Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne


Economic Downturn Can’t Become the New Normal


You may have seen some good news recently. The September jobs report for the United States showed the unemployment rate dropping to 5.9% with 248,000 new jobs being added. That’s the lowest unemployment rate in a year. The problem is, if you look closer at the numbers, you will find that our economic recovery is still falling flat. The topline numbers don’t tell the whole story. Consider this: 9.1 million Americans are still looking for work. Clearly, the current economic policies aren’t working. The labor force participation rate, which is the total number of working-age Americans who are employed plus those actively looking for work, is around 62 percent. That is the lowest rate in 37 years. To put that in perspective, 37 years ago gas was 65 cents a gallon and Saturday Night Fever was at the top of the box office. Almost as many Americans have either left the workforce, or never entered, in this recovery than have found a job. The problem is people are simply giving up on trying to find work, which in turn has only fueled the dangerous culture of government dependency. Too many Americans are adding their name to the welfare roll instead of finding work. The bad news doesn’t stop there. 7.1 million Americans have had to settle for part-time jobs even though they would prefer full-time employment. In 1968, 13.5 percent of the workforce was in part-time jobs. Today, that number is up to 18.7 percent. While that may not seem much higher, the Federal Reserve called the number of part-time workers “unusually high.” With new hires, one would expect wages to grow, but that isn’t happening. This year, wages are only up a little over two percent. That’s almost half the rate of increase we were seeing prior to the Great Recession. After adjusting for inflation, today’s average hourly wage has almost the same purchasing power as it did in 1979. That’s unacceptable. It’s not just statistics that show the reality of our sluggish economic recovery. According to a recent survey, 56 percent of Americans say they are “falling behind financially.” A recent poll my office conducted of constituents in the First District showed that over 80 percent of people believe the economy is stuck in place or getting worse. Now, President Obama and some of his economic advisors insist that these numbers are the “new normal” in our modern economy, but I refuse to accept that answer. You might call me an optimist, but I believe we can do better. We need to reform our tax system to make it simpler and less complicated for Americans. We need better and more strategic skill and workforce training. We need to lower the corporate tax rate to be more competitive on the world stage. We need to reduce costly regulations and red tape, which make it harder for businesses to grow. We need to invest and improve our nation’s infrastructure. We need to repeal ObamaCare and the burdensome mandates that come with the law. We need an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that keeps energy costs low for families and businesses. I don’t want these economic statistics to be the “new normal” in America. We need to grow our economy the right way, with less government influence. Ultimately, Washington doesn’t need to do more to turn our economy around. In fact, Washington needs to do less. Read More

Steady Leadership Needed to Address Ebola Crisis


People in Southwest Alabama and across the country are worried about the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus. According to a recent survey by the Washington Post, nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about a widespread Ebola epidemic. I can’t blame them. The Obama administration has failed to put forward a clear message on how to respond to Ebola. President Obama said for weeks it was unlikely that Ebola would reach the United States, but now we know that is not the case. The head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said procedures were in place at local hospitals to deal with Ebola patients, but days later the CDC said a hospital in Dallas, Texas, mishandled an Ebola patient resulting in two nurses contracting the virus.  The mixed messages go on and on. The outbreak of the Ebola virus in west Africa, where over 4,300 have died, is a humanitarian and national security crisis that calls for serious action and steady leadership from our nation’s leaders. I can think of a few actions the United States could take to help combat the deadly virus. First, I want to make clear, while very deadly, Ebola is very difficult to transmit. In order to become infected, an individual would need to have direct contact with the bodily fluids of a symptomatic Ebola victim. The virus spread so quickly in west Africa as a result of the poor quality of medical care and unique burial practices. The threat of a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States remains very low. That said, we should be taking every measure necessary to ensure an outbreak does not occur in our country. A commonsense step would be to place a temporary ban on air travel to the United States from countries in western Africa, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. In fact, the first case of Ebola in the United States was brought over on a flight from Liberia. A travel ban would help to halt new cases of Ebola from entering our country and allow our medical community to focus on stopping the spread based on our current cases. While a travel ban would be a good first step, we must continue to implement intensive screenings of air passengers to limit the spread and quarantine any potential cases. The CDC announced recently they would conduct screenings on international passengers at most of the large airports in the United States. We must have screenings here in the United States in addition to screenings done abroad at the departing airport. Any potential cases should be quarantined until testing for Ebola can be completed. We must also ensure that local hospitals understand the correct procedures for dealing with a potential Ebola case. The CDC should continue to share information and provide hands-on training for local hospitals, especially in metropolitan areas. If a patient is confirmed to have Ebola, he or she should be transported to one of four special isolation facilities in the United States. These facilities would allow the patient to receive the best care possible in a safe, secure environment. I also believe we must commit resources to halting the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, but I strongly condemn the use of American military personnel for this medical challenge. Our military men and women are stretched too thin already with multiple threats of Islamic extremists in the Middle East and in Africa. Our military is not adequately trained for this medical mission, and there are better suited organizations, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN), to address this unique medical challenge. I remain confident that with these steps and more serious action we can prevent a major Ebola outbreak from occurring in the United States. In order to do that, tough choices must be made and steady leadership will be required. I urge President Obama and his administration to show leadership and put forward a bold strategy to combat this deadly virus. Read More

