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November 13, 2019

This Week in Washington

There’s been a lot in the news about all kinds of things going on up in Washington but I want to make sure you know that — despite all that — my main focus is and always will be working on behalf of the people of Alabama.

In fact, the Senate health committee just advanced three of my health care bills. One of those bills, the Nursing WIN Act, will help address the nursing shortage by expanding loan repayment programs for nurses. Another will help make sure health care workers are available during natural disasters, and the other will help to prevent sudden deaths in children.

Earlier this week, the Senate passed my amendment to provide funding for landowners who face heirs’ property challenges. This is a big deal for many families in Alabama, especially black families who have been impacted by heirs’ property for generations.

The Senate also approved my amendment to block $1.2 billion in cuts to federal transportation projects. These cuts would cost countless manufacturing jobs across the country, and would have impacted companies in Alabama like New Flyer.

Those amendments were both added to a larger funding bill that the Senate approved this week.

We also got some good news when it comes to federal funding for local schools and libraries in Alabama. After learning last year that $6.5 million that was approved to help our schools pay for internet access had been held up in Washington since 2016, I got to work to get the Federal Communications Commission to release the funding. This week, we heard that these schools and libraries have finally gotten this money after years of delay. These funds will help nearly 700,000 students and over 1,300 schools and libraries in Alabama!

I also introduced a bipartisan bill to help protect our border by authorizing Operation Stonegarden, which increases cooperation and coordination among local law enforcement, Customs and Border Control, and the US Border Patrol to target transnational criminal activity like drug and human trafficking.

And this past Tuesday, I introduced a bipartisan bill to protect Medicare, Social Security and pensions. This bill would create new congressional committees tasked with figuring out how to save these programs. I know I don’t need to tell you how important those programs are to working families in Alabama.

Another bill I introduced this week would create a new clean water grant program that would help counties more easily share water quality information to help find solutions for the problems that cross county lines. This bill was inspired by the city of Fairhope, Alabama, because city officials told my office that they can’t address water quality issues downstream without input from communities further upstream.

I’m also continuing to push for my bill to get rid of the Military Widow’s Tax. Right now, it’s stuck in limbo because my Widow’s Tax amendment was included in the House defense bill, but not the Senate version. So we’re working as hard as we can to make sure it gets in the final bill that both chambers will vote on. Watch my interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper this week here.

If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is! My team and I are working as hard as we can to improve the lives of working families in Alabama. And even if what you see on the news every night is partisan bickering and gridlock, I want you to know that I’ve got your back and that I’m staying focused on what really matters.


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