The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather

    Excerpt:

    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower

    Excerpt:

    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships

    Excerpt:

    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

Carl: Texas Democrats’ cowardly stunt

(U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook)

The most basic responsibility of any elected lawmaker is to show up and vote, even when it’s tough. I’ve been in Congress for a little more than six months now, and I have lost count of the times I’ve had to vote against legislation that is bad for my district and bad for this country. Although it is easy to get frustrated, I continue showing up to do the job I was elected to do. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many lawmakers here in Washington and around the country fail to show up and do the job they were elected to do.

Last week, I witnessed one of the most ridiculous, cowardly acts I’ve ever seen from a group of grown adults. If you’ve been following the news, you likely saw where a group of at least 50 Texas House Democrats hopped on a plane to Washington, D.C., in a childish attempt to prevent the Texas State Legislature from meeting quorum and handling legislative business. The Texas Legislature is currently in the middle of a special session called by Republicans to consider an important election integrity bill, but this group of Democrats refuse to show up to work.

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The election integrity bill being debated right now in Texas has basic provisions to ensure fairness and integrity in elections, including requiring voter ID for mail-in ballots. This law would also prohibit bureaucrats from sending unsolicited mail-in ballots to people all over the state without any questions asked. Additionally, this law would require cameras and livestream access inside counting and early voting locations, and it would require signature verification. These are simple, common-sense ways to protect everyone’s right to vote while ensuring election security and integrity, but Democrat lawmakers in Texas care more about a political stunt than reality.

These actions by Texas Democrats are far from brave and courageous. Instead of working with their colleagues to address any concerns they might have with the legislation, they are hiding out hundreds of miles from home and refusing to engage in the legislative process. Sadly, what we’re seeing out of these Democrats in Texas is not much different than what I’ve seen out of numerous Democrats here in Washington. Many of them have hardly (if at all) shown up to work since the start of this Congress on January 3. I often sit in committee hearings with just a handful of folks because so many of my colleagues across the aisle can’t even show up to work.

When the people elect you to do a job and represent them, physically running away from your basic responsibilities is neither brave nor courageous – it’s cowardly. The American people deserve better than this. The primary responsibility of an elected official is to show up to work and vote for the best interests of their constituents, and it’s way past time for these Texas Democrats to return home and end this political circus.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina

2 weeks ago

Carl: Re-open the People’s House

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook, Wikicommons)

Last week, the effort to disassemble the giant wall around the United States Capitol Building began. While this is an important step as our nation returns to normal, the Capitol itself remains closed to the public with no signs of reopening soon. Since pandemic shutdowns in the United States began back in March of 2020, the Capitol has been completely closed off to the public. Never in its 228-year existence has the Capitol been closed for this long – not even during the War of 1812, the Civil War, the 1918 Spanish Flu or in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

With vaccines available to anyone who wants one and the entire country opening back up, there is no good reason to keep the People’s House closed off from the people. Americans have a guaranteed right in the First Amendment to “assemble peaceably and to petition their government,” but this is completely impossible when Congress continues operating behind locked doors.

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Across the country, weekly case numbers and hospitalizations are at their lowest point since March of 2020, so there is no valid reason to use health concerns as a reason to keep the Capitol closed. Not a single member of Congress or congressional staffer is known to have tested positive for COVID-19 in several months, plus the Office of the Attending Physician has vaccinated almost 90% of House members and staff. This vaccination rate far exceeds the percentage defined by health experts as the threshold for reaching herd immunity.

Most states have fully reopened and returned to normal, and Washington, D.C., lifted all COVID restrictions last month. Folks are able to safely gather in their places of worship, at sporting events, museums, etc., but they are still unable to step foot inside the Capitol. This is a total leadership failure by Speaker Pelosi and her Democratic majority, and it is an unhealthy and inefficient way for our Republic to operate.

Until the American people once again have access to petition their government and hold their leaders accountable, I will continue fighting against Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to keep the Capitol closed. I was proud to join 135 of my Republican colleagues last month on a letter to Speaker Pelosi strongly urging her to fully reopen the House. Although she has refused to respond or take any appropriate action, we will continue pushing back until the Capitol returns to normal operations and our First Amendment rights are restored.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

3 weeks ago

Carl: Democrats’ infrastructure deal is bad for Alabama

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook, Brett Patzke/Unsplash, YHN)

This past weekend as we celebrated Independence Day, many of you likely traveled to visit friends and family, or maybe even spent a relaxing day at the beach. If you traveled any distance, whether short or far, you probably noticed we have significant infrastructure needs as our region continues to grow and tourism traffic increases.

As a former county commissioner, I know firsthand how important it is to continually invest in real infrastructure – things like roads, bridges, airports, ports and waterways, and especially rural broadband. Unfortunately, Democrats’ misplaced infrastructure priorities were on full display last week as they rammed through their “My Way or the Highway” bill. I voted no on this bill because it has very little to do with infrastructure and had no money for infrastructure projects in south Alabama.

This legislation is a bad deal for south Alabama and the entire nation. It creates 41 new government programs, ties up half of the money meeting Green New Deal mandates, green lights the use of federal transit money on art or non-functional landscape, funnels even more of our tax dollars to a failed California High Speed Rail project, and removes bipartisan measures to prevent billions of tax dollars from being wasted on bureaucratic red tape.

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Even worse, this deal provides $4 billion for electric vehicle (EV) charging deployment, which will mostly flow to the Chinese government. Ironically, China is the world’s worst emissions producer, and the Chinese-controlled EV mineral chain is well-known for the use of child and slave labor. Republicans offered an amendment to ensure none of our tax dollars go to support these practices, but the Democrats immediately rejected it.

These policies and priorities obviously favor big cities in liberal states like New York and California, while leaving smaller, more rural states like Alabama in the dust. Hidden deep in this legislation is a terrible provision prohibiting states from building new roads or bridges until they first focus on what the federal government defines as good repair projects. The last thing we need in Alabama is the federal government telling us which local projects we are allowed to spend our money on.

