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Byrne says help is on the way with stimulus bill

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama, spoke Friday on the floor of the House of Representatives to offer his support for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Byrne said, “Help is on the way!”

“Last week, 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment,” Byrne said. “Small businesses around this country are shuttered. Millions of Americans and their children are at home, practicing social distancing, a term that few knew two weeks ago. Countless others are on the frontlines in our hospitals, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, or simply checking us out at the grocery store.”

“Yesterday, I spoke to many small businesses in my district on a call,” Byrne continued. “I was asked to give them hope. To the American people who are watching, there is hope, and help is on the way!

Republicans have criticized Democrats for some of the spending items in the bill, and Democrats have criticized Republicans for some of the items that were not in the final version of the bill that passed the Senate last week after an often heated debate.

“There are many things in this bill I do not like,” Byrne said. “There are portions that I think are a mistake. But, colleagues, this is our time for action. Do not hold this bill up. We owe it to the citizens of this great country who are struggling. We owe action for them – today.”

The Senate passed the $2 trillion stimulus bill in a late-night session on Wednesday. The members of the House returned to D.C. and passed the bill by voice vote.

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President Donald Trump wasted no time in adding his signature to the historic legislation.

“I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first,” Trump said.

“We got hit by the invisible enemy and we got hit hard,” Trump added.

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The bill gives the Treasury Department $500 billion to assist struggling companies. There is also money in the bill for small businesses to borrow funds to make payroll and other overhead expenses. If the businesses use the money for that they will get their loan forgiven.

Each American taxpayer who filled out a 2018 return is to get a check from the government of about $1,200. Taxpayers with $75,000 or more in income will have to pay it back. There is money for education systems and for state and local governments.

The American economy was growing, and new jobs were being created even before Trump was elected president. Under Trump, the economy soared to new heights with unemployment dropping to record lows not seen since the 1960s during the Vietnam War. The stock market was soaring and set new record high after new record high.

Late in 2019 a coronavirus previously unknown to science apparently crossed over from the bat world to humans at a live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, causes a condition that scientists have abbreviated to COVID-19.

The virus which can be transmitted by casual contact has since spread all over the globe killing 33,976 as of press time. Trump shut down travel from China, but our European allies did not. As a result, it quickly began spreading there as well and the USA began getting infections from Europe as well as the infections that had begun earlier from Wuhan.

Faced with projections by scientists showing a potential American death toll in excess of two million, the president made the unprecedented step of ordering an emergency shutdown of most of the American economy in order to slow the spread of the virus and give our scientists time to work on a cure and a vaccine.

Americans are being advised to stay in their homes as much as possible, don’t shake anyone’s hands, wash their hand frequently, don’t gather in groups bigger than ten, avoid getting closer than six feet from other people, and not to panic or hoard supplies. Businesses have been warned not to price gouge.

Congress has already passed two bills to fund the war against COVID-19. This $2 trillion stimulus package is designed to prevent a crushing deep recession caused by the forced government shutdown.

President Trump was optimistic that the stimulus would help the situation and that the economy would rebound once restrictions are lifted.

“I think we are going to have a tremendous rebound,” the President said.

Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He is not seeking re-election.

The legislation, which passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday, will provide billions of dollars in relief for struggling industries, a significant boost to unemployment insurance and direct cash payments to Americans, many of whom have been financially devastated by the outbreak.

Before signing the bill, Trump marveled at the size of it.

“I never signed anything with a ‘T’ on it,” he said.

The more than $2 trillion bill is the largest economic relief package in modern U.S. history.

(Original reporting by NBC News’s Rebecca Shabad and Adam Edelman contributed to this report.)

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.

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Aderholt says that low Census response rate will come with big consequences for Alabama

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Robert Aderholt (VIA CSPAN)

Alabama trails the nation in 2020 Census response and that matters, says Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, in an email to his 4th Congressional District constituents.

