Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

Byrne Votes to Support Alabama Farmers

2018/06/21

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today voted in favor of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.  This bill passed the House by a vote of 213 to 211. 

The 2018 Farm Bill supports and sustains our state’s farmers and foresters by reauthorizing farm programs and directing the nation’s agricultural policy for the next five years.  Despite recent gains in manufacturing, Alabama remains an agriculture state.  Farming, forestry, livestock and crop production represent more than $70 billion in annual economic output.

Congressman Byrne said: “Our farmers and foresters are good stewards of the land, and I am pleased the House could pass this important legislation to ensure that our family farms and rural communities have the resources they need to keep up with the challenges of today.

“Also important, the Farm Bill will encourage able-bodied adults to find jobs and get back to work by reinforcing work requirements in order to receive SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps.  In this economy, there is no excuse for capable Americans to not seek out employment.  By encouraging Americans to find and retain jobs, we ultimately lift people out of poverty, strengthen the overall economy, and help save taxpayer money.”

Each year, Congressman Byrne holds an “Ag Matters” tour and visits family farms and forest land throughout Southwest Alabama. The Farm Bill is one of the most talked about items each year.

The 2018 Farm Bill sets the country’s agricultural policy for the next five years.  Among the many important provisions, the bill:

  • Includes provisions critically important to Alabama’s cotton and peanut farmers;
  • Maintains access to crop insurance through reduced premiums and waived fees;
  • Improves existing programs to maximize efficiency, reduces waste and maintains fiscally responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars;
  • Restores funding for trade promotion efforts in an attempt to keep pace with trading competitors around the world;
  • Establishes substantive work requirements for work-capable adults;
  • Increases funding to $60 million per year for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, with $20 million to be used for the Farm-to-Food Bank program providing inexpensive food for low-income families;
  • Provides strong incentives for providers to offer quality broadband service to all of rural America; and
  • Helps equip and train the next generation of farmers.

Click here to learn more about the 2018 Farm Bill.

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Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

2018/06/17

For too long, a problem of epic proportion has been growing outside of the headlines in the United States: the opioid epidemic.  The reality is that we can no longer wait to take action.  Drug overdose is now a leading cause of death in the United Sates.   One hundred seventy-five Americans are dying every day from this crisis. From big cities to small towns, the opioid epidemic has hit our communities hard.

Unfortunately, Alabama has not been spared.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alabama ranks highest in the nation as having more opioid prescriptions than people.  Alabama also ranks number one as the highest prescribing state in the nation for opioid pain reliever prescriptions. These statistics are incredibly alarming.

An opioid is a type of narcotic derived from the opium poppy, which includes drugs such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone. While these drugs are often prescribed in response to injuries and body pains, they can be prone to abuse and addiction. 

The reality is many of the people who become addicted to opioids first start taking the drugs legally after receiving a prescription from a doctor.  For example, I have heard testimony from athletes who suffer a sports-related injury, undergo surgery, and then become addicted to opioids during the recovery process.  In many cases, this addiction can escalate, driving individuals to street drugs like heroin.

Almost all of us have a loved one or know somebody who has been affected by this terrible epidemic.  The personal stories are what make this nightmare a harsh reality.  Right here in Southwest Alabama, I have heard far too many stories about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.  The impacts of this crisis reach far beyond the person suffering from addiction to parents, to children, to brothers and sisters.  So many have been hurt.

On October 26, 2017, President Trump announced that his administration would declare the opioid crisis a Nationwide Public Health Emergency.  On a strongly bipartisan basis alongside President Trump, Congress is also responding.

In March, the House voted to set aside $4 million toward combating the opioid crisis in the government funding bill for Fiscal Year 2018.  We kept up the momentum last week when the House passed over 25 targeted bills to help prevent and treat opioid addiction and abuse while also ensuring our nation’s drug laws are working to stop the flow of illegal drugs. 

One such bill that passed the House is the THRIVE Act, which creates a program to provide low-income individuals recovering from opioid and other substance use disorders with a clean, safe, and structured environment following rehabilitation. 

