1 month ago

A rundown of the Alabama victories in the Shelby-negotiated FY 2020 budget

The U.S. Senate on Thursday gave final passage to two appropriations packages that will avert a government shutdown and fund the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2020.

H.R. 1158, the national security related package, passed 81-11 while H.R. 1865, the domestic spending package, passed 71-23. The measures resulted from a compromise agreement between the Senate and House, as well as between both parties.

Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on defense, led the negotiations along with House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY).

Yellowhammer News has already reported on some of the top ways Alabama is set to benefit from the Shelby-negotiated appropriations, including the NASA portion, funding that could complete the Mobile Harbor deepening/widening project and construction on the Birmingham Northern Beltline resuming.

However, those important examples only represent the tip of the iceberg.

RELATED: Aderholt praises doubling of UAH-based tornado study’s federal funding

First, in a statement regarding H.R. 1158, Shelby said, “The funding in this appropriations measure provides for our men and women in uniform, ensures Alabama remains at the forefront of space exploration, and allows us to continue preventing current and emerging threats against the United States through cutting-edge technology.”

“Alabama plays a vital role in our national defense, and this legislation will make certain that our state remains a major player in keeping our nation safe. I look forward to the impact this legislation will have on the state and nation,” he added.

H.R. 1158 contains the following provisions impacting Alabama:

Impacting the production and use of missiles and helicopters in the Wiregrass region:

· $1.224 billion for flight training at Fort Rucker, an increase of $142 million from last year to address the Army pilot shortage;

· $506 million for Future Vertical Lift research to accelerate development of helicopters flown at Fort Rucker;

· $150 million to upgrade Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters;

· $407 million for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles;

· $292 million for Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGMs);

· $562 million for Joint Air-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSMs) and $123 million for Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs);

· $727 million for Hellfire missiles, an increase of $243 million from FY2019, which are made in Troy and used for training at Fort Rucker; and

· $178 million for Javelin missiles for the Army and Marine Corps.

Impacting North Alabama:

· Army Research – $12.5 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion from last year, for investments in transformational technologies to address modern and future Army warfighting needs.

· Missile Defense – $10.4 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), including $628 million to support urgent MDA unfunded priorities such as space sensors, hypersonic defense, and cybersecurity.

· Hypersonic weapons – $1.9 billion to support and accelerate offensive and defensive hypersonics research and prototyping efforts, an increase of $362 million from last year. This funding includes $161 million to address an unfunded priority for the Army Hypersonic Weapons System.

· Cyber – $268 million in additional funding to expand and accelerate cyber research across the Department of Defense, and an additional $200 million to support the Department’s new 5G program.

· Military Space – Fully funds National Security Space Launch and Space Command, and includes funding to establish Space Force and Space Development Agency.

· Civil Space – $2.586 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS), including $300 million for the Exploration Upper Stage (EUS), $44 million to standup the Lunar Lander office at Marshall Space Flight Center (lander program total funding is $744 million), and $110 million for Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), of which $80 million is for a flight demonstration mission no later than 2024.

· FBI – $485 million for FBI Construction, which supports the ongoing and growing efforts in Huntsville.

Impacting Anniston:

· $84.5 million for FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness, including $66.8 million for education, training, and exercises, as well as $18.2 million for high priority facilities renovation requirements. In addition, $3 million will be prioritized for competitively awarded FEMA-certified rural and tribal training; and

· $250 million for Hydra rockets, which are built in Anniston and fired from Army and Marine Corps helicopters.

· Funding for Army Vehicles overhauled and maintained at Anniston Army Depot (ANAD):

·  $2.1 billion to continue modernizing M1 Abrams tanks;

·  $912 million for Stryker vehicles, an increase of $519 million from last year;

·  $579 million for Paladin Integrated Management artillery vehicles; and

·  $80 million for M88A2 Hercules Improved Recovery vehicles.

