Senator Shelby is Expected to Lead Appropriations Panel

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, the expected next chairman of the Appropriations Committee, will slide into the role with a short time frame to finish work before the new fiscal year.

The current chairman, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has announced his retirement effective in April after more than 45 years in Congress.

“Senator Thad Cochran is a good friend and has been an excellent colleague of mine for over three decades,” Sen. Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, said. “I wish him and his wife, Kay, well and hope we are able to continue on the wise path he has paved for those governing this great country. History will reflect Senator Cochran’s legacy of strong leadership throughout an extraordinarily impactful tenure in public office. He has represented Mississippi with the utmost dignity and respect.”

Sen. Shelby is also expected to be chair the subcommittee that oversees funding for the Pentagon, a coveted spot due to the substantial increase in military funding available over the next two years, Roll Call reported Thursday.

In most ways, it’s a win for Alabama’s senior senator, but there’s work to do. The appropriations panel will have just six months to complete spending measures before the Oct. 1 start of Fiscal 2019.

“It’s not just who’s the chairman or the ranking [member] of the Appropriations Committee, it’s the leadership,” Sen. Shelby said. “If we [want to] get bills on the floor earlier, we’re going to have to have the leadership, both sides, move in a bipartisan way.”


President Donald Trump on Thursday signed a proclamation authorizing tariffs on some imported steel and aluminum but excluded Canada and Mexico and might exclude other countries on the basis of national security.

“Today I’m defending America’s national security by placing tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum,” Trump said while flanked by workers from the industries and economic advisers who had backed the plan.

The U.S. will levy a 25 percent duty on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters before the signing, Bloomberg reported. The tariffs will take effect in 15 days, Bloomberg quoted an unnamed official as saying.

The president planned to proceed with what he has called “reciprocal taxes” on imports from countries that charge higher duties on U.S. goods than the U.S. now charges on their products, Bloomberg reported.

Any U.S. trade partner has the option of asking to be excluded from the tariffs, the official said, and allies could be excluded if they can demonstrate how the tariffs would damage their national security.

There has been disagreement over the tariffs from within Trump’s Republican Party and threats of a trade war.


Shelby Praises TIGER Grant Awarded to Alabama State Port Authority
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (3/6) “U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded the Alabama State Port Authority a $12.7 million grant to convert an abandoned bulk handling facility at the Port of Mobile into a roll-on, roll-off mobile vehicle processing facility.

“‘Advancing the Port of Mobile is critical to driving economic success in our state,” said Senator Shelby. ‘We have one of the fastest growing harbors in the nation. This grant will help facilitate the demands of Alabama’s booming automotive industry. I am encouraged by the current growth opportunities directly tied the harbor and will continue working to make the Port of Mobile one of the most competitive harbors in the country’.

“‘This project will add needed capability to this region of the Gulf of Mexico and greatly enhance the Alabama State Port Authority’s ability to serve the automotive and equipment industries. Including other funds secured by the Port as well as the cost of the land, the total project is valued at approximately $60 million, representing a great value for taxpayers’, said Alabama State Port Authority Director Jimmy Lyons.

“The grant was awarded as part of DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. Following the renovation, the facility will be capable of handling automobiles, military vehicles, trucks, other rolling stock, and heavy cargo. Alabama’s state port is currently the nation’s 10th largest seaport and is a major economic driver in the state. In any given year, between 52-67 million tons of cargo move annually through the harbor. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a General Reevaluation Report (GRR) to examine the potential impacts of deepening and widening the federal navigation channel of the Port of Mobile. The GRR is expected to be completed in fall of 2019.”

House Republicans Warming to Senate deal on Dodd-Frank
The Hill (Lane 3/8) “House Republicans are warming up to a Senate bill that would loosen the banking rules put in place after the financial crisis. The Senate is poised this week to pass the most significant changes to the Dodd-Frank Act since it became law in 2010. The bill has the support of more than a dozen Democrats, making it one of the few measures with a chance to become law this year.

“The Senate bill, introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), would exempt roughly two dozen banks from stricter Federal Reserve oversight and a slew of smaller firms from lending and mortgage disclosure rules.

“The Senate bill also maintains hard caps on levels of federal regulation instead of replacing them with tests preferred by the House that judge firms by risk. Republicans in the lower chamber have also taken issue with the Senate bill’s preservation of a process through which the federal government can dismantle a failing bank before it can cause a credit freeze.”