Byrne Supports Travel Ban to Protect Americans from Ebola


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today made clear his support for a temporary ban on travel to the United States from west Africa to help protect Americans against the spread of the Ebola virus. Many Members of Congress, including House Speaker John Boehner, have spoken out about their support for a temporary ban on flights from west African countries, including Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. Some officials from the medical community have also called for a ban on air travel. While he supports a temporary travel ban, Congressman Byrne cautioned that the travel ban alone will not be enough.  Congressman Byrne also supports continued and expanded screenings at US airports, greater training of medical professionals nationwide and the use of special isolation units to treat Ebola patients. Byrne said: “The Ebola outbreak in west Africa is a humanitarian and national security crisis that calls for serious measures. President Obama should be doing more to address this outbreak, and he should start by placing a temporary ban on flights into the United States from west Africa. A travel ban would help to halt new cases of Ebola from entering our country and allow our medical community to focus on stopping the spread based on the current cases. “That said, a travel ban alone won’t be enough to protect the American people from the spread of Ebola. We must continue to implement intensive screenings of air passengers to limit the spread and quarantine any potential cases. We should also only treat Ebola patients at one of the four special isolation facilities in the United States where they can receive the best and most secure care possible. “As I have said before, I strongly condemn the use of US military personnel to address the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Our military men and women are stretched too thin already with multiple threats of Islamic extremists in the Middle East and in Africa. Our military is not adequately trained for these medical missions, and there are better suited organizations, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations (UN), to address this unique medical challenge. “My heart breaks for all of the families in Africa and here in the United States who have been harmed by this deadly virus, and I want to see real leadership and serious action to ensure that more lives are not lost.” Read More

What Matters Most in Southwest Alabama


There are some big issues facing our country: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), illegal immigration, Ebola, Obamacare, the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the list goes on and on. As your Member of Congress, I have stayed engaged on these and other issues of global and national importance. That said, it seems far too often elected officials take office and forget the people that put them there. Well, I haven’t forgotten, and despite the many major issues facing our country, I haven’t lost focus on the issues that matter most to families in Southwest Alabama. I have continually pushed for a new I-10 bridge over the Mobile River. From Monroeville to Dauphin Island, I have heard various business owners and individuals voice their support for a new bridge. As it currently stands, the Wallace Tunnel represents one of the top chokepoints on all of Interstate 10 from California to Florida. Finding a solution to the congestion is about more than just quality of life; it is a matter of public safety and economic development. I will continue to push the Federal Highway Administration to move the project forward and help our local economy flourish. I’ve also been proud to stand up to senseless federal regulations, which hurt our coastal communities. Our area is blessed with beautiful sandy beaches and immense natural resources, and tourism is very important to our local economy. While we must always be cognizant of environmental concerns, I believe we must prioritize the input of our local communities over faceless federal bureaucrats in Washington when making decisions that will have a major effect on our coastal economy. From efforts to improve fisheries management to providing continued oversight of the implementation of the RESTORE Act, I remain committed to ensuring the federal government does not hinder the progress of our coastal economy. Knowing how important forestry is to Southwest Alabama, I have spoken out on behalf of our foresters. The forestry industry in Alabama generates over $21 billion in timber production and processing revenue, and there are more than 3 million acres of forestland in the First District alone. I’m a proud member of the Congressional Paper Caucus, and I have written multiple letters to government officials on issues such as longleaf pine restoration, the taxation of timber, and responsible timber production. Earlier this year, I voted in support of a new Farm Bill, which included a number of positive provisions for our local foresters. I will continue to advocate on behalf of our area’s foresters. I’ve also been a supporter for local jobs, and I’ve pushed back against policies that could hamper job creation in Alabama. I fought for a spot on the House Armed Services Committee so I could be a strong sponsor for the Littoral Combat Ship, which is built by Austal USA in Mobile. I have traveled with local officials to the Farnborough Air Show in London to recruit suppliers associated with Airbus to our area. Whether it is senseless EPA regulations driving up energy costs or continued taxes and paperwork associated with Obamacare, I am constantly on the lookout for federal regulations and red tape which stunt economic growth in our region. I will never lose focus on the issues and problems that directly impact people in Alabama’s First Congressional District, and I depend on you to hold me accountable. If there is a federal issue my office can help you with, I encourage you to reach out via my website, the telephone, or through the mail. I know our work is just getting started and new challenges will arise, but I am proud of what we have been able to do in such a short time. I firmly believe that with your continued input we can sustain our efforts to make Southwest Alabama a better place to live, work and raise a family. Read More

