Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions withstood shouting protesters and unseemly grilling by liberal Democrats during Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his selection by President-elect Donald Trump as U.S. Attorney General.
“You know who I am. You know what I believe in. You know that I am a man of my word and can be trusted to do what I say I will do,” Sessions told senators. “You know that I revere our Constitution and am committed to the rule of law. And you know that I believe in fairness, impartiality, and equal justice under the law.”
Sessions gracefully withstood hours of testimony relatively unscathed by Democrats’ questions. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas characterized Sessions as “showing admirable restraint.” Screaming protesters had to be forcibly removed from the hearing room.
“While it was a long day of questioning, Senator Sessions was well-prepared and represented the state of Alabama admirably,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said. “He is a man of great integrity who will apply the law fairly to all Americans, and I have no doubt that he will be confirmed by the Judiciary Committee as well as the full Senate.”
“The petty political attacks on his character fell flat, and Senator Sessions just further indicated why he is the perfect choice to lead the Justice Department.” Rep. Bradley Bryne, R-Mobile, said.
“His knowledge of the law, his commitment to upholding the law, and his desire for justice was on full display today,” said Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville. “He demonstrated what the people of Alabama already know, that he will make a great United States Attorney General.”
Later, Democrat New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker – rumored to be a 2020 presidential candidate – testified against Sessions’ nomination. This came less than a year after Sen. Booker praised Sen. Sessions for protecting civil rights.
At a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony attended by Sen. Sessions, Sen. Booker thanked him for help celebrating the “Foot Soldiers” who marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965 to promote civil rights for African-Americans. I feel blessed and honored to have partnered with Sen. Sessions in being the Senate sponsors of this important award,” Sen. Booker said.
Former Secretary of State and Alabama native Condoleeza Rice said she admires Sessions “greatly.”
“He is a man who is committed to justice and knows that law and order are necessary to guarantee freedom and liberty,” she wrote. “I know that Sen. Sessions will uphold the laws of our great country and will work to ensure that every person here in the United States is given the voice that is deserved.”
U.S. CHAMBER SEES ONCE-IN-A-GENERATION CHANCE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged the nation’s leaders on Wednesday to make economic growth a top priority, Business Journals reported. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said the Chamber sees a once-in-a-generation opportunity for policymakers to enact major reforms to transform America from a “low-growth to a high-growth economy.”
“At this moment of significant transition for our country, American businesses large and small are optimistic about the year ahead – optimistic and also realistic about the hard work that will be required to make our optimism a reality,” Donohue said in his annual “State of American Business” address.
Donahue outlined “American Growth Agenda” for 2017 recommendations that he said will help expand jobs, incomes, and opportunities for Americans. The Chamber’s priorities include increasing energy production, modernizing the nation’s infrastructure and overhauling the tax code.
The U.S. Chamber plans to work closely with lawmakers and insurers on the challenges facing American health care, Business Journals reported. “Repeal alone will not fix our health care system… [a]nd, there should be an adequate transition between the current system and a new plan,” Donohue said.
The U.S. Chamber is encouraged by the incoming Trump administration’s stance on business growth. “So far, we’re encouraged by the strong emphasis that President-elect Trump, Vice President-elect Pence, and the House and Senate leadership have placed on economic growth as a priority,” Donohue said.
U.S. SENATE BEGINS REPEAL OF UNPOPULAR AND FAILING OBAMACARE
The Senate began the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, clearing the first major hurdle early Thursday by narrowly passing a budget that instructs committees to write measures ending large parts of the mandatory health insurance law, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Republicans have made eliminating Obamacare, which no Republican voted for in 2010, their priority since the new session of Congress began last week, and have been making sure Democrats own the failed Obamacare disaster of poor coverage and massive premium increases.
“The Senate just took an important step toward repealing and replacing Obamacare by passing the resolution that provides the legislative tools necessary to actually repeal this failed law while we move ahead with smarter healthcare policies,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
If approved by the House today, the measure would set up the next step by instructing two House and two Senate committees to come up with plans by Jan. 27 for wiping out much of the law.
Republicans say the law has hurt the economy by requiring companies to spend more on health care and has imposed crippling requirements and taxes that have driven up health care costs. They say the law is faltering amid premium increases in 2017 on the exchanges where consumer can buy policies, as well as decisions by some insurers to leave the exchanges and lower than expected enrollment, the Journal reported.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Manufacturers Urge Senate to Confirm Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson
National Association of Manufacturers (Drogus 1/11) “National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement after secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations:
“As we saw today, Rex Tillerson is a proven and principled leader who is driven to serve. He will bring the valuable business perspective of a respected dealmaker to the State Department. He has the experience and character to represent our country around the world. Manufacturers urge the U.S. Senate to move swiftly and confirm Rex Tillerson as our next secretary of state without delay.”
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.