Bradley Byrne

Bradley Byrne

ALABAMA's 1st DISTRICT

The “Other” Duties of a Congressman

2018/02/18

If someone asked you what a Congressman does on a daily basis, I can imagine what would come to your mind: voting on bills, attending committee hearings, holding meetings with others in Washington, and lots of time debating and arguing.

Those are in fact major parts of the job, but there is so much more that goes into serving the people of Southwest Alabama. I want to highlight some of the “other” duties of a Member of Congress and explain how they might impact you.

Before we get into that, some quick background information. There are 435 Congressmen who represent about 710,000 people each. Members of Congress in the House serve two year terms, as the House was intended by our Founding Fathers to be the part of the federal government closest to the people. In Alabama, we have seven Congressmen.

While some may not realize it, a Member of Congress should serve as their constituents’ liaison with the federal government. We do this through a process called “casework.”

I consider casework to be some of the most important work my office does on a daily basis. Whether it is helping a senior citizen navigate the bureaucracy at the Social Security Administration or expediting a passport application for a college student taking part in a study abroad program, my office is constantly dealing with federal agencies on behalf of people in Southwest Alabama.

The most common type of casework in my office is connected to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA system is so fundamentally broken, and we hear from veterans all the time who are stuck in the system. Whether it is a problem getting health care from the VA system or issues with your VA disability check, my office can help. Nothing is more rewarding than being able to help a local veteran get the benefits they earned.

If you ever need help with a federal agency or program, I strongly encourage you to contact my office at 251-690-2811 or send me an email online at Byrne.House.Gov. While I can’t always promise a positive outcome, I can assure you that my office will do everything in our power to get your issue resolved.

Another little known “duty” is to serve as a quasi-ambassador when people from Southwest Alabama visit D.C. My office can help arrange tours of national landmarks including the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. I especially love when school groups from our area visit D.C. So, if you are planning a trip to our nation’s capital, please get in touch with my office.

My office can also help local residents obtain a flag that has flown over the Capitol building. These flags can be a great gift for retirement, a special birthday, or other special occasions. To obtain one, simply visit my website at Byrne.House.Gov and click on the “Flags” tab.

Through my office, we also offer internships for current college students and those who have recently graduated. As a former Congressional intern myself, I can say from firsthand experience how valuable and rewarding these internships are for students. Internships are offered year round in my D.C. office.

As you can tell, there is much more than just voting and debating legislation that goes into being an effective Congressman. I have a fantastic staff in Washington, D.C., Mobile, and Baldwin County that help me fulfill these responsibilities, so you should never hesitate to contact my office.

Nothing is more important to me than taking care of the people of Southwest Alabama and ensuring you are represented throughout the federal government.

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Byrne to Hold Three Town Hall Meetings

2018/02/15

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) will hold three town hall meetings the week of February 19th with stops planned in Orange Beach, Chickasaw, and Bay Minette.

Last month, Congressman Byrne celebrated his 100th in-person town hall meeting since being elected to Congress. Already in 2018, Congressman Byrne has held seven in-person town hall meetings and two telephone town hall meetings.

The town hall meetings are all open to the public and free to attend.

 

What: Orange Beach Town Hall Meeting

When: Tuesday, February 20th at 2:30 p.m. CT

Where: Orange Beach City Hall; 4099 Orange Beach Boulevard

 

What: Chickasaw Town Hall Meeting

When: Thursday, February 22nd at 1:30 p.m. CT

Where: Chickasaw City Hall; 224 North Craft Highway

 

What: Bay Minette Town Hall Meeting

When: Thursday, February 22nd at 4:30 p.m. CT

Where: Bay Minette City Hall; 301 D’Olive Street

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Transparency and Accountability in Congress

2018/02/12

Last year, the country was shocked to learn terrible stories of sexual harassment taking place in the halls of Congress. The stories themselves were horrific, but even worse was the fact that some Members of Congress used taxpayer money to pay settlements.

Prior to coming to Congress, I worked for thirty years as a labor and employment attorney in Alabama, so I have a background in these issues. I advised clients on how to prevent sexual harassment and how to navigate the process if a harassment claim was made. 

Quite frankly, I was shocked to see how complicated the Congressional process for handling sexual harassment and other employment law claims was. Even worse, I was flabbergasted to learn that Members of Congress were able to use taxpayer money to pay the settlements and the information was held secret from the American people.

The process was so fundamentally different from how businesses in the private sector have handled sexual harassment and other employment law claims for decades. It just did not make sense.

