Connect with us

National

Brooks: Trump is right to demand NATO allies spend more on defense

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Wednesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) announced his support for President Donald J Trump’s (R) efforts to have North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies contribute more to Europe’s defense. Brooks says that the U.S. pays more of its domestic product than any other NATO nation.

“America cannot afford to be the cop on every street corner in the world. Our 28 NATO allies must meet their obligation to Europe’s defense by ponying up their share of defense dollars,” Rep. Brooks said. “In 2014 in Wales, all NATO member states reaffirmed their commitment to spend the equivalent of at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense, yet only five members, including America, meet that obligation. America spends 3.6% of gross domestic product on defense, while the NATO member that spends the second most, the United Kingdom, spends a mere 2.1% of GDP.”

“When NATO was created, Europe was weakened by war and unable to defend itself from potential Soviet Union aggression,” Brooks announced. “Hence, in the 1940s, it made sense for America to come to Europe’s aid and provide almost all of Europe’s defense. No longer. Seven decades later, Europe’s population and economic might empower Europe and NATO to cause Russia to fear Europe, not the other way around. Europe’s population of 508 million vastly exceeds that of Russia’s population of 144 million. Europe’s gross domestic product of $17.1 trillion greatly exceeds Russia’s gross domestic product of $1.6 trillion. Given Europe’s huge population and economic advantage over Russia, Europe is more than able to defend itself and, in doing so, make Europe and NATO a much stronger military force and ally on behalf of America and the world’s democracies. Hopefully, President Trump’s calling Europe and NATO to task for their weakness will encourage them to ‘man up’ and be courageous enough to defend themselves against what is a relatively much smaller, and what should be a relatively much weaker, Russia.”

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, I applaud President Trump’s efforts to strengthen the NATO alliance by ensuring all members meet their obligations and more equitably share the cost burden of security,” Rep. Brooks stated. “President Trump’s leadership will result in strengthening NATO’s mutual defense by increasing overall spending on vital defense capabilities.”
President Trump is in Brussels, Belgium Wednesday and Thursday to participate in NATO meetings.

In May Pres. Trump said, “I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know Secretary General Stoltenberg over the last year. We’ve worked very closely together and improved very much, with respect to everybody, the burden sharing. And we’ve really strengthened NATO and the NATO Alliance. The strong working partnership we forged has helped to produce significant increases in member-state contributions. We’ve worked very hard on that. And I will tell you, the Secretary General has been working on that for a long time, before I got there. But I think more progress — I can say with surety, more progress has been made in the last year and a half than has been made in many, many years.”

Advertisement

“We’re delighted to report that last year, as a result of our joint efforts, we witnessed the single-largest increase in defense spending among European member states and Canada in a quarter of a century,” the President continued. “That really is quite a spectacular achievement, so I congratulate you. I congratulate you very much. We really have worked in many respects, but that was, I think, a big one. We had countries that were not paying what they were supposed to be paying. Now most countries are. Not all. And I think you’ll be able to handle the ones that aren’t. Right? I have confidence.”

“I want to thank the seven NATO nations, in addition to the United States, who will meet their 2 percent NATO defense spending,” Trump continued. “Now, unfortunately, we pay much more than 2 percent, which is probably unfair, and unfair to the taxpayers of the United States. But the 2 percent number that’s met is Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, and the United Kingdom. And they are right up to snuff. They paid. They were on time. They paid the number that they’re supposed to be paying. We have some that don’t — and, well, they’ll be dealt with. As a result of these contributions, NATO is much stronger, taking in billions and billions of dollars — more money than they ever have before. But as the Secretary General and I have discussed, more work needs to be done. We’re still waiting on 20 member states to meet their NATO commitments and spend at least 2 percent on defense. And 2 percent is a very low number. The number really should be 4 percent. Two percent is a very low number.”

“In particular, Germany must demonstrate leadership in the Alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions,” Trump stated. “Germany has not contributed what it should be contributing, and it’s a very big beneficiary — far bigger than the United States, frankly. In addition to that, as you know, they’re buying massive amounts of gas from Russia and paying billions and billions of dollars. So I think that’s something we’ll be discussing later and we’ll be discussing that at our meeting, and probably long before the meeting. We’re going to successfully confront the full range of threats, and we’re going to need every member state to honor its obligation. So, as we’ve just said, some do and some don’t.”