Keeping up with population growth and economic growth are critical to the future of south Alabama, and we desperately need funding for projects such as increased access to rural broadband and a new bridge over the Mobile River. South Alabama is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, but we do have some real needs. Despite all the nonsense in Washington, I remain focused and committed on fighting for increased funding for actual infrastructure projects in south Alabama.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

4 weeks ago

Carl: Holding China accountable for COVID-19

(U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook)

Like many of you, I have lost several friends to COVID-19, and I know of countless others who fell seriously ill, lost their job or lost their business because of the virus. Unfortunately, virtually everybody in the United States and across the globe has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

From the earliest days of this virus spreading across the globe, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has actively and purposely deceived the entire world about the origins of the virus. As we learn more about the CCP’s role in the spread of the virus, it becomes increasingly clear that most of the losses we have all seen and suffered through could have been avoided if the CCP had been truthful with the world. The University of Southampton conducted a study and found if China had been truthful about the virus and had taken early steps to stop the spread, infections could have been reduced by up to 95%. They failed to be honest and transparent, and as a result, many millions have died and countless others have had their livelihood jeopardized.

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We cannot allow China to get away with this, and we must work together in a bipartisan way to seek the truth and hold China accountable for this deadly pandemic. Recently, I was proud to join more than 200 of my Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi demanding that she allow a congressional investigation into the origins of the virus. While this is a good first step, we still have a lot of work to do.

House Republicans have come up with a plan to find out the truth and hold China accountable. This plan outlines a number of basic steps, including declassifying all intelligence related to the origins of COVID-19, prohibiting our taxpayer dollars from funding any gain of function research done in China, prohibiting the National Institutes of Health from funding foreign governments who intend to harm the United States or our allies, completely overhauling the World Health Organization, sanctioning any organization or regime associated with the CCP or the coverup of COVID-19, giving families who lost a loved one to COVID-19 the opportunity to sue the Chinese government for damages, and stopping Beijing from hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Too many lives have been lost, too many businesses have been shuttered, and too many lives have been permanently changed because of this horrible virus. Now is the time to hold China accountable, and I’m committed to doing all I can to make sure this happens. We must find out the truth of the CCP’s role in the origins and spread of the virus, and we have to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

1 month ago

Carl: It’s time to get tough on Russia

(Wikicommons, President Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)

Last week, the world watched as President Biden traveled to the G7 Summit. While overseas, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss several important issues. I had high hopes for the meeting because there was much on the agenda for the two presidents to discuss, and it was President Biden’s first time as President to meet with Putin.

Putin is well known for testing other world leaders to see how far they will allow themselves to be pushed, and he’s doing just that with President Biden. Recently, we’ve seen the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline and the hacking of JBS SA, which is the largest meat producer in the world and supplies over a quarter of American supplies. While we still don’t know all the details behind these two attacks, we know they were carried out by Russian-backed hackers.

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These attacks on critical American infrastructure can’t be ignored or allowed to continue. Last week’s summit with Putin was the perfect time to make it clear the United States will not tolerate any attacks from Russian-backed interests. Instead, President Biden did nothing to hold Putin accountable and even gave him a list of infrastructure targets that should be off-limits to attacks. My list to Putin would have been much shorter: everything is off-limits.

I strongly urge President Biden to get tough on Russia and any other foreign adversary who wishes us harm, because we can’t allow attacks on American infrastructure to continue and go unanswered.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

1 month ago

Carl: Inflation is killing the working class

(U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook)

I’m old enough to remember the horrible inflation during the 1970s, and I hope we never live through something like that again. I will never forget driving to work one Friday in 1979 when I was hoping I had enough gas to make it to work that day and get my paycheck. I scrambled for every penny I could find and bought as much gas as I could afford that day, but it still wasn’t enough to carry me through. Luckily for me, I picked up a hitchhiker on the way to work. If it wasn’t for his $2, neither of us would have made it to work and back home that day.

During my travels all over Alabama in the last few years, I have sat down with countless people to learn what matters to them and what they care about. So many folks I’ve talked to are in very similar situations to the one I found myself in back in 1979. Each week, they carefully budget out what they can afford, and many have little to no room to spare by the end of the week. This is why inflation, which is simply an increase in the price of goods and services, directly impacts working-class Americans the most.

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With the lifting of pandemic restrictions and increasing rates of vaccinations, the vast majority of Americans are getting back to their normal routines. Finally, most folks are back to dining out, traveling and enjoying social activities. While this is great news, nearly every American is going to notice the sharp increase in the price of nearly everything because of unprecedented inflation in recent months.

I’m sure many of you have noticed the increase in prices recently. When I filled my truck up with gas a few days ago, I realized I was paying over $1 more per gallon than I was six months ago. The price of gas has increased 56.2% during the same time frame, and it continues to go through the roof. Even worse, when gas prices go up, the cost of nearly everything else increases with it.

Runaway government spending (including the trillions of dollars President Biden has pushed through on socialist programs), a labor shortage caused by Democrats’ willingness to pay people more to sit at home rather than work, and a constantly increasing federal deficit are driving inflation through the roof. A recent consumer price index report shows goods – including food, energy, groceries and housing costs – increased by 5% in the last year. For perspective, this is the fastest rate of inflation since just before the 2008 economic crisis, which was the worst recession since the Great Depression.

As inflation continues to increase, I’m reminded of the days when I was younger and found myself struggling to make ends meet because of rising costs for basic goods. The working class is the backbone of our nation, so it’s time we get serious about addressing this crisis and get to work building an economy that benefits all Americans.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 months ago

Carl: It’s time to hold Dr. Fauci accountable

(NIAID/Flickr, U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook, YHN)

As our country continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, I am reminded of the American resilience that has guided us for the past year. Nevertheless, we must reflect on lessons learned during the pandemic and seek answers to those questions that remain unanswered.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) became a well-known government official as a member of the Trump administration’s Coronavirus Task Force. During the Task Force’s weekly press briefings, Americans across the country paused to listen whenever Dr. Fauci offered his opinion on the pandemic and our country’s response to it. Dr. Fauci became incredibly powerful in his position during this time, and the American public originally was confident in his ability to lead our nation through the pandemic.

