Last week was a hectic and monumental week at the U.S. Capitol. As we prepared to mark the 7th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, President Trump was pushing the House to pass his plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Known as the American Health Care Act, the bill would have repealed Obamacare, ended the government mandates, cut taxes, lowered premiums, reduced the deficit, and transferred control over health care from the federal government to the individual states.
I was ready to vote in favor of the bill and support President Trump’s agenda. Unfortunately, the bill did not have the support needed to pass, and it was pulled before a vote was ever held. I was certainly disappointed by this outcome because I want to repeal and replace Obamacare with something that actually works.
Some Democrats, like former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, used this occasion to celebrate and claim victory. Despite their jubilation, Obamacare is still on a collision course with disaster. So, while they may want to celebrate now, Obamacare still must go.
President Trump has indicated that he wants to move the focus from health care to other issues, like tax reform, and I think it is important we continue moving forward with our conservative, pro-growth agenda. That said, we cannot give up on our efforts to bring relief to the American people when it comes to health care.
In fact, just last week, the House succeeded in passing two separate bills focused on improving our nation’s health care system.
The first bill, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by a vote of 416 to 7. The bill updates the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 to restore competition in the health insurance industry by ensuring application of federal antitrust laws.
I have long believed that increasing competition is key to fixing our health care system and lowering costs. By ending a special-interest exemption in law, we can rein in insurance company practices, increase competition, and lower prices for consumers.
The second bill, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, is all about helping our small businesses lower health care costs for their employees. The bill empowers small businesses to band together through association health plans to purchase health insurance. This will allow them to increase their bargaining power, negotiating for lower health insurance rates on behalf of their employees.
The Small Business Health Fairness Act simply guarantees that our nation’s small businesses are afforded the same opportunities given to large corporations and labor unions. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and it is critical they be able to offer affordable insurance options to their workers.
Additionally, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, has indicated he stands ready to use his administrative power to stabilize the insurance market and give states additional flexibility when it comes to health care. The way Obamacare was written, the Secretary has a lot of control and power, and it is important Dr. Price use that authority.
Ultimately, I expect we will be back debating the repeal and replacement of Obamacare sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we should not stop looking for targeted ways to increase competition, lower costs, and help American families.
Last week’s health care setback is disappointing, but we must move on from this moment and continue working to solve the problems facing our nation. We are going to make America great again, and that requires us to work together for the good of everyone in our nation.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding actions in the House of Representatives today related to health care.
Byrne said: “The problems with Obamacare are not going away. This law is imploding before our eyes, and action will ultimately be required. President Trump and Speaker Ryan worked hard to get this bill across the finish line, and I supported them 100%. But our efforts came up just short.
“We must move on from this moment and continue working to solve the problems facing our nation. We are going to make America great again, and that requires us to work together for the good of everyone in our nation.”Read More
The Senate today passed legislation authored by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, to block an unlawful regulation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this month, so it now moves to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The bill, House Joint Resolution 83, passed the Senate by a vote of 50 to 48. The White House has already issued a Statement of Administration policy announcing that the Trump Administration “strongly supports” passage of Rep. Byrne’s bill.
Byrne said: “I applaud the Senate for their swift passage of my bill to stop this unlawful power grab. We should be focused on proactive policies that help improve workplace safety instead of punitive rules that do nothing to make American workers safer. We took a major step in the right direction today by restricting OSHA from moving ahead with such a flawed regulation.
“I look forward to President Trump signing my bill in the near future so we can continue moving forward with workplace safety policies that actually make sense and work.”
BACKGROUND: Currently, employers are required to record and maintain a log of workplace injuries and illnesses that occur during a five-year span. While OSHA inspectors have long used this information to enhance health and safety protections in America’s jobsites, the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act explicitly says that employers can only be cited for record-keeping violations within a six-month time period. Yet during the waning days of the Obama administration, OSHA rewrote the law through regulatory fiat. The agency finalized the “Volks” rule, which extends the threat of penalty up to five years.
Two federal appeals courts have rejected the very policies reflected in the rule after a Louisiana construction company was cited for paperwork errors occurring nearly five years prior. “We do not believe Congress expressly established a statute of limitations only to implicitly encourage the Secretary to ignore it,” the D.C. Circuit Court noted. The “Volks” rule:
Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress may pass a resolution of disapproval to prevent, with the full force of law, a federal agency from implementing a rule or issuing a rule that is substantially the same without congressional authorization. Chairman Byrne’s resolution (H. J. Res 83) would block OSHA’s “Volks” rule from taking effect and prevent future administrations from promulgating a similar rule.
