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“Thrilled to be joining @SecretarySonny & @Robert_Aderholt for a major broadband expansion announcement in Hamilton, Alabama today!” Ivey wrote on Twitter. “The internet is vital to all aspects of modern life so it remains a priority of mine to increase access across our state.” ·

“Today I welcomed Secretary Sonny Perdue of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Guin, AL where we discussed how important agriculture industries are to the state of Alabama as well as the nation,” Aderholt said. “Agriculture has always and will remain our nation’s most important provider.”

This project will connect nearly 500 households to high-speed broadband as well as businesses and essential community services in the area. In addition, Tombigbee Electric Cooperative will establish a community center within the service area where residents can access the internet free of charge.

“Modern infrastructure is a necessity–not an amenity–for any community to thrive,” Perdue said. “Infrastructure is a foundation to provide a high quality of life and economic opportunities. USDA is proud to partner with local rural communities to help address their infrastructure needs.”

“It’s time to fix this digital divide,” said state Rep. David Standridge, R-Hayden. “We can no longer travel the path of the ‘haves and have nots.’ Access to high speed internet is essential to our Alabama citizens whether they live in a big city or on the family farm.”

“President Trump and US Agriculture Commissioner Sonny Perdue introduces America and Northwest Alabama to high speed internet with $600 million in funding starting at Hamilton, Alabama,” Wadsworth said. “Many Mayors and Clerks from the 14th District present. High Speed internet is rural Alabama’s gateway to future growth.”

USDA is accepting applications through May 14 in the longstanding Community Connect program that has been in existence since 2002. Grants from $100,000 to $3 million are available to state and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits and for-profit corporations.

The funds must be used to provide broadband service at a minimum bandwidth of 25 megabits downstream and three megabits upstream, which are the benchmark speeds the Federal Communications Commission has adopted for broadband connectivity. Awardees must offer free broadband service to all critical community facilities in their proposed service areas for two years and provide a community center with free broadband service for two years.

“The VA MISSION Act extends and makes permanent funding for the VA Choice Program that many veterans depend on to receive care.” Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, said. “You may have heard that Choice funding was set to expire at the end of May, and this bill prevents that from happening. In both densely populated and rural states alike, it can be very challenging for the VA medical centers to properly care for all veterans in a timely fashion, particularly when specialists are required. The Choice Program is an attempt to bridge this gap by allowing veterans to access private-sector care at VA expense if they have to wait longer than 30 days for a VA appointment or if they live more than 40 miles from a VA health care facility. It has been recorded that 550,000 veterans have used Choice so far this year, and in 2017, 14,790 Alabamians enrolled. Therefore, I am extremely glad that the House has taken action to ensure that this important program is funded.”

Congressman Phil Roe, the Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and author of the VA MISSION Act, said he believes a process free from bureaucratic politics is needed “to fix the massive and misaligned footprint” of the Veterans Administration.

“The bill directs President Trump to establish a team to review the current VA operations across the country and make recommendations about ways we can modernize, improve, and streamline facilities and the services they provide,” Roby said. “We can do better than this for our veterans, and I believe we will.”

Alabama and Brooks’ lawsuit will likely face an uphill battle in federal court, where precedent is on the side of counting total population, regardless of voter eligibility or citizenship status. The Supreme Court in 2016 reaffirmed the use of total population — at least for state legislative reapportionment — rejecting an argument from two Texans who said total population shouldn’t be the metric.

“Adopting voter-eligible apportionment as constitutional command would upset a well-functioning approach to districting that all 50 States and countless local jurisdictions have followed for decades, even centuries,” the court wrote in its opinion. “Appellants have shown no reason for the Court to disturb this longstanding use of total population.”

“I agree with the majority’s ultimate disposition of this case. As far as the original understanding of the Constitution is concerned, a State has wide latitude in selecting its population base for apportionment,” Thomas wrote. “It can use total population, eligible voters, or any other nondiscriminatory voter base.”

The Census Bureau’s “Residence Rule” allows foreign nationals living in the U.S. to be counted in the census and allocated to the states based on their “usual residence.” Brooks and the State argue in the lawsuit that the practice violates the 14th Amendment and its Equal Protection Clause.

“This lawsuit will have significant and enduring effects on Alabama and other states harmed by unconstitutional census methods,” Brooks said. “Fundamentally, the issue is fair and equal representation for United States citizens. While some stand for illegal aliens, I stand for American citizens.”

The CSPAN host asked Brooks: “Robert Mueller appointed by Rod Rosenstein a year ago today on May 17th, 2017. Since then, 19 people including four Trump associates and three companies have been indicted from his investigation, five have pled guilty, 13 of those who have been charged are Russians accused of meddling in the elections. You were a former prosecutor in the Tuscaloosa DA’s office before…”

Brooks: “Well, you’re limiting it to Mueller. I’m talking about the big picture, and the big picture is two years. You know sometimes you’re not able to figure out who committed a crime— you know a crime has been committed— a murder or a robbery or what have you and the trail has gone dry and you haven’t been able to ascertain who the culprit is and you stop your investigation. It may reopen if something in the future pops up that suggests, hey, this is the person who did it. But we never had an ongoing investigation of a particular person that lasted anywhere near that length of time. Now, granted, this may be more complicated than most investigations. But two years, given all the resources of the Justice Department, given all the resources of the FBI, given the resources of everybody else who may have been involved in that, that’s plenty of time to conduct an investigation. Now keep in mind, I’m talking about two years to do the investigation— once you’ve got your cards laid out on the table, you’ve got your arrest warrants, you’ve got your indictments, take whatever time it needs to prosecute them in court but get the investigation done because it’s interfering. This is not a normal type of alleged crime and investigation and a prosecution. Normally, that’s very limited and has virtually no impact on our country. But, right now, this going on indefinitely is having a significant— in my judgment— having a significant adverse effect on the ability of the United States government to properly function and properly do its job, particularly at the Executive Branch, particularly at the White House level.”

Both Congressmen Bradley Byrne and Mo Brooks are running for re-election. Byrne has no Republican opponent in the coming primary, while Brooks faces a primary challenger from veteran Clayton Hinchman. The Republican Primary will be on June 5.