Impacting Mobile’s shipbuilding industry:

· One additional Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship, as well as $49 million to convert an EPF into an Expeditionary Medical Transport;

· Full funding for the FFG(X) Frigate program; and

· An additional $650 million for LHA-9, an amphibious assault ship.

Other provisions impacting Alabama:

· $7 million for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Initiative, including $5 million to conduct an independent population assessment of greater amberjack in the Gulf of Mexico;
· $5 million to ensure successful implementation of “Reef Fish Amendment 50,” which delegates federal management of red snapper to the Gulf States;
· $2.6 million for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement and enforce the Seafood Import Monitoring Program;
· 34.5 million to support staffing and operations at the National Water Center (NWC) located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama;
· $6 million for remote water sensing research at the University of Alabama; and
· Funding and direction to fully staff the NOAA Disaster Response Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Shelby also released a statement regarding H.R. 1865.

“Completing the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations process is good news for the nation and Alabama,” he remarked. “From investing in our state’s infrastructure and supporting agricultural development to funding groundbreaking medical research, this package addresses many important priorities. I am proud of this bipartisan agreement and look forward to witnessing the positive impact this funding will have in my home state.”

H.R. 1865 contains the following provisions impacting Alabama:

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies:
· The final bill retains the $25 million increase for Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO) for a total of $175 million, with a $70 million set-aside for certain projects.
· Includes $20 million for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Building and Facilities improvements for seafood safety to support FDA’s Dauphin Island Lab.
· Contains $5 million for the Rural Water and Waste pilot.
· The bill includes language specifying that Rural Water and Waste Disposal program account that projects utilizing iron and steel shall use iron and steel products produced in the United States.
· Includes $5 million to combat cotton blue disease, $3 million for advanced poultry production technology development, $1.5 million for alternative technologies for poultry waste utilization, $1.2 million to study harmful algal bloom impacts on aquaculture, an additional $1 million for shrimp aquaculture research, and $1 million to explore salmonella exposure in livestock at Auburn University. Auburn will also continue to partner with Agricultural Research Services for training and workforce development of scientists for the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility.
· Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: $1 million increase for Cogongrass Management.
· Farm Service Agency: Report language is included that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to modify its regulations so that producers of farm-raised fish are eligible for death losses under ELAP and that bird predation and disease be deemed eligible loss conditions.
· Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: Maintains FY2019 funding for the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program.

Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies:
Corps of Engineers:
· $378 million recommended in the Construction account for a Regional Dredge Demonstration Program in the central Gulf of Mexico. Mobile Harbor would be eligible for these additional funds.
· $50 million above the budget request in the Operation and Maintenance account for Donor and Energy Transfer Ports. Funds will benefit Mobile Harbor.
· $10.975 million for Coastal Inlets Research Program in the Operation and Maintenance account and report language recommending additional funding to establish a multi-university-led effort for connecting terrestrial and coastal models and to continue work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa on protecting the nation’s water resources.
· Includes $16 million for Aquatic Nuisance Control Research in the Operation and Maintenance account for research and development related to harmful algal blooms.

Department of Energy:
· $230 million for a new program to demonstrate Advanced Reactors and an additional $55 million for Advanced Reactor Technologies, including $20 million for the industry-led Advanced Reactor Concepts program.
· $25 million for the EPSCoR program and requested language regarding biennial implementation of grant solicitations.
· Funding to support the Department of Energy’s National Carbon Capture Center in Wilsonville, consistent with the cooperative agreement.
· $56 million for Academic Alliances and Partnerships within the National Nuclear Security Administration, and report language encouraging new centers of excellence in materials research.

Independent Agencies:
· $30 million for the Delta Regional Authority, including $15 million for flood control, basic public infrastructure development, and transportation improvements.
· $175 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission, including $16 million for a program of industrial site and workforce development in Southern and South Central Appalachia, of which $13.5 million is for Southern Appalachia.