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Unfortunately, Dr. Fauci’s statements became incredibly confusing and contradictory over time. The American public, as well as our nation’s financial system, have been directly impacted by each of Dr. Fauci’s statements. Despite all of this, President Biden mistakenly appointed Dr. Fauci as his chief medical advisor and even retained him as director of the NIAID.

On June 1, 2021, more than 3,000 of Dr. Fauci’s emails were released to the public because of a Freedom of Information Act request. The contents of his emails have disturbed me greatly, and I think the American people deserve answers to some of Dr. Fauci’s statements and actions for the past year and a half. Many of my colleagues and I have urged the Democrats to thoroughly investigate the origins of COVID-19, but it is now time for Congress to expand its investigation by looking into Dr. Fauci’s emails and public statements.

Too often, public officials betray the public’s trust, and Dr. Fauci’s emails have already indicated he prefers being in the spotlight instead of honestly and faithfully carrying out his duties. As your congressman, I have a sworn duty to ensure officials in the executive branch are held accountable for their actions.

This week, I’m sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to direct Congress to investigate the contradictions between Dr. Fauci’s emails and his public statements so we can determine if Dr. Fauci financially benefitted from any part of this pandemic. As one of the highest-paid government employees, Dr. Fauci’s actions directly affect Americans, and the American people have every right to know the answers to these questions.

I will continue fighting to ensure Dr. Fauci, and any other government bureaucrat, is held accountable to the American people, and I hope Speaker Pelosi will take immediate action.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 months ago

Congressman Jerry Carl: Honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook, YHN)

As I spent time this Memorial Day Weekend relaxing on the farm with Tina, our kids, and our grandkids, I couldn’t help but think of how grateful I am to live in this country. Although we Americans have our disagreements and have been through some tough times together, we would not be here today without the sacrifice of so many men and women who have died in defense of our great nation. Over the course of our nation’s nearly 250-year history, more than one million men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice and have paid the cost of freedom for my family and yours.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to have lunch with some World War II and Korea veterans. I sat around the table listening to countless stories they recall from both wars, and I was especially struck by the stories of the bravery and courage shown by their fellow men and women in uniform who gave their life defending a nation they loved.

Conversations like the ones I had this past week with these veterans remind me just how fragile freedom is and why so many have willingly sacrificed their lives in defense of it. As President Reagan famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. The only way they can inherit the freedom we have known is if we fight for it, protect it, defend it and then hand it to them….”

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Although it can be easy to take this 3-day weekend for granted and simply enjoy a day off from work to have a backyard barbecue with friends and family, we owe it to the men and women who gave the last full measure of devotion to continue defending freedom and working together to continue creating a nation worthy of their sacrifice.

I hope you will join me not just this week, but every week, in honoring the fallen by living lives worthy of the sacrifices they made and by continuing to protect freedom for generations to come.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 months ago

Carl: Woke leftism is a threat to our military strength

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook)

In Congress, I sit on the House Armed Services Committee. I’m proud to support our men and women in uniform, while working to further strengthen our military and defense footprint in Alabama. Our military is the strongest and most capable in the world because of our unmatched technology and the unwavering dedication of our service members.

The primary mission of our military is to defend America and keep our enemies at bay. For more than two centuries, our military has been the toughest and most effective on the face of the planet, and we owe these brave men and women for keeping us free. Unfortunately, the woke leftism infiltrating our military’s civilian leadership in recent months poses a direct threat to the strength and capabilities of our fighting forces.

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While countries like Russia are running military recruiting ads highlighting the toughness required to be in their ranks, the U.S. military and CIA are running recruiting ads celebrating the diversity of the race, gender and sexuality of their recruits, rather than recruiting people based on their physical and mental ability to serve. Any person – regardless of race, gender or sexuality – who wants to sign up to defend our great nation should be allowed to do so, but their race, gender or sexuality should not be the primary reason they are hired.

People join the military because they want to serve their country by keeping it safe, being a force for good in the world, and fighting terrorism. This is why my son joined the Marines, and it’s why so many of our fellow Americans have answered the call to serve voluntarily. Our leaders should be focused on training and equipping our soldiers, airmen and sailors to carry out their primary mission rather than wasting time and money on distractions like diversity and inclusion training, which do nothing more than weaken and divide us.

Whether it’s Russian or Chinese aggression, or Iran’s continual build-out of its nuclear program, we have serious threats across the globe. Now, more than ever, it’s absolutely critical for the United States to maintain the strongest and most effective fighting force in the world. Rather than using our military to engage in a destructive and dangerous woke cultural crusade, we should be focused on recruiting the very best qualified men and women to protect and defend the United States of America for generations to come.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 months ago

Carl: Supporting Israel

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook)

Over the course of the past few days, Hamas has fired several thousand rockets at Israelis – both Jews and Arabs alike. Hamas has long been Iran’s proxy in the region, promoting conflict, hatred and violence in deliberate attempts to kill Israeli civilians.

Let’s be clear – Israel absolutely has a right to defend itself against these unwarranted and evil attacks. Additionally, the United States must continue supporting Israel and ensuring further cooperation between our two countries. For years, the United States has committed to supporting Israeli defense programs such as the Iron Dome. What we’ve seen in the past few weeks has highlighted how important these defense programs are and how important it is for the United States to provide continued support to Israel’s defense.

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A strong and secure Israel is critical to peace in the region, but Iran’s continued aggression in the Middle East is a significant threat to the region and the rest of the world. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the horrible Iran Nuclear deal, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was a huge step toward ensuring Iran and the terrorist groups it supports (such as Hamas) never get their hands on nuclear weapons.

During his first days in office, President Biden began taking steps to rejoin the deeply flawed Iran Nuclear Deal, which gives Iran the opportunity to continue growing their nuclear program while supporting and promoting terrorism around the world. I was proud to take immediate action by cosponsoring legislation to prevent President Biden from rejoining the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran poses a significant threat to regional and global security, and it would be a grave mistake for President Biden to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal without ensuring United Nations (UN) nuclear inspectors have access to all of Iran’s nuclear sites and the ability to finalize a comprehensive report on Iran’s nuclear activities.

