By Congressman Bradley Byrne
I understand why people are so frustrated with politics these days. The American people want action, and it may not seem like much is actually getting accomplished. I share those concerns, but my frustration is not connected to my work in the House of Representatives. Despite the media’s infatuation with relitigating the 2016 election, there are very substantive bills that pass out of the House almost every week.
In fact, two very important bills passed out of the House the week before Thanksgiving, and the national news media did not give either the attention they deserved. I want to quickly bring you up to speed.
First, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by a strong bipartisan vote of 356 to 70. The same bill then passed out of the Senate on a unanimous voice vote.
As some of you may remember, the NDAA is the bill Congress must pass each year to set policy and authorize funding for the entire U.S. military. It almost always earns bipartisan support because, believe it or not, there is strong bipartisan support in Congress for a strong national defense.
This year’s NDAA makes important progress toward rebuilding our military by calling for more service members, better equipment, and additional resources.
The bill also authorizes the largest pay raise for our troops in eight years and includes a number of important provisions related to our nuclear weapon program in light of continued threats from North Korea
The NDAA is important to Southwest Alabama because it authorizes the construction of three additional Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). These are the Navy ships that are built by Austal USA in Mobile. I pushed hard to ensure adequate support for the LCS program in an effort to make our Navy stronger and to protect thousands of jobs at the Mobile shipyard.
Second, on November 16th, the House passed landmark tax reform legislation that will cut taxes and help grow the American economy. The bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is a key part of President Trump’s agenda.
The benefits of this bill aren’t abstract. Just consider the median family of four in Southwest Alabama. That family 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.
That’s just as it relates to the individual tax code. When you add in additional reforms to the business and corporate code, studies have shown that the American economy will really take off, resulting in more jobs and higher wages. President Trump has predicted a “Middle Class Miracle.”
These are just two of the most recent examples of the over 350 bills that have passed out of the House this year. The vast majority of those bills passed with bipartisan support, much like the NDAA. Despite roadblocks in the Senate, the House is doing our job and actively working to follow through on the agenda we all ran on in 2016.
If you have a hard time cutting through the noise of the national news media, I invite you to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter to help keep up with what is happening in Washington and how it impacts Southwest Alabama. You can sign up online at Byrne.House.Gov.
At the end of the day, I am going to keep doing the job you elected me to do: fighting each and every day for our shared values and for the hardworking people in Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke, Monroe, Escambia, and Washington counties.