Additionally, the House passed the STOP Act, which aims to halt opioids like fentanyl from coming into America from other countries through a loophole at the Postal Service. The majority of opioids arrive to America through the mail from other nations, such as China, Mexico and Canada. So, this legislation represents an important step to help solve the problem.

It is clear that our work to end the opioid epidemic is far from over.  However, I was pleased to see such strong bipartisan support for many opioid bills this week as we work to make a real difference on behalf of the American people.  You can learn more about the legislation we are working on at www.opioidcrisis.gop.

We cannot and will not sit back and allow the opioid crisis to take the lives of the people we love. We must fight back and ensure Americans get the help they need. I look forward to continuing the work with President Trump to end this epidemic once and for all.

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Byrne Statement on Release of Investigator General Report

2018/06/15

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), issued the following statement regarding the report by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Congressman Byrne said: “I am profoundly disturbed by the findings released in the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, not only as a Member of Congress, but as an officer of the court and as an American.  It is apparent that actions by the FBI during the 2016 presidential election deviated from longstanding policy, practices, and norms of the FBI.  High ranking FBI officials showed a willingness to take official actions to hurt President Trump’s electoral chances.  Others actively leaked sensitive materials to the press in exchange for sporting tickets, meals, and other personal favors. This and other egregious behavior noted in this report cannot be tolerated.

“The report casts a cloud over the FBI and has caused near irreparable damage in the eyes of the American people to one of our nation’s most important institutions. These findings warrant a full-scale investigation by the Department of Justice, including the possibility of criminal charges.

“At the very least, this report confirms President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.  The report highlights Director Comey’s subjective, ad hoc decision-making throughout the investigation process, ultimately harming the reputation of the FBI as a fair administrator of justice. Director Comey’s behavior after he was fired from the FBI and during his book tour is in many ways even more alarming.  It seems he has forgotten that his obligations did not end when he was removed from the FBI.

“There are many fine people in the FBI and the Department of Justice who have felt the repercussions of this situation, but I refuse to let the egregious misbehavior of a few harm the reputation of these agencies and the rank-and-file people who work there. That said, the behavior of a few has tainted multiple investigations involving the 2016 presidential campaign. The report only adds weight to my call for Robert Mueller to either put forward a case or wrap up his investigation once and for all.”

To read Congressman Byrne’s previous statement on the first anniversary of the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, click here.

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Protecting a Gulf Coast Tradition

2018/06/10

Down here on the Gulf Coast, fishing is a way of life for many people.  It is a tradition that spans generations and is one way we bond with our family and friends.

In fact, some of my fondest memories happened while casting a reel.  I remember my father showing me how to bait a hook and teaching me about the patience of waiting for a bite.  I enjoy carrying on that tradition with my kids.

Just in time to celebrate National Fishing and Boating Week, Alabama’s 2018 Red Snapper season officially opened on June 1st.   The Red Snapper season is a real boon for our coastal communities, and the impact is felt all throughout Southwest Alabama. The economic impact flows to everything from gas stations to restaurants to hotels.

Unfortunately, in seasons past, Alabama has felt the full force of Washington when it comes to regulating our recreational fishing.  These regulations are based on junk science, yet have a huge impact on when we can and cannot fish.

Anyone who has been fishing in the Gulf over the last few years knows there are more than enough Red Snapper in our waters, and Washington’s methods of stock assessments are sorely out of touch with what is happening.

When it comes down to it, no one understands the needs of our fisheries better than those who cast a reel along the Gulf Coast.  The federal bureaucrats in Washington have no business controlling our fisheries when those of us on the coast know what is best for our fishermen.

That’s why, earlier this year, I wrote to the National Marine Fisheries Service to advocate for Alabama's application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP), which would allow the state to set our own season for the next two years. 

I was pleased when this EFP was granted by the Department of Commerce on April 20, 2018, securing Alabama’s 47-day Snapper season for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Specifically, the 2018 Red Snapper season in Alabama will run from June 1 through September 3, with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays open to fishing.  The entire week of the Fourth of July (June 30 through July 8) will also be open for Red Snapper fishing.

