installations across Alabama. The bill paves the way for new road projects, like the I-10 Bridge, while also ensuring resources for improvements to the Port of Mobile, other road projects, and expansion of rural broadband initiatives. It includes strong funding levels for vital coastal ecosystem programs and makes critical investments for Alabama’s farmers and foresters. At the end of the day, I am confident Alabama is a big winner in this funding bill.”
The bill ensures funding for the entire federal government through the end of the 2018 Fiscal Year on September 30th. Among the many important provisions, the bill:
Staff members from the Office of Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will hold office hours throughout Alabama’s First Congressional District from March 20 – 22.
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.
Tuesday, March 20th
3:30 to 4:30 pm: Bay Minette City Hall
Wednesday, March 21st
9:30 to 10:30 am: Gulf Shores City Hall
11:00 am to 12:00 noon: Elberta Town Hall
1:30 to 2:30 pm: Daphne City Hall
3:00 to 4:00 pm: Spanish Fort City Hall
Wednesday, March 21
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Grove Hill Town Hall
1:00– 2:00 pm: White Smith Memorial Library in Jackson
Tuesday, March 20th
9:30 to 10:30 am – Atmore City Hall
11:00 am – 12:00 noon – Pollard Town Hall
1:30 – 2:30 pm: Brewton City Hall
Thursday, March 22
1:30 – 2:30 pm: Citronelle City Hall
3:30 – 4:30 pm: Bayou La Batre City Hall
Wednesday, March 21
9:30 – 10:30 am: Monroeville City Hall
Wednesday, March 21
3:00 – 4:00 pm: Washington County Public Library in Chatom
Thursday, March 22
9:00 – 10:00 am: McIntosh Town Hall
For more information on visits to Clarke, Mobile, Monroe and Washington counties, constituents should contact Congressman Byrne’s Mobile office at 251-690-2811.
For more information on visits to Baldwin and Escambia counties, constituents should contact Congressman Byrne’s Baldwin County office at 251-989-2664.Read More
For much of the year, the safety of our students rests in the hands of the faculty, staff, and resource officers at our schools. Without a shadow of a doubt, the people who know best how to protect our schools are the teachers, parents, administrators, police officers, and students in their own communities.
In February, the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida resonated throughout our communities, highlighting a disturbing trend of individuals who clearly show signs of grave mental instability falling through the cracks.
Sadly, this incident likely could have been avoided had there been better oversight at every level of law enforcement. From the top down, we failed these students by not heeding the warning signs and working together as a team to ensure our students’ safety.
In response to this incident, the House recently passed the Student, Teacher’s Officer’s Prevention (STOP) School Violence Act, which provides grant funding for evidence-based training for our local law enforcement, school faculty and staff, and students to help identify and prevent school violence before these tragic events occur.
First, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding for training to prevent student violence, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students in the event of an emergency. This training would be designed to give students and school personnel the ability to recognize and respond quickly to warning signs of violent behavior and would include active shooter training.
Second, the bill provides funding for technology and equipment to improve school security. This includes the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems, as well as the installation of metal detectors, locks, and other preventative technologies to keep schools secure.
The legislation also authorizes funding for school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams for school personnel to respond to threats before they become real-time incidents. Recognizing the warning signs of violent, threatening behavior and having the proper resources to address it on the front end can prevent these tragedies from ever occurring.
Finally, the STOP School Violence Act provides funding to support law enforcement coordination efforts, particularly the officers who already staff schools. From the federal level all the way down to our local law enforcement, we need to ensure there is accountability and communication when handling violent behavior.
Many of our local schools are already reevaluating their security measures and taking additional steps to promote a safe learning environment for our students. Our students' safety and security should always remain a top priority, and I believe it is imperative that our local schools have the most appropriate resources in place in the event of an emergency.
As we look for ways to prevent these terrible tragedies, I am open to additional solutions to address the underlying issues that cause these events to occur. That said, I remain steadfastly committed to upholding the individual right of all law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms. Millions of Americans should not have their Second Amendment rights infringed upon due to the bad actions of a few individuals.
Rather, I believe we should focus on addressing mental health issues and combatting the role of violence in our modern culture, such as the prevalence of violent video games that normalize this behavior for our young students, and promoting commonsense solutions that will address the larger issues of mental health so that those with mental illness do not fall through the cracks.
There is still work to be done to ensure each child's safety and well-being while attending classes. However, I am proud that we have taken this action in the House to promote a safe, secure learning environment for our children.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Rules Committee, issued the following statement regarding the passing of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee.
