Washington, DC— Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) sent a letter to Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper. The letter encourages Secretary Esper to enact a department-wide policy allowing contractors to telework (to the maximum extent practicable) during this period of social distancing, regardless of whether or not their contracts include a teleworking agreement.
Congressman Brooks sent the letter after hearing numerous constituents who are Department of Defense contractors express concern that, because their contract does not have an existing teleworking agreement, they are unable to telework without incurring a breach of contract.
By way of background, the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense issued a March 10, 2020 memorandum delegating the authority to decide which personnel are eligible to telework to individual contracting officers. The memorandum has led to a variety of policies and confusion among contractors.
Click HERE to view and download Congressman Brooks’ letter to Secretary Esper.
The text of Congressman Brooks’ letter to Secretary Esper follows:
March 20, 2020
The Honorable Mark T. Esper
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301
Dear Secretary Esper:
As our nation attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect our most vulnerable population, the Department of Defense faces the herculean task of balancing its response to the COVID-19 threat, its desire to protect its workforce and their families, and its primary responsibility of continuing to execute its national security missions. I fully recognize that this situation is unprecedented and the Department of Defense is still adjusting its policies during this challenging time.
Over the last week, I have heard from a number of my constituents who are Department of Defense contractors. They have expressed their concern that, because their contract does not have an existing teleworking agreement, they are unable to telework without incurring a breach of contract. Some of these individuals have been impacted by school closures, or have relatives who are in a high-risk category.
Therefore, I strongly encourage you to implement a Department-wide policy to allow Department of Defense contractors to telework (to the maximum extent practicable) during this period of social distancing, regardless of whether or not their contracts currently include a teleworking agreement. I understand that any such policy would not be applicable for mission-essential work that cannot be done remotely. Implementing a Department-wide policy would help to clear up some of the confusion caused by the current policy outlined in the 10 March 2020 memo sent by the Acting Principal Director of Defense Pricing and Contracting, which delegates responsibility for determining telework policies to individual contracting officers.
I appreciate your attention to this matter, and I look forward to working with you to ensure the safety and effectiveness of our defense workforce over the coming weeks.
Member of Congress
Washington, DC— Thursday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) released the below guidance for Washington, DC office and building shutdowns and restrictions as part of COVID-19 Coronavirus precautions.
Congressman Brooks said, “I deeply regret that many Tennessee Valley families have visits and vacations to Washington that will be hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Martha and I personally set aside days for giving Capitol tours to dozens of families on Spring Break in March or April, but, unfortunately, the Capitol complex has officially been ordered closed to all tours and visitors March 13th to April 1st, and likely longer. I hope the coronavirus pandemic and resulting safety precautions will pass and families will again be able to visit Washington’s beautiful sites. Please contact my Washington office for further information at (202) 225-4801 and my staff will be happy to assist you.”
The White House
As of March 12th, all White House tours are closed until further notice.
As of March 13th, all Supreme Court tours will be closed until April 3rd.
The U.S. Capitol
As of March 13th, all Capitol tours will be closed until April 1st. In addition, no visitors are allowed into the House or Senate buildings except for official business and, even then, only if escorted by House or Senate staff. Offices have yet to be given a definition of what is “official business” and what is not.
U.S. Botanic Gardens
As of March 12th, the Botanic Gardens will remain open until otherwise specified.
As of March 12th, all National Archives tours are suspended through May 3rd.
Smithsonian Museums & the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
All are operating as usual but we have been advised that this schedule could change on a moment’s notice.
Washington, DC— Wednesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) released the below statement after voting “Yes” on H.R. 6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
“I voted ‘yes’ today to provide an additional $7.8 billion to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus strain. I’m hopeful this funding will help America better prepare for and reduce COVID-19 fatalities that will otherwise occur should we not do everything we can to combat this highly contagious and once-in-a-century disease.”
“Each week I attend Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Department of Homeland Security briefings on the COVID-19 outbreak. One message has been clear: no one knows for sure how far COVID-19 will spread nor what its fatality rate will be. There is simply too much uncertainty and educated guessing at this point. It does not help that COVID-19 statistics from two of the most impacted countries, Iran and China, cannot be relied on or trusted to be true.”
“The good news once was that COVID-19, with its projected 2% fatality rate, did not appear to be as fatal as pandemic outbreaks of the past few decades (SARS, MERS, or the like). The bad news is that the World Health Organization yesterday announced a 3.4% fatality rate, which would make it worse than both SARS and MERS.”