President Obama Using Armed Forces as Bargaining Chip, Byrne Says


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) today accused President Barack Obama of using defense spending as a bargaining chip during a time of war. Congressman Byrne’s comments followed President Obama on Wednesday calling for any increase in defense spending to be matched with an increase to domestic spending. Congressman Byrne, who has consistently warned about the negative impact of cuts to our national defense, insisted that Congress and the President work together to increase defense spending to ensure our military men and women have the resources they need to combat Islamic extremists around the globe. Byrne said: “President Obama says we are at war with Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East, like the Islamic State, and I agree with him. Yesterday, he called on Congress to eliminate the cuts to defense spending called for in the Budget Control Act in light of the fact that we are at war and must give our forces the support they need to win.  I agree with him about that too. "But, the President goes on to say that he would only agree to increases in defense spending if Congress also agrees to increase spending by the same proportion for domestic programs.  President Obama needs to realize that he cannot be the Commander-in-Chief our armed forces need if he is also using them as a budgetary bargaining chip. Let's agree across party lines that our national security is a paramount priority and fund what is necessary to support our troops. "The President makes the mistake of believing that we can pay for 'guns’ and 'butter' during war time – a mistake we made in the 1960’s resulting in destructive inflation, and in the 2000’s, resulting in unacceptable budget deficits. We are far enough past the Great Recession that the government needs to get out of the business of making 'butter’ to allow private sector businesses to make all the 'butter' we need. “The President and Congress must find common ground to undo sequestration's deleterious effects on our nation’s defense. Budgetary savings should not come at the cost of military readiness, especially not when we’re at war. And Washington must not let the federal spending crisis precipitate a national security crisis. "If given the chance, I will vote to increase defense spending because that is in the best interest of the American people. I call on the President to stand up and act like a real Commander-in-Chief and quit trying to bargain with the Congress by holding defense spending hostage.” Read More

Byrne Honored with Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) recently received the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. The award is based on Congressman Byrne’s votes in support of manufacturing in the United States. Mobile, and the Southwest Alabama region, was officially named one of 12 United States “manufacturing communities” by the United States Department of Commerce. In Mobile, employment in the diverse manufacturing industry has increased each year since 2009. Byrne said: “Manufacturing is rapidly expanding in Southwest Alabama, and I am proud to be a strong advocate for the hardworking men and women who work in Alabama’s manufacturing industry. Washington bureaucrats spend too much time making it harder for businesses to grow and expand instead of removing red tape and regulations which hold businesses back. I’m committed to getting Washington out of the way and allowing manufacturing to grow throughout Southwest Alabama and the entire United States.” NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse said: “Manufacturers in Alabama and throughout the United States are making a comeback, creating jobs, making more products and making them better than ever before. However, manufacturers are often disproportionately impacted by decisions made by policymakers in Washington. The NAM is proud to stand with lawmakers like Rep. Bradley Byrne who understand what is at stake and seek to implement policies that will foster innovation, growth and competitiveness.” The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.08 trillion to the U.S. economy annually. For more information, visit Read More