The United States must continue leading to promote peace in the region, which will only happen by continuing to support Israel’s security and standing against the aggression of Iran and terrorist groups such as Hamas. Israel is a crucial ally in the war on terror and they continually provide us with key intelligence against terrorist activity around the globe. A strong and secure Israel is critical to regional and global security, and I will continue doing all I can to support and defend Israel.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

2 months ago

Carl: President Biden needs to wake up and address the border crisis

(Congressman Jerry Carl, President Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)

Several colleagues and I visited the U.S.-Mexico border to see firsthand the situation at the border. For many months, I’ve seen and heard countless reports about how bad the situation is, but I did not even come close to realizing the full extent of the crisis until I saw it with my own eyes.

On the trip, we met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who gave us a tour of the San Ysidro Port of Entry and different portions of the nearby border. They briefed us on what an average day is like at the border, and what we heard was unbelievable. Just that morning alone, more than 140 pounds of meth from smugglers attempting to cross the border had been seized by agents at this one port of entry. Agents told us they are absolutely overwhelmed and are unable to stop the flow of drugs, so all they can do is attempt to slow it down and stop some of the trafficking.

After spending time in San Diego, my colleagues and I visited Yuma, Arizona, where border patrol agents at Yuma Station informed us they seized 519 pounds of meth last week alone. Meanwhile, they are seeing a 600% increase in the number of illegal border crossings this year. Many of the people attempting to cross the border are not from Mexico or anywhere in Central or South America – in fact, they are seeing attempted crossings by people from more than 140 different countries.

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I also saw firsthand how important it is to finish the wall on the southern border. The wall is extremely effective, but President Biden stopped construction of it as soon as he took office. We already have materials on the ground to build more of the wall, but they are all just sitting in piles not being used. Border patrol agents told us they are having to move agents around to plug these gaps in the wall, which is putting a critical strain on their manpower.

People from all over the world are flying into Mexico and are getting bussed to the border so they can take advantage of President Biden’s leadership failures and seek asylum in America. Even worse, many Democrats are calling to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the only agency with the authority to hold people for more than 72 hours. Without ICE fully funded and operational, cartels can flood a particular spot on the border for days at a time and overwhelm border patrol agents, who do not have the authority to hold people for more than 72 hours. As a result, border patrol agents are left with no option other than bussing migrants into the United States and relocating them wherever they can find room. This is unacceptable, and it needs to stop now.

When people think of Alabama, they think of community, family, strong American values, and of course football, but unfortunately our way of life is being threatened by the horrific situation at the border. Although Alabama does not share a border with Mexico, drugs are being trafficked into the United States and transported right into my district in south Alabama. The cartels are able to haul drugs from the southern border to Alabama within 24 hours, where they end up in the hands of our children and our grandchildren. This is unacceptable and despite the incredible work being done by border patrol and law enforcement agencies, drugs are flowing all over America and are crippling our communities.

Without a serious change in policy from this Administration, there is no end in sight to this crisis. Even before taking office, President Biden’s rhetoric encouraged people to come to the United States illegally, and since being in office he has failed to enforce our immigration laws and continue building the wall. I am urging the president and vice president to visit the border and finally take this crisis serious. Let’s build the wall, secure our border, and make the health and safety of American citizens our top priority. President Biden and Vice President Harris can no longer ignore this crisis. The time to act is now.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.

3 months ago

Carl: Biden’s first 100 days — A failure to lead

(Congressman Jerry Carl, President Joe Biden/Facebook)

When President Biden ran for office, he promised to work in a bipartisan manner for the betterment of all Americans. In an attempt to build goodwill, several colleagues and I sent President Biden a letter on his first day in office letting him know we would like a seat at the table on specific issues such as infrastructure and COVID relief, but our requests have been entirely ignored. Last week marked President Biden’s first 100 days in office – during that time, he has failed to meet with Republican leadership and has chosen to govern in a partisan manner with his pen and paper.

President Biden’s failure to enforce our immigration laws has caused an unprecedented crisis at the border, but he refused to admit to his wrongdoing. Vice President Harris was appointed “border czar” weeks ago but has not made a single trip to the border and has not offered a single plan to address the crisis. It’s time to get serious about this crisis: let’s finish the wall, reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy, implement Title 42 (which President Trump used to control the flow of migrants), require a negative COVID test before the release of all migrants, and send a clear message that absolutely nobody should come to the U.S. illegally.

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President Biden has also failed to lead on a reasonable infrastructure plan. Whether it’s improved roads and bridges or increased access to rural broadband, virtually all Americans would agree our nation’s infrastructure needs improvement and expansion. Unfortunately, President Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan would result in more than $2 trillion being borrowed from you and your children and would have almost nothing to do with infrastructure. The facts are clear – less than 6% of this “infrastructure” plan would go toward what you and I consider infrastructure. Most of this money would go toward radical Green New Deal provisions and unsustainable projects. Even worse, this plan would put more money into electric vehicle charging stations than roads and bridges. This is simply unacceptable.

The Biden administration has also gone on a crusade against our 2nd Amendment rights. President Biden, who was a leader behind the 1993 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, has made it clear he intends to take his anti-gun crusade even further. He is determined to strip law-abiding Americans of their 2nd Amendment rights, while doing nothing to address the real causes of gun violence. The 2nd Amendment is crystal clear, though: the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I have already been working with my colleagues to make sure these gun-grabbing proposals are dead on arrival, and I will never stop fighting to protect our rights.

Whether it’s failing to address the border crisis, borrowing trillions of dollars from you to pay for his radical agenda, attempting to erode our 2nd Amendment rights, or killing thousands of jobs with harmful executive orders, President Biden has been a disappointing failure during his first days in office. Despite this, I remain committed to fighting for you and making sure your voice is heard in Washington. I will continue doing my part to hold this administration accountable and ensure our rights and our freedoms are never trampled.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

3 months ago

Carl: Backing the blue

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook)

For the last few years, police officers around the country have been retiring or quitting their jobs in record numbers. The New York Police Department alone had 5,300 uniformed officers retire or quit in 2020, which is 15% of the total number of officers on their entire force. This is nearly double the rate who retired or quit during the previous year. So far this year, 830 additional officers have left the NYPD. The anti-police sentiment brewing in many parts of the country, coupled with historically low pay and working incredibly long, tough hours has taken an awful toll on the morale of law enforcement nationwide.

