News From an Alabama Congressman

News from Representative Bradley Byrne
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Dear Patty,

We’ve done it! The House has passed the first real tax reform legislation since 1986 by a vote of 227 to 205.

This was a historic step toward giving hardworking Americans a long overdue tax cut.  Just as important, our tax reform legislation will help make the American economy boom again, leading to greater economic growth and higher wages. This passage was about fulfilling a key prong of President Trump’s agenda and making life better for families in Southwest Alabama and across the country.

The median family of four in Southwest Alabama earns a little over $77,000 a year.  If that family takes the standard deduction, as most do, they will see a tax cut of $1,739.16. That comes out to almost $150 extra dollars a month. When you add in the fact that we are fixing our corporate and business tax code to make it fairer and simpler, then we can really make America boom again.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, includes a number of a reforms designed to benefit the American people and grow the economy:

  • Lowers tax rates for everyday Americans;
  • Stops American jobs from moving overseas;
  • Increases the standard deduction;
  • Eliminates special-interest deductions;
  • Preserves the adoption tax credit;
  • Repeals the Death Tax;
  • Establishes a new Family Credit to help with the cost of raising children or non-child dependents;
  • Maintains deduction for charitable contributions;
  • Preserves the home mortgage interest deduction;
  • Lowers the corporate tax rate to 20%;
  • Reduces the tax rate on hard-earned business income of Main Street job creators to no  more than 25%;
  • Provides a new, low tax rate of 9% for businesses earning less than $75,000 in income; and
  • Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment;

The Senate will now pass their own version of tax reform, although the Senate bill is fairly similar to the House-passed bill. Once the Senate passes their bill, a Conference Committee will be established to work out the differences between the two bills. The goal is to have a tax reform bill signed into law by President Trump before Christmas! You can learn more about the tax reform plan online at FairAndSimple.gop.

Funding our Military

Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes spending for the entire U.S. military and sets policy to support our servicemembers and ensure they have the resources necessary to do their job. Last week, I was proud to vote in favor of the final Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA when it passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 356 to 70. The Senate then passed the bill on an unanimous voice vote, so the bill is now awaiting President Trump’s signature.

This bill keeps our promise to support our military by securing nearly $700 billion in overall funding. Other important provisions in the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA include:

  • Increase in the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army Guard and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard;
  • Largest pay raise for our troops in eight years;
  • Provisions to improve our nation’s nuclear weapon program in light of continued threats from North Korea;
  • Efforts to repair and improve our nation’s military infrastructure;
  • Reforms to the military’s acquisition process; and
  • Ends the “widow’s tax” and preserves special survivor allowance payments to more than 60,000 surviving military spouses.

Additionally, this year’s NDAA includes authorization for three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), which are built in-part by Austal USA in Mobile.  Austal USA is the area’s top private sector employer with approximately 4,000 direct employees and thousands of other jobs indirectly tied to the shipyard.  Securing the authorization for three more Littoral Combat Ships is a big win for Southwest Alabama and the thousands of people who work at the Austal shipyard in Mobile.

I was proud to vote for this bill, which grows our military, boosts readiness, and helps keep the American people safe and secure.

Working Across the Aisle for National Defense

Last week, I joined with Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to introduce bipartisan legislation that would place jurisdiction over war powers issues, including authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF), under the Congressional Armed Services Committees.  These matters are currently under the jurisdiction of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Because the Congressional Armed Services Committees pass legislation authorizing defense activities every year, this change would give Congress a better opportunity to review and revise war-related policies.

I have long been concerned about the lack of adequate authorization for many of the current operations of the U.S. military. Congress needs to get our act together and pass a new AUMF that adequately meets the realities of today’s conflicts. The current inaction is unacceptable, and I think institutional reforms may be necessary to move the process forward. Our servicemen and women deserve an adequate AUMF that makes clear our support and authorization for the important work they do each and every day.

In Case You Missed It 

Here are a few articles worth a read this week:

“Byrne bill, helping small business, passes House” – Yellowhammer News

“Bombardier filing gives job numbers for new Alabama aircraft plant” – AL.com

“Congress needs to finish the job on ending new joint employer standard” – The Hill

“Airbus lands massive order; Alabama will help fill it” – AL.com

“Congress steps up efforts to prevent sexual harassment on Capitol Hill” – USA Today

“After Sexual Harassment Accusations, Congress Moves Toward Mandatory Training” – NPR

“Fight over paid leave heating up in Congress” – The Hill

“$33 million in BP money dedicated to coastal restoration projects and land purchases” – AL.com

“GOP lawmakers introduce bill to require union recertification” – Washington Examiner

Photo of the Week

This Thanksgiving, please think of our brave servicemen and women, who fight everyday to ensure our freedoms. 

What’s Ahead

Next week, the House will be in recess as we join Americans in celebrating Thanksgiving. As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to put the political debates of today aside and take time to reflect on the many blessings that we all-too-often take for granted. I wish everyone a safe holiday as we head into the season of giving and good luck to everyone’s football teams!

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with questions or concerns about what is happening in Washington. You can reach me at 251-690-2811 or connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Stay in touch,

Congressman Bradley Byrne

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