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Congressman Byrne Named Chairman of Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., announced that U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Fairhope, will serve as chairman of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

The Subcommittee on Workforce Protections has jurisdiction over worker wages and hours, workers’ compensation, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988, trade and immigration issues as they impact employers and workers, their safety and health, and all matters related to equal employment opportunity and civil rights in employment.

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary Byrne congratulated Rep. Byrne on his appointment as chairman of the important subcommittee that has jurisdiction over all matters related to workers. Last year, the BCA recognized Rep. Byrne as a prominent elected official who is willing to take a position that’s right, no matter the political consequences, and was presented BCA’s Political Courage Award.

“Time and again, he has shown that he is willing to fight for the Alabama business community, and he values the role it plays and the jobs it creates,” Canary said. “Before any product or service is offered to customers, the price must be determined. The foundational elements of these are costs, which includes labor.”

Canary said that in a true free-market economy, all elements of cost are determined by the market place. “But in the United States, we don’t have a true free-market economy because of mandates and subsidies imposed by the federal government, one of which is the minimum wage,” he said.

Canary said the minimum wage has become a political wedge issue of “the cruelest type” because research shows each increase actually hurts the segment it purports to help, especially younger, entry-level workers.

“Instead of raising small businesses labor costs and creating more barriers to entry-level employment, government should focus on policies that actually help reduce poverty, advance choice in education, and create jobs,” Canary said. “Last year’s effort by the Alabama Legislature to rescind a local minimum-wage increase was the right decision. Alabama businesses do not need a patchwork of local labor laws that serve only to divert resources away from providing equal opportunities for all Alabamians.”

Rep. Byrne thanked Chairwoman Foxx for giving him the opportunity to serve as chairman of the subcommittee.

“Over the last eight years, there has been an effort to fundamentally change the way we deal with labor and employment issues,” Rep. Byrne said. “These changes have largely reduced opportunities for advancement and weakened the standing of American workers. My goal will be to right the ship in favor of policies that benefit workers across our country and empower them to succeed.”

Rep. Foxx said the committee has a “strong team to advance the commonsense solutions our nation’s workers, students, families, and small businesses urgently need.”

“This committee will play a central role in Congress’s broader efforts to grow the economy, advance patient-centered health care, and promote greater prosperity for all Americans,” she said. “Working closely with our members, subcommittee leaders, and all our colleagues, the committee will do its part to move the country in a better direction.”


INAUGURATION EVENTS BEGAN THURSDAY

Today’s inauguration of President Donald J. Trump as the nation’s 45th president was to begin at 10:30 a.m. CST with Trump’s swearing in at 11 a.m. in Alabama – noon in Washington, D.C. Events began Thursday with a private event of the laying of the wreath at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to honor fallen soldiers.

Here is a synopsis and a link to the official U.S. Senate event schedule. All times Central Standard Time.

Thursday, Jan. 19: 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wreath-Laying Ceremony – Arlington National Cemetery with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. It’s an inaugural tradition for the president-elect to lay a wreath to honor fallen soldiers.

3 p.m. “Make American Great Again!” Welcome Celebration – Lincoln Memorial . Trump spoke at an inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial.

7:30 p.m. Candlelight Dinner – Union Station. Trump, Pence and their families thanked donors at a dinner.

Today, Jan. 20: Morning – President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence and families were expected to attend services at St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. Then, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were to welcome Trump and his wife, Melania, to the White House for morning tea. The two couples were to travel together to the Capitol by motorcade.

8:30 a.m. – Inauguration ceremonies were to begin on the west front of the Capitol with musical performances. Attendees were to include members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, diplomats and the public. Former presidents Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Clinton were to attend. Sixteen-year-old soprano Jackie Evancho was to sing the national anthem and the Rockettes dance troupe was to perform.

10:30 a.m. – Opening remarks – Religious leaders were to offer the invocation and readings. Vice President-elect Pence was to be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Inaugural Swearing-In Ceremony – U.S. Capitol. United States Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was to administer the oath of office to President-elect Trump (at noon Eastern Time) using the president-elect’s own Bible and the Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used at his first inauguration.

