Alabama’s U.S. House Members get Committee Assignments

Six of Alabama’s members of Congress who are now in the minority party got committee assignments this week. Some members are staying put, but on the other side of the power curve, according to Alabama Daily News and other reports.

Three Alabamians – Reps. Mike Rogers, Mo Brooks, and Bradley Byrne – will be on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of House Armed Services. That’s the panel that deals with missile defense, which are vitally important to Huntsville and Troy.

U.S. Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, will remain on Defense Appropriations and will be Ranking Member for Commerce, Justice, & Science Appropriations.

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, will return to the Science, Space and Technology Committee, an assignment he said is a key assignment given that NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center “is directly or indirectly responsible for more than 24,500 Tennessee Valley jobs.”

He will serve on the Strategic Forces and the Readiness subcommittees.

The Readiness Subcommittee oversees military readiness, training, logistics and maintenance issues and programs, military construction, installations and family housing issues, the BRAC process, civilian personnel, energy security, and environmental issues that affect the Defense Department.

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, will be the Ranking Member on the Workforce Protections Subcommittee within the Education and Labor Committee. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over wages and hours of workers, workers’ compensation, the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, trade and international labor rights, and immigration issues as they affect employers and workers.

“I’m honored to again lead this Subcommittee as we fight for American workers and work to ensure the balance of power is not tilted in favor of Big Labor at the expense of hardworking Americans,” said Rep. Byrne, a member of the House Education and Labor Committee.

Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, will serve on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment.

“Serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will allow me to pick up right where I left off during the last Congress,” he said. “I believe that we can develop ways to streamline funding for infrastructure improvements and deal with regulations and permitting issues from the EPA and other agencies that drive up costs.”

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee serves is the authorization committee for aviation, federal highways and bridges, mass transit, clean water and waste management, and disaster relief. Agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction include the Department of Transportation, U.S. Coast Guard, and Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, remains on the House Appropriations Committee and will be a Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee, and will be the top Republican for the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. That panel oversees the entire federal court system and the rules for criminal and civil procedure.

She remains on Commerce, Justice & Science, and returns to Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. On the Appropriations Committee, Representative Roby will serve on the Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

“These subcommittee assignments give me a seat at the table to advocate for the conservative funding priorities that are important to the people I represent in Alabama’s Second District, including properly supporting our national security interests at home and abroad, ensuring adequate resources and care for our nation’s veterans, and more,” Rep. Roby said.

On the Judiciary Committee, Representative Roby will serve as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet.


U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, served this week as the vice chair of the conference committee that convened on the FY2019 Homeland Security appropriations bill. Homeland Security appropriations legislation has been sent to a bicameral conference committee in an effort to resolve differences between the Senate and the House.

“These negotiations must not end with platitudes or future promises; they must yield results that actually secure the border,” Sen. Shelby said. “So I hope these negotiations yield results, and soon … but I must stress that as long as we remain polarized, we will never resolve our differences on this critical issue for the good of the American people.”

“For 35 days Democratic leaders in the House and Senate pledged that negotiations on border security would occur once the government was re-opened,” Sen. Shelby said.

Sen. Shelby said the Border Patrol says it needs physical barriers to prevent anyone entering the country illegally along the southern border.


Senate Republicans Reintroduce Bill to Repeal the Estate Tax

The Hill (Jagoda 1/28) “Senate Republicans on Monday announced that they are reintroducing legislation to repeal the federal estate tax.

“The bill comes after the GOP tax law reduced the number of estates that would be subject to the tax but did not completely eliminate it.

“The legislation was offered by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the number two Senate Republican, and is co-sponsored by more than two dozen others in the caucus, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Thune has repeatedly introduced legislation to repeal the estate tax.

“The bill is unlikely to become law in the next two years, since it would need 60 votes to pass the Senate and would be unable to pass the Democratic-controlled House. But by introducing the bill, Senate Republicans are able to highlight one of their longstanding tax priorities.

“The tax law that President Trump signed in December 2017 did not repeal the estate tax but it doubled the amount that will be exempt from the tax. In 2019, the exemption amount for an individual is $11.4 million. The increase in the estate tax exemption amounts expires after 2025.

“The Senate Republicans argued that repealing the estate tax, which they often call the ‘death tax,’ would be beneficial to owners of small businesses and family farms.”