Making matters worse, several Democrats in Congress have repeatedly made comments contributing to anti-police sentiment. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) tweeted a few more weeks ago saying, “No more policing, incarceration, it can’t be reformed.” More recently, Maxine Waters (D-CA) told violent rioters to “get more confrontational.” This rhetoric is not only unacceptable for members of Congress, but also it has real consequences that affect our communities directly.

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Last week, I spent time with local law enforcement discussing ways I can better support them from the federal level. After spending 8 years on the county commission working closely with our local law enforcement, I know how hard they work, and I understand just how important it is for them to have the support of elected officials and the communities they serve.

I invited all our local sheriffs and police chiefs to a roundtable to share with me what their needs and concerns are, and so we could discuss ways I can help them as they work to recruit high-quality officers and secure the best technology and equipment. I also took time Friday afternoon to do a ride-along with Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson so I could see firsthand what a day in his life is like. Folks like Sheriff Jackson work tirelessly to keep south Alabama a safe place to live, work, and raise a family, and I’m incredibly grateful for their service.

Now, more than ever, our local law enforcement is in desperate need of increased resources as well as support from the communities they serve. Police officers willingly choose a tough job with long hours and inadequate pay, so it is critical for us to give them the support and respect they need. South Alabama is blessed with incredible law enforcement officers, and I will continue doing all I can to support them from the federal level.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

3 months ago

Carl: Democrats’ court-packing plan is bad for Americans

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook, Nancy Pelosi/Flickr, YHN)

Democrats have been struggling to force their radical agenda through Congress, so now they are trying to pack the Supreme Court by adding 4 additional justices. House Democrats, led by Jerry Nadler, unveiled the Judiciary act of 2021 last week, which would ultimately expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices.

After the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last year, President Trump had effectively managed to reshape the Supreme Court for the next several decades (which is arguably one of his most tangible accomplishments). Thanks to President Trump, the Supreme Court now has a 6-3 majority, creating a huge problem for Democrats. Unable to ram through their radical agenda without interference from the courts, many Democrats are now seeking to change any rule they find a nuisance or a hinderance. That’s nothing new for them, though.

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Until recently, there have not been any serious attempts to pack the courts. The most recent attempt was by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937. When the Supreme Court repeatedly struck down various pieces of New Deal legislation, FDR decided he would simply change the rules. He made a proposal to add more members to the court, but the proposal was ultimately struck down by Congress and the number of seats remained at 9 – the same number of seats since 1869.

President Biden did not take a clear stance on court-packing during the 2020 presidential campaign, but in 1983, then-Senator Joe Biden said court-packing was a “bonehead idea.” He also went so far as to say during a 2019 primary debate that packing the Supreme Court would destroy “any credibility the court has at all.” However, since taking office, Biden has been laying the groundwork for a commission to study expanding the Supreme Court.

Despite efforts by many Democrats in the House to pack the court, Nancy Pelosi has realized how strong the opposition to court-packing is among House Republicans and even some House Democrats. Soon after the Judiciary Act of 2021 was introduced last week, Pelosi was forced to go on the record and admit she does not have the votes to bring this court-packing legislation to the floor for a vote. Even though the Democrats have a majority in the House, the margins are extremely thin, so Pelosi can no longer completely ignore Republican opposition to her radical agenda.

Packing the Supreme Court would further politicize the institution and would be a horrible deal for all Americans. Several of my Republican colleagues and I have sponsored a resolution that, if enacted, would add an amendment to the Constitution permanently limiting the Supreme Court to 9 justices. I am optimistic that our efforts to stop this dangerous court-packing plan will be successful so we can stop this partisan power grab and protect our nation’s institutions.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

3 months ago

Carl: The fight to protect the 2nd Amendment

(U.S. Representative Jerry Carl/Facebook)

Last month, House Democrats rammed through two pieces of sweeping gun control legislation: H.R. 8 – Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 and H.R. 1446 – Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. I voted against these unconstitutional attempts to strip away the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. These pieces of legislation would effectively give the federal government unprecedented control over firearm transfers by making the background check waiting period indefinite and criminalizing the transfer or loan of a gun to a law-abiding citizen.

House Republicans have been fighting these unconstitutional efforts tooth and nail. When the Democrats brought H.R. 8 to the floor, Republicans offered an amendment to ensure U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is notified when an illegal immigrant is attempting to purchase a firearm. This amendment is critical to protect the safety of the American people, especially at a time when there is a massive surge of illegal immigrants across our southern border because of President Biden’s failure to lead and enforce our immigration laws. Unfortunately, House Democrats refused to even consider this common-sense amendment to protect law-abiding Americans.

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Sadly, gun-grabbing efforts by liberals have gone even further recently. Just last week, President Biden made clear his intentions to continue ripping apart our 2nd Amendment rights when he erroneously claimed, “no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.” President Biden, falsely stating there is an exemption on background checks for guns purchased at gun shows, called on the Senate to pass H.R. 8 to ban private gun sales unless done through a licensed dealer. The President also called for the repeal of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which protects the gun manufacturing industry from lawsuits related to the criminal misuse of guns.

Despite these attempts, several of my colleagues and I are working hard to protect the 2nd Amendment. One measure I’ve taken is cosponsoring the Gun Owner Registration Information Protection (GRIP) Act, which would put an end to these two sweeping gun control measures. The GRIP Act would clarify existing law prohibiting the federal government from storing information acquired during the firearms background check process. Additionally, it would clarify the prohibition on the use of any federal funding by states or local entities for the storage or listing of sensitive, personal information related to the legal ownership or possession of firearms.

