Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), vice chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding the future of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program.
Byrne said: “Last week, the House passed a strong National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorized the construction of three more Littoral Combat Ships. This was a positive development that showed the strong, bipartisan support for this critical Navy program.
“Unfortunately, the bill approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee falls short by only authorizing one LCS for Fiscal Year 2018. This is a real issue that puts Alabama jobs at risk.
“To be clear, there are many strong LCS supporters in the Senate. Senator Richard Shelby has been a stalwart advocate for the LCS program and the Austal shipyard, and I know he will continue to lead the charge during the appropriations process.
“Alabama Senator Luther Strange sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where the real problem lies. As currently written, the Senate NDAA would result in layoffs at the Austal shipyard and would severely compromise our efforts to build a 355 ship Navy.
“As the bill moves to the Senate floor, I call on Senator Strange and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee to fully support the LCS program, the U.S. Navy, and the over 4,000 men and women who work at the Austal shipyard.”
On Friday, the House passed their version of the National Defense Authorization Act by a bipartisan vote of 344 to 81. Congressman Byrne helped lead the charge to ensure authorization for three LCS in the bill.
The NDAA approved unanimously by the Senate Armed Services Committee in June only authorizes the construction of one LCS.
Three Littoral Combat Ships are needed in the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA in order to maintain the industrial base at the two shipyards and to keep costs of the ships low.
The Independence-class version of the LCS is built in Mobile, Alabama by Austal USA. Austal is the area’s top private sector employer with over 4,000 direct employees and thousands of other jobs indirectly tied to the shipyard.Read More
There is no greater responsibility of the federal government than to provide for the safety and security of the American people. I have found myself making this point over and over again throughout my short time in Congress.
With the wide range of issues under debate here in Washington, some of my colleagues seem to forget that our most basic responsibility as outlined in the Constitution is to “provide for the common defense” of the American people.
That is exactly what we did last week when the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a strong bipartisan vote of 344 to 81. As you may remember, this is the bill that authorizes funding and sets policy for the entire United States military. Needless to say, it is a critically important piece of legislation that Congress must pass each year.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Vice Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, I was able to play a key role in the bill as it moved through our Committee and then to the House floor for a vote.
The bill is especially important this year given President Trump’s pledge to grow our military. Our bill increases total military spending by 10% over last year’s levels, which will help reverse the severe readiness crisis that has been plaguing the military.
Consider these numbers: thirty years ago, the Fiscal Year 1988 NDAA represented 27.3% of total federal outlays and 5.2% of projected GDP. This year’s bill authorizes funding for the military at $688.3 billion, which is 16.8% of total federal outlays and 3.4% of projected GDP.
We are spending less proportionally today on our military despite the fact that we face a wider range of threats across the globe. That should be troubling to every American.
Thirty years ago our nation’s military faced only one serious threat: the Soviet Union. There was no ISIS or al Qaeda or other radical Islamic terrorist organization threatening the United States. Iran was not an existential threat to the American people. North Korea wasn’t developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. China was not on the radar as it relates to military power. We weren’t worried about cyberattacks or cyber espionage.
The threat environment today is incredibly complex, and we must ensure that our military funding is in line with the realities of the threats we face. This year’s NDAA is a big step in that direction.
The bill increases the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard. It also provides for the procurement of critical military aircraft, ships, and equipment while also setting money aside for maintenance and repairs to current military resources.
Important to our area, the bill authorizes the construction of three more Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in part by Austal USA in Mobile. It is critical that the bill support three ships because that is the number necessary to keep the shipyard operating at full speed and keep the cost of the ships down.
Given the nuclear and ballistic missile threat posed by North Korea, the bill boosts our nation’s missile defense programs. A number of important cyber security provisions and reforms related to the space domain are also included in the bill.
In an effort to support our servicemembers and their families, the bill authorizes a 2.4% pay raise for our troops. It also includes significant provisions related to military health care, housing, and benefit programs.
All told, this bill will help ensure the safety and security of the American people through rebuilding, repairing, and reforming our nation’s military.Read More
The House of Representatives today passed the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes funding and sets policy for the entire United States military. The bill passed by a vote of 344 to 81.