For a copy of the resolution, click here.
To read a fact sheet, click here.Read More
At the invitation of Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Pastor Chris Bell from 3Circle Church in Fairhope delivered today’s opening prayer in the House of Representatives.
Members of Congress have the opportunity to invite local faith leaders to deliver the opening prayer each day the House is in session. During their visit to D.C., Pastor Bell, along with his wife Nan, shared breakfast with Congressman Byrne, took a tour of the U.S. Capitol, and met Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
3Circle Church has locations in Daphne, Fairhope, Mobile, Semmes, and Thomasville.
Following the prayer, Congressman Byrne spoke about Pastor Bell and the important work his ministry does in Southwest Alabama. A transcript of the Congressman’s remarks can be found below.
Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, it is written in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
“As this body debates important issues, it is critical we begin with prayer, and I am honored my constituent, Pastor Chris Bell, was able to lead today’s prayer.
“Mr. Speaker, Pastor Bell studied theology and communications at the University of Mobile and Luther Rice Seminary, and he has over 20 years of ministry experience.
“Pastor Bell is currently the lead pastor at 3Circle Church in Southwest Alabama. 3Circle Church has five campuses with weekly attendance reaching over 2,000 people.
“In addition to their regular services, Pastor Bell and 3Circle Church have a focus on mission and serving others locally, regionally, and all around the world. These missions make a real difference.
“So, on behalf of Alabama’s First Congressional District, it is an honor to welcome Chris and his wife, Nan, to the People’s House.”Read More
Staff members from the Office of Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will hold office hours throughout Alabama’s First Congressional District on March 22nd and March 23rd.
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.
Wednesday, March 22
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Grove Hill Town Hall
1:00– 2:00 pm: White Smith Memorial Library in Jackson
Thursday, March 23
10:30 – 11:30 am: Citronelle City Hall
1:00 – 2:00 pm: Semmes City Hall
3:00 – 4:00 pm: Bayou La Batre City Hall
Wednesday, March 22
9:30 – 10:30 am: Monroeville City Hall
Wednesday, March 22
3:30 – 4:30 pm: Washington County Public Library in Chatom
Thursday, March 23
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.Read More
“In a death spiral.” Those are the words Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna, one of our nation’s largest insurance companies, used to describe the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
When I first ran for Congress in 2013, repealing and replacing Obamacare was a top priority. I introduced a bill to repeal the law, which passed the House but never reached the President’s desk. Unfortunately, with President Obama in the White House, our efforts never succeeded. Even when we finally got a repeal bill to the President’s desk, he vetoed it.
Thankfully, last year’s elections completely changed the dynamics. President Trump is committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare, and Republicans control both the House and the Senate. The stage is set to finally get rid of this failed law.
Why is this so important? Because Obamacare is a fundamentally flawed law that cannot simply be fixed or patched back together. Obamacare has cost the economy $53 billion and an estimated 176,897,428 paperwork hours. Those are funds and time that employers can’t use to hire people and jumpstart the economy.
More importantly, with its government mandates, higher taxes, and increased regulations, Obamacare is hurting hardworking American families. We have seen canceled plans, higher premiums, fewer choices, and increased deductibles.
Believe it or not, former President Bill Clinton might have put it best when he called Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world.” He also pointed out that it has resulted in “people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half.”
I’ve heard story after story from people who live in Southwest Alabama who have been negatively impacted by this law. In fact, I have had people come up to me with tears in their eyes to show me their cancellation notice or premium increase letter.
Despite President Obama’s promise that “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” 4.7 million Americans were kicked off their health care plans by Obamacare. Many of these Americans liked the plan they had, only to have the federal government step in and tell them it was not good enough.
Premiums are also skyrocketing. Seven states have seen premium increases of more than 50% in 2017. In Alabama, this year’s premiums on the exchange increased 58% on average for a benchmark plan and 36% for the individual market as a whole. For those with employer-sponsored coverage, individual premiums are up 27% on average nationwide, more than double the average rise in workers’ wages. Deductibles are up an average of 60% since 2010.
