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5 months ago

Byrne praises Shelby for leading charge on final passage of bill which funds Veterans Affairs, military construction, nuclear security, energy and water infrastructure

Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) issued a statement praising Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) in response to overwhelming passage of the first government funding package for Fiscal Year 2019, which included important bills for Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water Development, Military Construction and the Legislative Branch.

Shelby, the powerful chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is currently spearheading a historic effort to fund the government in a deliberate and timely way. The three-bill appropriations “minibus” bill that passed on Thursday includes the most money ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs and maintains a congressional pay freeze.

Byrne praised Shelby for steering Congress back towards regular order and a process where spending bills are passed separately instead of all at once in an “omnibus” bill, which can lead to government shutdown threats and partisan hackery regarding critical funding.

“This is a step in the right direction toward passing individual, targeted government funding bills instead of settling for a massive omnibus bill at the last minute. I want to especially commend Senator Richard Shelby for his work to end the backlog in the Senate and move the appropriations process forward,” Byrne said in a statement.

He continued, “This funding package includes the highest dollar level ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides funding necessary to make improvements to our military infrastructure, increases funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, and supports our nuclear national security strategy.”

Some of the bill’s highlights:

  • Includes the highest dollar level ever for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This includes funds for new and expanded Mission Act programs, increases in mental health services, modernizing the VA’s health records system, and addressing the claims backlog.
  • Supports a strong nuclear national security strategy, including nuclear weapons security programs, the maintenance and readiness of the nuclear stockpile and Naval nuclear reactors.
  • Increases funding for the nation’s water resources infrastructure, which will boost navigation and flood control improvements.
  • Promotes economic competitiveness and energy independence with funding for energy programs, including protecting the safety of the nation’s electrical grid and investments in fossil and nuclear energy research.
  • Provides resources for improved infrastructure for our military service members and their families, including vital construction projects for deterrence operations, unique training requirements to counter challenges posed by Russia and threats from the Middle East and Africa, infrastructure and facilities construction and improvements on U.S. military bases and housing for all 1,400,000 military families currently served.
  • Opens the door for Congressional service to students and young people of all economic backgrounds by dedicating funds for paid internships.
  • Continues the Member of Congress pay freeze.

Byrne concluded, “This is a first step. We should continue to pass targeted government funding bills that reflect our Alabama and conservative priorities.”

Shelby explained some of the key provisions of the funding package.

“This conference report contains critical funding to help transition our nation’s veterans to the new health care program they deserve and have earned under the VA Mission Act,” Shelby outlined.

“It funds nearly 200 construction projects that are very important to America’s military and provides resources to bolster American energy and secure our nuclear weapons stockpile. The bill also provides funding to develop and maintain water infrastructure projects across the country,” he added.

Alabama’s senior senator also gave his insight on the importance of his mission to overhaul the appropriations process.

“This is a far cry from where we were just a few months ago,” Shelby said. “Along the way I have pointed out that we have steadily consolidated critical mass for a return to regular order in the appropriations process. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that our partisan disputes on a given issue should not paralyze this institution’s ability to carry out its most fundamental Constitutional responsibility: funding the government.”

Shelby continued, “Both parties see failure in this regard as harmful to our country as a whole – and both parties understand success in this regard benefits us all because it provides the stability and continuity that leads to security and prosperity.”

Looking forward, Shelby has Congress on track to accomplish something unheard of for many years.

“I thank my colleagues for their hard work in making this aspiration a reality. If we continue to work together in a bipartisan manner we can successfully fund nearly 90 percent of the federal government on time through regular order – something Congress has not been able to do in many years,” Shelby concluded.

In his floor speech on Wednesday before the funding package passed, Shelby lamented the state of Washington and the mainstream media’s fixation on chaos.

“Despite the importance of this package and the strong bipartisan support I expect it to receive, its passage will be greeted by little fanfare. Unfortunately that’s the way it is today, where partisan clashes make better copy than bipartisan cooperation.  But so be it,” he said.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 mins ago

Alabama prep star Maori Davenport drops suit against AHSAA

An Alabama high school basketball star who had been ruled ineligible dropped a lawsuit against the Alabama High School Athletic Association shortly after her senior season ended.

Pike County Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan dismissed the suit Wednesday at the request of Maori Davenport’s mother, Tara.

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The Charles Henderson star had sued the AHSAA and director Steve Savarese after she was ruled ineligible for accepting a payment from USA Basketball.

She played for Team USA last summer and received an $857.20 stipend, which was repaid.

The judge ordered Davenport’s temporary reinstatement and the case was twice delayed, meaning the Rutgers signee was able to play the season’s final five weeks.

Charles Henderson was eliminated Wednesday at the Class 5A state regional.

Jim Williams, an attorney representing the AHSAA, says his side did not have a chance to file an objection and “we did not consent to the dismissal.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

 

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1 hour ago

7 Things: Mueller probe could be over, Byrne officially the first Republican in 2020 U.S. Senate race, Alabama law forces government to give newspapers money and more …

7. Hate crime hoaxer has been arrested and charged with “filing a false police report

— Reports out of Chicago don’t look good for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett as a grand jury has returned a felony indictment for what the Cook County district attorney believes was a fabricated hate crime to garner publicity. This is not the first time Smollett lied to the police. He pleaded no contest to providing false information to law enforcement after giving police a fake name in a 2017 DUI arrest.

