Connect with us

In Case You Missed It

Mo Brooks Interview

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Monday, June 16, 2017, US Representative Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) spoke at length with The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) about the major issues facing our nation. The northern Alabama Congressman is also running for the US Senate.

APR: The Senate is going to vote on a Healthcare bill this week that did not contain all of the deficit cutting measures that you and your Freedom Caucus members were able to add in to the plan when it came out of the House. Are you confident that a conference committee will be able to make a healthcare bill that you can support?

Brooks: First the Senate may vote this week or it might not. There is a split on the Republican side. There will have to be changes in the bill to get to 51 in order to vote. If they do then there will be a vote this week and if not they will postpone it. And no, I am not confident that the Republicans will repeal and replace Obamacare as we promised the American people. There are too many liberal Republicans and that is why they are debating keeping elements of Obamcare. I fear that there will still be a massive welfare program that we don’t have the funds for.

APR: Should veterans be allowed to receive their health care from doctors and hospitals outside of the Veterans Healthcare system?

Brooks: If I had my druthers I would give veterans a platinum quality health insurance plan that lets veterans choose either the VA or the private market with its greater selections of doctors and hospitals.

ADVERTISEMENT

APR: Is there a possibility that American military and Russian military forces could actually go head to head in the present crisis in Syria over whether to remove Assad?

Brooks: It is a possibility that I hope America can avoid. America does not have a security interest in whether President Assad stays or not. America can no longer be a police cop on every street corner in the world…I am happy to be part of a cooperative a multi-national effort to wipe out ISIS, but once that is accomplished we need to let the Turks, the Kurds, the Syrians, and Iraqis decide their future and we need to get out of Syria.

APR: The national budget deficit is $587 billion. Can the federal government continue subsidizing the health insurance needs of millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act or a similar Republican plan?”

Brooks: I want to be real clear about one thing: America will suffer a debilitating insolvency if we continue on this path….We have been warned, but there are too many Congressmen and Senators who either lack the economic understanding or the political backbone to do what it takes to put the nation back on a sound financial footing….Washington’s reckless spending habits have us on a path to destroy what took two centuries of sacrifice to build.

Public Service Announcement

APR: Would you support an amendment to the US Constitution declaring that life begins at conception and banning abortion across the United States?

Brooks: I would…All of the medical and scientific evidence shows that life begins at conception.

APR: Do you support a bill demanding that all 50 states honor the concealed carry permits of every other state? Reciprocity?

Brooks: Yes, I have supported that for years. I am cosponsoring reciprocity legislation; but quite frankly the NRA and other 2nd amendment groups have been unsuccessful at convincing enough Democratic members of Congress to support this legislation for it to pass at this time.

APR: Russian armed forces occupied Sevastopol and the Crimea and have supported pro-Russia militias across much of Eastern Ukraine. Russian intelligence agencies have also been accused of hacking DNC computers and attempting to influence the 2016 US elections. Do you support expanding sanctions against Russia?

Brooks: Yes I support sanctions and I also believe that we need to provide more military supplies to the Ukrainians, to help fight the invasion…This policy worked in Afghanistan in the 1980s and it can work in the Ukraine.

APR: If the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion deep space exploration vehicle both prove capable in their upcoming testing, should Congress put us on a path towards a manned mission to Mars in the early 2030s?

Brooks: Yes, we are, by our very nature, explorers.

APR: If North Korea were to successfully launch a nuclear warhead at the United States, would you support the US retaliating with our own nuclear counter strike?

Brooks: Absolutely! We should obliterate the whole country. We should show no mercy and use any and all means in retaliating. Total annihilation was what the Mutually Assured Destruction Strategy was based on with the Soviets in the Cold War, and it should apply here as well.

APR: Fellow Senate candidate Dom Gentile has advocated for a Federal legalizing of medical marijuana. Do you support that?

Brooks: I see that issue as a states rights issue and I defer to what the states believe is the best policy. Personally, I don’t like marijuana and I hate its effects on the human body; but I am also a states rights guy. I trust that Alabama will do the right thing.

