U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne told the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues breakfast today that Alabama and the nation’s economies and military are in good shape and will only get better.
Rep. Byrne, who represents the First Congressional District in southwest Alabama, told the breakfast group that despite what you may read or view on the news about Washington politics, most legislation is passed with support from both parties.
He said Alabama’s congressional delegation is a cohesive unit that works to better “all of Alabama.”
Rep. Byrne is a former state senator and chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. He was elected to Congress in a special election in 2013 and was reelected to full terms in 2014 and 2018. He serves on the Rules Committee, the Armed Services Committee and the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces and Subcommittee on Strategic Forces; the Education & the Workforce Committee and the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development and chairs its Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.
Last month Rep. Byrne said he is “actively” looking at running in the 2020 Republican U.S. Senate primary. The incumbent is U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Mountain Brook.
Rep. Byrne touched on the military, trade and its importance to Alabama, the need for infrastructure funding, and taxes.
He said after years of neglect, Congress has approved significant increases in the defense budget and included raises for its men and women in uniform. “We’re building that back,” Rep. Byrne said.
He said an important part of defense modernization is occurring at the Austal USA Inc. shipyard in Mobile, which is building new warships for the U.S. Navy.
Rep. Byrne said international trade is important to Alabama as it is to the United States, but it needs to be balanced. “Free trade is important but fair trade is important, too,” he said.
On the international front, Rep. Byrne said that dealing with China’s long-term vision to dominate economically and militarily requires vigilance and determination.
Rep. Byrne said the December 2017 tax cut approved by Congress is helping Alabama families. The tax cut is worth $2,187 a year for the average family in his district, he said.
“Some people may call that peanuts but in Alabama we call that real money,” he said. “That tax bill had the simple premise of if you put more money in the pockets of people and business, they will make better decisions what to do with it than the government.”
He said the tax cut is a major reason economic growth has doubled from 2 percent to 4 percent. “It’s extremely important we continue that growth,” he said.
Rep. Byrne said the recently passed water infrastructure bill is important to Alabama, which has numerous U.S. Army Corps of Engineer projects. Also important is how to fund infrastructure improvements in the United States that has $2 trillion in unmet needs, he said. “How do we pay for it?” he said.
Rep. Byrne advised chamber breakfast attendees to take the negative Washington news by a media intent on gaining viewership and readership with a grain of salt.
“The media focus on controversy,” said Byrne, who prefers to see a glass half full rather than half empty. “The best days for the state of Alabama are ahead of us and the best days of the United States are ahead of us. We don’t get there being divided.”