Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

Religious Freedom Must Be Protected

2015/03/27

For many Christians, this week marks Holy Week, as we prepare for Easter Sunday. We remember the death and crucifixion of Jesus and celebrate his resurrection. In the United States and many other countries around the world, this is an occasion marked with steadfast reflection, prayer, worship and fellowship. It is a time we spend with our loved ones, but do we spend enough time cherishing our ability to worship freely? In far too many corners of the world, the freedom of religion is nowhere to be found. As you read this, in the Middle East, the brutal, self-proclaimed Islamic State (or ISIL) is attacking Christians and destroying sacred religious sites. In the very land where Jesus once walked, Christians are becoming extinct. From Iraq to Syria to Egypt, Christians are under attack because of what they believe. The city of Mosul in northern Iraq paints a clear picture of the threats posed to Christians. In 2003, over 35,000 Christians lived in Mosul. Today, that number is down to almost zero. Christians were faced with the choice of converting to Islam or being executed. Imagine being faced with that threat. It is truly chilling. As a Judeo-Christian nation and the greatest force for good on the planet, our nation has a moral responsibility to combat Christian persecution. As the Christian communities in the Middle East and Asia continue to be decimated, we cannot turn a blind eye to this injustice. Apathy is not an option. From Congress to the White House to the State Department, the United States must reaffirm our commitment to religious freedom around the world. President Obama must stop with the ambiguity on this issue and make clear that the United States will not tolerate Christian persecution. Last year, Congress passed legislation to create a special envoy responsible for helping ancient Christian communities and other religious minorities who are under attack in the Middle East. Months later, the Obama administration has still not filled that position. It’s a symbolic reminder of how the United States is refusing to confront the brutality of Christian persecution. The issue of religious freedom is about more than just Christians. The ability for people to exercise their faith without fear of retribution is the key to a stable democracy. Our national interests are best served when the world is stable and individuals aren’t deprived of basic freedoms. Sadly, the problem of religious persecution is getting worse, not better. In 1914, Christians made up 28% of the Middle East. Today, that number is closer to 4%. That is heartbreaking. As we know all too well, Jesus Christ himself was persecuted and ultimately died for his religious beliefs. And now, Christians in the Middle East and across the globe are facing that same fate. We cannot stand by and allow this injustice to continue. That’s why I have joined the bipartisan International Religious Freedom Caucus in Washington. I also recently co-sponsored House Resolution 139, a bill condemning violence against religious minorities in the Middle East and any action that limits the free expression of faith. These are important actions, but more work will be needed. So this Easter, in addition to your regular reflections, be sure and say a special prayer for our brothers and sisters who are under attack in the Middle East. And say a prayer for our country and our leaders, that we may realize the struggle and no longer sit idly by while individuals are attacked simply for their religious beliefs. From my family to yours: Happy Easter and may God continue to bless our great nation. Read More

Byrne Votes to Provide Stability to Seniors and Doctors

2015/03/26

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today voted in support of legislation to reform and strengthen Medicare, representing the first major entitlement reform in nearly two decades. H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, permanently repeals the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which passed into law in 1997. The SGA formula resulted in continued threats of cuts to physicians who treat Medicare patients. This pattern of cliffs and deadlines forced Congress to pass 17 patches since 2003, resulting in nearly $170 billion in spending. The new system moves Medicare away from a volume-based system towards one that rewards value and encourages competition, improving the quality of care for seniors. Most important to Congressman Byrne, H.R. 2 represents the first meaningful reform to mandatory spending programs in nearly two decades. Mandatory spending, which doesn’t have to be appropriated by Congress each year, is the true driver of the national debt. According to the Congressional Budget Office, these reforms would save taxpayer money and put the nation’s budget on a more sustainable path. Byrne said: “It is rare that Congress has an opportunity to reform mandatory spending programs, which are the true drivers of our national debt, but that is actually the situation we faced today. Without reforms, the current path is unsustainable. We cannot continue kicking the can down the road by passing expensive stop-gap fixes to the Medicare reimbursement rate. “These are the first serious reforms to an entitlement program in almost two decades, and these conservative solutions pave the way for real deficit reduction down the road. These reforms drive more competition in Medicare which will in turn improve the quality of care for our nation’s seniors. I know further reforms are necessary in order to truly get spending under control, but I cannot overstate just how important this breakthrough is for those truly interested in deficit reduction. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take this bill up right away, pass it, and send it to President Obama for his signature.” H.R. 2 is bipartisan legislation supported by at least 75 medical groups and a wide array of conservative organizations including Americans for Tax Reform, American Action Forum and the National Taxpayers Union. The legislation passed the House by a vote of 392 to 37. Read More