President Biden and House Democrats have an embarrassingly poor understanding of the 2nd Amendment, but the 2nd Amendment is clear – the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. I will continue fighting any attempts to trample our Constitution and erode our most fundamental rights, and I will continue standing up for our values and our way of life in Congress.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

4 months ago

Carl: South Alabama’s critical contributions to national security

(Austal USA/Flickr)

Whether it’s Austal USA in Mobile, Fort Rucker in the Wiregrass, Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery or Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama’s contribution to our nation’s military strength and defense programs is critical to national security. The United States faces many security threats in the 21st century, including China’s aggression and Iran’s buildout of its nuclear program, but Alabama continues to be on the cutting edge of ensuring Americans are safe and secure at home and abroad.

In Congress, I have the privilege of serving on the House Armed Services Committee, where I’m one of just eight Republicans serving on the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over Navy and Marine programs related to shipbuilding, tankers, cargo aircraft, ship and submarine-launched weapons, and much more. As a member of the House Armed Service Committee, I work every day to ensure the Pentagon spends our tax dollars wisely and efficiently, while also advocating for the defense interests of our district and our state.

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Alabama’s First Congressional District is home to Austal USA, which plays a major role in Alabama’s defense contributions. Austal USA’s 3,500 employees have been building high-quality aluminum ships for the U.S. Navy, and most recently, they broke ground on their new steel manufacturing line, making them the most major modern shipbuilder in the U.S. Austal USA is the only major defense shipbuilder in the U.S. to provide both aluminum and steel ship solutions.

A few days ago, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker visited AL-01 to tour Austal USA. I was proud to have the opportunity to host Secretary Harker on a tour of Austal USA’s manufacturing facility, where we were able to showcase the steel investment and modernization underway at the shipyard. Austal has made a great name for themselves in our community, and I’m proud of how our local, state and federal officials consistently work together to support them and their employees.

I am fighting to further strengthen Alabama’s military and defense footprint on the House Armed Services Committee. Whether it’s fighting from the federal level to ensure Austal USA continues growing and building world-class ships right here in Mobile, or supporting our men and women in uniform, I am committed to improving on our state’s immense contributions to the defense of the United States.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

4 months ago

Carl: Keep AOC and Bernie Sanders out of Alabama

(Gage Skidmore/Flickr, Congressman Jerry Carl, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez/Facebook, YHN)

Alabama is the best place to live, work and raise a family. This is why I am proud to be born and raised in Alabama, and it’s why I chose to raise my family here. Unfortunately, out of state liberals, including AOC, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have recently been hard at work trying to fundamentally change Alabama to be more like California and New York.

Most recently, AOC, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been at the forefront of the effort to change Alabama’s right-to-work laws. Since 1943, Alabama has been a right-to-work state, which employees and employers have benefitted greatly from. Alabama’s right-to-work laws provide employees with much flexibility, and they are a major reason why so many companies (and workers) are leaving states like California and New York to come to states like Alabama.

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Ballots are due this week at Amazon’s Bessemer, AL, plant to determine whether to become unionized, and liberals from all over the U.S. have decided to get involved in attempts to influence the outcome of the vote. Instead of minding the business of their own states, AOC and Bernie Sanders have decided to involve themselves in decisions that should be made by Alabamians alone.

Last Friday, Bernie Sanders traveled to Bessemer to rally workers, and AOC has been hard at work tweeting her opinions about Amazon and the Alabamians who work there. After torpedoing an Amazon project in New York that had the potential to bring thousands of jobs to her area, AOC has already proven she really does not have the best interest of workers in mind. However, I am confident Alabamians are smart enough to see through her campaign to obliterate worker’s rights.

Democrats are not stopping there, though. Earlier this month, House Democrats rammed through H.R. 842 – The PRO Union Bosses Act. I voted no because this act harms employers and American workers while lining the pockets of union bosses. I also offered an amendment to protect the flexibility enjoyed by independent contractors and workers in the emerging gig economy (i.e. Uber drivers), but Democrats immediately refused to consider it.

Federal labor laws should empower workers with the choices and opportunities they need to succeed. Legislation like H.R. 842, however, holds workers back and violates their rights by eliminating right-to-work laws across the country. Alabamians, and all Americans, should have the right to work without being union members or being forced to pay union dues against their wishes. The last thing we need is out-of-state liberals like AOC, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren telling us how to live our lives and raise our families here in Alabama.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

4 months ago

Carl: Protecting critical GOMESA revenues

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook)

For the past 15 years, Alabama has benefitted significantly from revenues received through the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA). The GOMESA program sets aside 37.5% of federal royalties from new Gulf oil and natural gas drilling leases for the four Gulf oil-producing states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The funds can be used for coastal conservation projects, coastal preservation projects and for hurricane protection.

GOMESA funds are critical to South Alabama and are used for projects like boat ramps, shoreline restorations, bike trails and nature park enhancements. Last year alone, GOMESA funds supported more than $26 million worth of projects in South Alabama. Just a few of these projects include: $4 million to Gulf State Park, nearly $4 million to Dauphin Island Sea Lab, $3 million for nature parks expansion and enhancements in the City of Foley, and several million dollars for improvements to public boat ramps and parking all over south Alabama.

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Unfortunately, one of President Biden’s myriad of executive orders during his first days in office established an indefinite moratorium on new oil and gas leases in federal waters, “pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of Federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices.” This decision has already directly impacted South Alabama, with the cancellation of a previously-scheduled lease sale last week. Each year, local county commissioners and municipal governments plan projects based on forecasted GOMESA funds. However, if lease sales continue to be canceled indefinitely, our coastal communities and the four Gulf producing states will be denied a vital source of funding for years to come.

This week, I introduced the Gulf Conservation and Recreation Funding Act,” requiring the Department of Interior to pay the Gulf states what they are missing out on in additional GOMESA revenues due to canceled leases going forward. As long as President Biden’s moratorium remains in place, the Department of Interior would have to pay Gulf states each fiscal year any difference between what they collected in normal GOMESA revenues that fiscal year and the average revenues collected for the prior three fiscal years.

