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Tuberville: ‘The people should make a decision’ on lottery, gaming legalization

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Wednesday held his weekly press call, discussing topics that included President Joe Biden’s so-called infrastructure proposal, the president’s “skinny” budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 and the importance of protecting the Senate filibuster.

Alabama’s junior senator also briefly reacted to the Alabama Senate on Tuesday evening passing legislation that would legalize a lottery, casino gaming at certain locations and sports betting in the state.

Tuberville expressed that he does not have a position on the specifics of the legislation now under consideration by the Alabama House, adding that he wants to wait to see the final version of the legislation before making a determination whether he would support it himself. However, he ultimately wants the people of Alabama to get a vote on the issue in a referendum.

“I think the people should make a decision on this; I don’t think it should really be a government decision. I think the House and the Senate understand, ‘Hey, let the people of the state vote on this and see what direction they want to go.’ I don’t have a dog in that hunt,” Tuberville said.

He led off the call by commenting on the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan.

“Our infrastructure (in Alabama) is in need of repair,” Tuberville affirmed. “Our highways need to be fixed, condemned bridges need attention, there are roads that need to be paved to connect our rural communities and broadband needs to be improved.”

“These are important projects, and that’s why every penny of every dollar in the infrastructure bill should actually go to traditional infrastructure projects like these,” he continued. “Unfortunately, President Biden is reimagining the idea of what you think of infrastructure.”

Tuberville said Biden’s proposal “is not about infrastructure.”

“It’s about the Green New Deal in disguise,” the Republican senator warned. He decried that Biden’s plan would represent “the largest tax increase since 1993” while threatening the existence of family-owned small businesses and farms.

The next topic was Biden’s proposed budget for FY22, especially when it comes to defense spending.

“President Biden’s plan threatens the strength and stability of our fighting forces,” Tuberville cautioned. He said the Biden administration is sending the signal that its priority is “a weak military.”

Tuberville emphasized Biden’s proposal “weakens military readiness and benefits our adversaries.”

“We can’t afford a setback,” the senator outlined, pointing to “bad actors like China and Russia” heavily investing in their militaries “just to get ahead” of the United States.

“Lack of investment in our military puts our men and women in uniform at serious disadvantage,” he remarked. “It has a direct impact on Alabamians. From Mobile to Huntsville, in Alabama more than 200,000 jobs are in national defense (related work).”

“Alabama has a longstanding history of contributions to our national defense,” Tuberville continued. “And our state plays a pivotal role in developing the future of our military. Simply put, this budget proposal is scary.”

RELATED: Senator Shelby stands up for military readiness, modernization amid defense budget concerns

Next, Tuberville expressed his support for maintaining the filibuster.

“We need the filibuster to protect the minority’s voice in the Senate,” he advised.

The Lee County resident wrapped up his remarks by reiterating his support for the COVID-19 vaccines.

He touched on the news this week that the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health have both temporarily paused the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due to a rare type of blood clot reportedly occurring in six individuals — all women — who received the J&J coronavirus vaccine.

“We’re looking at six cases here of nearly seven million shots administered nationwide,” Tuberville commented. “Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and Operation Warp Speed, we have plenty of Moderna and Pfizer doses to go around. Just today, President Biden said — those two vaccines — we have enough for everybody in this country. I have been in contact with the governor’s office and state leadership, and they have assured me they are on top of all of this.”

“So I continue to urge Alabamians to take whatever vaccine is available at the time they are able,” he concluded. “[G]et the vaccine, just like I have.”

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

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