House Budget Restores Fiscal Sanity, Byrne Says

2015/03/25

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today voted in favor of a Budget Resolution in the House of Representatives that cuts spending, reforms entitlement programs, boosts national defense, and balances in less than ten years. The House Budget Proposal, sponsored by Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA), is known as “A Balanced Budget for a Strong America.” The plan balances the budget in less than 10 years without raising taxes, which puts the House budget in stark contrast to President Barack Obama’s spending-filled budget. The budget proposal would also fully repeal Obamacare, call for a simpler tax code, reform unsustainable mandatory spending programs, and boost defense spending. Byrne said: “It is a basic responsibility of Congress to pass a budget each year that reflects our national priorities. That’s exactly what the House did today in passing a budget that puts our nation on a path to fiscal sanity without raising taxes. “Unlike President Obama’s budget, which never balances, our budget achieves balance in less than ten years with serious reforms to mandatory spending and cuts to wasteful spending programs. Our budget strengthens and preserves Social Security and Medicare to ensure they are solvent for future generations. “Just as important, the budget proposal I supported includes appropriate funding for our nation’s military. We cannot accept the dangerous sequestration cuts to national defense as reality, and I was proud to work with Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry and my colleagues to pass an amendment that would restore defense funding to necessary levels.” Congressman Byrne also supported the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) Blueprint for a Balance Budget, which would achieve balance in only six years. Serving on the RSC’s Budget and Spending Task Force, Congressman Byrne played a key role in drafting the RSC budget proposal. Read More

Byrne Applauds Change to Veteran Choice Card Program, Calls for More Improvements

2015/03/24

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1), a strong advocate for greater veteran access to private care, today applauded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for changing a rule that was restricting veteran access to private medical care. Last August, Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which was intended to give veterans access to private care when wait times were longer than 30 days or a veteran lived more than 40 miles from a VA facility. Unfortunately, the VA interpreted the law in a way that greatly diminished the actual number of veterans eligible for private care. Today, the VA announced that they will measure the 40-mile requirement by driving miles, instead of as the crow flies. The VA estimates that this will double the number of eligible veterans. Byrne said: “Last summer Congress passed a bill to increase veteran access to private care, but through a self-serving interpretation of the law, the VA made the process as complicated as possible. I applaud VA Secretary Robert McDonald for recognizing the flaw with their interpretation and working to make things right. Veterans deserve more health care options, not less.” Congressman Byrne has introduced H.R. 1096, the Real Choice for Veterans Act. This short two-page bill would change the Choice Card Program 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.” This change would be especially helpful for veterans in the Mobile-area. While Mobile has 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 hospitals which could provide adequate care to our veterans. Despite today’s announcement by the VA, Congressman Byrne will continue to push for his legislation and even greater veteran access to private care. Byrne said: “Today’s announcement is a positive development, but it alone doesn’t solve all the problems with the way the VA has interpreted the law. I will continue to push for the House to take up my bill, the Real Choice for Veterans Act, which would give veterans much-needed access to private care instead of forcing them to travel hundreds of miles out of the way in order to receive care.” Read More