“The American people should take precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19. This is particularly true for those with weakened immunity systems. Those precautions mirror what most of us already do to avoid contracting the flu. Precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are:
Washington, DC— Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) released the below statement regarding the Pentagon’s recommendation that Redstone Arsenal’s Fox Army Health Center reduce its work scope.
“I have visited the Fox Army Health Center and been briefed both on recommended changes to Fox’s work scope and the health care Fox currently provides to tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley citizens.”
“Within 60 days, the Government Accountability Office will submit their review of the Pentagon’s Fox work scope recommendations to Congress. The GAO report will review the Pentagon’s methodologies. In addition, my staff and the House Armed Services Committee staff are reviewing the proposal so that Congress can be fully briefed on the report’s scope and reasons for the Pentagon’s recommendations. A major factor Congress will consider is whether the impacted communities have the health care capacity needed to provide military retirees and family members the quality health care they have earned.”
“By way of background, about 13,000 enrollees receive primary care through Fox. Less than 1,000 of these enrollees are active-duty service members. The remaining 12,000 enrollees are a combination of active-duty family members (roughly 2,500) and retirees. In addition, at least 40,000 non-enrolled patients receive ancillary services (pharmacy, laboratory, and wellness) at Fox.”
“On February 19th, the Pentagon issued a report to Congress that recommends closure, downsizing or realignment of various military treatment facilities across America. One recommendation is that Redstone Arsenal’s Fox Army Health Center be limited to active-duty only and occupational health clinic services, thus ending Fox’s provision of health care services to retired service members and their families. For emphasis, the report recommends that any transition take place over a 2-5 year period, thus giving Congress plenty of time to evaluate the Pentagon’s proposals. None of the recommended changes happen in the near future. There are no plans to close Fox.”
“Under the Pentagon’s recommendations, all active-duty service members would continue to receive primary care at Fox, and Fox would continue to support occupational health for all active duty and government civilians working on the installation. Further, the Pentagon recommends no change to pharmacy benefits; current services should still be available to all eligible beneficiaries. The most significant impact would be that roughly 12,000 of the current roughly 13,000 enrollees (the non-active-duty enrollees) would no longer receive primary health care at Fox and would, instead, seek primary health care through other health care providers in the Tennessee Valley. In addition, the Pentagon recommends that 15 active duty and 71 civilian medical personnel at Fox be reassigned to other duties or locations.”
“Congress, and specifically the House Armed Services Committee, of which I am a senior member, will review the report and vote on whether to adopt, reject or amend the Pentagon’s recommendations. Again, for emphasis, Congress may adopt, reject or amend the Pentagon’s recommendations and the proposed changes do not automatically or immediately take effect.”
“In my capacity as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I will work to ensure military service members, active-duty and retired, and their families receive convenient, quality health care. Health care is essential to the readiness of America’s armed services. Health care was promised to retirees as an inducement to serve and that promise should be honored.”
“While, at the moment, I am not inclined to support the Pentagon’s recommended service scope changes at Fox Army Health Center, I believe it best to reserve final judgment until I have been fully briefed on why the Pentagon believes it is in the best interests of national security to reduce Fox’s service scope.”
Washington, DC— Friday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) and 13 original cosponsors introduced the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, a simple, 5-page bill.
Original cosponsors: Congressman Brian Babin (TX-36), Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02), Congressman Steve King (IA-04), Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Congressman Greg Gianforte (MT-AL), Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), Congressman Jody Hice (GA-10), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01).
What does this bill do? The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act would expand the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA) “transport” definition to include “staying in temporary lodging, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, or any other activity incidental to the transport.” Further, the bill clarifies that the ability to transport a firearm also applies to ammunition and detachable magazines, which are essential to the function and purpose of a firearm.
Why is this bill necessary? Currently, FOPA prohibits state prosecution of persons traveling from one place to another for any state firearms offense if the traveler is merely passing through on the way to their destination as long as the firearm is transported in a locked container other than the vehicle glove compartment or console.
Despite FOPA protections, a disturbing trend has emerged wherein anti-Second Amendment states and localities increasingly seek to criminalize the possession of a firearm or ammunition. These freedom-hating jurisdictions continue to seek ways to prosecute travelers merely for the possession of an otherwise lawful firearm. This bill seeks to safeguard otherwise law-abiding gun owners traveling the country from overcriminalization by anti-Second Amendment states and localities.
Congressman Brooks said, “‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’ means that Americans do not relinquish their Second Amendment Rights by simply traveling across state lines. All Americans have the constitutional right to self-defense whether they are at home or traveling. My bill, the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act, would bar freedom-hating, anti-Second Amendment states and localities from prosecuting firearm-transporting travelers who are passing through on the way to their destination who engage in travel-related activities.”