Strong Navy Integral Part of Military Success


President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "a good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace." I firmly agree with President Roosevelt’s assertion, and I am growing increasingly concerned about the weakening of our nation’s naval fleet at a time when we face many foreign policy challenges abroad. I recently accepted an offer from the United States Navy to participate in a four day education program they call Navy 101 in order to better understand the challenges our sailors face on a daily basis. This involved flying to San Diego, with its major Navy base, and then back to Pensacola to learn more about Navy aviation training and the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The Navy traces its origin to a handful of ships George Washington commissioned for the Continental Navy. Though it was disbanded after the Revolutionary War, the Congress realized the need for a naval force to protect American sea commerce and created a Navy in 1794.  The US has had a permanent Navy ever since. The Navy has aircraft carriers, aircraft, amphibious vessels, surface combatants, and submarines. The total fleet is 290 ships at present, below the preferred operational level. While they are focused on projecting American power at sea and protecting sea lanes, they also engage in special operations, intelligence, and disaster response. In San Diego, I first paid a visit to the USS Albuquerque, a Los Angeles class, nuclear-powered, fast attack submarine, which was over a football field long with a crew of 140 people. While there are presently 72 submarines in the Navy, many of them have stretched beyond their original life span and are showing their age. Under current plans, in ten years the US submarine fleet will fall below the level recommended by the Navy. That is especially concerning as countries like China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran are all expanding their submarine fleets. Next, we visited the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier which has been in service for a little over ten years. A carrier is like a small city with around 5,000 total people on board and more than 60 aircraft launching and landing on the carrier. Naval leaders I spoke to expressed concern about the reduction of the carrier fleet by two “strike groups,” which include a carrier, its air wing, and several accompanying ships. Although current law requires the Navy to maintain 11 carrier strike groups, the Navy really only has ten strike groups now, at least until the USS Gerald R. Ford joins the fleet in 2016. This illustrates just how much defense budget cuts have put our sailors in a bad spot. Finally, we met with Rear Admiral Chris Paul, the Deputy Commander of the Naval Surface Force. We spent most our time talking about the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which is built locally in Mobile. While some have expressed concerns about the ship’s future, Admiral Paul made clear that the Navy views the LCS as an integral part of the future fleet. One of the biggest concerns with the LCS has centered on its lack of weaponry and lethality. A few days before I arrived in San Diego, the Navy tested launching a new missile from the LCS. At a range of a hundred miles, the missile struck its target, a point on an abandoned container on a barge in the ocean. The Navy was elated with these results as they feel they have found an affordable, stand-off missile for the LCS. It was very special to see both the USS Independence and the USS Coronado, both of which were built in Mobile, being used by the Navy in an active duty role. The LCS is the perfect vessel to fulfill multiple missions including surface warfare, mine counter-measure warfare, and anti-submarine warfare. I will continue to be a strong supporter of the LCS, not just because it is built in Alabama, but because I truly believe it represents the future of the Navy. Whether it was touring a nuclear submarine or seeing a LCS under Navy control, visiting San Diego really opened my eyes to the great work our sailors do every day. More importantly, the trip also made me keenly aware of the significant budgetary challenges facing our Navy. I strongly believe there are smarter places to cut in the federal budget than our national defense. We must right the ship when it comes to our defense spending woes, especially the Navy’s budget, if we hope to maintain our prominence on the world’s stage.  Peace through strength is more than a slogan. It is a foundation for securing our own freedom and prosperity. Read More

Clear Strategy Needed to Defeat Islamic Extremists


Last Wednesday night, students from throughout the First Congressional District gathered in a Mobile auditorium to learn details about attending one of the five United States Service Academies. My staff and I were hosting an “Academy Night” for prospective students to hear directly from representatives of the service academies. At a time when the United States is preparing to take on more responsibilities against the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East, these students want to serve their country. As their Member of Congress, it is my duty to make sure our military men and women have the strategic goals and resources they need to defeat our enemy. Make no mistake about it, ISIL poses a very real threat to American interests abroad and to our security in the homeland.  ISIL is a large and growing terrorist army, larger than al Qaeda is or ever was, and ISIL controls a land area between Damascus and Baghdad, which contains 20 million stateless Muslims.  They are well-funded, shrewd tacticians who have shown a successful audacity in the scope of their attacks.  They are the most brutal terrorist organization we have ever seen. When I recently had the chance to question Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during a House Armed Services Committee hearing about the ongoing war against ISIL, I offered two pieces of advice for President Obama and his team. First, the President needs to lay out for the Congress and the American people a clear and complete strategy for the effective defeat of ISIL. I don’t think he has done that yet. Training and arming a relatively small group of Syrian rebels and cooperating with an Iraqi army which has so far shown a failure to fight do not comprise, in and of themselves, a strategy. The strategy must include support from other Arab allies in the region. I was pleased to see Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar join the United States in launching airstrikes in Syria, and it is that type of regional partnership that must be included in the President’s strategy. Second, based on this strategy, the President needs to come back to the Congress and ask us for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The President and Secretary Hagel have both called this a long term war, and they are right in doing so. Under Article 1, Section 8, of our Constitution, only the Congress has the power to declare war. I disagree with the President and his advisors that they have Congressional authorization to proceed under the previous AUMFs passed authorizing US combat against al Qaeda and the Taliban in 2001, and authorizing the invasion of Iraq in 2002. I am just a journeyman lawyer, but I agree with legal experts from around the nation who have criticized the Administration's position as a matter of law. If the President outlines a clear strategy and receives official authorization from Congress, I think he will earn the trust and support of the American people. We must stop ISIL now, before they grow bigger and stronger. But to do so, we need a strategy, something we don’t yet have. The young men and women I met Wednesday night understand how dangerous and brutal ISIL is, but that hasn’t stopped them from wanting to serve our nation. These young people and the countless military members who currently serve our nation deserve a clear strategy and Congressional support to effectively do their job. I am ready to do my part, and I hope President Obama will do the same. Read More