“In more ways than we could possibly name, Alabama is the best state in the nation,” Aderholt said. “However, when it comes to the 2020 Census, we are sitting in last place in the country. Currently 81.5% of Alabama households have been counted, but that is nearly 10% less than the national count of 90.1%. I think we can do better, so let’s make Alabama count.”

“Why it Matters. One of the biggest questions asked every decade when the Census comes up is: why does it matter?” Aderholt said. “This is a great question, and I understand why it gets asked so often. So, I want to give you a few different answers that are grounded in facts. Federal Funds: It is estimated that per 100 people not counted in the Census, roughly $1.2 million dollars of federal funding is lost for your community. Here are just a few of the many items that would have funding severely cut due to a lack of Census responses: Schools, roads, hospitals, block grants, vocational education, and fire departments. These are all crucial aspects of living in a community, and they are all at risk of funding decreases.

“Jobs: Census numbers are used by both public and private organizations to determine where to build and bring business. This means that employment opportunities and economic development are at stake when it comes to the Census. This aspect is often overlooked, but it may just be the most consequential of them all. Representation in Congress: You probably know this one already, but Congressional districts are based on population.

“This means that the more people that are counted in your state the more representation your state has in the House of Representatives. For Alabama, we are in danger of losing a Congressional seat, so our count this year matters a great deal. Civil Rights: As a matter of fact, certain programs based around civil rights issues are directly correlated to the Census. Things like compliance with the National Voting Rights Act of 1965, housing, employment, and education anti-discrimination laws are monitored and enforced using the population count from the Census.”

Go to my2020census.gov and follow the instructions on screen, or you can call 844-330-2020.

“I would encourage you all to fill yours out today and make Alabama count for the next decade,” Aderholt said. ‘If you have already completed your Census, please tell your friends and family to fills theirs out and spread the word.”

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Aderholt explained that the Census first started in 1790 and was conducted by Thomas Jefferson. The nation then had a population of just 3,929,214, compared to roughly 328 million today.

“From 1790 to 1879, the Census was counted by Federal Marshals going door-to-door across the country,” Aderholt explained. “Back then they would show up to your house on horseback and fill out the numbers on parchment or animal skin. Although this sounds pretty cool to me, I am sure glad we can do it on our phones now. The Census started out with only 6 questions, then rose to 34 in 1920, but has settled back down to an even 10 the past couple decades.”

The state of Alabama has seven congressional districts currently, but it appears that the state is likely to lose at least one, given the state’s modest growth over the last decade and the people of Alabama’s awful Census response rate.

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Aderholt is in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces a general election challenge from Democratic candidate Rick Neighbors.

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Aderholt supports the Republican Commitment to America plan

Brandon Moseley

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Congressman Robert Aderholt (VIA CSPAN)

Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, released a statement this week in support of the Republican Commitment to America, a plan put forth by House Republicans if the voters will give them control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the upcoming elections.

“The future of our country will be determined in the next few months,” Aderholt said, “Make no mistake about it, what we do right now will have a ripple effect for many years to come. That’s why I fully support and endorse the Commitment to America, because the clear path toward a bright future is paved with a restoration of our way of life, the rebuilding of the greatest economy in history, and a renewal of the American Dream.”

“First and foremost, we need to restore our way of life,” Aderholt said. “We are well on the way to defeating the virus and deploying a vaccine. This also means we need to stop the rioting, defend the police, and help people feel safe again. Second, we must restore what was once the greatest economy the world has ever seen. We will support local businesses and spur activities to create new jobs. And it’s time for us to bring manufacturing back to America and hold China accountable for their unfair trade practices, their theft of intellectual property, and their crackdown on human rights. Finally, we must renew the American Dream and ensure it returns to the pedestal it belongs on. This starts by giving every family a choice in where to send their kids to school, taking care of and hiring our veterans, and promoting opportunities for workforce development.”

“This Commitment to America is the right path to take as a country, and I would encourage my colleagues across the aisle to work with us as we enter the final stretch of 2020,” Aderholt said. “Restoring, rebuilding, and renewing our country is critically important right now, so let’s get to work.”

