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Sen. Shelby discusses budget, spending, the Northern Beltline and other issues

Senator Richard Shelby questions Secretary of Defense Ash Carter during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing on the DoD fiscal year 2017 budget request at The Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington D.C., Apr. 27, 2016. Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Saturday, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby was in Vestavia to speak to the Mid Alabama Republican Club (MARC).

Shelby is the chairman of the appropriations committee in the U.S. Senate.

“It is an honor to be on of your two U.S. Senators,” Shelby said. “This is my sixth term. This is the fourth committee I have chaired.”

Shelby said that when he first got a seat on the appropriations committee Sens. Bird and Stephens told him, “You might be chairman someday.”

“We spend the money,” Shelby said, speaking of the Appropriations Committee. “Sometimes it does not go where I want it to go because you have to deal with the Democrats to move anything in the Senate.”

“We passed that massive tax cut bill,” Shelby said. “Unemployment is the lowest it has been in 40 maybe 50 years. We confirmed a Supreme Court justice and we need another one. We have been hearing that Justice Kennedy is about to retire; but we heard that last years and the year before that.” I would like for some of the liberals on the court to retire. “If the President nominates a smart conservative that would ignite our base and help in the midterm elections.”

Speaking of Alabama’s economy, Shelby said, “We are booming in pockets including here. North Alabama has done really well.”

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“I have tried to bring a lot of money in science technology math and engineering to our states including biomedical at UAB, and Auburn and Alabama,” Shelby said.

Shelby said that governing through continuing resolutions, “Has not been good for the country and not good for the party. We are trying to get back on regular order; but trying and doing are different things.

Shelby said, “I voted to go to 51” from 60 votes to pass things.

Two years ago Sens. Schumer and Reed voted to go to 51 votes so they could stack the courts. Now they are slow walking President Trump’s nominees.

“We have a chance to take control of the circuit courts by putting conservatives on them,” Shelby said. “There are seven seats in Alabama open. President Trump has appointed five judges who are recommended by me and Sessions. I hope to get two on the court in the next couple of weeks. The Supreme Court is the apex though.”

“You can make a difference but you have to want to make a difference,” Sen. Shelby said. “You have to have principles.”

“The breakdown of the family in this country,” Shelby said is one of the biggest problems. “We have a lot of broken families we have a lot of children without mothers or fathers and then we want them to produce.”

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“President Reagan did not want to sign the order to break through the first trillion in national debt but Speaker O’Neil promised a bunch of cuts that they never made,” Shelby said. “Now we are $21 trillion in debt. A rescissions package, that is nothing. Entitlements are 70 percent of the spending and that is automatic spending. It would take a massive bipartisan bill to slow that down.”

Shelby said that the U.S. 10 year treasury bond is paying 3 percent interest while the German bond is not quite paying one percent.

“That means that a lot of people in the world believe that the Germans will pay their bills ahead of us and that is troubling to me,” Shelby said.

“I don’t know that rescission will go anywhere,” Shelby said. “We have got to deal with substance.”

“I like a lot of the things that President Trump is doing,” Shelby said. “I like a lot of his policies. He is doing a lot of good things. I like what he is doing in North Korea.”

Speaking of the scandals swirling around the Trump presidency, Shelby said, “A lot of this is being fanned by the media.”

“I have not seen anything to show that President Trump colluded with the Russians,” Shelby said. “I am not a big fan of special prosecutors. I have voted not to have them.”

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“We need more competition in pharmaceuticals,” Shelby said. “We are paying some of the highest costs in the world,” for drugs.

On the Northern beltline in Jefferson County, Shelby said. “We would like to see it finished. That is a big ticket item. They are talking like it will take 20 or 30 years. That’s not fast enough.”

Shelby said that taking away some of the funding for the Northern Beltline through the Appalachian regional transportation funding was part of the proposed rescission package and that is unacceptable.

“I don’t want to see that money spent on something in California,” Shelby said.

Insurance executive Joe Fuller introduced Shelby. He said that Shelby has been in public service since 1963. Shelby served in the Alabama State Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and currently sits in the U.S. Senate.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.



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