Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

The Road to a Balanced Budget

2016/02/08

I’m going to start by telling you something we all know: Washington has a spending problem. The federal government is trillions of dollars in debt and that number continues to rise. If we are going to continue being the greatest nation on the face of the Earth, we must address this culture of overspending.

The process of getting federal spending under control is now underway in Congress as we kick off the budget process. This week, that process officially starts with the President submitting his budget proposal to Congress.

It is very important to remember that the President’s budget proposal is just that: a proposal. In reality, the President knows his budget will be dead on arrival as soon as it gets to the Capitol. In his eight years, President Obama has never proposed a budget that actually balanced. Instead, he has always requested higher taxes and increased spending. That’s simply not the answer.

Once the President’s budget is received, committees in the House and Senate will start holding hearings to discuss the President’s proposals. These oversight hearings are very important because they require officials from the Obama Administration to come before Congress to justify and explain why they should receive funding.

Around the first week of March, the House is expected to pass a budget outline that sets spending priorities for the next ten years. The last two years, I have proudly supported budget proposals that actually balanced without raising taxes. I hope to vote for a similar budget this year.

The key when it comes to balancing the budget is that we must address mandatory spending. As I’ve mentioned before, it is very important to understand the difference between discretionary and mandatory spending.

Discretionary spending is the money that Congress allocates each year for things like national defense, border security, transportation, and education. Mandatory spending is the money that is spent each year regardless of action by Congress. This includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, welfare programs, and interest payments on the national debt.

The real problem with federal spending is that these mandatory spending programs actually make up almost two-thirds of total spending. In other words, the money that Congress does not get to allocate on a yearly basis is the true driver of our national debt. That’s why the budget process is so important. It allows us to suggest long-term reforms to mandatory spending programs that will help get us to a balanced budget.

I want to be clear about one thing: these reforms don’t mean taking away anyone’s Social Security or Medicare benefits. These are programs that Americans have paid into throughout their lives, and these programs should be there for you when you need them most.

The real focus needs to be on means-tested mandatory spending programs like food stamps, public housing, unemployment insurance, and other welfare programs. These programs are clearly not working as far too many Americans remain stuck in poverty.

I hope our budget proposes bold changes to these programs to ensure they are focusing on helping people get out of poverty instead of incentivizing them to stay there. For example, tying welfare to job training programs would be a major step in the right direction. It would help lift people out of poverty, grow the economy, and help reduce federal spending. All of those are worthy causes.

So it is my sincere hope that we use the budget process this year to get serious about cutting spending and balancing the budget because the stakes couldn’t be any higher. This is about finally making Washington live within its means. This is about leaving behind a better, more prosperous America for the next generation.

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Byrne Remembers Civil Air Patrol Pilots in House Floor Speech

2016/02/03

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today delivered a speech from the floor of the House of Representatives to remember the two Alabamians who died in a Monday plane crash in Mobile.

The two Alabamians, David Mauritson (Fairhope) and Phil Dryden (Gulf Shore), were both members of the Civil Air Patrol. They were completing a charity flight to Baton Rouge, where they helped transport a fellow citizen for medical care, when their plane went down.

In his speech, Byrne remembered the great Americans and highlighted the impact they had on others.

Byrne said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remember two remarkable individuals who tragically died Monday evening in a plane crash in Mobile County, Alabama.

“Major David Mauritson of Fairhope and Lieutenant Phil Dryden of Gulf Shores were members of the Civil Air Patrol and they were returning from a compassion flight to Baton Rouge, where they helped transport a fellow citizen for medical care, when their plane went down.

“David Mauritson had been a member of the Civil Air Patrol since 1991 and worked for years as a cardiologist and a lawyer. He had been flying all his life and was committed to helping others through charity medical flights.

“Phil Dryden served our country in Vietnam as a combat medic. He had just joined the Civil Air Patrol last year and served as the Mobile squadron’s assistant operations officer.

“Mr. Speaker, one day our time on this Earth will draw to a close. When that day comes, we will not be remembered for what we had. Instead, we will be remembered for what we did.

“David Mauitson and Phil Dryden left this worldly place helping others. That legacy of service and sacrifice is how they will always be remembered.

“So, on behalf of Alabama’s First Congressional District, I offer my deepest condolences to their families. These great Americans will be sorely missed.”