Americans are also facing fewer and fewer health care choices, with five states – including Alabama – only having one insurer to choose from. In fact, next year, some counties in the United States may not have a single option on the Obamacare marketplace. At that point, those Americans relying on Obamacare will have nowhere to turn and the law will have failed.
The bottom line is that Obamacare is on a collision course. If Congress were to sit back and do nothing, Obamacare would implode. This would leave millions of Americans with no insurance and the overall insurance market for the rest of us in a dangerous condition. So, Congress must act and rescue the American people from this broken law.
I have pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare since being elected to Congress, and I remain committed to honoring that pledge. Now, under unified Republican government, we have the best opportunity we have ever had to get rid of this failed law and instead provide Americans with the freedom, choice, and control that they deserve.Read More
On St. Patrick’s Day, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today introduced legislation, H.R. 1596, to pave the way for the creation of a National Museum of Irish American History.
The bill is co-sponsored by co-chairs of the Congressional Friends of Ireland, Congressmen Pete King (R-NY) and Richard Neal (D-MA), in addition to Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), James McGovern (D-MA), and Tim Murphy (R-PA).
Byrne said: “Irish Americans have had a profound impact on the United States throughout our nation’s history. From the arts to politics to sports to business, there are so many stories to tell and lessons to be learned.
“On this St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone is Irish, it only makes sense to begin the process of establishing a national museum to honor and preserve the impact Irish Americans have had on our great nation.”
H.R. 1596, would establish a Commission to study the potential creation of a National Museum of Irish American History, which would be made up of 23 members with seven appointed by the President and the others appointed by House and Senate leadership of both parties.
The Commission would study a wide range of considerations related to the museum including location, cost, governance structure, and potential exhibits. The Commission’s study would be due two years after their first meeting.
Click here to read Congressman Byrne’s bill.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018.
Byrne said: “I applaud President Trump and his administration for their commitment to scaling back the federal government. It is critical that we roll back the federal bureaucracy and ensure taxpayer money is being used in an efficient and effective manner. I am also pleased to see the President focus on increasing funding for our nation’s military.
“As with any President’s budget, this is just a proposal to guide Congress as we go through the government funding process. It will ultimately be Congress that makes the decision on where federal money is spent, and I look forward to working with the President in that process.”Read More
Over the last five years, our nation’s military has seen funding cuts while being asked to do more and more around the globe. This has resulted in a severe readiness crisis.
For example, some of our Marines have been forced to get parts for their F-18s off of planes in a museum. That is simply absurd and deeply troubling.
Just as bad, less than one-third of Army forces are at acceptable readiness levels for ground combat. And our pilots are getting less training than many of our adversaries.
It is clear that budget cuts have really thinned out our military and hurt our ability to train and prepare for conflict. This is putting our military men and women at even greater risk.
Given these serious readiness issues, I am pleased to report that last week the House of Representatives passed the defense funding bill for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017. By passing this bill in a strong 371 to 48 vote, the House further reaffirmed our strong, bipartisan commitment to supporting the U.S. military.
The bill includes $577.9 billion in funding for our military, which is an increase of $5.2 billion over last year’s funding levels. The bill fully funds a pay raise for our military and provides for 1,305,900 active-duty troops and 813,200 Guard and Reserve troops. Just as important, the bill funds ongoing military operations against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist organizations.
The bill also includes some good news for Alabama’s shipbuilding industry. The bill funds the construction of three more Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are the Navy ships built by Austal USA in Mobile. Austal directly employs over 4,000 people at their shipyard in Mobile, and countless other jobs are tied to the shipyard.
Working with my House and Senate colleagues, I am proud we were able to secure funding for the construction of three more Littoral Combat Ships. These ships are a key component of the Navy’s fleet, and the additional funding is vital to the future of the Austal shipyard in Mobile.
I am proud to have fought for this funding to be included in the bill, but the fight for a larger Navy and more Littoral Combat Ships never stops. Last week, I also testified before the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, where I asked for three more Littoral Combat Ships to be funded in next year’s defense bill. The Navy has made clear they have a high demand for the full complement of 52 Littoral Combat Ships.
The defense funding bill also falls in line with President Trump’s proposed increases to defense spending and makes much needed progress toward helping our military regain its footing. From the fight against ISIS to Russian aggression to China’s actions in the Pacific to North Korea’s continued weapons testing, it is more important than ever that our military be able to operate at full strength.
