Shelby Says Border Talks are Progressing

The Wall Street Journal reports that lawmakers are working on details of border security funding as a way to stave off another government shutdown, possibly next week.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, after a meeting at the White House on Thursday, said President Trump is eager for the committee to reach a deal that he could sign. The government could face another partial shutdown next week if no spending deal is reached, the Journal reported.

“The president was urging me to try to conclude these negotiations. This is the most positive meeting I’ve had in a long time,” said Sen. Shelby. He said President Trump prefers congressional legislation for border-wall funding, as opposed to declaring an emergency. He also said Trump is seeking funding for a physical barrier, as well as increased manpower and technology along the border.

Alabama Daily News’ Todd Stacy on Wednesday interviewed Sen. Shelby, who said he invited representatives from Customs and Border Protections to a closed-door meeting of the conferees to discuss what is needed to secure the border.

“Because we need to know what they need – not what the president says, what I say, what the speaker says,” Sen. Shelby said. “They told us, basically, look, we need barriers, we need technology, we need people, we need it all, a comprehensive thing.”

Sen. Shelby said he still hopes to solve the border security problem through the appropriations’ process. A 17-member bipartisan conference committee was created to find a deal in the wake of the five-week government shutdown. Aides said they were confident that lawmakers could still pass spending legislation by Feb. 15, the date that current funding for much of the U.S. government expires, even if the committee doesn’t reach a deal this week.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a roundtable discussion this weeksupporting infrastructure development. At the event, business leaders across a variety of industries explained how our deteriorating infrastructure hurts their bottom lines.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), America’s infrastructure receives a dismal ‘D+’ grade, the Chamber reported. By 2025, ASCE projects that failing infrastructure will mean $7 trillion in lost sales for businesses and 2.5 million lost jobs.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue said he heard from farmers who can’t transport their heavy equipment across rickety rural bridges – costing precious time during make-or-break planting and harvest seasons. And congestion limits the number of service calls that small businesses can make during a work day, he said.

Large companies aren’t immune from poor infrastructure troubles, the Chamber wrote. For a shipping company like UPS, time is money, and poor infrastructure means millions of dollars lost. Five minutes a day, every day, it’s a $114 million dollars cost every year, said Rich McArdle, President of UPS Freight.


Huntsville’s Space Presence Keeps Growing

AL.COM – Roop (2/6) “Alabama is seeing a new surge in aerospace investment as companies like Blue Origin and Aerojet Rocketdyne bring hundreds of new jobs to the state and build new facilities to put them to work. They’re building because the government space programs based in Huntsville could soon have billions of new dollars to spend in a defense and telecommunications market that’s making rapid and expensive changes.

“This new space story is different from the return to the moon, although NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is actively pursuing that goal with strong commercial interest. That includes communications satellites, possibly armed satellites, and even satellite clusters that may become home to the Internet itself. ‘The idea is the Internet being based in space instead of here and based on fiber optics as it is today,’ United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno said in Huntsville in January.

“President Trump, who has advocated a new Space Force branch of the armed services to protect American assets in orbit, spoke about his plans in a Jan. 17 speech at the Pentagon. A good part of that work will likely be managed by the Missile Defense Agency in Huntsville and performed by contractors with a presence in the Rocket City.

“Defense and aerospace company Aerojet Rocketdyne recently completed a 136,000-square foot facility in Huntsville and leased another 122,000 square feet of office space in the city. In late January … Blue Origin rocket company broke ground on its own $200 million rocket engine plant in Huntsville … for Blue Origin’s own rockets and for rockets built in nearby Decatur by United Launch Alliance.”

Rep. Terri Sewell Appointed Chair of House Intelligence Subcommittee

Office of U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (2/6) “U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) will serve as the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support. In addition, (Rep.) Sewell will serve on the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness.

“‘As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support, I look forward to bringing my six years of experience on the Intelligence Committee to bear to advance and ensure our military readiness with respect to the accurate, timely and relevant dissemination of intelligence critical to our military operations,” Sewell said.

“The state is home to federally-recognized military and civilian leaders in the cyber security field and to Boeing, EADS, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and other numerous defense contractors and aerospace research companies that support thousands of jobs for citizens throughout the state.

“The Subcommittee on Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support oversees policies and programs focused on providing our nation’s warfighters accurate, timely and relevant intelligence in support of military operations.The Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness oversees policies and programs focused on ensuring that the intelligence enterprise is staffed, trained and equipped to advance its mission and that all 17 members … have the workforce, infrastructure and services they need to succeed, while leveraging the totality of the nation’s resources.”

For Rogers and Palmer, New Roles in a GOP Minority

Alabama Daily News – Stacy (2/7) “For two Alabama Congressmen, the majority switch is coinciding with their assumption of new, influential roles. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) is now Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee and Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) is now the Chairman of the GOP Policy Committee.

“‘We want to try to resist bad government, look for ways to work with them on good government, but our main goal is to get the majority back so we can start driving the bus again.’

As Ranking Member, Rogers serves as the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee. (Rep.) Palmer has taken over as Chairman of the House GOP Policy Committee, an in-house think tank of sorts that promotes conservative ideas among the House Republican Conference. (Rep.) Palmer told Alabama Daily News that his role leading the Policy Committee becomes more important in the minority, not less.”