The President has angered some of our allies with his demands that NATO members contribute more, his refusal to stand by the Paris Climate Accords, and the imposition of tariffs on many goods that they export to the United States.

Mo Brooks represents the Fifth Congressional District.

Continue Reading

National

Shelby discusses disaster assistance for the Wiregrass with Trump

Chip Brownlee

Published

on

Alabama’s senior U.S. Senator Richard Shelby said Thursday that President Donald Trump “agreed to help” with assistance for those affected by Hurricane Michael in Alabama’s Wiregrass region.

Shelby tweeted Thursday that he spoke with Trump about the need for assistance after Michael devastated portions of Southeast Alabama in early October.

“During my meeting with @POTUS, I brought up the need for disaster relief in the #Wiregrass following #HurricaneMichael,” Shelby tweeted. “President Trump agreed to help.”

While Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration last week for four affected counties, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Mobile, it only provides public assistance grants, which reimburse local governments and community organizations for certain expenses incurred because of the disaster but can’t be disbursed to individuals recovering from a disaster.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also not yet approved the state of Alabama’s application for an agricultural disaster declaration.

Advertisement

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency has requested IA grants, and the agency has also provided additional evidence to demonstrate that certain Alabama counties qualify for the individual assistance.

Individual assistance, where it to be approved in the coming days by the Trump administration, would include financial assistance, direct aid and disaster loans. The assistance could be used for losses that were not covered by insurance, are of critical need and couldn’t be covered in other ways. It’s not intended to restore damaged property to its condition before the disaster, according to FEMA.

Most disaster assistance is provided in the form of loans administered by the Small Business Administration.

Shelby’s discussion with Trump comes after U.S. Sen. Doug Jones urged President Donald Trump last week to push for approval of the individual assistance grants for Alabamians impacted by Hurricane Michael. Jones also supported agriculture assistance in a separate letter to the Department of Agriculture.

Neighboring counties in Florida and Georgia have already received IA grants.

Hurricane Michael was one of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall in the continental United States, causing more than $204 million in estimated agriculture losses and $307 million in estimated economic losses in Alabama, according to a report from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University.

Continue Reading

National

Jones co-sponsors bipartisan bill to address growing chronic wasting disease problem

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, joined Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, and Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, in introducing legislation to authorizes a special resource study to determine how chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreads and could be prevented in deer and elk.

CWD can affect both wild and domestic herds of deer and elk in 25 states. However, state recommendations for preventing the spread of the disease vary. This bill would give state wildlife agencies and wildlife experts information to conduct targeted research on how the disease is transmitted, determine which areas are most at risk, and develop consistent advice for hunters to prevent further spread.

“As an avid outdoorsman and hunter, I am deeply troubled by the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease,” said Senator Jones. “This disease is threatening to impact the wildlife population in Alabama just as it has in a number of other states throughout the country. That’s why it is so vital for the Senate to pass legislation that will ultimately give state and local wildlife officials the tools they need to contain the spread of CWD.”

“Chronic wasting disease has negatively affected white-tailed and mule deer in Wyoming for decades,” said Senator Barrasso. “To protect our wildlife populations and our hunters, we need to know more about how this disease is spread and which areas are most at risk. Our bill gives wildlife managers the tools they need to research and identify exactly where chronic wasting disease is most prominent and how we can better prevent it. It’s a critical first step to addressing this debilitating disease and keeping our wildlife herds healthy.”

“The deer and elk herds affected by Chronic Wasting Disease are a critical part of Colorado’s wildlife heritage and economy,” said Senator Bennet. “We need to learn more about containing CWD, and this bipartisan legislation will provide the information state wildlife professionals need to align their work and prevent further spread.”

Advertisement

Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), John Thune (R-South Dakota), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) cosponsored the legislation.

The “Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission in Cervidae Study Act” addresses the needs identified by state wildlife agencies. The bill requires the USDA secretary to enter into an arrangement with the National Academies of Sciences to review current data and best management practices (BMPs) from the CWD Herd Certification Program and state agencies regarding: the pathways and mechanisms for CWD transmission; the areas at risk and geographical patterns of CWD transmission; and gaps in current scientific knowledge regarding transmission to prioritize research to address gaps.

