Senator Shelby gets Committee Assignments

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has been named chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in the 115th Congress. In addition to serving as the Rules Committee Chairman, Sen. Shelby will be the most senior Republican member on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and the third most senior Republican member on the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Sen. Shelby’s office said.

On the Appropriations Committee, Sen. Shelby will serve as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies. Additionally, he will serve as a member of the following subcommittees: Defense; Energy and Water Development; Homeland Security; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.

On the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Shelby will serve as a member of the following subcommittees: Securities, Insurance, and Investment; Financial Institutions and Consumer Protections; and Housing, Transportation, and Community Development.

“It is an honor to lead the Senate Rules Committee and to continue to serve on the Banking and Appropriations Committees in the 115th Congress,” Sen. Shelby said. “There is much work to be done, and I look forward to hitting the ground running in these committees to deliver the results that the American people expect and deserve.”


President Donald Trump hit the ground running during his first full week in the White House and revived two oil pipeline projects to boost domestic energy independence that President Obama had rejected.

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said President Trump followed-through on his promise to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, two projects that could create thousands of manufacturing jobs.

“President Trump has wasted no time in boosting our manufacturing economy,” Timmons said. “As I discussed with President Trump in his office last June, building the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines is simply the right thing to do-for working families, for energy security, for job creation and for our future.”

The projects were in response to a North American oil boom but former President Obama denied the permits. (Nebraska must still approve Keystone’s proposed route through the state.)

Timmons said the environmentally sound Keystone XL Pipeline will create more than 40,000 jobs. The Dakota Access Pipeline will mean more jobs, including for manufacturers in states that signed on to supply it, Timmons said. “This is a signal that this administration is committed to creating the right environment to move forward on important energy infrastructure projects,” Timmons said.

President Trump also took broader action that seeks to ease the regulatory burden on infrastructure projects, while also promoting the U.S. steel sector, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Trump has signed documents to formally withdraw from a 12-nation Pacific trade agreement, ordered federal agencies to ease burdens imposed by the Affordable Care Act, streamlined permitting processes for infrastructure projects, expedited environmental reviews for manufacturers, and called for all pipelines built in the U.S. to be made with steel from the U.S.


U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been named chairman of its Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs. “I am honored to have the opportunity to serve the American people as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs,” Rep. Palmer said.

“Oversight of the relationship between the federal and state governments and international organizations is essential to America’s success,” he said. “I look forward to continuing my work limiting government overreach and reining in burdensome regulations with this new subcommittee.”

The Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs has oversight jurisdiction and legislative authority over the relationship between the federal government and states and municipalities and between the United States and international organizations of which the United States is a member, including unfunded mandates, federal regulations, grants, and programs.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Donohue said economic growth is the Chamber’s No. 1 priority for 2017. Donohue made the comment as part of the Chamber’s American Growth Agenda during the Chamber’s annual State of American Business address.

Modernizing the nation’s infrastructure is a critical part of the growth agenda because business needs to operate within an infrastructure system that is strong and efficient in order for our economy to grow, Donohue said. “Failing to provide long-term infrastructure investment means our transportation system will only decline,” he said.

Because the nation’s aging infrastructure is in desperate need of modernization, the Chamber said it will:

Seek to safeguard funding and financing strategies for a national system that has kept our economy moving, maintained our global competitiveness, and ensured our quality of life and safety for generations;

Include a long-term sustainable funding source in order to guarantee that large-scale improvements can be made;

Put in place accountability measures, best practices, and performance requirements to assure what projects qualify for funding and to ensure the quality of those projects;

And, embrace new technologies that can, for example, address the impact of autonomous vehicles and integrate other advancements. “This opportunity to modernize the nation’s infrastructure in 2017 is critical to America’s long-term economic growth,” Donohue said.


Trump signs orders on border wall, immigration enforcement
The HILL (Bernal 1/25) “President Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders on immigration, including one that directs federal agencies to begin construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, his signature campaign promise. One of the orders signed by Trump calls for the construction of ‘a large physical barrier on the southern border’. The other order deals with immigration enforcement and ends the ‘catch and release’ policy that quickly returned border crossers back to Mexico instead of arresting and processing them for deportation.

“The immigration actions also seek to withhold visas from countries to make sure they take back people in the U.S. illegally who are found to have broken U.S. laws. It would also strip federal grants from ‘sanctuary’ cities and states that do not enforce federal immigration laws. The president pledged during the 2016 campaign he would make Mexico pay for the border wall, which is meant to cut off the flow of drugs and illegal immigration, but now says the federal government will be ‘reimbursed at a later date’. Paying for the wall is likely to be a top issue as Trump seeks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. Of the almost-2,000 miles of border, 653 miles are already covered by a hodge-podge of fences mostly built since the late 1990s.”


Union Membership At Lowest Levels On Record
Wall Street Journal (Morath, Maher 1/26) “The share of American workers in unions fell to the lowest level on record in 2016, showing a return to the downward trend for organized labor after membership figures had stabilized in recent years. The total number of union members fell for both private- and public-sector workers last year, the first overall decline in four years, the Labor Department said Thursday.

“Only 10.7% of workers were union members last year, down from 11.1% in 2015, and from more than 20% in the early 1980s. It’s unclear whether President Donald Trump’s policies could reverse or even halt the decades-long slide in private-sector union membership, especially when unions were unable to gain traction with a union-friendly Democrat in the White House.

“The share of union members in the workforce stabilized between 2012 and 2015 after suffering losses during President Barack Obama’s first years in office. At the same time, the total number of union workers increased along with growing employment. Still, while unions went into the Obama administration with optimism, their biggest priority, getting a law passed to make it easier to organize workers, was sidelined within months of his presidency.”