You see, this is how government should work: take power from Washington and return it to the people who best understand the issue. 

I am proud to have helped secure a lengthy Snapper season, which means our fishermen will have adequate time to enjoy a Gulf Coast tradition while our coastal communities will benefit from increased revenue.  It is truly a win-win situation for coastal Alabama.

Of course, there were many people who had a hand in securing an adequate season for our fishermen. I thank Senator Richard Shelby for his support and his work to secure the language for the EFP in last year’s appropriations bill. I also appreciate the Gulf Council for their support of the exempted fishing permit pilot program and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship and our other Gulf Coast colleagues for working together to support our fishermen.

Ultimately, it was a total team effort to make this 47-day Snapper season a reality. This is a real victory for all our recreational fishermen as well as our coastal region.

As I have always said, this issue is about so much for than just our fishermen; the Red Snapper season impacts our entire costal community, and I look forward to a safe and fun season.

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Mobile Natives Complete Summer Internships

2018/06/08

Emma Goodloe and William Kelly, both Mobile natives, recently completed summer internships in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL).

During their internships, they assisted with legislative and administrative tasks including answering the phones, giving visitors tours of the U.S. Capitol, assisting with research, running errands, and attending hearings.

Congressman Byrne said: “I appreciate all the work Emma and William did this summer to help support our office and the people of Southwest Alabama. They were both a true joy to work with, and I wish them all the best as they complete their studies.”

Goodloe is a senior at the University of Georgia, where she is majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Public Affairs Communication. She is planning to graduate from the University of Georgia next May.

Goodloe said: “I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to serve Alabama’s First District alongside Congressman Byrne and his staff for the past few weeks. This opportunity exceeded all my expectations and has paved the way to the beginning of my career in our nation’s capital. I am very grateful to Team Byrne and could not have asked for a better office to intern with.”

Kelly is a senior at Auburn University, where he is majoring in Finance. He is planning to graduate next May.

Kelly said: “Working alongside Congressman Byrne and his staff has been an incredible experience. It is truly inspiring to be around a representative who deeply cares for his constituency and advocates on behalf of citizens on a daily basis. Witnessing Congressman Byrne’s integrity and servant leadership has motivated me to better myself and serve those around me.”

Congressional internships are a valuable experience for students interested in the legislative process or the federal government.  Congressman Byrne accepts interns throughout the year. All interns must be in college or a recent college graduate at the time of their internship. Click here for more information on the internship process.

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Byrne Asks HHS Secretary for Help with Rural Hospitals

2018/06/06

During a meeting of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar about the challenges facing Alabama’s rural hospitals and secured a pledge from Secretary Azar to help address the issue.

In Congress, Byrne is working with his Alabama colleagues to solve problems relating to the Medicare Wage Index, which severely hurts Alabama’s hospitals. Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country. Alabama hospitals are reimbursed as much as twenty-one percent below the national average and at rates considerably lower than our state neighbors. Click here for more information on the issue.

Byrne recently met in Atmore with hospital officials and community leaders from Southwest Alabama to discuss the Medicare Wage Index and issues facing our rural hospitals.

A transcript of the exchange between Congressman Byrne and Secretary Azar can be found below.

Congressman Byrne said: “We have a crisis in rural America, particularly in my state of Alabama, in regard to our small hospitals.  We’ve lost twelve – count them – twelve hospitals in Alabama in the last few years. We lost the last one three weeks ago in Jacksonville, Alabama. I met with all of my hospitals last week. It is a crisis. We are going to lose more hospitals if we don’t do something.

“Now, there are two big problems here. One, obviously, is health care. As you know, the difference between a 45 minute hospital ride and a ten minute hospital ride is the difference between life and death in many cases. So losing a rural hospital puts the lives of those who live in those communities at risk. Secondly, it is very difficult to bring some of these rural areas back if they don’t have a local hospital. It is hard to attract business and industry.

