WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) released the following update on his work for Alabamians as his second year in office comes to a close.
“By building on the foundation we established during our first year in office, we were able to secure more wins for Alabama’s priorities this year, including getting the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act passed and signed into law,” said Senator Tuberville. “I’m proud of our team’s work to find new ways to be accessible for Alabamians, promote national security, support our veterans and military families, empower rural communities, and defend traditional conservative values. We will continue to serve the people of Alabama each day and work as hard as possible for our country in the new Congress.”
Senator Tuberville’s first piece of standalone legislation was signed into law in October — a huge accomplishment for a freshman senator in the minority party. Because of this legislation, the maximum life insurance coverage available to veterans and service members will be raised for the first time in two decades. This long overdue change offers greater financial security and peace-of-mind to service members and their families.
Senator Tuberville focused on issues that matter most to his constituents: promoting quality educational opportunities, bolstering national security, improving the quality of care for veterans, defending traditional conservative values, and pushing back against Chinese influence in America. In his critical oversight role, Senator Tuberville stood up to the Biden administration’s proposed rule to allow biological males to compete in women’s sports, sought accountability for the allocation of billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds, and pushed back against proposals which would vastly expand taxpayer-funded abortions at the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Senator Tuberville also fought against repeated attempts to delay and potentially reverse the U.S. Air Force’s decision to make Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL the permanent home of U.S. Space Command, one of his many efforts to promote Alabamians’ best interests and national security.
FOCUSING ON ALABAMIANS
- Remaining Responsive: Members of Senator Tuberville’s team held more than 2,500 constituent meetings across the state, visited all 67 counties every quarter, and secured more than $176 million in federal grants for constituents. Additionally, Senator Tuberville’s team held satellite office hours in rural communities across Alabama every quarter to assist constituents who may not live near a permanent office location. In addition to providing the office’s full range of constituent services, the Senator’s team hosted two satellite offices specifically focused on veterans’ casework and the federal grants processes.
- Keeping Constituents Informed: Senator Tuberville reached more than 2,512,380 homes in Alabama through regular interviews with print, television, and radio outlets in the state.
- Preserving Alabama’s History: Senator Tuberville introduced legislation to reauthorize the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MSNHA), impacting seven counties in northwest Alabama, and to establish the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, impacting nineteen counties in central and southern Alabama. National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are partnerships between the National Park Service, states, and local entities to protect and support conservation and public access. These partnerships create a diverse, community-driven approach to increase heritage, conservation, economic development, recreation, and tourism.
- Listening to Constituents: In response to hearing about the problems caused by annual time changes from a large amount of constituents, Senator Tuberville championed the Sunshine Protection Act to make Daylight Saving Time permanent, which passed the U.S. Senate earlier this year with unanimous support.
BOLSTERING NATIONAL SECURITY AND MILITARY READINESS
- Prioritizing Military Needs in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (FY23 NDAA): In his second year on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Tuberville focused on five priorities while crafting this year’s NDAA:
1. Risk Taking — Having been the world’s dominant power for decades, the United States has lost much of its innovative drive. Senator Tuberville continues to support U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) officials and leaders who push their departments to take strategic and calculated risks.
2. Lethality — Much of the DoD budget is concentrated in areas that do not contribute directly to the defense of the nation. Senator Tuberville has pushed the department to be a “killing machine,” and believes that functions that do not enhance the lethality of the force should be dropped or moved to other areas of the government.
3. Securing the Indo-Pacific — The United States is a Pacific nation, and much of our country’s commerce and future lie within reach of the Pacific Ocean. With the economic rise of China and its dramatic military build-up, the United States faces its first peer adversary since the 19th century. Senator Tuberville believes the United States must focus on securing our territory and interests in the region.
4. Space —Senator Tuberville believes the United States has fallen behind in space and cyber warfare and our nation needs to catch up. Whether it’s in space exploration, missile defense, hypersonic missiles, GPS, or artificial intelligence, Senator Tuberville supports provisions that promote American dominance in this domain.
5. Capacity — Senator Tuberville is concerned our strategic stockpiles are low, our prime contractors are dwindling, our shipyards are drying up, our critical resources are being offshored, and our manufacturing base is weak. The United States must foster the resource and industrial capacity to sustain our military might.
- Streamlining Requests: Senator Tuberville developed a new, streamlined submission process to make it easier to submit NDAA requests. Senator Tuberville and his team participated in more than 60 hearings and held more than 365 meetings with government officials, industry leaders, think tanks, and key stakeholders in preparation for the FY23 NDAA markups.
- Boosting Military Spending: Senator Tuberville pushed to increase the overall military budget by $45 billion above President Biden’s proposal. This increase will fund improvements for Alabama’s military bases and additional weapons research, development, and production in Alabama.