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Byrne Votes to Override Veto on Bill Dismantling Obamacare

2016/02/02

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today voted to override President Barack Obama’s veto on a bill dismantling Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood.

Byrne said: “Today I voted yet again to dismantle the failed health care law and defund Planned Parenthood. While we did not have the votes to override the President’s veto, a clear path forward is set once we have a new president in the White House.

“This year is about setting a clear agenda for how Republicans would lead our country. At the top of the list is repealing Obamacare and instead moving forward with patient-centered health care reform that encourages competition and promotes innovation. A key part of our alternative agenda must also focus on standing up for human life and pushing back to defund Planned Parenthood, which committed the abhorrent act of selling baby body parts. This was the seventh vote I have taken since being elected to Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and stop taxpayer funding of abortion.

“The American people have made clear they don’t support Obamacare or Planned Parenthood, and they are tired of leaders who refuse to listen to them. The House will not give up the fight, and we will continue to stand up for the American people.”

Earlier this month, the House passed  H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act. The bill completely dismantles Obamacare and cuts off all funding to Planned Parenthood, two top conservative priorities. This vote marked the first time a bill repealing Obamacare passed both the House and the Senate. President Obama vetoed the bill on January 8th.

The veto override vote total was 241 to 186, which failed to meet the two-thirds majority needed. President Obama has now vetoed seven bills since Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015.

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Coast Guard Has Proud History in Southwest Alabama

2016/01/31

The U.S. Coast Guard has long been a staple right here on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, but do you know how that came to be? Before we get to the Coast Guard’s impact on Southwest Alabama, let’s look briefly at the history of the Coast Guard.

On January 28, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the “Act to Create the Coast Guard,” and with his signature, the Coast Guard we know today was formally born. The law President Wilson signed combined the Life-Saving Service with the Revenue Cutter Service to form what we consider the modern-day Coast Guard.

In reality, the Coast Guard had been around for many years prior. The origins of the present-day Coast Guard can be traced back to August 4, 1790, when President George Washington signed the Tariff Act to empower ten United States ships to enforce trade laws and reduce smuggling.  The USCG is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and was the only armed force patrolling the seas until the Navy Department was established in 1798.

In 1967, the Coast Guard became a function of the Department of Transportation. The Coast Guard didn’t reach its current home until 2003 when it was placed under the newly-created Department of Homeland Security.

The Coast Guard has three primary responsibilities: maritime safety, maritime security, and maritime stewardship. These include operations such as search and rescue, law enforcement, ice operations, illegal fishing patrols, drug interdiction, and migrant interdiction.  The Coast Guard obviously plays a key role in responding to natural disasters and keeping our waterways open.

The Coast Guard is divided into nine separate districts, which are then divided into individual sectors. Southwest Alabama is located in District 8, and we are home to Sector Mobile.

Sector Mobile is the Coast Guard command responsible for all maritime operations along 400 miles of the coastline ranging from Pearl River, Mississippi to Econfina River, Florida.  Carrying out these operations are Coast Guard men and women stationed in Mobile aboard the Cutters Saginaw, Barbara Mabrity, Cobia, and Stingray as well as Station Dauphin Island, which is located on the eastern tip of the island.  Their efforts keep the citizens of Southwest Alabama safe.  

Locally, the Coast Guard has played an important role with emergency search and rescue efforts during natural disasters. Most recently, the Coast Guard helped respond to the Dauphin Island Regatta tragedy. The Coast Guard is also remembered for their help responding to Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.

If you are like me, you probably see the bright orange helicopters flying over our area from time to time. These U.S. Coast Guard helicopters have long been a fixture because Mobile is also home to the Coast Guard Aviation Training Center.

I recently had an opportunity to visit the Aviation Training Center to learn more about the impressive work being done to train our Coast Guard aviators. The training includes written coursework, lectures, simulator training time, and then real-time training flights.

Every Coast Guard aviator must go through initial training here in Mobile, but they also must return at least once a year for a proficiency course. This is why so many of the Coast Guard aviators I have visited with over the years have very fond memories of Southwest Alabama.

We are so fortunate to have such a strong Coast Guard presence here in our own backyard. I will always stand up for the members of the Coast Guard and do everything I can to support the vital role they play in our national security and maritime safety operations.