In October the second confirmed case of CWD positive deer was found in Mississippi. The most recent deer was in Pontotoc County. CWD is the most devastating disease facing the deer population today. Alabama has 1.75 million deer. Currently the state is CWD free; Mississippi was CWD free until this summer.

Mississippi Wildlife officials report that an emaciated 1.5-year-old, free-ranging male white-tailed deer was euthanized on October 8, 2018. The deer’s behavior appeared abnormal. The sample was confirmed CWD-positive by the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, on October 30, 2018. This is the second case of CWD documented in Mississippi.
Alabama’s WFF has tested nearly 8,000 deer since 2002 and has not detected CWD within Alabama.

As part of WFF’s CWD Strategic Surveillance and Response Plan, WFF will increase its CWD surveillance sampling efforts beyond typical surveillance rates in those counties within the 50-mile radius of the Pontotoc County CWD-positive white-tailed deer. These counties include Franklin, Lamar, and Marion counties.

Additional samples for these counties including, but not limited to, voluntary samples from hunter-harvested deer as well as focused efforts on road kills and abnormally behaving deer.

CWD is a neurodegenerative disease found in most deer species, including moose, elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It is infectious and always fatal. It is part of a group of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and is similar to mad cow disease in cattle and scrapie in sheep. These diseases cause irreversible damage to brain tissue that leads to neurological symptoms, emaciation and death of the animal.

Deer infected with CWD can become emaciated, lethargic, have abnormal behavior, and show gradual loss of bodily functions. Other signs include excessive salivation, loss of appetite, progressive weight loss, excessive thirst and urination, and drooping head/ears.

Because it is a prion disease, contact with the spinal and brain tissue of a deer carcass can spread the disease to uninfected deer. To prevent the spread of the disease into Alabama it is now forbidden to import the complete carcasses from members of the cervid family (deer, elk, moose, caribou, etc.) from any other state and Canada.

The rules requires that hunters should completely debone the animal and remove and dispose of any brain or spinal tissue from skull plates, raw capes and hides before returning to Alabama. Those skull plates must be free of any brain or spinal cord material. Velvet-covered antlers are also included in the prohibited materials. Root structures and other soft tissue should also be removed from all teeth. Finished taxidermy products and tanned hides are not affected by the ban.

Overhunting resulted in the near extinction of deer in Alabama by 1905, when there were less than 2,000 deer living in the state, until the state of Alabama and a collection of private landowners in south Alabama stepped in to protect the species. The wolf, bison, elk, cougar, passenger pigeon were all wiped out in Alabama by overhunting. From those humble beginnings, the Alabama Conservation Department, restocked the rest of the state, with most of the restocking done in the 1950s and 1960s.

Gun season for deer in Alabama begins on Saturday and continues until February 10.

Continue Reading

National

McCarthy defeats Jordan for GOP Minority Leader

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy & House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer interviewed on the stage at AIPAC. (Lorie Shaull)

The U.S. House Republican Caucus voted Wednesday 159 to 43 to elect U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-California) as their new minority leader for the next Congress. House Republicans prepare for life as the minority party for the first time in eight years.

McCarthy was the majority leader for the past four years. He easily defeated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Jordan co-founded of the conservative Freedom Caucus. The vote occurred during a closed-door, secret-ballot election in the Ways and Means Committee room.

The vote was 159 to 43. While it takes 218 votes to become Speaker of the House, McCarthy only needed a simple majority of votes from his GOP colleagues to become minority leader.

Outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) did not seek another term to his House seat.

“We have a new role and a new mission in the House, and this group is well-equipped to meet the challenge,” Speaker Ryan said. “I know they will defend the significant policy achievements of the last two years, find areas of common ground where possible, and draw a stark contrast with the new liberal majority. This team has the experience, skill, and steadiness to guide us back to the majority, and I congratulate them all on their new positions. In particular, it gives me great confidence as I depart knowing this conference is in good hands with my friend Kevin McCarthy at the top. Bright days are ahead for this team.”

Advertisement

Alabama Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) was elected Chair of Policy for the House Republican Caucus.  Prior to his election to Congress, Palmer was cofounder and President of the Alabama Policy Institute (API).