Byrne to Host Town Hall on ISIL, Middle East Trip


Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) will host a town hall meeting in Mobile to discuss his recent trip to the Middle East and strategies for defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Congressman Byrne will also take questions from attendees. The town hall was organized in conjunction with a number of veteran organizations in Southwest Alabama. Members of the public are invited to attend. This will be Congressman Byrne’s 29th town hall meeting since taking office in January. Who: Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1), Constituents What: Town Hall Meeting on ISIL and the Middle East When: Thursday, September 25, 2014, 3:30 pm CT Where: Battleship Pavilion, 2703 Battleship Pkwy, Mobile, AL 36603 Read More

Promoting Freedom Throughout the World


There is no question we live in the greatest country on the face of the earth. People the world over look to the United States as a beacon of freedom and democracy. The question becomes whether or not the United States will always answer the call for help when other countries want to replicate our freedoms. Last week, the House of Representatives held a rare Joint Session of Congress with the Senate to hear remarks from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In his remarks, President Poroshenko made a passionate case for more United States support in Ukraine’s fight against Russia. President Poroshenko’s speech was received well by both Democrats and Republicans. There was visible frustration with President Obama’s refusal to provide Ukraine the resources they need to win their battle for freedom. President Poroshenko summed up his country’s struggle by saying, “there are moments in history when freedom is more than just a political concept. At those moments, freedom becomes the ultimate choice, which defines who are you.” Our own nation experienced this moment in our battle for independence from Great Britain, and now Ukraine is facing a similar fight. As you may remember, last year the people of Ukraine stood up to the corrupt, oppressive regime of their former president. Through peaceful protests, they raised awareness of the government’s cruel tactics and corruption only to be attacked by government police. Ultimately, the people of Ukraine succeeded in forcing the crooked leader from office and replacing him with a democratically elected president. During this time of turmoil, Russia saw an opportunity to exert force and aggression in the region, and they successfully annexed Crimea, a portion of Ukraine. Russia began arming, enticing, and supplying separatist rebels who intend to make Ukraine a part of Russia. The separatist fighters include Russian military and special operations forces. In fact, it is widely believed that Russian supplied missiles were used to down a Malaysia airlines flight over Ukraine which killed all 298 innocent civilians on board. To this day, Ukraine is locked in a serious conflict with separatists rebels and Russia. As a smaller nation, Ukraine lacks some of the resources necessary to wage a large scale fight against a world power like Russia. While the United States has provided some resources to Ukraine and placed sanctions on Russia, I believe we can do more to stand with the Ukrainian people in their quest for freedom and democracy. Ukraine doesn’t need the United States to fight this fight for them. They have proven they are willing to fight for themselves, but they need weaponry and ammunition. Their needs are very similar to our own need for guns and ammunition from the French during the American Revolution. After the speech, I had the opportunity to shake President Poroshenko’s hand. I looked him in the eyes and said, “We are with you.” He looked straight back at me and responded, “I know you are because I can feel it.” That exchange has been stuck in my mind ever since. President Ronald Reagan famously declared the United States as “a shining city on a hill.” We are a country that other nations look to for direction, guidance, and support. I know the United States cannot involve ourselves in every conflict around the globe, but we must be willing to answer the call when countries are seeking democracy. President Poroshenko concluded his address to Congress by using a phrase we know all too well in America: “Live free or die.” Just as our forefathers did years ago, the people of Ukraine are in a fight for freedom. The United States must stand with them and do all we can to combat Russia and the actions of Vladimir Putin. Read More

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Contact Information

2236 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4931
Fax 202-225-0562

Committee Assignments

Armed Services

Natural Resources

Bradley Byrne, 58, 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 in various service organizations.

Byrne served as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education and as a member of the Alabama Senate representing District 32. In 2007, Byrne was appointed by the Alabama State Board of Education as Chancellor of the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to serve as the chief executive officer of Alabama’s two-year college system.

Byrne has been married to the former Rebecca Dukes of Montgomery for 32 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 lives in Fairhope where he and his family are members of St. James Episcopal Church.

Serving With

Martha Roby


Mike Rogers


Robert Aderholt


Mo Brooks


Spencer Bachus