- Securing Wins for Alabama’s Installations: Senator Tuberville secured funding for upgrades, new construction, research, and other vital programs at military installations across Alabama. The NDAA authorizes funding for:
- a new gate inspection area at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery,
- the extension of a pilot program that allows service members who work at Maxwell — but live off-base — to send their children to the base school,
- additional resources — including funding for a physics lab and the Missile and Space Intelligence Center — for Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville,
- the construction of a new FBI warehouse at Redstone Arsenal,
- additional support for the Security Services Training Facility at the Sumpter-Smith Air National Guard Base in Birmingham,
- and additional resources to bolster America’s missile defense stockpile, expanding the number of Alabamians supporting our military’s lethal force.
- Fighting for SPACECOM’s Relocation to Huntsville: Senator Tuberville fought against attempts to derail the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) decision to permanently locate U.S. Space Command at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville during Senate Armed Services Committee hearings, and urged his colleagues to support the USAF’s decision.
- Investing in Cybersecurity: Senator Tuberville helped reauthorize the National Computer Forensics Institute in Hoover, AL, and provided resources to expand its capability to train federal law enforcement officers. This institute is the only of its kind in the nation and provides innovative training for law enforcement officials on how to combat cybercrimes.
- Promoting Clean, Safe Nuclear Energy: Senator Tubervilleintroduced the Thorium Energy Security Act to stop the destruction of Uranium 233 (U-233), a critical element used to produce clean energy. He also secured a provision requiring the DoD to study ways that thorium can be used to fuel U.S. military bases and space vehicles. China currently invests in U-233 by building advanced aircraft carriers and nuclear reactors powered by that element.
Senator Tuberville’s statement following the Senate’s passage of the FY23 NDAA can be seen here. A full list of wins for Alabama and provisions supported by Senator Tuberville can be found in Coach Tuberville’s Defense Playbook.
LOOKING OUT FOR VETERAN AND MILITARY FAMILIES
- Making Targeted but Meaningful Changes: Senator Tuberville worked to identify targeted changes that would improve how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs delivers care and benefits to veterans and their dependents. Those changes — no matter how small they may seem — positively affect the lives of our veterans and their families. For example, after learning of a seemingly insignificant, but consequential, error on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Defense forms that makes it difficult for dependents to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, Senator Tuberville introduced legislation to correct this error.
- Supporting Families of the Fallen Act: Senator Tuberville’s first piece of standalone legislation, the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act, became law passing both chambers of Congress without opposition. The bill provided the first increase of maximum coverage amounts under the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance since 2005 — updating the amount from $400,000 to $500,000.
- Protecting Veterans from Predatory Lawyers: Senator Tuberville cosponsored legislation to cap fees that trial lawyers can charge in cases representing Marines and other individuals impacted by water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Senator Tuberville joined this effort to combat potential abuse by attorneys charging exorbitant fees to represent these victims.
- Improving Health Care Access: Senator Tuberville advocated for veterans’ access to primary, specialty, and mental health care outside of their respective Veteran Integrated Service Networks and non-Veterans Affairs facilities to cut wait times for those who have served. He also pushed the DoD for answers regarding its contract change with Express Scripts that will limit TRICARE beneficiaries’ ability to maintain access to local pharmacies.
SECURING THE SOUTHERN BORDER
- Seeing the Crisis Firsthand: Senator Tuberville visited the Del Rio sector of our southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas, where he met with federal law enforcement on the frontlines of the border crisis. During the visit, Senator Tuberville observed firsthand the crisis created by President Biden’s policies and listened to officials describe the resources they need to secure the border.
- Pushing Back on Attempts to Dismantle Our Legal Immigration Process: Senator Tuberville joined efforts to overturn the Biden administration’s disastrous rule to allow illegal immigrants at the southern border to be granted expedited asylum status.
COUNTERING CHINESE AGGRESSION AND ECONOMIC INFLUENCE
- Protecting American Farmland: Senator Tuberville introduced legislation to prohibit members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from purchasing land in the United States. Chinese investors’ holdings of U.S. agricultural land has surged in the last decade. These investments can provide the CCP with access to sensitive information critical to America’s national security and undue leverage over U.S. supply chains. Alabama has the third-highest amount of foreign-owned agricultural land in the United States.
- Curbing U.S. Investment in China: Senator Tuberville continued pushing back against investment of Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) funds in Chinese companies by placing a hold on nominees to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board until the nominees provided clarification regarding foreign investment policies. His efforts forced the nominees to commit to opposing TSP investment in China.