APR: Tax reform has become a popular topic in Washington these days. Should we adopt a fair tax, a flat tax, or simply reform the existing multi-tier tax system we have now?

Brooks: I support the fair tax and failing that, a flat tax.

APR: How responsible is the Federal government’s anti-poverty programs like Medicaid, free school lunch, EBT cards, housing assistance, etc., in de-incentivizing fatherhood and tearing down the American family?

Brooks: The Great Society Welfare programs of the 1960s were well intended, but have had bad consequences for the country. If you incentivize people not to work, there will be less people working. The more you pay people extra money to have children out of wedlock, the more children will be born out of wedlock.

APR: The first Trump budget did not include the necessary ship building program to reach the Navy’s 350 ship goal. Do you support diverting more resources to building more naval vessels?

Brooks: I support us spending us much money as is needed to ensure the security of America…making cuts to other programs to ensure that we have enough money to ensure America’s security, yes…I defer to a large degree to our military leaders on what they say they need to provide that security. I believe America must stop being the police cop on every corner of the planet and reduce our financial costs being the police cop on every corner of the globe.

Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District. Brooks is one of ten Republicans who will be on the August 15 Special Primary Election to fill the Senate vacancy created when Senator Jeff Sessions (R) was confirmed as US Attorney General. Eight Democrats are running in the Special Democratic Primary. The Special General Election is December 12.

 

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It

Tuberville calls for term limits, balanced budget and lobbying reform

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville (TUBERVILLE CAMPAIGN)

Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville’s campaign began emphasizing key structural reforms that the Republican nominee hopes to advance if elected to the U.S. Senate including congressional term limits, withholding lawmakers’ paychecks unless a balanced budget is passed and a ban on former officials becoming lobbyists.

“Only an outsider like me can help President Trump drain the Swamp, and any of the proposals outlined in this ad will begin the process of pulling the plug,” Tuberville said in a statement. “Doug Jones has had his chance, and he failed our state, so now it’s time to elect a senator who will work to fundamentally change the way that Washington operates.”

Tuberville has also made a major media buy across the state to trumpet this message.

“You know Washington politicians could learn a lot from the folks in small town Alabama, but Doug Jones … he’s too liberal to teach them,” Tuberville added.

Polls consistently show that term limits are popular with people across both political parties, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that imposing term limits would be adding a qualification to be a member of Congress and that can only be done by constitutional amendment.

It is an unspoken truth that when Americans send someone to Congress they never come back. They either keep getting re-elected like Alabama’s own Sen. Richard Shelby, who is in his sixth term in the Senate after four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. On the other hand, they may become lobbyists getting paid to influence their colleagues on behalf of corporations, foreign governments or some well funded non-government organization.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tuberville said he would ban that practice.

A balanced budget amendment almost passed in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.

Since that failure, Congress has increasingly passed bigger and bigger budget deficits. The U.S. government borrowed more money during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s presidency than the government had borrowed in the first 224 years of the country combined.

President Barack Obama followed and the TARP program propped up the post-Great Recession economy. Rather than cutting the deficit, President Donald Trump invested billions in the military and a tax cut without cutting domestic spending. The 2020 coronavirus crisis has further grown the budget.

Public Service Announcement

The government has borrowed trillions to prop up the economy and provide stimulus while investing billions into medical research and treating the virus victims. Congress is currently debating a fifth stimulus package that would add more to the deficit.

Both a balanced budget amendment and a term limits amendment would have to be ratified by the states if passed by Congress. Tuberville is challenging incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama.

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

House passes General Fund Budget

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the state General Fund Budget on Tuesday.

The General Fund Budget for the 2019 fiscal year is Senate Bill 178. It is sponsored by Sen. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, carried the budget on the House floor. Clouse chairs the House Ways and Means General Fund Committee.

Clouse said, “Last year we monetized the BP settlement money and held over $97 million to this year.”

Clouse said that the state is still trying to come up with a solution to the federal lawsuit over the state prisons. The Governor’s Office has made some progress after she took over from Gov. Robert Bentley. The supplemental we just passed added $30 million to prisons.

The budget adds $50 million to the Department of Corrections.