“The central problem we’ve got is this Medicare Wage Index. I know you had a discussion about this over on the Senate side with the Chairman of the Committee over there. We have got to have you in this with us in a big way. If you don’t, if you’re not with us, we are going to lose a lot more hospitals, and there is no one to blame but us because we’ve got the responsibility. Please tell me what you and I and other Members of Congress can do together about the Medicare Wage Index so that we don’t continue to hemorrhage rural hospitals in America.”

Secretary Azar said: “Congressman, we understand the issue in Alabama and so many other states around the Medicare Wage Index and the impact on rural hospitals. It is a statutory issue, and we will work with Congress and the relevant Committees of jurisdiction that want to propose legislation. We think it needs to be addressed, and we want to work with you on addressing that on a bipartisan basis.”

Congressman Byrne said: “So you would support a legislative fix if we are able to put something together here in Congress? You’d support that effort?”

Secretary Azar said: “We’d work with you, and we believe the wage index needs to be addressed and fixed. It’s been stuck in time, and we look forward to working with you on how to fix that. There are going to be winners and losers unfortunately within the Congress and within states and among areas. That will be difficult. We will work gladly with you on that as we do agree it needs to be addressed.”

Congressman Byrne said: “I don’t think there are going to be losers if we change it more than the losers we are having now. The losers now are poor, rural people. The winners are people in large, urban, wealthy areas. To me, that’s not a hard choice. In fact, I think it is the absolute wrong choice we have made up until this point.  If we really care about poor people in America, if we really care about rural America, we will fix this problem, and we can do it in a way to where everybody’s a winner. Some other places have got too much money now are going to lose a little bit of money, but it is not going to strike them the way the status quo is striking rural America. I appreciate your commitment and support. I look forward to working with you.”

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Making Progress for America

2018/06/03

These days, it is hard to turn on the television or log onto the Internet without being bombarded with the latest “news” of what is happening in Washington.  The media gives far too much attention to names like Stormy Daniels and Roseanne instead of focusing on the wide range of substantive issues being debated in Congress each week.

While it is easy to get distracted by all of the “noise,” it skews the perception of what is really occurring here in Washington. Ultimately, these stories are just a sideshow that end up taking away from the critical work being done for the American people.

What the national news media has not been highlighting are the many ways we in the House are working to promote President Trump’s commonsense, conservative agenda. We are truly getting the work done that the American people elected us to do.

From national security priorities to historic tax reform, the House is making great progress. Our agenda is working too, which is demonstrated in the lowest unemployment rate in eighteen years.

As a sign of our progress, we recently sent four major bills to President Donald Trump for his signature.  These are among the 175 bills that have been enacted into law in the last year and a half.

One of the four bills signed into law last week was the VA Mission Act of 2018, which consolidates the VA's Community Care Program, opens the VA Caregivers Program to serve all veterans, and provides $5.2 billion to fund the VA Choice Program. 

Simply put, this bipartisan bill increases access to care at the VA, including walk-in clinics that may be more convenient and immediate in addressing the needs of our veterans.

We have a duty to provide for the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to defend our national security, and I am glad we have taken this step to ensure our veterans receive the highest standard of medical care.

Another important piece of legislation signed into law was the Right to Try Act.  This will allow terminally-ill patients to take advantage of experimental medical treatments that otherwise may not be available to the public.

This was one of many priorities mentioned in the President’s State of the Union address in January, and I am proud that we could pass this bipartisan legislation and give hope to thousands of Americans suffering from a terminal illness.

Another bill heading to the President’s desk is the Childhood Cancer STAR Act.  I am a proud co-sponsor of this important bill, which enhances efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences, improves the quality of life for childhood cancer survivors, and expands research opportunities for therapies used in treatment of childhood cancer.

Finally, the President signed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which rolls back burdensome regulations from the Dodd-Frank law that negatively impacted our small, community banks and credit unions. Main Street should always come before Wall Street, so I applaud the signing of this important regulatory reform bill into law.

