WASHINGTON – The Senate in two votes last week approved a two-year budget deal that will suspend the national debt limit and possibly raise interest payments to more than $400 million a year.
One of those votes was to pass the budget; the other was to kill an amendment to prohibit increasing the national debt.
Both of Alabama’s senators — Richard Shelby, R, and Doug Jones, D — voted for the budget and against the amendment. Read more.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House last week passed a bill to set minimal standards for the government’s treatment of migrants in its custody.
Representatives voted 233 for to 195 against the bill, which now is on its way to the Senate. Alabama’s Republicans voted against the bill and Democratic Rep. Terry Sewell voted for it.
The bill would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct medical screenings of migrants within 12 hours of their detention, or three hours for children, the disabled and pregnant women, and provide health care as warranted. Read more.
President Donald Trump used “racist language” that is further dividing Americans when he suggested four women in Congress could leave the country if they don’t like it, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said Thursday.
“To use racist language, and it was that — I’m not calling the president a racist, but he used racist language to do this — this is the same kind of dog whistle politics that we have seen before,” Jones said during a conference phone call with reporters.
“But folks, we have to resist the pull of the forces that are trying to divide us,” Jones said. “We need to come together as one America and work together to live up to the lofty ideals our country was founded on. Attacking the patriotism of other Americans using hateful rhetoric and dog whistle messages doesn’t get us any closer to achieving those unifying principles.”
Incumbent Democrat Doug Jones and Republican Bradley Byrne already have millions of dollars in their campaign accounts as the field begins to form for Alabama’s 2020 U.S. Senate race.
In reports filed this month with the Federal Election Commission, Jones listed a cash balance of $3.09 million at the end of the first quarter of this year. Byrne, the congressman from Mobile who is giving up his House seat to run for the Senate, reported a balance of $2.04 million.
Candidates are required to file quarterly financial reports with the FEC once they raise $5,000 in contributions. Byrne and Jones are the first to file in the Senate Race. Others have filed in the race for each of Alabama’s seven U.S. House districts. Read more.
Bills to expand the list of people who must request federal background checks on individuals before selling guns to them split Alabama’s congressional delegation along the usual party lines last week.
Democrat Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham voted for that bill while the Republicans voted against it. Alabama’s representatives also split along party lines on other gun-related bills. Read more.
Senator Doug Jones, D-Alabama, is sponsoring a bill that would incentivize states such as Alabama to expand Medicaid.
The States Achieve Medicaid Expansion Act would provide states that choose to expand Medicaid after 2014 the same level of federal matching funds as states that expanded earlier under the terms of the Affordable Care Act.
In an interview with Alabama Daily News, Jones said he hopes this bill will incentivize states such as Alabama that haven’t expanded Medicaid to do so soon.
“Even though I can’t vote to expand Medicaid, I can do things that I hope will give the states the incentive to expand Medicaid because I truly believe it’s in the state’s interest and the people of the state’s interest,” Jones said. Read more.