Congress should not have special perks or benefits that other Americans don’t have. So, I reached out to the House Administration Committee and some of my colleagues to work on legislation to fix the problem and ensure a fair and transparent process.

I worked hand-in-hand with a number of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle to solve the problems and bring the Congressional workplace into the 21st Century.

One of my biggest partners in the effort was Congresswoman Jackie Speier. We had a conservative, Republican congressman from Alabama working to solve the problem with a liberal, Democrat congresswoman from California. It was a truly bipartisan effort.

The bill makes numerous reforms to the process of handing harassment and other employment law claims, and you may be surprised at just how commonsense many of the changes are.

Most important, the bill ensures that Members of Congress, not taxpayers, are responsible for paying out sexual harassment settlements. No longer will a congressman be able to use taxpayer money to settle a harassment claim.

Equally important, the bill increases transparency by requiring that basic information about any sexual harassment or other claims be made public so the American people are fully aware of what is happening in Congress. The American people should know about such claims and settlements related to their elected officials.

The current process for settling a claim is overly complicated and tends to unfairly favor the accused. Our bill creates a fairer and simpler process for employees to file an employment law claim and for the claim to be resolved. The bill creates an office of employee advocacy to ensure staff has access to legal counsel, just as congressmen are provided. The process is also simplified to make the claims process smoother, faster, and fairer.

The bill also paves the way for every Congressional office to have a clearly defined anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy, and all Members of Congress and staff will be required to take part in anti-harassment training. These reforms alone will result in greater awareness.

Finally, our plan prohibits Members of Congress from engaging in a sexual relationship with any staff member under their supervision and makes clear that sexual harassment is a violation of the Code of Official Conduct and will not be tolerated.

At the end of the day, our effort is all about ensuring Members of Congress are held accountable and do not get any special benefits or exceptions. I am proud to have helped craft this landmark, bipartisan legislation, and I will continue working to ensure transparency in our government.

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Byrne Votes to End Harmful Military Cuts

2018/02/09

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after voting in favor of legislation to end dangerous budget cuts to our military.

Congressman Byrne said: “Prior to the vote, I received calls from both White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis asking me to support the budget bill. They both strongly expressed that this is the best deal possible to end the harmful cuts to our military and, on behalf of President Trump, asked for my support. Given my commitment to our national defense, I cast my vote in favor of the bill.”

The bill passed by a vote of 240 to 186.

In addition to the calls from John Kelly and Secretary Mattis, President Donald Trump also tweeted his support for the budget agreement saying “The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military. It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great. Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) commended Byrne for his support of the budget agreement.

Chairman Mac Thornberry said: “This budget legislation is critically important to our nation’s military, and I appreciate Congressman Byrne’s support. He is a valued member of the Armed Services Committee, especially on issues important to the U.S. Navy. I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure our servicemen and women have all the tools they need to do their job and defend our country.”

Secretary of Defense Mattis has been steadfast in his commitment to rebuilding the military and urged Congress to pass legislation repealing the dangerous budget cuts during testimony before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this week.

Secretary Mattis said: “Let me be clear: as hard as the last 16 years of war have been, no enemy in the field has done more to harm the readiness of the U.S. military than the combined impact of the Budget Control Act’s defense spending caps, worsened by operating in 10 of the last 11 years under continuing resolutions of varied and unpredictable duration… To carry out the strategy you rightly directed we develop, we need you to pass a budget now.”

Among the many various provisions, the bill would:

  • End the sequestration cuts to national defense that have hurt military readiness;
  • Ensure full funding for our national defense this year;
  • Break Democrats demand that any increase in defense spending be matched dollar-for-dollar in non-defense spending increases;
  • Authorize additional funding to reduce the backlog at the Veterans Administration;
  • Dedicate $20 billion for investment in America’s infrastructure;
  • Repeal Obamacare’s Independent Patient Advisory Board (IPAB);
  • Extend funding for Community Health Centers and give much needed regulatory certainty to Alabama’s rural hospitals;
  • Establish a committee to address the broken Congressional budget process; and
  • Provide disaster relief funding for hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Notably, the bill does not include any provisions related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was a top priority of many Democrats.

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House Passes Rep. Byrne’s Reforms to Congressional Workplace

2018/02/06

Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation to update the way Congress handles sexual harassment and other employment law claims, including a number of provisions championed by Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL).