Notably, influential Second Amendment Rights protection group Gun Owners of America (GOA) has endorsed the Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act.
“Malicious state laws unconstitutionally criminalize what would otherwise be considered law-abiding activity for the explicit purposes of making gun ownership, possession, and transportation more difficult,” said Aidan Johnston, GOA’s Director of Federal Affairs. “The Lawful Interstate Transportation of Firearms Act compliments the Second Amendment in its mission to protect Americans from governmental infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.”
“I hope every member of Congress supports this simple legislation that protects gun owners while they travel,” Johnston concluded.
2246 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
On November 6, 2018, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-AL) was re-elected as the Representative for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District. He proudly represents the people of the Tennessee Valley and serves on two influential House committees: Armed Services and Science, Space, and Technology. Congressman Brooks serves on three important House subcommittees: the Strategic Forces and Readiness subcommittees on Armed Services and the Space subcommittee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Now in his 5th term, Congressman Brooks’ seniority has improved to #11 out of 26 Republicans on Armed Services and #2 out of 15 Republicans on Science, Space, and Technology.
Congressman Brooks is highly active and engaged in representing the interests of the 5th District.
Congressman Brooks successfully inserted 25 Tennessee Valley defense community policy priorities into the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. Those provisions include, but are not limited to: Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) Block IB multiyear procurement, Hypersonics development, Improved Turbine Engine, Short Range Air Defense, and the Army’s Iron Dome interceptor system.
In the 115th Congress, Congressman Brooks’ bill, the “American Leadership in Space Technology and Advanced Rocketry Act” or “ALSTAR Act” successfully passed the U.S. House. The “ALSTAR” Act would formally designate Alabama’s Marshall Space Flight Center as NASA’s lead center for rocket propulsion. In addition, the ALSTAR Act would direct Marshall to explore, develop, coordinate and mature new rocket propulsion technology in cooperation with government and private sector partners.
Growing up in North Alabama, Mo Brooks’ parents taught him early on that study and hard work were expected and required. They also taught him the importance of honesty, and to never be shy about speaking up and fighting for important principles. Brooks was born in 1954 in Charleston, South Carolina, and moved in 1963 to Huntsville, Alabama. Congressman Brooks’ father, Jack Brooks, retired from Redstone Arsenal’s Metrology Center. Brooks’ mother, Betty Brooks, taught economics and government for over 20 years at Lee High School in Huntsville.
Congressman Brooks graduated from Grissom High School in 1972 (where he was all-city in baseball and an active member on two state championship debate teams). He graduated from Duke University in three years with a double major in political science and economics, with highest honors in economics. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Alabama Law School.
After graduation, Congressman Brooks worked as a prosecutor in the Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s office, where he built a solid “tough-on-crime” reputation. While there, he obtained guilty verdicts in every one of the 20-plus jury trials he prosecuted. He also organized and managed the grand jury.
Congressman Brooks left the Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s office in 1980 to return to Huntsville as a law clerk for presiding Circuit Court Judge John David Snodgrass. In 1982,
Brooks was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives and became one of 11 Republican legislators (out of 140 total) and the only elected Republican legislator north of Birmingham.
Brooks was re-elected to the Alabama House in 1983, 1986, and 1990. While in the legislature, he was elected Republican House Caucus Chairman three times and was ranked number one (out of 140 legislators) by the Alabama Taxpayers’ Defense Fund in the fight to protect family incomes from higher taxes. He was also ranked in the top 20 percent by Alabama Alliance of Business & Industry on pro-jobs, tort reform, and free enterprise issues and was recognized as one of the legislature’s most effective legislators by Alabama Magazine.
In 1991, Brooks was appointed Madison County District Attorney. In 1996, he ran for the Madison County Commission and unseated an eight-year incumbent Republican. He was re-elected to the Commission in 2000, 2004, and 2008. During every year except when he was serving as a prosecutor or court clerk, Brooks was a private practice attorney. In 1995-1996, he was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and, from 1996-2002, was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for then Attorney General Bill Pryor.
In 1976, Congressman Brooks married Martha Jenkins of Toledo; they met at Duke University. Martha graduated from the University of Alabama with an accounting degree. She later retired as a certified public accountant and obtained a math and education major from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2005. She taught math at Whitesburg Middle School. Mo and Martha are the proud parents of four children and grandparents of ten grandchildren.
Congressman Brooks was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2, 2010.
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