President Biden has declared war on the oil and gas industry, which is already destroying jobs and harming our local economy. Despite claiming to care about the environment, he is denying Alabama and the Gulf Coast of a primary source of funding for important environment restoration and conservation. This is wrong, and I am fighting to hold the Biden administration accountable for its destructive actions.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

4 months ago

Carl: Crisis on the border

(U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr, President Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)

President Biden’s immigration policies have created a crisis on the border he can no longer afford to ignore. Despite his administration’s unwillingness to recognize the situation on the border as a serious humanitarian crisis, federal authorities have struggled to control this situation as a massive surge of migrants attempt to enter the U.S. illegally. Just last month, over 100,000 migrants attempted to cross the border, which is more than three times the number of attempts one year prior.

President Biden needs to realize his campaign promises and actions since taking office have created a crisis on the border which compromises the safety of law-abiding Americans. On the campaign trail, President Biden promised to ease immigration controls and put a moratorium on deportations, signaling to asylum-seekers the likelihood of gaining entry to the United States. He has further exacerbated the problem with his proposed immigration bill offering asylum and a pathway to citizenship to most of the illegal immigrants who are already in the United States.

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The crisis on our border will continue growing if President Biden does not get serious and change his course of action. During his first days in office, he chose to no longer enforce a Trump-era rule applying Title 42 of the Public Health Safety Act to minors, which allowed the temporary suspension of entry of a person “when doing so is required in the interest of public health.” He also ended the Remain in Mexico policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting trial. These two decisions have contributed greatly to the massive influx of asylum seekers and the inhumane overcrowding at detention facilities.

A recent CBS report shows Border Patrol is currently dealing with a backlog of more than 4,000 unaccompanied minors, with more than 3,200 already having been held longer than the legal limit. One Customs and Border Patrol facility in Texas is now at 729% capacity and continues growing. This is unacceptable. Just this past weekend, the White House was forced to dispatch the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist with the ever-growing surge across the border.

President Biden’s reckless immigration policies and his failure to enforce our many immigration laws have created an unprecedented crisis at our border. We are a nation of law and order, and we must have a strong border to protect the health, safety and security of the American citizens. It’s more important now than ever to secure the border and fix the Biden Border Crisis before it gets even further out of hand.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

5 months ago

Carl: Fighting for election integrity

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook)

Last week, House Democrats pushed through H.R. 1 – For the People Act, which should have been named For the Politicians Act, because it aims to radically transform our elections by taking election decisions away from the people and giving more power to bureaucrats. This act utilizes taxpayer money to fund campaigns, legalizes ballot harvesting, weaponizes the IRS for political gain, and mandates felons be allowed to vote. Election integrity is one of the most pressing issues facing our nation, and while many in Congress attempt to further undermine our elections process, I’m committed to fighting for common sense rules that reflect the principle of 1 person, 1 vote.

H.R. 1 further undermines America’s faith in our elections by expanding mail-in voting, mandating same-day registration, banning state voter ID laws, and banning multi-state cross-checks. It would entirely overhaul how our elections are run by imposing California-style elections on states like Alabama. The primary authority to regulate elections would be taken away from the states and given to Washington bureaucrats. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and the rest of Alabama’s election officials do an outstanding job managing Alabama’s elections, and the last thing we need is the federal government interfering with how we run our elections.

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Congress should be working to restore America’s faith in our elections, rather than imposing dangerous big-government mandates on states. I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the Save Democracy Act, which promotes free and fair elections, respects the primary authority of states over election administration, and does not allow taxpayer money to be used for federal campaigns. The Save Democracy Act would prohibit automatic and same-day voter registration, require an ID to vote via mail or in person, and would require states to audit ballot tabulation systems within 30 days of an election.

Over the course of the past few months, we have collectively witnessed a crisis of confidence in our nation’s election systems, and it’s time we get serious about addressing this issue. A recent Gallup poll found more than 59% of Americans are not confident in the honesty of U.S. elections, and voter confidence is measurably worse only in Chile and Mexico. It’s critical we implement common sense election reforms to restore the integrity of our elections and restore America’s confidence in our democratic process because every American has the right to vote in a free and fair election and to know their vote is counted accurately.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

5 months ago

Carl: Honoring South Alabama’s hometown heroes

(Brian Copes/Facebook, University of South Alabama, Fairhope UMC, Chickasaw United Methodist Church/Facebook, YHN)

Last week, I had the honor of recognizing several hometown heroes in South Alabama who have made an impact in their community over the past year. This past year has been tough on millions of Americans as we battle the COVID pandemic and endure countless hardships, but I’m proud of so many folks in South Alabama who make our community a better place.

Brian Copes, a manufacturing instructor for the City of Chickasaw school system is leading an effort to develop inexpensive prosthetic limbs that will change the lives of many amputees throughout Latin America. Students from all disciplines have been working together to create a real non-profit business, and eventually, these students will travel to Latin America to not only fit amputees but also to aid the amputees in rehabilitation as they learn to walk with their new prosthetics.

Natalie Fox, assistant administrator and chief nursing officer for USA Physicians Group and USA Health, has been the lead coordinator of the University of South Alabama’s Health system community testing and vaccination site for the Mobile region. To date, she has overseen the successful implementation of over 26,000 COVID-19 vaccinations administered since December 15 and over 50,000 COVID tests performed since the pandemic began. Natalie has worked tirelessly to meet the high demands on the health care system for the past year, and we are incredibly thankful for her hard work and dedication to the people of South Alabama.

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Jennifer Myrick of Fairhope has been a critical figure in recovery efforts after Hurricanes Sally and Zeta. Jennifer worked through the Fairhope United Methodist Church to set up an independent point of distribution to hand out crucial supplies to the public. She also headed up a feeding program with those supplies and is an active member of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster through Baldwin County Emergency Management where she helped fulfill many needs throughout the county. Jennifer also worked with the Fairhope Police Department to keep officers, dispatchers and corrections officers fed during a long stretch following the hurricanes.

Kathy Couey, the recreation superintendent for the City of Chickasaw goes above and beyond the day-to-day responsibilities to make the city a better and healthier place for families to live. Her creativity is limitless and she has a true servant’s heart. With so many people working and learning from home over the past year, staying active and getting outdoors has been critical to people’s physical and mental health. Kathy’s hard work has made Chickasaw a better place to live and raise a family.