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, proudly supported the national security legislation and worked hard to secure important victories for Southwest Alabama and our nation’s shipbuilding industry.
Byrne said: “This bill is about ensuring the safety and security of the American people. The bipartisan defense authorization bill reforms, repairs, and rebuilds the United States military. The bill addresses the realities of the dangerous threat environment facing our nation and ensures our troops and their families have the necessary resources and benefits.
“I want to thank Chairman Mac Thornberry for his hard work and leadership on this legislation, and I look forward to working with our Senate colleagues in the near future to pass a final bill.”
The bill authorizes funding for three additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built by Austal USA in Mobile. Three ships will allow the Austal shipyard to operate at full speed and keep the cost of the ships down.
Byrne said: “As the Littoral Combat Ships spend more time deployed across the globe, more and more Members of Congress are realizing the important role the ships plan in the Navy’s overall mission. I will always continue to be a strong advocate for the men and women at the Austal shipyard as we work to build toward a 355 ship Navy.
“Unfortunately, it seems the bill from the Senate Armed Services Committee does not adequately support the LCS program. Given the importance of this program to Alabama and the Navy, I am hopeful the issue is rectified as the bill moves to the Senate floor.”
Included in the many important reforms, this year’s NDAA:
The bill includes a number of provisions championed by Congressman Byrne:
Kate Steinle became a household name in 2015 after the 32-year old was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco. It was a horrific event that shined light on some serious flaws in our nation’s immigration system.
The man who killed her, Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, was in our country illegally. Making matters worse, he had already been deported five times and had been convicted of seven felonies. He had no business being in the United States.
San Francisco, where the shooting occurred, is a sanctuary city, meaning they do not cooperate with federal law enforcement officials when it comes to immigration law. Lopez-Sanchez likely felt safe in San Francisco due to their lax immigration laws, even though he was a convicted felon with multiple deportations on his record.
The story of Kate Steinle is just the most high profile example of the problems with the U.S. immigration system, but there are many other horrible stories out there. Our top priority as a federal government should always be to keep citizens safe, and that includes monitoring and controlling who we allow into our country.
Recently, the House of Representatives took action on two important bills to address some of the issues with our broken immigration system. Both bills were strongly supported by President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who have made enforcing our immigration laws a top priority.
The first bill, the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, deals directly with the so-called sanctuary cities. Under the legislation, certain federal funding would be cut to cities and counties that refuse to comply with federal law enforcement officials when it comes to immigration law.
In other words, if a city refuses to enforce our federal immigration laws, they should not be receiving millions of dollars in federal funding. These cities must be held responsible for their reckless policies that endanger their citizens.
Under President Obama, I often heard examples of cities or counties who were attempting to enforce immigration laws, but they could not get the help and support they needed from federal officials. Well, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions that is changing. Federal immigration officials are cracking down on law breakers in our country illegally, and they deserve help and support from all our local officials.
The second bill, known as Kate’s Law, increases the criminal penalties for deported felons who returned to the United States. Like Kate’s killer, illegal immigrants who are convicted of felonies must face severe consequences if they choose to illegally reenter our country again.
This bill actually drew some bipartisan support from Democrats, which demonstrates that this is not just some partisan issue. Frankly, how could anyone not support increasing penalties for convicted felons who continue to break the law and put the American people at risk?
These two bills are now headed to the Senate for consideration, and I urge the Senate to act swiftly on the bills. I have no doubt that, if enacted into law, these bills would protect American lives and make our country a safer place.
When it comes to combatting illegal immigration, we cannot just stop with these two bills. We must also take action to secure our borders, improve internal security, and close loopholes in various immigration programs.
I am committed to working with President Trump to push through the strong immigration policies that he was elected to implement. This is all about the safety and security of the American people, and there is no greater responsibility than that.Read More
On July 4th, 1776, the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and officially adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Signing this document was no easy task for the 56 signers. By lending their name to it, they were risking their personal safety, as well as that of their families. A number of the signers would also go on to serve in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.
These days, we mark the Fourth of July with fireworks, trips to the beach, cookouts, and family vacations. These give us a wonderful opportunity to spend time with friends and loved ones, but I want to encourage you to also remember the sacrifice that led to the creation of our nation and the freedoms we hold dear.