Given the global threat environment, I sincerely hope Senate Democrats will not play politics with the funding for our military. In the past, we have seen them attempt to hold military funding hostage until Republicans agreed to across-the-board funding increases for other, non-defense programs. This is reckless and irresponsible. We must ensure our military men and women have the funding needed to do their job and keep the American people safe.
I call on the Senate to quickly pass this defense funding bill and send it to President Trump’s desk for his signature. Reversing the readiness crisis and ensuring our military men and women have the funding and resources to do their job is a fundamental responsibility of Congress.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) testified before the House Appropriations Committee Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee today in support of the I-10 Bridge project.
In his remarks, Byrne highlighted the challenges posed by the current tunnel system, as well as the serious economic and public safety concerns. He pledged to work with President Trump to boost our nation’s infrastructure.
Byrne also used his testimony to bring attention to wasteful transportation projects, like California high speed rail. Rep. Byrne encouraged the Committee to focus on projects of actual need instead of “boondoggles” like the California project.
The complete transcript of Congressman Byrne’s testimony before the Committee can be found below.
Byrne said: Chairman Diaz-Balart, Ranking Member Price, distinguished members of the committee; it is my pleasure to appear before you today to testify on funding for our nation’s transportation and infrastructure priorities.
I applaud the efforts of this Committee, which have resulted in steady progress toward improving our nation’s infrastructure, such as highways, bridges, airports and seaports. I was proud to support the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act back in 2015, and I support the funding necessary to ensure the bill’s implementation.
Despite our best efforts, there are many areas across the country that continue to have major transportation needs. For example, we continue to have a real transportation problem on I-10 along the Gulf Coast. In my hometown of Mobile, I-10 consistently and repeatedly experiences delays at the George Wallace Tunnel. Due to the tunnel height and odd design, traffic accidents and incidents often occur. These result in people traveling along I-10 sitting in traffic for hours, pushing toward three to four hour delays in the summer months as people are traveling to and from the beaches.
This portion of I-10 is incredibly important area as well, given the close proximity of the Port of Mobile and the need to ensure the safe and expedient flow of commerce to and from the Port. Just as important, I-10 also serves as an evacuation route during hurricane season, and the current traffic situation could result in Americans being left in harm’s way during a severe weather event.
We have made important progress over the last few years working together with local, state, and federal officials to move forward with a new I-10 bridge across the Mobile River. Former Secretary of Transportation Foxx has been to Mobile to see the project and the need for a bridge firsthand.
“So, I ask the Committee to fully fund the various transportation programs in the FAST Act in order to allow projects like the I-10 Bridge in Mobile to move forward. This project is a textbook definition of a nationally and regionally significant highway project.
“I am encouraged by President Trump’s commitment to improving infrastructure. I completely agree with the President. However, we must be smart about how we make these future investments to rebuilding and boosting our nation’s infrastructure to ensure precious resources are not wasted on unnecessary or wasteful projects.
“This brings me to my other reason for sitting before you today. I want to urge the Committee to avoid mistakes from the past, like funding for California High Speed Rail.
“Looking back at 2009, the Obama Administration spent $8 billion for transportation. One quarter of that funding, $2 billion dollars, went to California High Speed Rail. This project was by no means ‘shovel ready.’ In fact, more than eight years later, the land is not even fully procured to complete the project.
“To date, California has not met any of the obligations to match the federal funding. Even worse, almost another billion dollars was given to California in 2010 and the project remains embarrassingly behind schedule.
“The Los Angeles Times reported last month that the project ‘will cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated — as much as $3.6 billion more. And that’s just for the first 118 miles through the Central Valley, which was supposed to be the easiest part of the route between Los Angeles and San Francisco.’
“This is the definition of a boondoggle. Mr. Chairman, we all heard about the bridge to nowhere. Well it is safe to call this the train from nowhere to nowhere. This is one of the largest wastes of taxpayer money ever. Given the many serious transportation needs around the country, it is a shame so much funding was wasted on California High Speed Rail.
“I hope the Committee will use the disastrous example of California High Speed Rail to ensure funding is going first and foremost to nationally and regionally significant projects instead of boondoggles. We must make smart investments in our nation’s most serious infrastructure needs.
“Thank you very much for your time today. I appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts.”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.
@oaksong Premiums have skyrocketed, deductibles to high, & some counties will have no option on the exchange next year.
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