Senator Shelby in Line to Remain as Chair of the Powerful Appropriations Committee

The Senate Republican Conference this week approved Alabama U.S. Senator Richard Shelby’s selection by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to lead the committee for a full two-year term as chairman. The Senate is expected to formally affirm committee chairs and rosters in an organizational resolution. In addition, Senator Shelby will continue to serve on the committees on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Environment and Public Works, and Rules and Administration.

“My committee assignments for the 116th Congress present an opportunity for me to continue serving the state of Alabama and the nation to the best of my ability,”Senator Shelby said. “I am honored that my colleagues have continued to place their trust in me to lead the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

He said he looks forward to working closely with Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and all Appropriations Committee members to produce bills that fund our national and local priorities. He said the various authorizing committees he serves on will work to to craft legislation that impacts the lives of all Americans, including his fellow Alabamians.

This will be the first full term for the senior Republican senator from Alabama. Senator Shelby served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee during part of the 115th Congress, following Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran’s resignation in March 2018.  He served as vice chairman for the 113th Congress.

Senator Shelby’s Appropriations committee in the 115th Congress completed work on all 12 Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills before the July 4th recess, marking the most punctual timeframe in which the committee has completed its regular appropriations bills since 1988.  Additionally, five of those appropriations bills were signed into law before the end of the fiscal year and 75 percent of the government was funded on schedule, which signals the most spending bills enacted on time since Fiscal Year 1997.

Senator Shelby previously served as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the Committee on Rules and Administration. Additionally, he joined the Environment and Public Works Committee during the 115th Congress.


You can watch the informative U.S. Chamber of Commerce video on the state of business here.


U.S. Navy commissioning ceremonies for the future USS Tulsa (LCS 16) and the USS Charleston (LCS 18) littoral combat ships built by Business Council of Alabama member Austal USA in Mobile are scheduled in February and March. The USS Tulsa will be commissioned Feb. 16 in San Francisco and the USS Charleston will be commissioned March 2 at Charleston, S.C., Austal USA announced.

In this clip, Austal explains commissioning of a U.S. Navy vessel. Watch the commissioning of the USS Omaha (LCS 12) in San Diego.

Austal USA began operations in 1999 with fewer than 100 employees on a 14-acre facility. Some worked out of a double-wide trailer. Austal USA has invested more than $400 million in its now-164-acre campus that employs 4,000 professional and production employees.


Business Alabama Interviews U.S. Senator Doug Jones about Business

Business Alabama (Bloom 1/7) “A year into his first term, Alabama’s unexpected Democrat – Sen. Doug Jones – weighs trade interests and calls for a ceasefire in the endless stream of attack politics. And, when it comes to working for Alabama, he says, he and Sen. Richard Shelby are ‘pretty much in sync.’ Quiet, dignified and all business, Jones talks issues rather than personalities, solutions rather than criticisms. On fall trips home to Alabama, he attended the groundbreaking for the new Mazda Toyota plant underway in Huntsville, met with healthcare officials at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute in Mobile, chaired a hearing on helping older workers find a niche in the workforce. While in Mobile, he led a trade roundtable, bringing together leaders from steel and automotive companies, port officials, other heavy industries and a pair of farmers to talk about the ways that recent tariff changes are helping and hurting their businesses.

“Growing up in Birmingham when it was a strong steel town, with family members working at U.S. Steel and even trying it briefly himself, he has an ear for the steel industry. ‘I’ve known the effects of steel dumping, primarily from China, so I knew that the tariffs that the president imposed are helpful to the domestic steel industry. But you have to balance the healthy steel industry with the other effects it could have.’ A trade war ‘has the potential for really hurting probably the most important sector of Alabama’s economy right now.’

“And the farmers, he says, were voicing ‘a cry for help. Not in the sense of ‘We want a bailout or a handout’ but in the sense of ‘We want to keep our markets’. ‘Farmers have a tough go of it anyway,’ he says. And he hopes the change in the make-up of Congress will cause more oversight, rather than less. ‘Now, I think that, in order to actually move legislation, the House and the Senate are going to have to talk to each other, and they’re going to have to reach across the aisle to do that,’ says Jones, ‘And I think when that happens, that gives you the best opportunity to really get some things done.’ I am humbled to be here.”

Senators Leave Washington Amid Wall Stalemate: Shutdown Update

Bloomberg News (1/10) “President Donald Trump headed to Texas to rally support for building a border wall a day after walking out of talks with congressional leaders on ending a partial government shutdown. The shutdown entered its 20th day on Thursday as its impact spreads. About 800,000 federal workers will miss their paychecks on Friday. Senators are leaving Washington for the weekend as no additional votes are scheduled this week and with no resolution in sight to the shutdown. The House is remaining in session, with votes scheduled on Friday. The lawmakers’ departure followed the collapse of efforts by a group of Senators to forge a compromise involving immigration measures backed by Democrats and funding for a wall.

“GOP Senator Lindsey Graham said Trump should invoke emergency authority to fund construction of the wall because Democrats are refusing to give in to the president’s demands to build it. Graham earlier had tried to broker a compromise to end the shutdown. The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to examine the February 2018 emergency supplemental, which included disaster relief for Puerto Rico and other areas, to see what funds could be diverted to a border wall, according to a congressional aide who asked for anonymity to discuss private briefings by the administration.

“House Democratic attempts to persuade Republicans to abandon Trump’s partial government shutdown fell short again as bills designed to reopen several departments failed to attract many Republican votes. The House passed bills to re-open the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration, as well as the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The votes were 243-183 on the Agriculture bill and 244-180 on the Transportation-HUD bill. Only 10 Republicans backed the Agriculture bill and 12 GOP members voted for the Transportation-HUD measure. The GOP-controlled Senate doesn’t plan to consider either bill.”

(Here’s today’s update from The Hill.)