Congressman Byrne said: “It was an honor to serve alongside Louise Slaughter on the Rules Committee. Despite being on different sides of the aisle, Louise was always kind, encouraging, and friendly to me. As the first female chairwoman and ranking member of our committee, she will be remembered for her effectiveness and passion for her constituents and the many causes she believed in. Rebecca and I join so many others in praying for Louise’s family, friends, staff, and constituents during this difficult time.”Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today announced the details of the First Congressional District Art Competition for area high school students.
The competition is open to all high school students who reside in the First Congressional District. All entries must be an original concept, two-dimensional, no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep when framed , weigh no more than 15 lbs., and be within the following categories:
The art competition will be judged by independent art experts, and the winning piece of art will be displayed in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Interested artists should work with their local high school and art teacher when submitting their artwork. All artwork must be submitted to the Mobile Museum of Art between the hours of 3:30-5:00 pm on March 28th and 29th. No artwork will be accepted after 5:00 pm on March 29th.
More information about the Congressional Art Competition and the necessary submission forms can be found online at Byrne.House.Gov/ArtCompetition.
Those with questions about the Congressional Art Competition should contact Congressman Byrne’s Mobile office at 251-690-2811.Read More
Anyone who has followed Congress over the last twenty years knows that things have been pretty dysfunctional. While I believe our Founding Fathers intended for the Legislative Branch to be deliberative, I think they would be troubled by how broken things have become.
One of the top drivers of the dysfunction is the budget and government funding process. Did you know that the last time Congress passed a budget and all twelve government funding bills on time was 1994?
Instead, we have found ourselves in a very dangerous cycle of governing from one funding crisis to the next. At the same time, two-thirds of federal spending is on autopilot as the national debt and federal spending continues to grow. We must do better.
I am tired of just talking about how the process is broken. We need less talk and more solutions, so I introduced the Protecting Our Children’s Future Act. I chose this title because getting our budgeting and spending right really is all about the future of our country.
Our legislation reforms the Congressional budget process to make things work again. Just as important, it lays out a process that would make it easier to cut spending and reduce the deficit.
First, our bill moves to a biennial budget timeline. This means that the budget and funding bills would cover two years instead of just one. This would allow Congressional committees to spend more time overseeing how money is spent, and it will create fewer opportunities for budgetary holdups.
Second, the bill subjects all government funding bills to the reconciliation process. This would result in just a 51-vote majority being needed for passage in the Senate if funding bills stay within the budget. President Trump has proposed some major cuts to federal spending over the last two budget cycles. Unfortunately, Democrats have held many of these cuts hostage with a filibuster. Our bill would end this practice.
Third, our bill puts in place a “No Budget, No Pay” provision for all Members of Congress. Members of Congress would not be paid until a budget passed out of the House and Senate. American families must have a budget. If Congress fails to do so, then we should not be paid.
Fourth, we need a budget timeline that more accurately reflects the calendar. For example, the current time frame expects a newly elected President to submit their budget proposal right after being sworn in. Instead of the fiscal year beginning in October, we would start the calendar on January 1 each year. Our bill would make the process much more realistic and simplistic.
Fifth, the bill shifts most mandatory spending to discretionary. This would take all spending other than Social Security retirement benefits, Medicare, TRICARE, and veteran programs off autopilot. Congress cannot do its most important job to allocate federal resources if two-thirds of the budget is outside the spending process.
Finally, the bill moves to zero-based budgeting. All programs and expenditures would have to be justified by agencies from the ground up at the beginning of each budget cycle. No longer would a program or agency be assumed an automatic increase. Every taxpayer dollar would have to be justified.
If you are like me, you probably think these changes sound pretty commonsense. Well, they are. We need to stop making things so confusing and complicated and just use a little more commonsense.
By doing so, we can rein in federal spending, reduce the national debt, and create a more efficient federal government. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the Protecting Our Children’s Future Act, and let’s make Congress work again.Read More
Today, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) visited Overseas Hardwoods Company in Stockton, Alabama and helped hand out bonus checks to their employees. The bonuses come in response to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December.
All non-management employees received a $1,000 bonus, and the company also announced plans to expand their business operation.
Congressman Byrne said: “Another day, another positive announcement thanks to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. When I voted for the tax reform bill, I did so because I wanted to put more money in the pockets of hardworking men and women in Southwest Alabama. That is exactly what is happening. I applaud Overseas Hardwoods for investing in their employees and for continuing to play such an important role in our local economy.”