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies:
· Fish and Wildlife Service Asian Carp – Provides $25 million, an increase of $14 million, to combat Asian Carp and enhance efforts in sub-basins of the Mississippi River, which includes key areas of Alabama.
· Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Technical Assistance Grant Programs – For the two programs for rural technical assistance, one increased to $17.7 million, which is a $2.7 million increase, and a new program is funded at $13 as requested.
· Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program – $115 million is included, equal to the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
· Use of Iron and Steel – The bill continues a general provision to ensure that EPA requires the use of American iron and steel in State Revolving Fund projects.

Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies:
· $41.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
· Includes $45 million in NIH for chronic disease centers; and
· $50 million for NIH biomedical research facilities.
· $6.44 billion for National Cancer Institute (NCI), an increase of $299.4 million, including $200 million in targeted funding for NCI competitive grants.
· $832.9 million for NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, an increase of $26.5 million.
· $578.1 million for Clinical and Translational Science Award, an increase of $18.4 million.
· $500 million for the All of Us precision medicine study, a $161 million increase.
· $25 million in targeted funding for the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act.
· $3.8 billion in opioid funding, including $1.5 billion for State Opioid Response Grants.
· $3.9 billion for mental health programs, an increase of $328 million.
· $50 million in funding for Medical Student Education for states with highest projected physician shortages, including $15 million for supplemental grants and $35 million to fund the remaining 2019 applicants.
· $1.3 billion, an increase of $20 million, for Career and Technical Education state grants.

· $30 million in continued funding for Department of Labor Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities in the Delta Regional Authority and Appalachian Regional Commission regions.

Military Construction:
· Funds three military construction projects totaling $84 million in Alabama:
o Includes $38 million for an Aircraft and Flight Equipment Building at Redstone Arsenal;
o $12 million for a National Guard Readiness Center in Foley; and
o $34 million for Enlisted Transient Training Barracks in Anniston.

Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies:
· Provides funding for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program.
· Provides funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):
o Grants-in-aid for airports;
o Contract towers;
o Research for advanced materials and structural safety;
o Research on airfield pavement; and
o Aviation workforce grants.
· Provides funding for Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) INFRA grants.
· Includes $30 million in funding for Alabama’s Appalachian Development Highway System.
· Includes funding for Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) CRISI grants, the Maritime Administration’s Small Shipyard Grant Program, and Port Infrastructure grants, and Community Development Block grants.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

8 hours ago

Alabama voting rights activist jailed on drug charges while on bond for capital murder charge

An Alabama activist is jailed on assault and other charges.

Records show 54-year-old Kenneth Glasgow was being held without bond at the Houston County Jail on Tuesday.

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He was arrested Saturday on charges including drug possession, assault and evidence tampering.

Police tell news outlets that Glasgow struggled with an officer who tried to arrest him after finding crack inside his pocket.

Glasgow has worked for years to register prisoners to vote inside Alabama jails and prisons.

He was charged with capital murder in 2018 after a fatal shooting but was out on bond.

He’s the half-brother of nationally known activist Al Sharpton.

 (Associated Press, copyright 2019)

RELATED: Al Sharpton’s half-brother, already facing Alabama capital murder charges, arrested again

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8 hours ago

Hurts: Time back in Alabama going ‘really well’ — ‘Love’ for Bama will ‘never go away’

MOBILE — The Senior Bowl Week Media Day was held on Tuesday at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center, and former University of Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts had droves of reporters on hand hoping to capture yet another classic Hurts press conference. The humble Hurts did not disappoint.

To kick off his remarks, Hurts commented once again on being back in the Yellowhammer State. He, of course, played at Oklahoma this past season as a graduate transfer from Tuscaloosa. Hurts finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting.

“I think being here and being back in this state is [going] really well. I’m having this opportunity to play in this game and showcase my abilities and show what I’m made of. I’m thankful for it, I’m appreciative of it. And I’m ready to attack it,” Hurts said.