This includes the service of those who served in the military, from the Siege of Boston to the Battle of Gettysburg to the shores of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan. These individuals put their lives on the line in defense of the United States of America.
The sacrifice also includes the efforts of leaders over the course of history, whether they be political leaders or civic leaders, who helped shape the course of American history. Individuals who made difficult decisions or stood up to the status quo. Individuals who put country over self.
That record of leaders, service, and sacrifice lives on today in the individuals who chose to serve in the greatest fighting force the world has ever known – the United States military.
One of my favorite parts of the job as Congressman is being able to nominate young men and women to attend one of our nation’s military service academies. The admission process to these academies require a nomination from a congressman, senator, the Vice President, or the President.
I am thrilled to report that eleven young men and women from Southwest Alabama recently earned official appointments to U.S. service academies after receiving a nomination from my office. The students are:
• Joshua Andrews, from Davidson High School, received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
• Jacob Dean Asher, from Bayside Academy, received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
• Barry Booth, from Spanish Fort High School, received an official appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
• Keller Farni, from Murphy High School, received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
• Phoebe Alexis Lee, from Mc-Gill Toolen Catholic High School, received an official appointment to the United States Military Academy.
• Triston-Norman Marasco, from Spanish Fort High School, received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
• Jamie Martin, a homeschool student from Foley, received an official appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
• Sarah Morris, from UMS-Wright Preparatory School, received an official appointment to the United States Naval Academy.
• Marshall Peyton Spires, from St. Paul’s Episcopal School, received an official appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
• Joshua Tarr, from Gulf Shores High School, received an official appointment to the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
• Gracie Whiston, from St. Paul’s Episcopal School, received a Presidential appointment to the United States Air Force Academy.
These individuals from Southwest Alabama represent our country’s future military leaders, and there are undoubtedly other individuals from our area who will go on to serve as leaders in their own respective fields.
So, as we celebrate the founding of our nation, may we take time to reflect on the individuals – past and present– who have sacrificed and served our country. May we never forget the role they played in the American story.
Just as important, may we also realize the American Story is still being written each and every day.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today voted in support of two bills intended to strengthen our nation’s immigration laws and fight back against illegal immigration.
Byrne said: “I am committed to working with President Trump to secure the border and combat illegal immigration. By passing these two important bills, we are sending a clear message that the safety and security of the American people comes first.
“Deported felons who return to the United States must be punished to the full extent of the law. At the same time, so called sanctuary cities, who harbor illegal immigrants and refuse to comply with federal law enforcement officials, must be held accountable.
“I have no doubt that, if enacted into law, these bills would protect American lives and make our country a safer place.”
Congressman Byrne voted in a favor of:
Yesterday, President Donald Trump held an event at the White House with immigration crime victims to urge passage of these two important immigration bills.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, voted last night in favor of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill passed out of the Armed Services Committee by a vote of 60-1.
The NDAA authorizes funding and sets policy for the entire U.S. military. The bill is expected to be considered by the full House in July.
In an important development for Southwest Alabama, this year’s NDAA funds three additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in part by Austal USA in Mobile. Austal USA is the largest private sector employer in Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Byrne said: “This year’s National Defense Authorization Act helps rebuild our nation’s military, boosts shipbuilding in an effort to grow our fleet, and ensures our military men and women have the resources necessary to defend our country.
“Once again, we were able to secure authorization for the construction of three more Littoral Combat Ships, which are built right here in Southwest Alabama. These ships continue to excel in the fleet, and that is a testament to the over 4,000 men and women who work at the Mobile shipyard.
“I expect our bipartisan bill will be up for a vote before the full House during the month of July, and I look forward to leading the bill across the finish line.”
Included in the many important reforms, this year’s NDAA:
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) issued the following statement regarding a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers to rescind the 2015 Waters of the United States regulation proposed by former President Obama.
Byrne said: “The Trump Administration is absolutely right to rescind the misguided and burdensome ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule. Not only has the legality of the rule been questioned by federal courts, but it would have had a devastating impact on Alabama farmers, foresters, and landowners. By putting a stop to this flawed rule, we can focus on policies that actually work in protecting and preserving our natural resources without unnecessarily harming hardworking Americans.”