Last month, Xante Printers in Mobile also gave out bonuses checks to their employees in response to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Click here for more information on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Click here for a list of the hundreds of companies around the United States that have given bonuses, raised wages, or increased benefits due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Congressman John Delaney (D-MD) have introduced bipartisan legislation to repeal the excise tax on endowments that was included in the tax reform bill signed into law last year. The tax bill passed last year creates a 1.4% excise tax on net endowment income for institutions with large endowments. Because the legislation did not include threshold adjustments for inflation, it is likely that more and more institutions will be subject to the tax in the future.
The Delaney-Byrne Don’t Tax Higher Education Act eliminates the tax on endowments. The Delaney-Byrne bill is supported by the American Council on Education, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
“While the impact of the excise tax on college endowments may be small today, I worry about future growth and expansion of this misguided tax on higher education. We should all be looking for ways to increase access to higher education, and endowments play a very important role in funding scholarships, student aid, and important research initiatives. As we continue working to build and train the workforce of the 21st Century, we must be doing more – not less – to improve higher education in America, and I am proud to partner with Congressman Delaney on this bipartisan legislation,” said Congressman Bradley Byrne.
“America’s colleges and universities are one of our singular assets as a country. We lead the world in higher education and it gives us an incredible advantage in today’s high-tech, high-skill global economy. We should be leaning into these advantages, not undermining them,” said Congressman Delaney. “Colleges and universities rely on their endowments to provide essential funding for financial aid, support difference-making research and teaching and effectively manage complex long and short term costs. I’m proud to work with Congressman Byrne on this bipartisan bill that ends the tax on higher education.”
“We applaud Representatives Delaney and Byrne for their commitment to eliminating this unnecessary and misguided tax. Our tax policy should encourage donors to make charitable gifts supporting wider access through scholarships, research and academic programs at colleges, universities and independent schools. It should not penalize donor generosity by taxing the endowed charitable gifts of donors, redirecting critical funds away from supporting the important work of educational institutions,” said Sue Cunningham, President and CEO of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
“The new excise tax on endowments at private colleges and universities will simply result in fewer dollars available for scholarships, student services, research, and college and university operating expenses at the impacted institutions. Eliminating this tax is a sound policy step squarely in the public interest,” said John Walda, President and CEO, National Association of College and University Business Officers.
“The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities fully supports Rep. Delaney's efforts to repeal the endowment tax. This new excise tax on private college endowments is an unprecedented intrusion into charitable giving. Private colleges rely on alumni gifts to support our students and missions the same way public colleges rely on the full faith and credit of the states. It's an unfair attack on one sector of higher education, creates a dangerous precedent of taxing charities, and does nothing to help students,” said Dr. David L. Warren, President, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Congressman Paul Mitchell (R-MI) today introduced legislation to fundamentally reform the broken Congressional budget process in an effort to rein in spending, control the national debt, and make the process work more efficiently.
Rep. Byrne and Rep. Mitchell both served on the Debt Ceiling Working Group, formed last year by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to come up with ideas to control federal spending. The legislation, known as the Protecting Our Children’s Future Act of 2018, incorporates many ideas from the working group.
Congressman Byrne said: “Instead of just continually saying that the Congressional budget process is broken, it is time we take action to fix the problem. The Protecting Our Children’s Future Act represents a wholesale reform of the way Congress handles taxpayer money and brings the process in line with the realities of today’s federal government. We cannot continue to govern from one budget crisis to the next, and this legislation would ensure Congress is able to better exercise the power of the purse while also reining in wasteful spending.”
Congressman Mitchell said: “For too long, our government has been bogged down by short-term spending bills that are bad policy and bad politics. This is a direct result of Congress not having the adequate tools to budget and appropriate effectively. It’s time we fix our nation’s antiquated, broken budget process with a more practicable system that runs on realistic timelines. The Protecting Our Children’s Future Act will allow Congress to responsibly budget for the future and rein in out of control spending – one of the top reasons I ran for Congress.”
Among the various reforms, the bill would:
Click here to read the Protecting Our Children’s Future Act of 2018.
Click here for additional information on the Protecting Our Children’s Future Act.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today expressed his concerns about recent actions by China in Africa, specifically actions in the Republic of Djibouti.
Djibouti recently illegally seized control of the Doraleh port terminal by presidential decree, and some reports indicate Djibouti plans to gift the facility to the Chinese government. Congressman Byrne fears this aggressive expansion into Africa could hinder U.S. military and intelligence efforts to operate in the strategic choke point in the Horn of Africa.
Djibouti is home to the only permanent U.S. base on the entire African continent and hosts roughly 4,000 military and intelligence personnel.
Byrne today sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis outlining his concerns, and he also questioned General Thomas Waldhauser, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, about China’s actions in Africa and how it could impact the United States.