You see, here in the House of Representatives, we refuse to get thrown off course or distracted by what the media portrays as hard-hitting news.  Instead, we are staying focused and making progress on national priorities like supporting our veterans and growing the American economy.

As we round out the remaining months in 2018, we will keep our foot on the gas and keep passing bills that improve the quality of life for people in Alabama and across the country.

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Byrne Fighting for Alabama's Rural Hospitals

2018/05/30

Rep. Bradley Byrne visits Atmore Community Hospital Tuesday to address challenges rural hospitals face.

Byrne says one of the most serious issues facing Alabama is the closure of rural hospitals and the Medicare Wage Index.

Since 2011, eleven hospitals closed in Alabama, and another dozen are in danger of closing in the next 2 years.

He says one of the big issues driving the problem is that Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country.

Click here to see the full report from WPMI.

 

Byrne holds hospital town hall

By: Andrew Garner, Atmore Advance

ACH Administrator Doug Tanner said hospitals are asking for an adjustment in the calculation intended for the Medicare reimbursement depending on the geographic area the hospital is located.

“It’s inequitable, but it’s unfair,” Tanner said about the higher reimbursement rate for other states. “When you look at the fact that our population is aging, especially in a rural area like this, every day more and more qualify for Medicare. That’s not going to end for a while.

“When you start to look at younger people, it becomes more volatile that we need to be compensated somewhere more comparable close to provide that care,” he said. “It’s not an easy issue. I think the Congressman (Byrne) painted that picture today of some of the political gyrations you go through to make this happen.”

Byrne said Congress is working on language to help make changes, and the head for the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services is requesting feedback from hospitals on this issue.

Click here to read the full story from The Atmore Advance.

 

Congressman visits ACH to address rural hospital challenges

By: Don Fletcher, Atmore News

With over-regulation, soaring operational costs and a federal reimbursement index that works against them, rural hospitals are fast becoming an endangered species.

U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne was in Atmore Tuesday, May 29, where he discussed some of the challenges facing small-town medical centers during a private briefing with state hospital officials and local leaders at Atmore Community Hospital.

The update was attended by executives of hospitals and healthcare-related entities from across the region and state, including Danne Howard, executive vice president of the Alabama Hospital Association.

“If you close a hospital in any community, particularly a rural community, it’s devastating for the community,” Byrne said. “Back in 1990 they closed the hospital in Flomaton and it really hurt that community. It hurts in three ways: Number 1, people don’t have easier, quicker access to healthcare, and sometimes time is of the essence; Number 2, these are jobs in that community, and they’ve lost those jobs. Number 3, it’s hard to attract new business and industry to a community if you don’t have a hospital.”

Click here to read the full story from The Atmore News.

 

Byrne talks rural hospitals

By: Josh Easley, Brewton Standard

Rep. Bradley Byrne met with southwest hospital and local officials Tuesday at Atmore Community Hospital to discuss the challenges facing Alabama’s rural hospitals.

Byrne led a town-hall like discussion about the issues hospitals are facing, and said in a press conference afterward, that closing a hospital in any community would be devastating.

Additionally, Byrne spoke about the Medicare Wage Index, a program created in the 1980s that determines how much hospitals are reimbursed by the federal government for care, and how it is hurting hospitals in rural areas and around the state.

At present, Alabama has the lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country. The state’s hospitals are reimbursed as much as 21 percent below the national average.

Click here to read the full story from The Brewton Standard.

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We Remember the Fallen

2018/05/27

As Americans, we know all too well that freedom is not free.  Each time we bow our heads to pray or speak up for what we believe in, we exercise rights that many across the world do not have.  These are just some of the unique freedoms that the brave men and women of the United States military have fought and died to protect. 

We are reminded of their patriotic sacrifice each Memorial Day as we pay our respects to servicemembers who have selflessly given their lives to defend freedom and liberty throughout our country’s history. 

From the American Revolution to the War on Terror, men and women of all backgrounds have answered the call of service and paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend the United States.  These American heroes shall never be forgotten.