The proposed rule sought to redefine “navigable waterways” to include everything from a family pond to small ditches. This new definition would have subjected farmers, foresters, municipalities, and small businesses to additional federal regulation and added compliance costs.
Congressman Byrne has strongly opposed the regulation since it was first proposed, and he has voted previously on legislation to block the regulation from taking effect.Read More
You have probably read the stories about how Republicans and Democrats can never get along and how it has caused absolutely nothing to get done in Washington. While that may make a good narrative for the media, it is not accurate.
In fact, just this past week, Congress came together in a bipartisan way to pass bills that will help put the American people back to work.
I was especially proud of our bipartisan efforts to boost our nation’s career and technical education (CTE) programs. These programs are critical in helping connect Americans with the skills they need to find a good-paying job.
There is a false belief in our country that in order to be successful you have to obtain a four year degree or more. That simply is not true. In fact, many Americans have successful lives after attending a community college or gaining a certificate from a training program. That is what career and technical education is all about.
Back when I served as chancellor of Alabama’s two year college system, I saw these programs work firsthand. I saw individuals who had absolutely no background or prior training go through a welding program and end up with a great job that pays high wages. These programs truly work like magic.
CTE programs are so important in today’s economy because our country is experiencing a skills gap. This means there are jobs out there that remain unfilled because people lack the skills required to fill the jobs. This is limiting economic growth and hurting the overall economy. Well, CTE programs can help close that skills gap by giving people the training they need.
Our bipartisan bill, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act, makes important reforms to ensure our CTE programs are actually working and directs resources toward in-demand skill areas. Importantly, the bill ensures a limited role for the federal government while empowering state and local leaders.
Ultimately, improving career and technical education programs is the most important thing Congress can do to help close the skills gap, combat poverty, and help put Americans back to work.
On another bipartisan note, the House also passed a bill last week to help people on welfare programs have access to jobs. The bill would establish a test program for states to create a targeted tax credit for employers who hire individuals on welfare programs.
The bill, the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act, passed on a strong bipartisan vote of 377 to 34, and it makes progress on the important priority of encouraging work among welfare recipients.
As we continue our efforts to fight poverty, we must measure success by how many people we are getting off of welfare programs and back to work, not by how many people we are adding to the welfare rolls.
Through improving career and technical education and encouraging work in welfare, there will be three big wins for the American people. First, we will help individuals live more successful lives by connecting them with jobs. Second, we will grow the overall American economy by closing the skills gap. Third, we will save taxpayers money by taking people off welfare and putting them to work.
So, while there are certainly issues where Republicans and Democrats do not agree, there are a large number of areas where we often come together and make a difference on behalf the American people.
That is exactly what we did this past week with our efforts to create more opportunities for the American people through boosting career and technical education and promoting work in our nation’s welfare programs.Read More
Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL), Chairman of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, today celebrated passage of H.R. 2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act.
The bipartisan bill passed the House this afternoon on a voice vote.
Byrne said: “Improving career and technical education programs is the most important thing Congress can do to help close the skills gap, combat poverty, and put Americans back to work. I’ve seen these programs firsthand dating back to my time as Chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, and they truly work like magic.
“This is the type of bipartisan bill that will never get the attention it deserves, but it will have a huge impact at creating opportunities for Americans in Southwest Alabama and around the country.”
The bill reauthorizes and updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act and includes some important reforms:
Congressman Byrne delivered a speech on the House floor in support of the bipartisan legislation. A transcript of his remarks can be found below.
Byrne said: “I thank the Chairwoman for yielding, and I am proud to rise in support of this strong, bipartisan legislation.
“Improving career and technical education programs is the most important thing Congress can do to help close the skills gap, combat poverty, and help put Americans back to work.
“Studies clearly show that there are unfilled, high wage jobs out there that remain open because people lack the skills to fill the jobs.
“That’s where CTE comes in. When I was Chancellor of Alabama’s two-year college system, I saw firsthand just how impressive these programs are. They really do work like magic by taking an untrained worker and giving them the skills they need to fill an in-demand job. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
“So, Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be an original co-sponsor and supporter of this legislation, I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this reform-oriented bill that helps build the 21st Century workforce.”Read More
119 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
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