Congressman Byrne said: “I am deeply troubled about recent Chinese actions in Africa and efforts to expand their influence in the region. Reports that Djibouti plans to gift a major port to the Chinese government could negatively impact the ability of U.S. military and intelligence officials to conduct critical counterterrorism operations. I encourage our military leaders to monitor the issue closely to ensure that any actions will not negatively impact our servicemembers or our important economic, military, or diplomatic efforts throughout Africa.”
Click here to read Congressman Byrne’s letter to Secretary Mattis.
Click here to watch Congressman Byrne’s questioning of General Waldhauser.
The full text of Congressman’s letter can be found below.
Dear Secretary Mattis:
Last week, the Republic of Djibouti illegally seized control of the Doraleh port terminal by presidential decree. According to reports, Djibouti plans to gift the facility to the Chinese government. While Beijing’s aggressive expansion into Africa is not new, I am concerned our military and intelligence assets and ability to operate in this strategic choke point are increasingly under threat due to China’s growing influence with President Guelleh’s government.
As you well know, Djibouti is a key location for U.S. power projection and operations. According to the Department of Defense, Camp Lemonnier is the only U.S. permanent base on the entire African continent and is “essential to U.S. efforts in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.” The base hosts 4,000 military and intelligence personnel and serves as a key outpost for counterterrorism operations targeting AQIP, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Lord’s Resistance Army and ISIS. Home to Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), Djibouti hosts Special Forces, UAVs, helicopters, planes, and a 150-member rapid response force. Established in the wake of the fatal attack on our mission in Benghazi, this unit is tasked to support and protect U.S. diplomatic personnel working in austere environments across the region.
With these sensitive operations based out of Djibouti, I am troubled by President Guelleh’s decision to allow the Chinese to obtain land to build a massive base just miles from Camp Lemonnier. Roughly the size of New Jersey, Djibouti is the only country in the world to host both a U.S. and Chinese naval base. With the completion of Beijing’s first foreign military base, Djibouti is primed to host up to 10,000 troops from China – more than double the U.S. presence. As confirmed by AFRICOM commander General Thomas Waldhauser, this is the closest to a U.S. installation that a rival has been able to build a base, raising significant “security concerns.”
President Guellah’s willingness to accommodate China is further illustrated in recent reports requesting U.S. forces leave the port town to make way for the Chinese. Many in Congress, the intelligence community, and military have warned of the impact this growing foothold will have in the region. During testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on February 27th, CENTCOM commander General Votel confirmed “the new military base and port allow China to project forces more permanently within the region and influence strategically valuable trade waterways.”
However, China’s purchase of influence doesn’t stop at the port. Beijing has financed two international airports, a rail line linking Djibouti and Ethiopia, and a new presidential palace for Mr. Guelleh – rumored to be “free of charge.” Improper bilateral business dealings in the region represent such a challenge, AFRICOM addressed them in its 2017 posture statement: “Whether with trade, natural resource exploitation, or weapons sales, we continue to see international competitors engage with African partners in a manner contrary to the international norms of transparency and good governance. These competitors weaken our African partners’ ability to govern and will ultimately hinder Africa’s long-term stability and economic growth, and they will also undermine and diminish U.S. influence.” It is becoming clear what Chinese influence has bought today. The concern is what will it buy tomorrow.
If Djibouti is willing to confiscate a port terminal operating under a legal 30-year agreement, what is to stop President Guelleh from reneging on the twenty-year lease the U.S. signed in 2014 for Camp Lemonnier? The growing correlation between the billions spent by Beijing and actions taken by Djibouti harmful to the interests of the U.S. and our allies raises serious questions. In his 2015 Foreign Affairs piece “China Comes to Djibouti: Why Washington Should be Worried”, China scholar Dr. John Lee provides a prescient answer: “Money talks, especially in small and underdeveloped states run by authoritarian governments such as Djibouti—and soon Beijing, not Washington, may have the strongest voice.”
Your April 2017 visit to Djibouti sent a strong signal about the strategic significance and need for a robust U.S. presence. I appreciate your statements highlighting the need for long-established international norms to be followed in and around the increasingly congested country. As you engage your Djiboutian counterparts, I respectfully request you continue to ensure our presence and ability to operate unimpeded are respected.
Thank you for your steady leadership of the Department and continued selfless dedication to our country.
Member of CongressRead 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.
Great to see Attorney General Jeff Sessions back in Alabama today talking about cracking down on drug dealers and u… https://t.co/MXUPncsjcr
@RichardDMurray Congress did not receive a pay raise in the bill. In fact, the bill includes a pay freeze for Members of Congress.
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