ADVERTISEMENT

Clouse said that the budget increased the money for prisons by $55,680,000 and includes $4.8 million to buy the privately-owned prison facility in Perry County.

Clouse said that the budget raises funding for the judicial system and raises the appropriation for the Forensic Sciences to $11.7 million.

The House passed a committee substitute so the Senate is either going to have to concur with the changes made by the House or a conference committee will have to be appointed. Clouse told reporters that he hoped that it did not have to go to conference.

Clouse said that the budget had added $860,000 to hire more Juvenile Probation Officers. After talking to officials with the court system that was cut in half in the amendment. The amendment also includes some wording the arbiters in the court lawsuit think we need.

Public Service Announcement

The state General Fund Budget, SB178, passed 98-1.

Both budgets have now passed the Alabama House of Representatives.

The 2019 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, 2018.

In addition to the SGF, the House also passed a supplemental appropriation for the current 2018 budget year. SB175 is also sponsored by Pittman and was carried by Clouse on the floor of the House.

SB175 includes $30 million in additional 2018 money for the Department of Corrections. The Departmental Emergency Fund, the Examiners of Public Accounts, the Insurance Department and Forensic Sciences received additional money.

Clouse said, “We knew dealing with the federal lawsuit was going to be expensive. We are adding $80 million to the Department of Corrections.”

State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow, R-Red Bay, said that state Department of Forensics was cut from $14 million to $9 million. “Why are we adding money for DA and courts if we don’t have money for forensics to provide evidence? if there is any agency in law enforcement or the court system that should be funded it is Forensics.”

The supplemental 2018 appropriation passed 80 to 1.

The House also passed SB203. It was sponsored by Pittman and was carried in the House by State Rep. Ken Johnson, R-Moulton. It raises securities and registration fees for agents and investment advisors. It increases the filing fees for certain management investment companies. Johnson said that those fees had not been adjusted since 2009.

The House also passed SB176, which is an annual appropriation for the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The bill requires that the agency have an operations plan, audited financial statement, and quarterly and end of year reports. SB176 is sponsored by Pittman and was carried on the House floor by State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatham.

The House passed Senate Bill 185 which gives state employees a cost of living increase in the 2019 budget beginning on October 1. It was sponsored by Sen. Clyde Chambliss, R-Prattville and was being carried on the House floor by state Rep. Dimitri Polizos, R-Montgomery.

Polizos said that this was the first raise for non-education state employees in nine years. It is a 3 percent raise.

SB185 passed 101-0.

Senate Bill 215 gives retired state employees a one time bonus check. SB215 is sponsored by Senator Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kerry Rich, R-Guntersville.

Rich said that retired employees will get a bonus $1  for every month that they worked for the state. For employees who retired with 25 years of service that will be a $300 one time bonus. A 20-year retiree would get $240 and a 35-year employee would get $420.

SB215 passed the House 87-0.

The House passed Senate Bill 231, which is the appropriation bill increase amount to the Emergency Forest Fire and Insect and Disease Fund. SB231 is sponsored by Sen. Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, and was carried on the House floor by state Rep. Kyle South, R-Fayette.

State Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chathom, said, “Thank you for bringing this bill my district is full of trees and you never know when a forest fire will hit.

SB231 passed 87-2.

The state of Alabama is unique among the states in that most of the money is earmarked for specific purposes allowing the Legislature little year-to-year flexibility in moving funds around.

The SGF includes appropriations for the Alabama Medicaid Agency, the courts, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections, mental health, and most state agencies that are no education related. The Alabama Department of Transportation gets their funding mostly from state fuel taxes.

The Legislature also gives ALEA a portion of the gas taxes. K-12 education, the two year college system, and all the universities get their state support from the education trust fund (ETF) budget. There are also billions of dollars in revenue that are earmarked for a variety of purposes that does not show up in the SGF or ETF budgets.

Examples of that include the Public Service Commission, which collects utility taxes from the industries that it regulates. The PSC is supported entirely by its own revenue streams and contributes $13 million to the SGF. The Secretary of State’s Office is entirely funded by its corporate filing and other fees and gets no SGF appropriation.