Unfortunately, loss of life does not occur solely in times of war; this past year, we have experienced tragic loss during military training, likely due to the readiness crisis and funding shortfalls.  In 2017, nearly four times as many members of the military died in training-related accidents as were killed in combat. 

These accidents span from aviation training mishaps in the Air Force to major naval collisions involving the USS McCain and the USS Fitzgerald.  The gravity of these accidents – in the air, on land, and at sea – could have likely been avoided given the proper resources and enhanced military readiness.

It is imperative that Congress take immediate action to give our servicemen and women the proper resources they need to keep our nation safe. That’s why I am proud that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 passed the House with strong bipartisan support last week. 

This bill authorizes funding for our military, including the highest pay raise for our troops in almost a decade.  The bill prioritizes military readiness and rebuilding the military so that our troops can safely meet current and future threats.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. The NDAA reflects on a century of military service and focuses on the men and women who sacrificed to secure America’s freedoms.  While those who served in the First World War are no longer with us, their memories live on in the hearts of younger generations everywhere. 

I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking at the Alabama Blue Star Salute Celebration at Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile.  This annual event to pays tribute to the Armed Forces and the military heroes who have served our country. 

As I addressed the crowd, I was filled with pride to see servicemembers of all ages, many different ranks, across all branches of service, who had come to participate in the event. I was also struck by the young people in the crowd, who may very well represent the next generation of servicemembers.

Heaviest on my heart were the people not in the crowd – the millions of Americans who lost their lives fighting to protect the red, white, and blue.

Memorial Day gives us the time each year to honor our American heroes at memorial services, vigils, and parades.  Americans proudly display the stars and stripes in remembrance of the sacrifices paid in service to our country. 

John 15:13 says it best, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Thank you to all of those who have served, are serving, or intend to serve in the United States military. Our nation is forever grateful.

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Byrne Votes for Major Defense Bill

2018/05/24

 On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, a bill which Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) says brings good news for Alabama. Byrne serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where he is Vice Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee.

The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 351 to 66.

The NDAA sets policy and authorizes funding for the entire United States military, and it must be passed each year.  On May 10, 2018, the NDAA passed out of the House Armed Services Committee by a strong bipartisan vote of 60 to 1.

Congressman Byrne said: “The passage of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2019 is imperative to the rebuilding and strengthening of our nation’s military.  These necessary reforms will increase overall military readiness and give our servicemen and women the resources they need to keep our country safe.

“Also important this bill has a huge impact on Southwest Alabama by authorizing the construction of three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).  This is good news for the 4,000 workers employed at Austal shipyard in Mobile and even better news as we work toward our goal of building a highly capable 355-ship Navy fleet.

“This year’s NDAA sends a message to our friends and our adversaries that America is back, and that while we prefer peace, we will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our country and protect our interests.”

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act is focused on reforming and rebuilding the military. Among the many important provisions, the bill:

  • Sets topline defense spending at $717 billion for Fiscal Year 2019;
  • Authorizes construction of 13 new Navy ships, including three Littoral Combat Ships;
  • Calls for a 2.6% pay raise for our troops, the largest increase in nine years;
  • Ensures improvements in military training and safety programs in light of recent accidents due to our current readiness crisis;
  • Allows for the purchase of new equipment to replace broken and outdated items that have languished for years;
  • Authorizes purchase of additional Stryker AI combat vehicles, Army Armored Brigade Combat Team vehicles, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, C-130 Super Hercules Aircraft, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, and advanced missiles.
  • Invests in America’s nuclear deterrent and align it with modern threats;
  • Provides adequate funding for the Missile Defense Agency;
  • Holds Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran accountable for their aggressive and dangerous actions; and
  • Ensures our military men and women are equipped and prepared to fight terrorism around the globe.

Click here to learn more about the FY19 NDAA.

The full transcript of Congressman Byrne’s speech can be found below.

Congressman Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 908 provides for complete consideration of H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

“The rule makes in order 168 amendments, to go along with the previous 103 amendments made in order by yesterday’s rule. That means the full House will consider 271 amendments to this year’s NDAA.