“We are announcing our Commitment to America with three specific objectives: restore our way of life, rebuild the greatest economy in history, and renew the American dream,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California.

“To rebuild our economy, we will commit to get America working again and add 10 million new jobs through proven, pro-growth policies,” McCarthy said. “That starts with $200 billion in forgivable loans to local businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. This program, which I call our Marshall Plan for Main Street, has already saved 51 million jobs and can still save more. Democrats’ continued refusal to pass more relief over politics will only take our economy backward.”

“Without question, we must and we will defeat COVID-19 and keep America healthy,” McCarthy said. “To restore our way of life, we will work to triple rapid testing nationwide, deliver a vaccine that is safe, effective, and available by the end of the year, protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, and invest in therapeutics while lowering drug prices across the board.”

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“Following the recommendations of the China Task Force that House Republicans established last spring, we will increase U.S. manufacturing and build supply chain resiliency through full expensing on a permanent basis for all U.S. investment and restoration of domestic production tax credits,” McCarthy said. “While Democrats ignore the threat from China, Republicans will take it head on.”

After the COVID-19 crisis is over “many communities will still be gripped by unrest that continues to lead to violence,” McCarthy wrote. “Without respect for public safety, all the pro-growth policies in the world won’t put America back on her feet. We must ensure the security and safety of all communities. That means improving our police forces, not defunding them. We will increase funding for law enforcement by $1.75 billion for better police training, community policing, and equipment, including 500,000 more body cameras on the streets.”

“To renew the American Dream, we will ensure every child in every neighborhood can go to the school that is best for them, while directing millions towards high-quality STEM education to prepare our kids for the jobs of tomorrow,” McCarthy said in support of expanding school choice. “At the same time, we will promote opportunities for career and technical education and workforce development for any American looking to earn a promotion or pursue a meaningful new career, especially our nation’s veterans.”

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Aderholt is in his 12th term representing Alabama’s 4th Congressional District. He faces a challenge this year from Democratic nominee Rick Neighbors.

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Sen. Doug Jones: “I voted no because the American people deserve better”

“If we let this pass, there would never be another opportunity to do more, to get help to the people who need it,” Jones said. “That’s why I voted no. I voted no because the American workers deserve better.”

Josh Moon

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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones

Calling it a “political ploy” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Alabama Sen. Doug Jones joined his Democratic Party colleagues on Thursday in voting against a slimmed down COVID-relief bill that did little to address average workers’ problems with the pandemic. 

“Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about the American people, he doesn’t understand the American worker,” Jones said. “This was a stunt. He wants partisan agreement, not a bipartisan bill to help people who are hurting.”

Jones said that McConnell also introduced a scaled-down bill during the previous round of COVID-relief negotiations, which Democrats also defeated. After that defeat, McConnell worked with Democrats and a bipartisan bill passed the Senate with overwhelming support from both parties.

“Alabama would have lost about $2 billion had I voted for the scaled down version last time,” Jones said. “That wasn’t a good bill for the people and this one wasn’t either.”

Jones also pushed back on the notion that Democrats had “blocked” a COVID-19 relief bill, pointing out that House Democrats had passed an expansive relief bill before the summer break in July. 

“There’s no reason we couldn’t have used that bill, which wasn’t a perfect bill, as a starting point,” Jones said. “Everyone knew this virus was going to be around through the summer, through the fall. We knew it. I asked for us not to leave, to get this done (before the break). We didn’t. And now we come back and McConnell has this bill that’s less than half of what he proposed before the break, because that’s all he can get his people to agree on. It’s not good enough.”

McConnell’s slimmed down relief bill didn’t include rent protection to prevent those who are out of work because of the virus from being evicted (and to provide aid to landlords). It also didn’t include stimulus payments to Americans out of work or any relief to state or local governments, which are starting to lay off workers. It also trimmed by two-thirds the extended unemployment benefits for Americans out of work, taking the federal payments from $600 to $200. 