- Looking Out for U.S. Investors: Senator Tuberville led the call for an investigation into Webull Financial, LLC and Moomoo, Inc. — two Chinese-owned stock trading apps operating in the United States that are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Both apps are widely used by American investors and freely collect and store sensitive information about users, including Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, and sensitive financial account data. Senator Tuberville also pushed for President Biden to ban Russian companies from the U.S. financial system to ensure American investors are not inadvertently funding Russia’s war against Ukraine.
- Safeguarding American Interests: Senator Tuberville pushed to ban all 93 million members of the CCP from obtaining B-1 and B-2 visas for business and vacation in the United States. The CCP is responsible for trillions of dollars of intellectual property theft each year from Americans.
SUPPORTING FAMILY FARMS AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
- Listening to Needs of Agriculture Community: Senator Tuberville began listening sessions and roundtables with farmers and industry leaders in advance of the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization. In considering this legislative process, which will stretch into next year, Senator Tuberville has chosen to take a listen-first approach in order to directly advocate for the interests of Alabama’s farmers.
- Standing up for Agricultural Producers: Senator Tuberville pushed back against the SEC’s proposed rule that would place unworkable climate disclosure regulations on farmers, ranchers, and agriculture producers, and urged the United States Trade Representative’s chief agricultural negotiator to seek trade agreements in support of America’s agricultural producers. Additionally, Senator Tuberville encouraged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to maintain an exemption of air emission from animal waste at farms under the Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act.
- Removing Trade Barriers for Peanut Farmers: Senator Tuberville led bipartisan efforts to reduce trade barriers and expand market access for peanut exports to promote increased opportunities for domestic peanut farmers and processors.
- Preserving Red Snapper Season in the Gulf: Senator Tuberville pushed back against the U.S. Department of Commerce’s proposed rule requiring all state fisheries data to be converted into a single, less accurate federal system, which would result in decreased overfishing limits for red snappers.
- Cutting Red Tape for Local Governments: Senator Tuberville introduced the Simplifying Grants Act to make the federal grant process easier for local governments and bridge discrepancies between funding awarded to larger local governments and smaller local governments who may not have the resources to complete complex applications.
PROTECTING STUDENTS AND ATHLETES AND PRESERVING COLLEGE SPORTS
- Sounding the Alarm About Biden Administration’s Title IX Proposal: As a former coach, Senator Tuberville is passionate about preserving a level playing field for male and female athletes. He fought against the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rule to force institutions to allow biological males to participate in women’s sports and urged Secretary Cardona to extend the public comment period for the proposal. Senator Tuberville also led his colleagues in recognizing the positive impacts of Title IX on women’s sports in honor of the 50th Anniversary of its enaction.
- Protecting Student Athletes and Scholastic Competition: As a former college football coach, Senator Tuberville wants to ensure student athletes are protected and college sports are preserved following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing student athletes receiving compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Senator Tuberville teamed up with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) to solicit feedback from stakeholders that will be used to draft bipartisan NIL legislation next year.
- Protecting School Choice: Senator Tuberville urged the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules that would impose severe limitations on the bipartisan federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) and limit school options for parents and children. Additionally, he helped introduce a resolution in support of National School Choice Week.
- Advocating for Mental Health: Senator Tuberville advocated for students’ mental health during U.S. Senate Help, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Committee hearings while highlighting the role that career readiness has in mental health. He is committed to ensuring students feel empowered for their next career steps, whether it be enlisting in the military, completing a technical training program, or attending a four-year university.
HOLDING THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE
- Accounting for COVID-Relief Funding: Senator Tuberville pressed President Biden and other senior officials for detailed accounts of how the billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief funds were spent. He requested the Health and Human Services inspector general conduct an audit of the department’s $10 billion COVID-vaccine public education campaign and joined the probe into canceled contracts for ambiguous COVID-19 relief efforts. Additionally, Senator Tuberville pushed to require any new World Health Organization convention agreement to be approved by the U.S. Senate.
- Calling Out Hypocritical Leftist Climate Policies: Senator Tuberville blasted the Biden administration’s war on fossil fuels that is creating a surge in energy prices for American families. He also introduced legislation to restore American energy production and decrease reliance on foreign energy sources. Senator Tuberville urged U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to quickly issue permits required to bring additional production online from existing offshore federal oil and gas leases.
- Stopping Taxpayer-Subsidized Abortions: Senator Tuberville uncovered the DoD’s plan to pay for time off, travel, and other related expenses for service members and their dependents seeking an abortion. The Senator pressed U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for clarification on the department’s plans to implement a policy that subsidizes abortions using federal taxpayer dollars and pledged to place a hold on future DoD civilian and general/flag officer nominations if the DoD implements this policy.
- Standing up for Financial Freedom: Senator Tuberville championed legislation prohibiting retirement plan financial advisors from investing the savings of Americans based on woke, non-financial environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.