Last week’s “blue wave” election meant that 37 House seats flipped from Republican control to Democratic control.

This means Democrats will pick the next Speaker of the House, likely Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and will pick the chairs of all the House committees. They also have the votes to pass Democratic legislation to the Senate, including the impeachment of President Donald Trump (R).
Congressman Bradley Byrne predicted that it would be “crazy season” in the House.

“Crazy is just one way to put it,” Byrne said on social media. “The Democrat agenda will attempt to undermine the President and all that we have accomplished. I will continue to focus on issues that actually matter like rebuilding our military, growing our economy, and securing our borders.”

McCarthy addressed reporters in a news conference following the vote, vowing to retake control of the House in 2020.

“I know they want to abolish ICE. I know they want to impeach the president,” McCarthy said. “I just don’t think that’s the agenda Americans want.”

While Republicans controlled the House of Representatives for 8 years, they only controlled the U.S. Senate for four years, and Donald J. Trump has only been President for the last two. Despite controlling both Congress and the White House efforts to repeal Obamacare stalled in the Senate; President Trump’s promised border wall never went anywhere in Congress, and the GOP House Caucus was hopelessly divided on how to proceed with immigration reform. The rules of the Senate and the narrow Senate majority meant that many pieces of legislation that passed the more conservative Republican controlled House of Representatives died in the Senate. Trump was not the first choice of many members of the Congress and there was often friction between the House and the White House. Dissatisfaction with Trump, particularly in suburban America, was a factor in last week’s many GOP losses.

Despite the “blue wave” election nationally, all of Alabama’s congressional delegation were easily re-elected to additional terms. Robert Aderholt is Alabama’s longest serving member of the Alabama congressional delegation, having just been re-elected to his twelfth term representing Alabama’s Fourth Congressional District.

The GOP leadership team for the 116th Congress:
Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY)
NRCC Chair Tom Emmer (R-MN)
Policy Committee Chair Gary Palmer (R-AL)
Conference Vice Chair Mark Walker (R-NC)
Conference Secretary Jason Smith (R-MO)

(Original reporting by Fox News, Politico, and the Yellowhammer News contributed to this report.)

 

Continue Reading

National

Palmer elected to 116th Congress’s GOP leadership team

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Wednesday, the Republican Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives elected Alabama Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) to the position of Republican Policy Committee Chair for the 116th Congress.

“I appreciate the faith that my colleagues have placed in me and am grateful for their support,” Rep. Palmer said. “Throughout my career, I have focused on being a problem solver and developing and promoting sound policies, so I feel like I’m uniquely prepared for this role. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we continue advancing and promoting ideas supported by the American people.”

Congressman Palmer will serve in the GOP’s leadership team, which includes: Representative Kevin McCarthy (California) was elected as the GOP Minority Leader easily defeating Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan (Ohio). Representative Steve Scalise (Louisiana) will return as the Minority Whip. Representative Liz Cheney (Wyoming) will serve as Conference Committee Chair. Representative Mark Walker (North Carolina) will serve as Conference Committee Vice Chair. Representative Jason Smith (Missouri) was elected as Conference Committee Secretary; and Representative Tom Emmer (Minnesota) was elected as the National Republican Campaign Committee Chair.

Gary Palmer was born in Hackleburg. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama. After working for engineering firms, Palmer cofounded the conservative Alabama Policy Institute (API) where he served as President for many years, before running to represent the Sixth Congressional District of Alabama when then incumbent Spencer Bachus (R-Vestavia) retired.  Palmer is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

A week ago Palmer easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Danner Kline, 69.26 percent to 30.74 percent to win his third term in the United States House of Representatives.

Advertisement

The Republican Party suffered a crushing defeat in House midterms, losing control of the U.S. House of Representatives after eight years of control. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) appears to be the consensus choice of Democrats to be the Speaker of the House. Pelosi previously was Speaker from 2007 to 2011.

The Sixth Congressional District of Alabama includes all or parts of Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb, Coosa, and Chilton Counties.

Continue Reading

Authors

Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending

Brooks: Trump is right to demand NATO allies spend more on defense

by Brandon Moseley Read Time: 5 min
0