Category: Congress

Alabama Delegation Experiences Life in the Minority, with Some New Committee Assignments

Alabama’s freshman lawmakers in Washington are stepping into committee roles — and, in one case, into a brand new committee — as most of the state’s veteran lawmakers continue life in the minority party or experience it for the first time in years.

On the Senate side, Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby has moved from chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee to vice chairman, with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont assuming the chair.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Alabama’s new senator, who has moved into office with a high and controversial profile, has secured spots on the Armed Services; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Veteran’s Affairs committees.

Among Alabama’s seven House members and two senators, only Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham is in the majority party,
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Alabama Congress Members Caught Off Guard by Violence at the Capitol

At a Wednesday morning rally near the White House, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, told the pro-Trump crowd that “today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.” Brooks is the leader of a group of representatives challenging the Electoral College votes of three states President-elect Joe Biden won in the November election.

A few hours later, he was among hundreds of legislators hunkering down and then fleeing as Trump supporters broke through police lines and stormed into the Capitol building, leading to a lockdown that stalled certification of November’s vote. One woman was shot in the chest and died, and several law enforcement officers were injured in the melee, the District of Columbia mayor said in a press conference.

“DOORS LOCKED! CAPITOL COMPLEX BREACHED! CHAMBER DOORS LOCKED. SPEAKER LEAVES!” Brooks first tweeted while detailing his experience in the Capitol.

He later tweeted that the police evacuation of the House of Representatives was “hurried but otherwise orderly” and said he “heard loud shouting echoing down Capitol halls during evacuation.” Read more.

Senate Passes $2 Trillion Stimulus Bill

The Senate late Thursday night voted 96-0 to pass at $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Both of Alabama’s senators voted for the bill. Members of the House of Representatives have been called back to Washington to take up the bill Friday morning.

Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, said the bill wasn’t perfect, but it did include a lot of good things for the state. Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, said the bill would help state and local governments that are in desperate need while grappling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.

Jones Calls for Changes in the Impeachment Process

U.S. Senator Doug Jones today said that, in the aftermath of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, he’d like to see procedural changes that would streamline the process in the future.

“We’re done, we’re through, we’re moving on. We’re already talking to colleagues about new legislation that we’ll be introducing, one of which may deal with this impeachment,” he said. “I’d like to see some new processes and new rules in place. There’s a lot of talk. There may be some things seen in the next couple or three weeks about that.”

Jones made the remarks after speaking to a full house of Cumberland School of Law students and faculty at Samford University in a talk designed to give the future lawyers from his alma mater insight into how he thought through the process and reached what he said was not a political decision on his part.
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Jones Says His Vote to Convict Trump Was Not Partisan

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones today said that after considering the evidence through the lens of a prosecutor, he had no choice but to convict President Donald Trump of the impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives.

Ultimately, Jones said, it came down to a president putting his personal interests above the interests of the nation.

Jones made the remarks to Cumberland School of Law students and faculty at Samford University in a talk designed to give the future lawyers from his alma mater insight into how he thought through the process and reached what he said was not political decision on his part.
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Jones Gives House of Representatives Shade About “Partisan Bickering” Over Impeachment

Sen. Doug Jones has had a busy week in the United State Senate, and members of his chamber traditionally tend to be subdued in any remarks they make publicly about “the other body,” the House of Representatives. But the Alabama Democrat couldn’t resist getting in a little dig at the House, where an investigation into articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump has been dominating headlines and time on cable news channels.

“I really wish that, rather than tuning in to partisan bickering over in the House of Representatives, that the people had been watching the Senate floor this week and last week to see what all we have done in a bipartisan way, and the accomplishments we have done in spite of everything going on,” Jones said at the beginning of a teleconference with Alabama reporters Thursday.
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The Partisan Divide Isn’t That Wide Between Alabama’s Two US Senators, Though It Still Is a Canyon Among House Members

Although they differ on many high-profile issues, Alabama’s two U.S. senators voted together about half the time on key issues during 2019.

Republican Richard Shelby, who has served in the Senate for 31 years, and freshman Democrat Doug Jones have voted together 11 times and on opposite sides on 10 occasions this year, according to weekly reports compiled by Voterama in Congress for BirminghamWatch.

The two have parted ways, however, over many of President Trump’s nominations for federal judgeships, cabinet posts and other positions, according to weekly reports by Voterama. Jones voted to confirm five of the president’s nominees and against nine. Shelby voted for all 14. Read more.

Jones Calls Impeachment Protest a ‘Political Stunt’

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones called a protest by Republican congressmen, including three House members from Alabama, a “political stunt” reminiscent of George Wallace’s 1963 stand in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama.

“I thought it was (a) petty little temper tantrum. That’s all you can say,” Jones said Thursday during a phone news conference with reporters from Alabama. “I thought Alabama had moved beyond that after the stand in the schoolhouse door.”

Alabama Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Huntsville, Bradley Byrne of Fairhope and Gary Palmer of Hoover were among about 30 GOP members of the House of Representatives who on Wednesday pushed into a room where the House Intelligence Committee held impeachment hearings. That delayed testimony by a Pentagon official for about five hours, the Washington Post reported. Read more.

Trump Inquiry Dominates Congressional Conversation

WASHINGTON — All of Alabama’s U.S. House of Representatives members voted to call for the release of a whistleblower complaint alleging misconduct by President Trump centered on his interactions this year with the Ukrainian government.

That action (H Res 576) passed, but by that time, the administration already had sent Congress the complaint, which it had refused to release for more than a month. The Senate adopted an identical resolution on a non-record vote.

However, the vote split along party lines on a measure (H Res 590) to force floor debate on a Republican resolution disapproving of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to start a formal impeachment inquiry against Trump. The measure was quashed on a technicality, and the House voted 232-193 to uphold that ruling, meaning the measure could not be debated

U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-7, was the only Alabama representative who voted not to debate H Res 590. Supporting the resolution were Republican Reps. Bradley Byrne, R-1, Martha Roby, R-2, Mike Rogers, R-3, Robert Aderholt, R-4, Mo Brooks, R-5, and Gary Palmer, R-6. Read more.