2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Inaugural Parade – Pennsylvania Avenue. More than 8,000 participants will follow the president and vice president from the Capitol to the White House.

6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Inaugural Balls – Various venues. President Trump and his wife, Melania, and Vice President  Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, will attend three official inaugural balls: Freedom Ball, Liberty Ball, and The Salute to our Armed Services Ball.

Saturday, Jan. 21: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. National Prayer Service – Washington National Cathedral.


END TO OBAMA OVERREGULATION CREATES MANUFACTURING OPTIMISM

Donald Trump’s term as 45th president of the United States, which begins today, can usher in a U.S. manufacturing jobs surge not seen for decades. That’s the opinion of National Association of Manufacturing board of directors Chairman David Farr and NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

In an op-ed published Wednesday by The Hill, Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson, and Timmons, wrote that manufacturers are burdened by excessive regulation that cost money to interpret and follow. (Manufacturers face 300,000 restrictions.)

A National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) analysis found that the Obama administration released 637 major new regulations through October 2016. That translates to one major regulation every 4.46 days. A 2014 NAM study found that the regulatory cost to companies with fewer than 50 workers is $34,671 per employee per year. The 2014 NAM study found that the total cost of federal regulations in 2012 was $2.028 trillion. Smart regulatory reform that protects health, safety, the environment and our workers could inject billions of dollars back into the economy, the NAM said.

“It is little wonder why too many companies don’t have the cash to invest in growing their operations, hire new workers or increase paychecks,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, that money is spent complying with rules concocted in Washington, D.C.

“After President-elect Trump takes the oath of office, manufacturers hope he will move swiftly to provide relief from the onslaught of regulations we have endured these past eight years,” they wrote. “Trump can take the lead in rethinking red tape, take politicized agendas out of the process and bring a more transparent, sensible, balanced approach to rulemaking.”

Vice President-elect Mike Pence already has met with manufacturers about burdensome regulations that need repeal or reform. “That’s what manufacturers want – a balanced administration that will listen when we sound the alarm about devastating real-world consequences,” they wrote.

The Business Council of Alabama is the exclusive representative of NAM in Alabama.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

U.S. Chamber Welcomes President Trump and Promises Cooperation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Donohue 1/20) “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a new neighbor: President Donald Trump. The business community looks forward to working closely with the newly elected president, his Cabinet, and the new Congress to advance shared priorities centered on economic growth.

“Our close proximity as neighbors-the Chamber’s headquarters is located right across Lafayette Square from the White House-has helped us forge productive relationships with previous administrations. Since our founding in 1912 under President Taft, most presidents have either walked across the park and visited the Chamber or spoken at one of our events.

“We also aren’t shy about using our location to deliver important messages. For years we had an enormous ‘JOBS’ banner emblazoned across the front of our building so that the president and his staff could look out of the White House’s windows every day and get a clear reminder of what their focus should be.

“We have been encouraged by President Trump’s strong focus on growth-our overriding priority. And we agree on many of the big ideas the administration has committed to pursuing, including regulatory relief and reform, a tax overhaul, and modernization of America’s infrastructure. As a businessman himself, we’re confident that he will operate in the best interests of free enterprise. But when we don’t agree with a position he takes, we won’t hesitate to say so.

“In addition, we are optimistic about the team the president has assembled. His appointment of successful business leaders to key Cabinet posts further signals his respect for free enterprise and commitment to economic growth. The expertise each nominee has in his or her respective area of focus reflects President Trump’s thoughtful and serious approach to delivering much-needed reforms to each federal government agency. The Chamber looks forward to working with these nominees to turn back overregulation, promote international trade, expand American energy, and so much more.

“As we welcome our new president to the neighborhood, we do so with optimism as well as a realistic outlook of the hard work that lies ahead. Our new government brings ample opportunities to pursue reforms that lead to stronger, faster economic growth. Seizing these opportunities, however, will be neither easy nor simple. All of the topics that must be addressed-from health care to taxes to regulations-are interrelated and complicated. The Chamber stands ready to assist our new president and Congress in navigating these issues and pursuing an exciting agenda that will spark dynamic, broad-based economic growth.”

Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, which is represented in Alabama exclusively by the BCA.

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Dana Beyerle
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