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Byrne Accepting Applications for Summer Internship

2016/01/26

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is currently seeking applications for summer internships in both his Washington, D.C. and Mobile offices. Applicants must be current college students in order to apply.

Congressional internships are an incredibly valuable experience for students. Intern responsibilities include answering phones, running errands, researching legislation for the Congressman and legislative staff, attending hearings and briefings, and answering constituent letters on various issues. As a result, interns learn about the legislative process and the many other functions of a congressional office.

Byrne said: “I am excited to once again seek summer interns for my congressional offices in Washington and Mobile. As a former congressional intern myself, I can personally attest to the invaluable experiences and skills gained through these internships. No matter what field they are studying, a congressional internship will give students a hands-0n experience working in the fast-paced Capitol Hill environment. I encourage all interested students to apply.”

More information on the internship program and the application can be found by clicking here.

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What I’m Hearing in Southwest Alabama

2016/01/24

“What are you hearing?” That is probably the most common question I get whether I’m visiting a local business or just stopping by the grocery store. People want to know what my constituents and their neighbors are worried about.

One of the best ways I hear the concerns of my constituents is by holding town hall meetings. These meetings aren’t formal events, and they certainly don’t include long speeches. In fact, I don’t even make opening comments. I simply get right into taking questions and listening to concerns from my constituents.

Over the last two year years, I have held over 60 of these town hall style meetings. From Gulf Shores to Chatom to Monroeville, I’ve held meetings in every corner of the First Congressional District. I’ve also held town hall meetings on Facebook and over the phone in order to connect with people who may not be able to stop by in person.

Just last week, I held town hall meetings in Tillman’s Corner and Magnolia Springs. We had really great turnout for each of the meetings, so I thought I would share some of the top concerns I heard.

The number one topic at both meetings was issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our area is home to over 52,000 veterans, and far too many of them are being left behind by the VA’s bureaucracy. These concerns just further motivate me to take power away from the VA and instead allow veterans to receive care from doctors and hospitals in their local community.

If you or someone you know is having problems with the VA, my office may be able to help. Please contact my Mobile office by phone at 251-690-2811 or send me an email online at Byrne.House.Gov. My staff and I work for you.

Last week, I also heard from a large number of people who are frustrated with President Obama’s decision to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States. This plan is severely flawed and puts the American people at great risk. That’s why I have introduced a bill that would stop the Syrian refugee program altogether by defunding it.

Border security and illegal immigration was another hot topic. People are simply outraged that our nation’s immigration laws are not being enforced, and I am just as frustrated as everyone else. We need to boost border security and start enforcing our immigration laws. People need to know that there are clear consequences to entering our nation illegally.

I also received a lot of questions about the rising costs of healthcare. I hear far too often from individuals who had their health care plans cancelled or have seen their deductibles rise due to Obamacare. This is why I am leading the charge in Congress to repeal Obamacare once and for all. The law is clearly not working because it is actually making health care more expensive. It must go.

As with most of my town hall meetings, I heard a number of concerns about federal spending. We are on a dangerous path if we don’t reform our nation’s spending priorities. We must reform our nation’s welfare programs to cut down on fraud and abuse in the system. The goal of our welfare programs should be to help bring people out of poverty, not to incentivize them to stay there.

So that’s what I’m hearing. A lot of people are simply frustrated with the direction our country is headed. I don’t blame them because I am too. We must restore people’s confidence in America again, and we do that by first listening to their concerns. That has always been and always will be my top priority.

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Time to Turn the Page on the Obama Presidency

2016/01/17

Last week, President Barack Obama came before Congress to deliver his final State of the Union Address. The President outlined a long list of policy ideas, but many of them were simply recycled from his previous State of the Union speeches.

If you are one of the 25% of Americans who like the direction our country is headed, then you probably enjoyed the speech. On the other hand, if you make up the 65% of Americans who think we are headed in the wrong direction then you probably were disappointed. I certainly was.

The President tried to paint a rosy picture, but the facts simply aren’t on his side. He talked about the how his administration has “delivered more care and benefits to our troops and veterans,” yet he failed to address the fact that the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has been plagued by scandal and is leaving far too many of our veterans behind.

