There was much to celebrate this past week in Washington.
That sentence may surprise you if you just go off what you hear from the national news media, but the reality is we continue to get work done here in the People’s House.
To be clear, there is still work to be done, and that starts with passing funding necessary to secure the border and protect the American people. That said, I think it is worth pausing for a moment and reviewing the wins from this past week.
One of the biggest wins last week was passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.
As I have said before, our farmers and foresters are our future. I am pleased to have voted for this bipartisan legislation to better support our farmers in Alabama and throughout the country.
The 2018 Farm Bill will allow for improved crop protections and loan options for farmers, incentivize rural development, support animal disease prevention and management, and will continue our nation’s commitment to agriculture and farmers.
I am especially pleased to see the substantial resources provided to improve rural broadband access to communities. Providing Internet access to people in rural Alabama is absolutely critical to economic development and the success of these communities in the 21st Century.
A few of the other provisions in the bill will greatly benefit the cotton and peanut growers here in Alabama; help maintain access to crop insurance through reduced premiums and waived fees; boost critical funding for feral swine control; and restore funding for trade promotion efforts in an attempt to keep pace with trading competitors around the world.
Most importantly, the 2018 Farm Bill will help equip and train the next generation of farmers both here in Alabama and throughout the United States. I was proud to support this bill, and I look forward to President Trump signing it into law.
Another piece of good news we received this week was the passage of a bill to help drain the Washington swamp.
The American people are sick of Congress being able to play under different rules than the rest of the country, and that must change.
That is why I am proud to be one of the leaders on the effort to reform the way sexual harassment claims are handled on Capitol Hill to increase transparency and accountability.
No longer will members of Congress be able to use taxpayer dollars to pay settlements for their own misconduct when it comes to sexual harassment. No longer will members of Congress be able to cover up their personal wrongdoings at the expense of the American people.
It was important for Congress to make this statement. With this legislation, we did the right thing. By doing the right thing, we not only do right by the people who work around us and for us, but we do right by the American people.
This has been a tough fight, but with these reforms we will make the Washington swamp a little less swampy and shine light on what is happening in the halls of Congress.
With this week of good news, it is also important to remember that the best news of all will be celebrated next week: a small baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.
This good news is the birth of our Savior, bringing God’s light directly into the world through His son.
It is easy to lose sight of the meaning of Christmas with all the bustle of daily life and routine. But this week, I challenge you to stop and remember what this season is about in preparation for the good news yet to come.
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Bradley Byrne is a member of U.S. Congress representing Alabama’s 1st Congressional District.