Clouse warned reporters that part of the reason this budget had so much money was due to the BP oil spill settlement that provided money for the 2018 budget and $97 million for the 2019 budget. Clouse said they elected to make a $13 million repayment to the Alabama Trust fund that was not due until 2020 but that is all that was held over for 2020.

Clouse predicted that the Legislature will have to make some hard decisions about revenue in next year’s session.

 

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

Day Care bill delayed for second time on Senate floor, may be back Thursday

Sam Mattison

Published

on

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

The day care bill, which would license certain day care centers in Alabama, was once again delayed on the state Senate floor after one lawmaker requested more information.

Its brief appearance Tuesday ended with state Sen. Gerald Dial, R-Lineville, saying a compromise had not yet been worked out with the bill’s detractors.

Alabama’s Senate has been hesitant to act on the legislation because of complaints of state Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, who has been an opponent of the bill since its introduction last year. The bill’s delay on Tuesday marks the second time its been taken off the Senate’s agenda.

The bill has had a rocky time in this year’s session, but the bill’s sponsor state Rep. Pebblin Warren, D-Tuskegee, said she is still confident about its passage out of the Legislature.

Warren, D-Tuskegee, filed the bill this session with the support of influential lawmakers including Gov. Kay Ivey, who told reporters last year that she though all day cares should be licensed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Mainly sparked by the death of 5-year-old boy in the care of a unlicensed day care worker, the bill had great momentum coming into this year’ session.

Despite the growing support from lawmakers, Religious groups had concerns that the bill would increase state-sponsored reach into religious day cares in churches and non-profit groups.

Spearheading the dissenters was Alabama Citizens Action Program, a conservative religious-based PAC.

Warren, proponents, and ALCAP announced a compromise to the bill while it was still in the Alabama House.

Public Service Announcement

Announced by ALCAP originally, the new bill was a weaker version in that it did not require that all day cares in the state be regulated. Instead, religious-based day cares would only need to be registered if they received federal funds. At a Senate committee meeting in February, Warren said a similar requirement was about to come from federal law in Congress.

The bill moved through the House in a overwhelming vote in favor of the proposal and passed unanimously out of a Senate committee a few weeks ago.

Warren, speaking to reporters after its passage from the House, said she was unsure if the bill would encounter resistance in the upper chamber.

It was the Senate that killed the daycare bill last year amid a cramped last day where senators took the bill off the floor. The bill may face similar complications this year, as lawmakers seem to be preparing to adjourn within a few weeks.

Continue Reading

In Case You Missed It

Fantasy sports bill fails on Senate floor

Sam Mattison

Published

on

By Samuel Mattison
Alabama Political Reporter

Would-be Fantasy Sports players in Alabama will have to wait to legally play in the state following a Senate vote on Tuesday.

The Alabama Senate decisively killed a bill to exempt fantasy sports from the state’s prohibition on gambling.

Not even entertaining a debate on the Senate floor, the proposal was killed during a vote for the Budget Isolation Resolution, which is usually a formality vote preluding a debate.

Fantasy sports are contests where participants select players from real teams to compete on fantasy teams using the real-world players’ stats.

Since 2016, the practice has been illegal in Alabama following a legal decision by the Attorney General’s Office that categorized it as gambling.

ADVERTISEMENT

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, predicted the bill’s failure during a committee meeting two weeks ago, where the bill passed unanimously.

Sen. Paul Sanford speaks to reporters after a Senate Committee meeting on Feb. 28, 2018. (Samuel Mattison/APR)

Speaking to reporter’s after the committee meeting, Sanford said the decision to file the bill was mainly a philosophical belief that the practice shouldn’t be illegal.

Sanford, a fantasy sports player before its ban, said that fantasy sports are a way to bring people closer together and not a means to win money. The Huntsville senator is not seeking re-election.

The bill’s failure in the Senate follows its trajectory last year too. A similar version of the bill, also sponsored by Sanford, failed in the Senate during the final days of the 2017 Legislative Session.

Public Service Announcement

Since Sanford is retiring, it is unclear if the bill will even come back next session, or if it will even have a Senate sponsor.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement