Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who jumped aboard the Donald Trump train long before he sewed up the Republican nomination, on Friday accepted the offer for attorney general, Fox News confirmed.
Sessions, 69, who advised President-elect Trump on immigration during a bruising campaign, was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1981 to 1993 before being elected Alabama attorney general in 1994 and U.S. Senate in 1996.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the state’s senior senator, described Sessions as an “excellent choice for any role in President-elect Trump’s cabinet.”
“Not only would Jeff bring integrity and immense expertise to the role of attorney general due to his decades of experience in the legal field and an impressive tenure on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Jeff also has gained the deep respect of his Senate colleagues for his commitment to upholding the rule of law,” Shelby said.
Should Sessions accept, the attorney general’s appointment would be the first of several Trump nominations expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks. The appointment to attorney general would be subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, where Sessions’ Republican colleagues hold a majority and would be expected to affirm the choice.
If confirmed, Sessions would be the first Alabamian to head a Cabinet-level federal agency since Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice was President George W. Bush’s national security adviser and led the State Department in Bush’s administration.
BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said, “No one is qualified to be the United States Attorney General more than Sen. Jeff Sessions. I commend President-elect Donald Trump for this choice, and I congratulate my friend on this honor.”
Sen. Sessions is currently vice chairman of the Trump Transition Team. He was the first U.S. Senator to endorse Trump, and he was a vocal advocate for him throughout the campaign.
If Sen. Sessions leaves the Senate to serve in the Administration, that would leave a vacancy for Gov. Robert Bentley to fill. Bentley would appoint a temporary successor and then set a date for a statewide election to fill the seat. The seat’s regular election is in 2020.
Sen. Sessions was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996. Two days before the March Super Tuesday primaries, Sen. Sessions became the first sitting U.S. Senator to endorse Trump’s candidacy and they made their first appearance together at a rally in Madison.
Sen. Sessions said a border wall is ‘an essential part’ of fixing illegal immigration and he does not support citizenship for illegal immigrants. A border wall has been a cornerstone of Trump’s immigration proposals. Sen. Sessions served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1973 to 1986 and is an advocate of a strong U.S. military; Sen. Sessions is pro-life and opposes same-sex marriage.
TIMMONS: HOW TO PUT 2 MILLION AMERICANS TO WORK
In a Fortune magazine op-ed, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons writes how American manufacturers are working to close the ‘skills gap’ and put 2 million Americans to work in good-paying jobs.
“American manufacturers are leading an innovation revolution, transforming the products we make and how we make them,” Timmons writes. “Boasting the globe’s most productive workforce, abundant energy and unparalleled technical capabilities, our country is poised to advance the promise of manufacturing in America. Companies are creating jobs in the United States, and foreign enterprises are investing at record levels. The manufacturing economy is $2 trillion strong and supports about one in six American jobs.”
Timmons writes that the “entire world” desires U.S. manufacturing products, from Internet-connected electronics to lifesaving pharmaceuticals. He said the only missing piece is the next generation of skilled workers who will take up the mantle of manufacturing and transform the future.
Over the next decade, 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled, Timmons writes, but even as our nation strives to get people back to work, a lack of trained workers leaves most manufacturing companies scrambling for talent.
America is failing our youth if we do not equip them with the skills required for innovative manufacturing, Timmons writes. Manufacturing careers pay about $15,000 more than the rest of the private sector, and manufacturing can provide job security and upward mobility like no other industry.
He advises that the United States can overcome industry stereotypes that prevent many people from viewing manufacturing as an attractive career option – enhance education in the STEM fields-science, technology, engineering, and math, establish apprenticeships and on-the-job training to allow employees to earn a paycheck while they grow their skills, and, streamline credentialing programs and ensure that real-life experience counts.
The Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader quotes Timmons saying, “Even as our nation strives to get people back to work, a lack of trained workers – often those with trade and technical skills – leaves most manufacturing companies scrambling for talent. This skills gap is a drag on the economy. A shortage of trained employees can slow the growth of our businesses and therefore our economy.”
The Business Council of Alabama is the exclusive representative in Alabama of the National Association of Manufacturers, the largest manufacturing association in the United States.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS TARGETED BY NEW CONGRESS, PRESIDENT
Politico reports that Republicans on Capitol Hill are growing confident that they can begin to repeal the unpopular and ill-advised Obamacare once President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in, along with a pledge to replace it later.
“We have an Obamacare emergency right now,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate HELP Committee. “I think we could move forward in January on some aspects of repeal but we need to make sure that we are helping people and that we do no harm.”
Discussions among GOP lawmakers and with the Trump transition team are still taking shape. But the goal is to move aggressively, getting points on the board against President Barack Obama’s health care law right away, as early as Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.
But after seven years of opposition, Republicans are anxious to prove that they’re doing what voters sent them and Trump to Washington to do: Kill the Affordable Care Act. Plus, they question whether those 20 million Americans are really so happy with their health insurance under the ACA.
“I don’t have a lot of people in my district who are crying about the possibility of losing Obamacare. In fact, they’re cheering for it to go away,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., who seeks to be chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over health care. “No one is banging on my door saying, ‘Save this program’.”
LAME DUCK CONGRESS HAS A FEW WEEKS OF WORK LEFT THIS SESSION
The 114th Congress has a few work weeks left until the seating of elected and reelected U.S. Representatives and Senators in January. The House and Senate reconvened this week and will return to Washington, D.C., after the Thanksgiving holiday and then are scheduled to adjourn Dec. 16.
All of Alabama’s representatives and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who faced election on Nov. 8, were reelected and will take office in January with a majority Republican House and Senate and a Republican president.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Judge Blocks Union ‘Persuader’ Rule
The Hill (Devaney and Wheeler 11/16) – “A federal court judge in Texas on Wednesday issued an order to block the Labor Department from enforcing its union ‘persuader rule’. Judge Sam Cummings granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) that turns the temporary stay he ordered in June into a permanent injunction. In the two-page order, he said the rule ‘should be held unlawful and set aside’.
“The rule finalized in March would force employers to disclose outside consultants they hire to counter workers’ union organizing efforts. Business groups, including NFIB and the National Association of Manufacturers sued over the rule, arguing that it violated employers’ First Amendment rights to free speech and will prevent employers from seeking legal counsel.
“In an email to The Hill, the Labor Department said, ‘We do not have a comment at this time’.”