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Jones pointed out that the bill did include, oddly, a $5 billion gift to parents who send their kids to private schools. That money, he said, was included to win Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s vote. 

“We have too many people hurting right now to play these games,” Jones said. “Too many good people are out of work and need our help. We owe it to them to do better. If we let this pass, there would never be another opportunity to do more, to get help to the people who need it. That’s why I voted no. I voted no because the American workers deserve better.”

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ALGOP hits Jones for vote against “slimmed-down” COVID-19 relief bill

Brandon Moseley

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Incumbent U.S. Sen. Doug Jones

Senate Democrats held up a $300 billion Republican coronavirus stimulus package, and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones was among the Democrats who voted against the GOP’s slimmed down coronavirus relief bill. Republicans were quick to slam Jones for the vote against another round of coronavirus aid.

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan condemned Jones’s vote against the aid, saying he is failing Alabama.

“Once again, Senator Jones has shown just how tone-deaf he is to the needs of Alabamians,” Lathan said. “This COVID Relief legislation would have provided much needed support for our school systems that are trying to open safely for our students. It would have also provided the resources needed to continue to develop and distribute a vaccine as well as improve testing. While President Trump is leading on his ‘Warp Speed’ vaccine solutions, Doug Jones is failing Alabama — again.”

Former State Rep. Perry Hooper Jr. — a member of the Trump Victory National Finance Committee, a Trump Team Leader and a member of the Alabama Republican Executive Committee — also criticized Jones for his vote against the bill.

“Doug Jones has proved once again that he cares more about trying to do political damage to our president and pleasing his liberal out-of-state donors than he does Alabama, the state that he was elected to serve,” Hooper said. “This vote is a stark reminder of how badly Alabama needs to elect Tommy Tuberville and send Doug Jones packing.”

Paige Lindgren, the deputy press secretary of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, also hit Jones for the vote.

“Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones voted no today on the latest COVID relief bill,” Lindgren said. “The Senate bill would provide targeted relief to states to reopen schools safely, develop and distribute a vaccine and improve testing and contract tracing efforts. Democrat leadership vowed to vote against the bill before it was even released, favoring their $3.5 trillion liberal wish list over any of the Republican-led efforts — and Jones joined them.”

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“On Tuesday, Senator Jones claimed not to know what was in the bill,” Lathan said. “On Wednesday, he said he had ‘mixed emotions’ about it. Now, on Thursday, he said it was ‘inadequate’. He’s all over the place. Instead of supporting Alabamians, he lined up behind his liberal buddies Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders to support the $3.5 trillion ‘wish list’ passed by House Democrats back in May — a list to bail out bankrupt cities that have nothing to do with the pandemic. He wants Alabama to bail out incompetently run liberal cities with our taxes. That’s a hard pass!”

“He voted in lock step with Chuck Schumer and his liberal comrades against a targeted Republican bill that would have provided badly needed aid to everyday Alabama families,” Hooper said.

“Once again, we are seeing anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones side with his Democrat party bosses in blocking COVID relief despite touting bipartisanship on the campaign trail,” said Lindgren. “This is just another example in which Jones chooses loyalty to Chuck Schumer and partisan politics over the needs of Alabama.”

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“It’s time for Alabama to have a Senator who listens to the majority — Tommy Tuberville will be elected as our next U.S. senator this November 3rd and will follow the majority of our people’s directions,” Lathan said.

Democrats argued that the $300 billion GOP bill is far too small. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives passed the $4.3 billion Heroes Act. Senate Republicans opposed that bill, arguing that it would add substantially to the national debt. Because of the 60 vote rule to end a filibuster it takes a bipartisan supermajority to bring up a bill in the Senate for a vote. The slimmed down coronavirus aid bill managed just 52 votes. 8 shy of the number needed to shut down debate and bring the bill up for a vote.

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