Defense Cuts Are Hurting Our National Security

2015/03/22

Across the world today, the United States faces a wide range of serious threats, ranging from Russia to Iran to China to the Islamic State. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has called this the most “diverse and complex array of crises since the end of the Second World War.”  Given this challenging environment, you would expect the United States to be building up military capabilities to help protect our nation’s security.  Unfortunately, ill-conceived cuts to national defense over the last few years have left our military men and women in a very perilous situation. During testimony before the House Armed Services Committee last week, leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines made clear that the current budget cuts could result in the loss of lives, more injuries and failed military operations. Think about that for a minute. Our nation’s military leaders are telling Congress that military cuts will result in service members being killed or injured due to a lack of resources and training. This is very serious. Military readiness will take a significant hit. Innovation and maintenance projects will be cancelled. Frankly, the security of our nation will be put at risk. So how did we get to this point? You may remember back in 2011 when House Republicans and Senate Democrats were at an impasse over the debt limit. Republicans were correctly insisting on serious spending cuts, but Democrats were more interested in raising taxes. In the end, President Obama came forward with a solution known as the Budget Control Act. Under the Budget Control Act, a bipartisan deficit reduction committee was established to find over a trillion dollars in cuts. The committee had until the end of 2011 to come up with these cuts or else something known as sequestration would occur. Sequestration would result in across the board, indiscriminate cuts leading to deficit reduction of greater than a trillion dollars. In an effort to make sure sequestration didn’t actually happen, it was decided that the cuts would be split evenly between defense and non-defense spending. Ultimately, the deficit reduction committee failed to come up with a solution and the across-the-board cuts went into effect. Immediately, the effects were seen across the country. The worst thing about the sequester cuts is they don’t allow military leaders to prioritize where money is spent. There is no logic behind the cuts. I wasn’t in Congress when the Budget Control Act passed, but I would not have supported this outlandish proposal. I am strongly committed to cutting spending, but doing it on the back of our military is entirely the wrong approach. Cutting military spending doesn’t even begin to solve our nation’s spending problems. In fact, defense spending only makes up around 16% of federal spending yet sequestration puts 50% of the cuts on defense. In reality the real driver of our debt isn’t discretionary spending at all. If we really want to get serious about deficit reduction, we must tackle means tested entitlement programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and disability.  These are important programs for Americans who are truly in need, but they are not sustainable on their current path. Ultimately, I believe we must repeal the Budget Control Act and end these dangerous cuts to national defense that are putting our service members at risk. Instead, we should move forward with spending reforms that are well-thought out and that actually target the long-term drivers of our debt. I reject the notion that you have to be either a defense hawk or a budget hawk. I consider myself to be both. We must get serious about cutting spending, but let’s not do so at the expense of our safety and security. Read More

Byrne Fights to Protect Workforce Democracy and Employee Privacy

2015/03/19

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today voted in support of S.J.Res. 8, a bill to block the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ambush election rule, protect fair election policies in the workplace, and prevent employee’s private information from being unwillingly shared with labor unions. The proposed rule by the NLRB would restrict the right of employers to speak to employees during a union organizing campaign, cripple the right of workers to make an informed decision about whether to join a union, deny workers access to a fair union election process, and jeopardize the privacy and safety of American workers. Congressman Byrne, a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and former labor lawyer, has been a leading supporter of legislation to provide Congressional disapproval of the proposed rule under the Congressional Review Act. Byrne said: “This proposed rule by the National Labor Relations Board is a direct threat to workforce democracy and the privacy of American workers. The changes go far beyond simply ‘modernizing’ the election process. It seems the NLRB’s real goal is to dramatically tilt the outcome of elections in favor of union leaders by ambushing employers and workers without allowing them to fully understand their decision. “Worst of all, the NLRB’s rule would place the privacy and safety of America’s workers and their families in jeopardy. There is absolutely no reason why union organizers need employees’ phone numbers, email addresses, work schedules, and home addresses. This will simply fuel union coercion and intimidation. “Our bill is now headed to President Obama’s desk, and he will have to decide whether he stands with Big Labor or with our nation’s workers and job creators. I hope he recognizes the dangers posed by this proposed rule and signs our commonsense resolution.” The legislation is supported by a number of organizations including Americans for Tax Reform, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. The Senate passed S.J.Res. 8 on March 3 by a vote of 53-46. The House passed the bill today by a vote of 232 to 186. More information on S.J.Res.8 and the proposed NLRB rule can be found here. Read More