As a former labor and employment attorney, Congressman Byrne has been part of a group of bipartisan lawmakers writing the reform legislation. The bill fundamentally reforms how sexual harassment and other employment law claims are handled to make the process fairer, smoother, and more transparent.

Congressman Byrne said: “This bipartisan legislation is a shining example of how Congress should work. Republicans and Democrats came together to bring the Congressional workplace into the 21st Century and ensure that Congress plays by the same rules as the private sector.”

Last November, Congressman Byrne testified before the House Administration Committee to share his ideas about reforming the way sexual harassment and other employment law claims are handled on Capitol Hill. Among his recommendations that were included in the final bill were:

  • Requiring mandatory harassment training for all Members of Congress and staff;
  • Ensuring all House offices have an anti-harassment/anti-discrimination policy;
  • Making the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) process mirror what private businesses are subject to through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
  • Giving investigatory authority to the Office of Compliance (OOC);
  • Not requiring all claimants to go through mandatory mediation and counseling;
  • Subjecting unpaid interns, pages, fellows, etc. to the CAA’s anti-discrimination provisions;
  • Making Members of Congress personally financially responsible for paying any settlements or awards associated for a harassment or discrimination claim the member committed;
  • Publishing information regarding sexual harassment and other employment law claims and settlements;
  • Prohibiting Members of Congress from engaging in a sexual relationship with members of their staff; and
  • Making Member-on-Member sexual harassment a violation of the Official Code of Conduct.

All of those recommendations were adopted today by the House in H.R. 4924, which makes changes to statutory law and requires Senate action, or H.Res.724, which changes House specific rules and practice and will be implemented immediately.

The full text of Congressman Byrne’s speech today in support of the legislation can be found below.

Congressman Byrne said: “I thank the Chairman for yielding.

“Prior to coming to Congress, I worked for thirty years as a labor and employment attorney in Alabama. I advised clients on how to prevent sexual harassment and how to navigate the process if a harassment claim was made.  Quite frankly, I was shocked to see how complicated the Congressional process for handling sexual harassment and other employment law claims was.

“Mr. Speaker, this legislation is a shining example of how Congress should work. Chairman Harper and Ranking Member Brady engaged a bipartisan group of Members, including Rep. Jackie Speier and myself, interested in solving this problem. 

“After months of thoughtful negotiation, we come to the floor today with a product that this House and the American people can be proud of.

“Under this legislation, we will bring the Congressional workplace into the 21st Century and ensure that Congress plays by the same rules as the private sector. 

“There are far too many important reforms to mention all of them, but I want to highlight a few that I think are especially transformative.

“First, the bill creates a fairer and simpler process for employees to file an employment law claim and for the claim to be resolved. The bill creates an office of employee advocacy to ensure staff has access to legal counsel, just as Member offices are provided. The process is also simplified to make the claims process smoother, faster, and fairer.

“Second, the bill increases transparency by requiring that basic information about any sexual harassment or other claims be made public so the American people are fully aware of what is happening in the Congress.

“Third, the bill will ensure that Members of Congress, not taxpayers, are responsible for paying out sexual harassment settlements.

“Fourth, the related resolution paves the way for every Congressional office to have a clearly defined anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy. This reform alone will result in greater awareness.

“Fifth, the resolution prohibits Members of Congress from engaging in a sexual relationship with any staff member under their supervision and makes clear that sexual harassment is a violation of the Code of Official Conduct and will not be tolerated.

“In closing, I want to again thank Chairman Harper and Ranking Member Brady for their leadership on this issue, and I strongly urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation and the related resolution.”

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The State of Our Union is Strong

2018/02/04

Last Tuesday, President Donald Trump came before Congress and the American people to deliver his first State of the Union Address. President Trump presented an optimistic, unifying vision for the United States and called on Republicans and Democrats to work together for the betterment of America.

Many people have described the speech as a “pep rally for America,” and I tend to agree with that analysis. President Trump highlighted several things that make our country so great, but he also didn’t shy away from the challenges we still face.

I thought President Trump did an excellent job of highlighting many of our accomplishments. Despite what the national news media may report, the past year has seen many major accomplishments.

Just look at the American economy. The unemployment rate sits at 4.1% in the United States and 3.6% in Alabama, which is the lowest level ever recorded in our state’s history.  It also came out last week that wages roses at the fastest rate in more than eight years.

The strong economy is likely due in part to passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, our landmark tax reform bill that President Trump signed into law in December. Starting this month, most Americans are seeing more money in their paychecks thanks to the tax cuts, and many businesses are giving bonuses to their employees.