The President went on and on about how our economy is so strong. If that is the case, then why have so many Americans simply stopped looking for work and left the workforce altogether? Why has it been months, or even years, since hardworking Americans have received a raise? If the economy had truly turned the corner, these issues still wouldn’t be plaguing the American people.

President Obama also used the speech to praise the Iran nuclear deal. What the President didn’t mention in his speech was that Iran was holding ten U.S. sailors as prisoners. While the sailors have now been released, this incident further illustrates that Iran is no friend of the United States and simply can’t be trusted.

A major portion of the President’s speech was focused on praising his foreign policy and justifying cuts to our military. Once again, the facts aren’t on his side. As we cut our military, countries like Russia and China are growing their military capabilities. We cannot continue to cut our military and just expect other countries to act responsibly.  

Ultimately, the President’s speech was way out of touch with reality. He spent more time lecturing Congress than he did offering to work with us on areas where we can find common ground.

As he wrapped up the speech, I looked at my colleague sitting beside me and noted that this speech marked the beginning of the post-Obama era. Sure, President Obama will be in the White House until early next year, but the focus will no longer be on him and his policies. Instead, it is time we start putting forward commonsense alternatives to turn our country around.

For example, we should focus on cutting regulations on small businesses. We need to pursue an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and make it easier for Americans to gain the skills they need to get the high-paying jobs they want. We must also remove regulations from the Dodd-Frank Act, which are hampering our nation’s banks and credit unions.

When it comes to veterans, we need to fundamentally alter the way we care for those who have served our country. Instead of forcing veterans to stay in the VA system, we should give greater choice and allow them to seek care from doctors and hospitals in their local communities.

We must also outline a clear case for a strong national defense that helps keep the American people safe at home and deters threats around the world. Peace through strength must be more than a slogan.  It should be the foundation for securing our own freedom and prosperity.

It is time we start looking past this time of big government and toward an America where the government actually works for the people and not the other way around.

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Byrne Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal

2016/01/17

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement in response to the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

Byrne said: “I fear we will one day look back on this deal as a stark failure of U.S. foreign policy. The deal requires us to trust Iran, and their actions have proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted. This deal gives billions of dollars to the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism, and it fails to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Nothing about that is good for the American people or our allies in the Middle East.

“Let’s not forget that a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted last year to halt this bad deal. As the deal moves forward, Congress must continue to provide diligent oversight and do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

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Byrne Stands up for Alabama Farmers by Voting to Block New Regulation

2016/01/13

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today voted in support of a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from moving forward with the burdensome Waters of the U.S. rule.

The proposed rule seeks to redefine “navigable waterways” to include everything from a family pond to small ditches. This new definition would make farmers, foresters, municipalities, and small businesses subject to additional federal regulation and could result in new compliance costs.

Byrne said: “Red tape from Washington is making life much harder for Alabama’s farmers and foresters, and Congress must do more to roll back these burdensome federal regulations. The EPA has no business regulating a pond or a drainage ditch on a family farm. That is government overreach at its worst.

“This bill is now headed to President Obama’s desk where the American people can once again see if the President stands with them or with far-left special interest groups.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit halted the Waters of the U.S. rule with a 2 to 1 decision on October 9, 2015.  The court found that the rule should not be implemented until the courts make a final decision on the merits of the rule.

Byrne said: “I’m not surprised that a federal court has placed this rule on hold due to its far-reaching impact. This rule is nothing more than an attempt by the Obama Administration to bypass Congress and use the regulatory process to push through its radical agenda.”

The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 253 to 166, and it now heads to the White House for the President’s signature or veto.

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Byrne Responds to the State of the Union Address

2016/01/13

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the below statement following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Byrne said: “If you like the direction our country is headed, then you probably enjoyed tonight’s speech. If you don’t think our country is headed in the right direction, then you were probably disappointed. I certainly was.

“President Obama tried to paint a rosy picture tonight, but the facts simply aren’t on his side. A quick glance around the globe shows our enemies growing stronger and our allies under attack. Right here at home, wages are stagnant, our borders remain unsecured, and veterans still aren’t receiving the care they deserve.

“Tonight marks the beginning of the post-Obama era, and it is time to start looking past this time of big government toward an America where the government actually works for the people and not the other way around.”

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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