Navy Leaders Reaffirm Commitment to LCS Program

2015/03/17

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) questioned Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michelle Howard about the future of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program during a House Armed Services Committee hearing today. The Independence-class LCS is built in the Port of Mobile by Austal USA, providing 4,000 direct jobs in Alabama’s First Congressional District. Congressman Byrne has been a strong advocate for the LCS program and the entire naval fleet during his service on the House Armed Services Committee. In summarizing the hearing, Congressman Byrne said: “I was pleased to hear our Navy’s leadership reaffirm their strong support for the LCS program and express the importance of not interrupting production on these vessels. The men and women at the shipyard in Mobile do a great job of building ships in a cost-efficient way, and it would be a great disservice to disrupt that production schedule. As always, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to protect the LCS program as a critical piece to a strong, fully-capable naval fleet.” Congressman Byrne asked the Navy leaders to explain the negative consequences of breaking production on the LCS program as the Navy moves towards implementing design upgrades recommended by the Small Surface Combatant Task Force. “You lose some very skilled craftsmen. It is very hard to get that back. The industrial base impacts are enormous,” Secretary Mabus said of the impact interrupting production would have on the workforce. “I cannot overemphasize how devastating it would be to break production for economic reasons because you are going to end up getting fewer ships at a much higher cost.” Admiral Howard made clear that slowing down the build rate for the ships would also have a negative impact on readiness and the future of the entire naval fleet. “The longer we stretch out that gap as the frigates go away, the less we can offer to the [Combatant Command] needs,” Admiral Howard said. Secretary Mabus reaffirmed the Navy’s commitment to the LCS program and the need for a total of 52 ships, but he expressed concern with the current budget timeline. “We have a need, a demonstrated need, for 52 of these small surface combatants. We will not get there under the current budget and under the current bill plan until 2028,” Secretary Mabus said. Congressman Byrne also confirmed with the Navy leaders that it is common to change ship designs as the military understands new circumstances and needs. “That is the very nature of modernization for all our services. The genius of LCS was to create the mission package, the weapons systems, separate from the platform. So that we can more quickly adjust to emerging threats,” Admiral Howard noted. In December 2014, then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recommended  updating the current versions of the LCS, making them more lethal and survivable, rather than designing a new ship, using a foreign design or repurposing another ship currently available in the fleet. He made it abundantly clear that the Navy has a requirement for 52 Small Surface Combatants and that requirement has not changed. Read More

A Busy Week in Southwest Alabama

2015/03/16

At least once a month, the House of Representatives goes out of session and Members of Congress are able to spend time visiting with constituents in their districts. Last week was one of these District Work Weeks. I wanted to briefly update you on some of the highlights from last week. We started things off with visits to some of our local schools. I had the opportunity to speak to 6th graders at Fairhope Intermediate School, government students at Foley High School, and a great group at St. Ignatius Catholic School in Mobile. I always enjoy visiting schools because it allows students to hear firsthand how their government works. In each of these visits, I always encourage the students to stay engaged with their local, state and federal governments. On Tuesday afternoon I attended a town hall meeting in Mobile hosted by the Gulf Coast Veterans Health System. There was a packed house, and I was disappointed to hear a lot of complaints from veterans. From poor care to long wait times to lacking customer service, serious problems remain in the VA system. I will continue working to increase veterans’ access to private care and pushing for more accountability at the VA. I hosted my annual Workshop for High School Leaders on Wednesday at the University of South Alabama. We had close to 600 students from Mobile, Baldwin, Escambia, Monroe, Clarke, and Washington counties. The students heard from South Alabama Head Football Coach Joey Jones, in addition to unique jobs and working media panels. I held a question and answer session with the students to conclude the event. These are the leaders of tomorrow, and I enjoyed spending time with them. On Thursday, I hosted the Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank, Mr. Fred Hochberg, in Mobile. We kicked the day off with a Global Access Forum, which is an event to educate local businesses on ways they can increase exports. Next, we toured Xante, a local printer manufacturer that benefits from the Export-Import Bank’s resources. We wrapped up with a tour of the new Airbus Final Assembly Line project. I am continually impressed by how quickly that project is coming together, and I remain excited about the economic potential Airbus brings to Southwest Alabama. I headed up Highway 31 to Atmore on Friday for a day full of events. I started things off with a visit to Escambia Drug Store to meet with the Coffee Club and present Mr. Ken Barnett with a certificate honoring the Drug Store’s 103 years of operation. Next, I stopped by Muskogee Technology to learn more about their expanding capabilities and meet some of their employees. Muskogee is a true asset to Escambia County and our entire region. I also held a meeting with Escambia County Superintendent John Knott and Assistant Superintendent Beth Drew. After grabbing lunch at Busters with Mayor Jim Staff, I filmed an interview with Pastor JT Guyton at Destiny Television. We wrapped things up with a visit to Pepsi Cola Bottling in Atmore. I spoke to a group of employees and heard how overregulation is hurting their industry. These District Work Weeks offer an excellent opportunity to hear directly from the people I represent before heading back to Washington. Whether its touring a local business or meeting with a group of students, these visits help me better understand the real world impact of policies being put forward in Washington. No matter if it’s in Washington or Southwest Alabama, I want to hear from you. Never hesitate to mail me a letter, send me an email, give us a call, or comment on my Facebook page. My door is always open. Read More