6. Obama era regulations close a power plant; Alabama Power says employees will get new jobs

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— Alabama Power Company announced the Gorgas Steam Plant in Walker County will shut down, because of mandates put in place by President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on April 15. Alabama Power has said all Plant Gorgas employees will keep their jobs and be transferred to other facilities. Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-4) called this an obvious outcome of the “War on Coal.” He stated, “This is just another example of the ‘War on Coal’ that was prevalent during the Obama Administration and how it deeply impacts rural communities with little concern for those who are hurt.”

5. The State Department says ISIS bride can’t come home to Alabama

— A former Hoover resident and thrice married ISIS bride has been informed that the United States would not welcome her back to the United States. President Donald Trump pushed for that decision and tweeted, “I have instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and he fully agrees, not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear she won’t be welcomed. “Ms. [Muthana] is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the U.S. She does not have any legal basis, no valid passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the U.S.,” Pompeo said.

4. White nationalist arrested with an arsenal and a hit list of Democrat politicians and journalists

— Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, called for “focused violence” and was planning a mass terrorist attack to kill “almost every last person on earth” and “establish a white homeland.” His targets included MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). He also had 15 firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition. In court filings, the government said bluntly, “The defendant is a domestic terrorist.”

3. Alabama state law requires advertising in the local newspaper for various state and local entities, this means revenue for papers like the Democrat-Reporter

— A local newspaper embroiled in a racism controversy has benefitted for years from an Alabama law that predates the Internet and guarantees revenue for local newspapers. The Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) alone spent over $4,000 last year alone. This is only one agency of the state government and one small-town newspaper. It doesn’t factor in other government entities in the area that are required to do business with the newspaper. These laws represent millions of dollars for newspapers guaranteed by archaic state law.

2. It’s official: Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-Mobile) is running for United State Senate

— Byrne announced his run at a Wintzell’s seafood restaurant in Mobile. Byrne referred to his potential future opponent U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) by criticizing his “radical policies.” Byrne also laid out the fight ahead, saying, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.” Jones responded to the news by hammering Byrne. “Given the results of his losing bid for Governor in 2010, in which he did not even win the Republican nomination, it’s hard to see why they would nominate a career politician like Bradley Byrne now,” Jones stated.

1. After almost two years, the Robert Mueller probe is coming to an end

— Attorney General Bill Barr could be ready to announce the end of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation and could submit a final report to Congress soon as well. These are the most obvious indications that the investigation is almost over. While it is unclear how much of the report will be made public, Barr has made it clear he plans to be “transparent” with Congress and the American people.

15 hours ago

Byrne first to officially declare run vs. Doug Jones – ‘Future is too important to sit on the sidelines’

Just down the street from where he grew up, Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) announced Wednesday evening his candidacy for the United States Senate while surrounded by family, friends and supporters gathered at Wintzell’s Oyster House in beautiful downtown Mobile.

Byrne became the first candidate to officially announce a run against the incumbent from Mountain Brook, Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL). In doing so, Byrne made clear his campaign will focus on his record as a fighter for Alabama’s values, drawing a clear and direct contrast between his traditional Yellowhammer State roots and the “radical policies” being pushed by Jones’ Democratic Party.

In his announcement speech, Byrne emphasized, “The fight for America’s future is too important to sit on the sidelines. I am running for the United States Senate to defend the values important to Alabama.”

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The congressman spoke about the “disconnect” between hardworking, everyday Alabamians and people stuck in the bubble of Washington, D.C.

Byrne urged attendees, “Look in Washington and tell me you don’t see people that have a vision that’s fundamentally at odds with what America is.”

“We need a Senator who will fight with President Trump to defend the Constitution, build the wall, stand up for the unborn, push for lower taxes, make health care more affordable and protect the Second Amendment,” he outlined. “I will fight every day to bring Alabama’s conservative values to Washington.”

Answering questions from reporters following the announcement, Byrne decried the Democratic Party’s embrace of socialism and “[killing] babies as they’re delivered.”

He also warned voters that Democrats should be expected to try and interfere in the Republican primary through “fake news” and  manipulative social media efforts. This comes in the wake of revelations that “Project Birmingham” was orchestrated to aid Jones’ general election candidacy in 2017.

Byrne, a labor-employment attorney by trade, is the former chancellor of the state’s community college system and one-term member of the state senate. He has served southwest Alabama in Congress since January 2014.

The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in Alabama will be held March 3, 2020, with the general election to follow in November.

You can watch Byrne’s announcement speech and hear him answer questions from reporters afterwards here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

16 hours ago

Watch live: Bradley Byrne announces U.S. Senate run against Doug Jones

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) is set to announce his candidacy for the United States Senate seat held by Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) live at the Wintzell’s Oyster House in downtown Mobile.

Watch live below:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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17 hours ago

Heavy rains swamping Deep South

Heavy rains are causing problems in parts of the Deep South.

Police in Huntsville, Alabama, say a half-dozen roads are blocked by downed trees or utility poles plus water from flash floods.

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Flood watches and warnings cover the northern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia and nearly all of Tennessee is at risk for floods.

Several school systems are delaying classes or closing.

The weather service is predicting as much as eight inches of rain in spots through Saturday, and freezing rain and sleet are possible in western South Carolina.

Forecasters say moisture from the Gulf is mixing with weather systems moving eastward in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.

As much as one inch of rain an hour is possible, and the weather service says some areas could get more.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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