The economic boom is also connected to the rollback of burdensome and costly government regulations. President Trump and Congress have worked together to ease the regulatory burden, which drove up costs and made it harder for businesses to grow. Every minute a business owner spends complying with government regulations is time he or she can’t spend growing their business.

President Trump also highlighted some of the major progress we have made on the international stage. For example, ISIS is on the run in Iraq and Syria, the President followed through on his promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and countries across the globe are realizing that America can no longer be taken advantage of.

Despite our many successes, President Trump also outlined areas where more work is needed. For example, he spent time outlining the flaws with our nation’s immigration system and the need for stronger border security. I am committed to working with President Trump to secure our borders while also working toward an immigration system that is fair and free from abuse.

Another major topic in the speech was infrastructure. Right here in Southwest Alabama, we have numerous road and bridge projects that need attention, so I agree with President Trump that infrastructure must be a priority.

Another portion of the speech that didn’t get the attention it deserved was the President’s support for more career and technical education programs. These programs are key to building the workforce of tomorrow and helping take people off welfare and putting them back to work.

Arguably the most powerful moment was when President Trump recognized Ji Seong-ho, a North Korean man who escaped the brutal regime despite losing his leg and left hand. His story and resiliency should embolden all of us to continue standing up against North Korea and their rogue nation.

President Trump concluded his speech by saying, “As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail.”

I think the President was spot on, and I look forward to doing my part to build a safer, stronger, more prosperous country for all Americans.

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Byrne Statement on House Intelligence Committee Memo

2018/02/02

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement following release of the House Intelligence Committee Memo.

Congressman Byrne said: “I am glad the memo has been made public for the American people to read and evaluate for themselves. The memo leads to many serious and important questions, and I am intent on continuing to push for answers.”

Click here to read the declassified memo.

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Byrne Statement on Red Snapper Decision

2018/02/01

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement highlighting the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s approval of an exempted fishing permit pilot program for the 2018 and 2019 Red Snapper seasons in the Gulf of Mexico. The program will allow the Gulf states to set their own Red Snapper season lengths.

Congressman Byrne said: “I want to thank the Gulf Council for their support of the exempted fishing permit pilot program to ensure local fishermen have an adequate Red Snapper season for the next two years. As I have always said, this issue is about so much for than just our fishermen. A full Red Snapper season is good news for the hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other small businesses in our coastal communities.

“I also want to thank Senator Richard Shelby, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, and our other Gulf Coast colleagues for working together to ensure our fishermen and coastal communities have a full and adequate Red Snapper season.”

In December, Congressman Byrne sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National marine Fisheries Service urging their support of the exempted fishing permit pilot program for Red Snapper.

Click here to read Congressman Byrne’s letter.

Click here to read the response from the NOAA.

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Byrne: The State of Our Union is Strong

2018/01/31

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address.

Congressman Byrne said: “The ‘state of our Union’ is strong. From a booming economy to greater respect around the globe, President Trump, his administration, and Congress have been able to turn our country around in a very short period of time. The good news is that things are just getting started.

“Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, hardworking Americans will see more money in their pockets and businesses will continue to grow. President Trump’s plan for boosting our nation’s infrastructure will also help spur economic growth and improve the quality of life for countless Americans. Rebuilding our military, standing up to rogue actors, and securing our border will help keep the American people safe and secure.

“Importantly, I also appreciated the President’s call for greater bipartisanship and cooperation. It is my sincere hope that Democrats will come to the table with us to make the United States of America even stronger.”

Congressman Byrne’s guest for tonight’s State of the Union speech was Pete Riehm, a former Navy Surface Warfare Officer and leader in the Mobile veterans community.

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Byrne Accepting Summer Internship Applications

2018/01/29

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is currently accepting applications for summer interns in his Washington, D.C. and Mobile offices. Applicants should be current college students or recent college graduates.

The application can be found online at Byrne.House.Gov/Internships. Preference will be given to applicants who reside in Alabama’s First Congressional District but all are welcome to apply.

The Internship Program offers students a real-life glance at how the federal legislative branch operates and gives students practical work experience. Interns will be asked to answer phones, run errands, research legislation for the Congressman and legislative staff, attend hearings and briefings, and draft constituent responses on various issues before the House. As a result, interns learn about the legislative process and the many other functions of a congressional office.

Internships are available between mid-May and early-August. The deadline to apply is February 16th.

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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