Byrne Hosts Leadership Workshop for High School Students

2015/03/12

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) will host a Workshop for High School Leaders on Wednesday, March 11, on the campus of the University of South Alabama. The Leadership Workshop is designed to give area high school students an opportunity to interact with area leaders. The keynote speaker for this year’s workshop is University of South Alabama Head Football Coach Joey Jones. Students will also hear from a panel on unique government jobs, as well as a panel with local media leaders. The event will conclude with a question and answer session with Congressman Byrne. Almost 600 high school students from Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Clarke, Escambia, and Monroe counties are expected to attend. Who: Congressman Bradley Byrne, Coach Joey Jones, working news media panelists, unique government jobs panelists, area high school students What: Workshop for High School Leaders When: Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 8:00 am to Noon CT Where: University of South Alabama Mitchell Center, Mobile, AL 36608 Read More

US Must Stand With Israel

2015/03/08

“Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also to the peace of the entire world.” Those were the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he addressed a joint session of Congress last week. I was proud to attend the Prime Minister’s address as he laid out a clear vision about the safety of Israel and the problems posed by a potential deal between the United States and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. This was not my first experience visiting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, as we had met previously during my visit to the Middle East last fall. Israel is our strongest and most consistent ally in the Middle East. Our nations have always shared a unique bond over common values and the desire to see peace in a very volatile region of the world. In addition to a strong military partnership, our two nations also have major economic ties and share common scientific research projects. That’s why all Americans should be concerned about the deal being negotiated behind closed doors between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran. Iran is no friend to the United States. Iran remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, and they continue 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 testimony before the House Armed Services Committee that “the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to threaten US strategic interest in the Middle East. Tehran views the United States as its most capable adversary and has fashioned its military strategy and doctrine accordingly.” General Stewart went 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.” Most concerning of all, the general concludes by saying that the Iranian “regime faces no insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon.” Prime Minister Netanyahu also could not have been clearer about the “bad deal” being worked out between the United States and Iran. In his remarks, he stated that the deal “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.” Perhaps he summed it up best by saying that “this deal won’t be [a] farewell to arms. It will be a farewell to arms control.” The nuclear talks first started back in 2009, and they 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 allowed centrifuges or the length of the deal. I think President Obama and many of his allies in Congress were so opposed to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech because they were afraid he would tell the truth. They knew he would make clear the real issues around a nuclear deal with Iran and explain why these ongoing talks threaten not only Israel but the entire world. Preventing a nuclear-capable Iran is one of the most important national security priorities of our time. I implore President Obama and Secretary Kerry to abandon these dangerous nuclear talks with Iran. Instead, the United States should move forward with new sanctions on the Iranian regime that force them to abandon their nuclear program altogether. Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded his speech by drawing attention to Mr. Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and award winning author. He said, “I wish I could promise, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned.” Let’s show Prime Minister Netanyahu that the United States has learned from the past and stand strong with Israel against a nuclear-capable Iran.   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