When you add in the 317 amendments considered in the Armed Services Committee, that means a total of 588 amendments to the NDAA will be considered this year.

“Mr. Speaker, for this year’s NDAA, a record number of amendments were submitted to the Rules Committee. I want to thank both the majority and minority Rules Committee staff, our Rules Associates, and the staff at the Armed Services Committee for the many hours they put into this open and deliberate process.

“As a member of both the Rules Committee and the Armed Services Committee, I’ve spent my fair share of time working on this piece of legislation.

“Like years past, I want to again highlight the bipartisan nature of our work. This year’s NDAA passed out of the Armed Services Committee on a bipartisan 60 to 1 vote. That bipartisanship will continue here on the floor, where 176 of the amendments made in order are minority or bipartisan amendments.

“The theme of this year’s NDAA is to reform and rebuild our nation’s military. The bill supports an increase in topline funding for the military as we continue working to reverse the readiness crisis we’ve faced for at least the last decade.

“Any organization, including the military, is only as good as its people, and this NDAA authorizes a 2.6% pay raise for our troops, the largest increase in nine years. This will help us retain and recruit the best and the brightest.

“The bill also calls for increases in the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Naval and Air Reserve, as well as the Air Guard.

“As Vice Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, I am pleased the bill authorizes construction of 13 new Navy ships. This is a much needed step as we continue building toward a 355-ship Navy fleet.

“I am especially proud that this year’s NDAA includes many provisions important to my home state of Alabama. From Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville to the Anniston Army Depot to Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass to Maxwell-Gunter in Montgomery to the Austal shipyard in Mobile, this bill ensures that Alabama will continue playing a leading role in supplying, training, and supporting our nation’s military.

“Sadly, we have lost far too many service members to training accidents over the last year, so the bill ensures improvements to military training and safety programs to help protect our service men and women.

“These efforts include repairing outdated equipment and ensuring the procurement of new, first-class capabilities. This includes additional Stryker AI combat vehicles, Army Armored Brigade Combat Team vehicles, F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, C-130 Super Hercules Aircraft, E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft, F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, and advanced missiles.

“The bill continues to build on Chairman Thornberry’s priority of reforming the Pentagon bureaucracy to make it more efficient and effective. This includes streamlining buying practices.

“From Russia to Iran to China to North Korea, the bill makes investments to ensure we are keeping up with our adversaries. The United States must stand ready to confront aggression around the globe, whether it is from major state actors or rogue terrorist organizations.

“Importantly, this year’s NDAA includes much needed investment in our nuclear deterrent and authorizations for the Missile Defense Agency. It authorizes funding for co-development and co-production of missile defense and weapon systems with our key ally Israel.

“All told, I am confident that this bill includes the reforms and funding levels necessary to rebuild and empower the greatest fighting force in the world. With this NDAA, we can hopefully continue to embody the strategy of peace through strength and support our service members.

“Mr. Speaker, if you ever need a pick me up or shot in the arm, I encourage you to spend some time visiting with our service men and women. These individuals come from all different walks of life and backgrounds. They all play different roles and have different jobs. But they are united by the common goal of defending and protecting the United States of America.

“I distinctly remember a conversation I had with a group of sailors from my home state of Alabama aboard the USS John C. Stennis a few years ago. After hearing about their various paths that lead to them into the Navy, I asked what I could do for them. One response was straightforward but very poignant: she asked me to make sure the American people knew what they did and that we supported them.

“That’s exactly what we do with this bill. We bring together Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, from different parts of the country, and we unite behind the common goal of supporting the men and women in uniform who protect the United States of America.

“With this bill, we can send a clear message to our sailors, soldiers, airmen, and Marines that the United States Congress has their back. That we are committed to the mission, and we will ensure they have the right policies and resources to get the job done.

“The bill also sends a message to our friends and our adversaries that America is back, and that while we prefer peace, we will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our country and protect our interests.

“So, I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting House Resolution 908 and for the 58th year in a row, let’s pass a bipartisan NDAA.”

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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 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.


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