Asked on a follow-up question to compare the Alabama and Oklahoma fanbases, he responded, “I have a lot of respect for both universities. Both have rich tradition, history. I appreciate all the support.”

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The quarterback would later say both programs have “great coaches.”

RELATED: Hurts on Saban: ‘We always had a love for each other … our relationship will never die’

Of the universities, Hurts added, “The appreciation I have for them both, the love I have for them both, it’ll never go away. The way that they’ve accepted me, both schools, not many people can say that they’ve experienced that or they have that … so I’m thankful for it.”

Hurts said that during Senior Bowl Week and in the game on Saturday, he simply wants to “be the best version of” himself. He listed executing, learning and being a “student of the game” as priorities.

The former Tide star was also asked if he has had the opportunity to visit with the outgoing Bama players at the Senior Bowl, his former teammates Jared Mayden, Terrell Lewis, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings.

“Yes, sir,” Hurts answered. “It’s been well [sic]. Great seeing them. Good to be out there on the practice field with them again. I think they have the same approach I have in terms of maximizing this opportunity.”

RELATED: Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

Hurts later quipped that he plays with “a boulder” on his shoulder rather than merely “a chip.”

Asked about the reception he expected back in the state of Alabama and what it has been like so far, Hurts commented, “It’s been pretty hectic so far — in a good way. Just being back here, a lot of love. I’m appreciative of it all.”

“I get on the elevator, one of the workers at the hotel we’re staying at — she let me have it in terms of just screaming,” he continued with a smile. “‘Jalen Hurts is really on my elevator,’ just stuff like that. That’s special to me, and I know it won’t be like that forever. I’m just soaking it all in.”

You can watch Hurts’ full interview below:

Media Day followed the Senior Bowl Week introductory press conference that was held Monday evening.

RELATED: Senior Bowl Week kicks off in Mobile as director praises ‘beloved’ Jalen Hurts — ‘He’s come so far’

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

Byrne: Impeachment is nothing to smile about

For three years now, the American people have been forced to endure the efforts by Democrats and the liberal mainstream media to impeach President Trump and remove him from office in the face of his clear electoral victory in 2016. They have tried everything, from a needless special prosecutor investigation, which resulted in nothing, to an Adam Schiff-coached whistleblower who admitted he had no firsthand information and relied on news articles by that same liberal media.

The farce produced just two articles of impeachment, neither of which alleges “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors” as required by the Constitution. An unprecedented and totally partisan process in the House produced nothing that Democrats could even allege is impeachable.

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Then Nancy Pelosi, after insisting for weeks that impeachment couldn’t wait and had to be done by Christmas, held onto the articles, refusing to send them to the Senate as is required. This prolonged the spotlight on her, as the ever-worshipful liberal media gushed over her political brilliance, ignoring the inconvenient fact that her strategy of forcing the Senate to adopt her preferred process for the trial completely failed.

The Constitution is clear. While the House has “the sole Power of Impeachments,” the Senate has “the sole Power to try Impeachments.” And the Constitution clearly states that each house of Congress sets its own rules. Pelosi had no right or power to dictate trial rules to the Senate. Her behavior was unconstitutional and brought embarrassment and dishonor on the House. So, I filed a resolution censoring the speaker for her inappropriate behavior.

Finally, last week as Democrats began to abandon Pelosi’s position, she relented, and the House appointed seven “managers” to present the House’s articles and “case” to the Senate. Led by Schiff, who literally made-up words for the transcript of President Trump’s call to the President of Ukraine in his first day of impeachment “hearings,” and by the bumbling and incompetent Jerry Nadler, the House managers will finally have to behave according to the rules of a truly fair process, presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the competent John Roberts, who will tolerate none of the misbehavior the Democrats repeatedly engaged in as this mess moved through the House.

Pelosi couldn’t stand to lose her spotlight, and, in one last shameful act, had a “signing ceremony” where she and other Democrats smiled and laughed as she pronounced President Trump “impeached forever” and handed out pens. Even some of her adoring fans in the liberal media said she went too far.