Virtually no person across our country has not been impacted in some way by the pandemic, natural disasters and the countless other challenges that have come our way over the course of the past year or so. Although we are living in difficult times, I couldn’t be prouder to be an American, and I couldn’t be more thankful for so many incredible people all over my district and all over the nation who work hard each day, not for fame, recognition, or money, but for the betterment of their friends and neighbors. This is what makes America strong, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to recognize just a few of these unsung heroes who have made an impact on their community during this past year.

If you know of a hometown hero who has made a difference in your community and would like to nominate them to be recognized, please send their name, location, description and a photo to honorahero.carl@gmail.com by March 12 so they can be recognized.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

5 months ago

Carl: Alabama schools serve as a model for safe in-person learning

(Jerry Carl for Congress/Facebook)

Late last year, Governor Ivey urged school districts in Alabama to reopen schools and allow students the option to return to the classroom, while many school districts across the country continued with virtual learning. Alabama was ahead of the curve on what recent CDC guidance made clear – with reasonable health precautions like distancing and wearing masks, students and teachers could safely return to the classroom and resume in-person learning. In Alabama, most of our students have been back in the classroom since late last year, and time has proven classrooms are safe and the transmission and infection rates in schools are incredibly low. School districts across the country should look to Alabama as a model for how to safely get students back in the classroom.

Although it will likely be years before we know the full impact remote learning has on our students, we are already seeing negative impacts on students across the nation. Multiple studies have shown students are falling significantly behind academically, with younger and lower-income students disproportionately suffering. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), Virginia’s largest school system just outside of D.C., compared data from 2019 and 2020, and what they found was shocking. The percentage of Fs earned by middle and high schoolers nearly doubled and students with disabilities saw a massive spike in Fs. It will be nearly impossible for students to make up for this lost time, putting them at a severe disadvantage as they enter the workforce in the future.

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The impact on students’ grades is just one small part of the picture, though. What is even more concerning is the toll virtual learning and isolation have taken on the mental health of students everywhere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports mental health emergency room visits for children aged 5-17 increased by 25-30% between March and October of 2020, which is an alarming statistic. Experts at the Medical University of South Carolina report the number of children attempting or completing suicide has skyrocketed in recent months, and one of the primary causes of this is the isolation resulting from virtual learning.

Schools are more than just a place for academic instruction – in fact, schools perform many different functions critical to the development of young people. For 50% of our state’s public-school students, school is the primary source for nutritious free meals and healthcare. For most, schools are the primary source of socialization and character development. The science is clear that students belong in the classroom, and Alabama has proven this over the past six months. The rest of the nation should follow Alabama’s example and allow our students back in the classroom where they belong.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

5 months ago

Carl: The problem with Biden’s proposed $15 federal minimum wage

(Pixabay, Joe Biden/Facebook, YHN)

President Biden has said one of his top priorities is creating new jobs and “growing the economy for all Americans.” One way he seeks to do this is by increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour between now and 2025. The unfortunate reality is such a move would result in significant increases in unemployment for younger and less-educated workers who typically work entry-level minimum wage jobs, even though President Biden claims it would increase employment and increase wages for these workers.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, despite lifting 900,000 people out of poverty, would cause 1.4 million people to lose their job due to layoffs, outsourcing and automation. Simply put, implementing such a significant wage increase on many small businesses would force business owners to cut their workforce and increase prices for their goods and services. The CBO also found that raising the federal minimum wage would add another $54 billion to the federal deficit over the next 10 years.

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By imposing the labor costs of urban areas like New York City or Los Angeles on rural areas and rural states with lower costs of living, a drastically increased federal minimum wage would drive countless small business in states like Alabama to significantly increase their prices or lay off employees. These layoffs would disproportionately affect younger and unskilled laborers, who depend on minimum wage jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of minimum wage earners are between 16 and 24 years old. Minimum wage jobs often provide younger workers the opportunity to learn and develop key skills which enable them to move up the economic ladder and earn more money down the road.

While the immediate effects of increasing the minimum wage might temporarily improve the lives of entry-level earners, we must take into account the long-term repercussions of such a decision. If the federal government mandates a wage hike across the board, many young workers will lose out on the opportunity to work entry-level jobs and develop key skills they will need down the road to earn more money. Increasing the threshold of entry into the job market will have devastating impacts on the earning potential for younger workers. Instead of more government mandates, we should be focused on pro-growth policies that enable businesses to grow, while giving workers the opportunity to develop their skills and increase their earnings throughout the entirety of their career journey.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.

6 months ago

Carl: Democrats’ bad budget deal

(Congressman Jerry Carl/Facebook, YHN)

Last week, House Democrats passed a budget resolution that provides them with a framework to pass a budget without input from a single Republican, even though Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that we are willing to come to the table and work together in a bipartisan fashion for the good of the American people. Congress has yet to hold even a single committee hearing on a budget, and Democrats are bypassing the process in an attempt to advance their radical agenda and ultimately rush through President Biden’s proposed budget.

I voted against this budget resolution because it is nothing more than a vehicle which will allow Democrats to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, Congress has provided more than $4 trillion in aid to individuals, business owners, and local and state governments. More than $1.3 trillion of this aid remains unused and is still available for the federal response to the pandemic, so it is unwise and irresponsible to rush through another emergency COVID spending package.

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With the U.S. debt nearing $28 trillion, we cannot afford to keep spending at such unsustainable levels. The pandemic is a looming problem that certainly must be addressed, but we must avoid making today’s solutions become tomorrow’s unsolvable problems. Biden’s relief bill ignores hardworking Americans who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, while providing billions of dollars in bailout money to governors who used lockdowns and economic shutdowns to harm political opponents. This is unacceptable.

Democrats are using the budget resolution as a blank check to fundamentally change America through a rushed partisan process. This establishes a dangerous precedent that will lead to further increases of the deficit while doing nothing to help Americans who need relief. Instead of giving cash bailouts and increasing spending without due process, we should be working together to provide targeted aid to people who have been directly affected by the pandemic. Getting these folks back on their feet and getting our businesses safely opened back up should be our top priority as we work to overcome the pandemic.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.