What now? The Senate will meet every day except for Sundays beginning at 1:00 p.m. Every senator must attend. They cannot talk or bring electronic devices. They will initially hear the House managers’ “case” for the articles of impeachment, and then the president’s lawyers will finally be allowed to present his case. Be prepared for the House managers to be longwinded and ineffective. Be prepared for the president’s team to be briefer and speak clearly to the essential points of weakness in the articles. Then senators will be allowed to ask questions through Chief Justice Roberts.

What happens next is unclear. Will the Senate dismiss the articles? Will they acquit the president? Will they unnecessarily delay things further by calling witnesses? We don’t know.

But, we do know that not a single Republican voted for these articles in the House and even a few Democrats voted against them. One Democrat changed parties over the vote. We also know there are not nearly enough senators to meet the two-thirds threshold to remove President Trump from office. And we know this will have all been a complete waste of time.

This fall, in the general election, the American people will finally have their say, as the framers of our Constitution intended. I predict Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler won’t be smiling.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne is a Republican from Fairhope. He is a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate.

9 hours ago

Watch: Jessica Taylor touts ‘humble roots’, takes aim at ‘The Squad’ in first TV ad

Jessica Taylor, an attorney in Prattville seeking the Republican nomination for Alabama’s second congressional district, released her first television advertisement on Tuesday.

The ad, which is titled “My Squad,” is mostly composed of footage and soundbites from Taylor’s viral announcement video that garnered national attention.

The video begins by touting Taylor’s “humble roots,” and the candidate goes on to say she wants “to protect life, the Second Amendment, our borders and President Trump from socialists in the swamp”

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Taylor’s competitors in the March 3 Republican Primary will be former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, former State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) and Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman.

According to Taylor’s campaign, the spot “will air on broadcast and cable over the next two weeks in the Montgomery media market beginning this Wednesday.”

Predictably in an ad titled “My Squad,” the spot makes references to “The Squad” while displaying images of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

The Squad” is a group of four U.S. Representatives that are new to Congress, female and represent the furthest left wing of the Democratic Party. Cortez and Omar are two members of “The Squad” that have generated particular ire among Republican primary voters.

As a response to “The Squad,” Taylor led the effort to create the “Conservative squad,” which is composed of four female conservative Republicans currently seeking election to the House.

In a statement sent to reporters that accompanied the ad, Taylor said one of her goals in Congress would be to “fight back against radical socialists like AOC and Ilhan Omar.”

The spot also continues to use the language and iconography of basketball, which Taylor grew up playing.

“Alabama, put me in the game!” proclaims Taylor to conclude.

Watch:

11 hours ago

Bama’s Jared Mayden glad to be reunited with ‘natural leader’ Jalen Hurts for Senior Bowl

MOBILE — Reunited and it feels so good. That was the sentiment expressed by one of Jalen Hurts’ former University of Alabama Crimson Tide teammates during the Senior Bowl Week Media Day on Tuesday.

Hurts, of course, played for the Oklahoma Sooners this past season as a graduate transfer from Alabama. He finished as the runner-up in the 2019 Heisman Trophy voting.

He will play for the South Team during Saturday’s Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, as will the Tide’s Jared Mayden, Terrell Lewis, Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings.

As captured by Yellowhammer News, Mayden spoke with reporters during Media Day about how it feels being on the same field — and the same team — as Hurts once again.

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“It means a lot,” Mayden stressed. “Especially since he’s on my team [as opposed to playing against him on the North Team]. I’m glad he’s on my team because Jalen’s a leader, a natural leader. He doesn’t have to try too hard. It just seems like it comes natural to him. I know he’ll probably have some things to say that’ll get everybody ready to play. He did it at Bama; I expect no less from him [now]. So I’m excited to get the opportunity to play with him again.”

If you missed Yellowhammer’s coverage of the start of Senior Bowl Week, read more here.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn