Strategy Sessions - Home

Strategy Sessions is a journal of Senator Sessions' activities in the Senate and at home in Alabama.  We update regularly, so please check back often.


   11/17/2008 (10:00 AM) To read the entire bailout letter sent to President George W. Bush by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), please click here.


   11/17/2008 (10:00 AM) If you are interested in sending holiday mail to our troops, please click here to read about the 2008 "Holiday Mail for Heroes" sponsored by the American Red Cross.


   11/11/2008 (3:00 PM) The Inaugural swearing-in ceremony will take place on the steps of the United States Capitol on January 20, 2008. Tickets to the event are distributed free of charge by Senators and Congressmen of the 111th Congress. Ticket availability is limited. Due to overwhelming response, our office is no longer accepting request for tickets to the inauguration ceremony.

Note: Congressional offices do not distribute tickets to any of the Inaugural Balls. The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC)—which will be established by President-elect Obama—is responsible for all balls and galas hosted in honor of the newly-elected President.

Note: You do not need tickets to observe the Inaugural Parade from the established parade route from the Capitol to the White House.

*** Constituents should use extreme caution when considering the purchase of tickets from a third party as physical tickets will not be made available to the public until January 19, 2008. Please the press release below from the Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee.

For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee Releases Ticketing Information for 56th Presidential Inauguration

WASHINGTON, DC - The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) has issued the following information regarding the availability of tickets for the 56th Presidential Inaugural Ceremony on January 20, 2009:

Tickets to the 56th Inaugural Ceremonies will be provided free of charge and distributed through Members of the 111th Congress. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies does not provide tickets to the public. Members of the public interested in attending the Inaugural Ceremonies should contact their Member of Congress or U.S. Senators to request tickets.

The public should also be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. Tickets will not be distributed to Congressional offices until the week before the inauguration and will require in-person pick-up.

"Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth," said Howard Gantman, Staff Director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

"Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism."

The members of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies are: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairman; Senator Bob Bennett, Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; and House Republican Leader John Boehner.


     09/24/08 (9:00 AM) It’s Time to Partner with Native Leaders to Knock Down Terrorism in Afghanistan. Read what Jeff Sessions told The Hill



   09/09/08 (4:00 PM) -  The National Trust for Historic Preservation, that partners with the National Park Service for the Save America’s Treasures Grant Program, will conduct a week-long Preservation Leadership Training session in Birmingham in January.  There is a fee for the training, but there is a scholarship program for a limited number of interested participants.  The application deadline is October 3rd.  Click here for more information.


  07/09/08 (12:14PM) Sessions Calls for Long-term Energy Security Strategy .
BEST Act Would Promote American Energy Exploration While Protecting Taxpayer Investments
view legislation here.





   07/02/08 (2:40 PM) -  Information regarding the  Medicare "Doctor's Fix."

Last week, the Senate considered a bill to maintain the current Medicare reimbursement rate for physicians.  The Medicare provision, often referred to as the “doctor’s fix,” is usually drafted in a bipartisan way, leading to quick passage in the Senate each year. In fact, Sen. Sessions has a 100% voting record in support of past provisions. 

Unfortunately, this year the majority party abandoned efforts to compromise on the doctor’s fix and moved ahead with broader legislation that also included billions in spending and controversial changes to popular Medicare programs.   

Despite their support for the doctor’s fix, many senators expressed opposition to the controversial legislation, and the President made it clear he would veto the bill.  Ultimately, the Senate rejected the legislation.  Immediately after the vote, the majority party turned down a proposal for a 30-day temporary extension to allow more time for bipartisan negotiations.


It is widely expected that the Senate will soon consider a clean, bipartisan version of the doctor’s fix, which will apply retroactively.  Sen. Sessions expects to support that version. 

 Here is an excerpt from Sen. Sessions’ comments about the vote:  

 “I have always supported the Medicare doctor’s reimbursement patch, and I intend to do so again this year. Unlike in the past, however, when this reimbursement patch was carefully drafted in a bipartisan manner, the bill turned back last night was a product of political gamesmanship that could ultimately jeopardize care for senior citizens.

 “The measure would have added billions in additional costs and limited access to Medicare Advantage plans for seniors who have shown they prefer the quality of care and additional benefits the plans offer. Unfortunately, these cuts have the potential to disproportionately impact minorities and individuals in rural areas. For these and other reasons, President Bush made it clear that he would veto the legislation in its current form. I was deeply disappointed that the 30-day extension proposed by Sen. McConnell, which would have kept cuts from going into effect and provided more time for negotiations, was rejected by the majority party.

 “The Senate should move expeditiously to consideration of a bipartisan compromise that will provide a retroactive doctor’s fix, continued coverage for senior citizens, and much-needed reform. I intend to support a bill of that type when it is brought up for consideration.”

 Here are a few things you should know about the doctor’s fix:

Sen. Sessions strongly supports ensuring that doctors receive fair payments for treating Medicare patients.  Sen. Sessions has always supported the doctor’s fix in the past – in fact he has a 100% voting record on previous legislation blocking these cuts.  

 A compromise already exists that Congress can overwhelmingly pass and the President can sign.   Sen. Sessions fully intends to support that legislation – which would include a 0.5% reimbursement rate increase in place of the 10.6% scheduled cut, apply retroactively, protect doctors and Medicare patients, and avoid harming important and widely used programs like Medicare Advantage.

Because of requests from Senator Sessions and his Republican colleagues, the President has directed CMS to delay cuts to Medicare for at least 10 days to allow time for the Senate to bring bipartisan legislation up for a vote.  If the majority leader does so, the legislation is expected to pass overwhelmingly, and the cuts would never go into effect.




 06/24/08 (12:14PM) The Alabama Tourism Dept. has launched a statewide promotion called "The Year of Alabama Small Towns and Downtowns."  Towns can apply to receive free historic markers. For more information click here.


06/12/2008 (12:00PM)  Senator Jeff Sessions gave a speech at the National Defense University Foundation regarding the future of U.S. Strategic Forces.  For a copy of his prepared remarks click here.





   06/09/2008 (12:00PM)  Sen. Sessions recently sat down with Brian Lawson at the Huntsville Times to discuss energy, the economy, and politics.  The following transcript of the interview appeared on the front page of the Business Section of the Times on Sunday, June 8, 2008.

10 QUESTIONS With Sen. Jeff Sessions

Huntsville Times

Following a resounding primary win Tuesday, Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, is running for a third term in November against state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile.

A frequent visitor to Huntsville, Sessions was here recently calling for more nuclear power plant construction and a national Apollo-like effort to transform national energy policy.

A native of Hybart in South Alabama, Sessions earned a law degree from the University of Alabama in 1973. He later served for 12 years as U.S. attorney and then as Alabama's attorney general, before being elected to the Senate in 1996.

His committee assignments include work on the armed services, budget, judiciary and energy and natural resources committees. He has been outspoken on issues ranging from the confirmation process for judicial candidates to repealing the estate tax to immigration.

Business writer Brian Lawson spoke with Sessions, 61, recently at the Von Braun Center during the Tennessee Valley Corridor National Summit. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

You've talked about a nuclear power renaissance in the U.S. That may be upon us. Why?

Nothing clears the mind so well as the absence of alternatives. Nuclear power is American-based. It helps our national security. It's competitive cost-wise. It emits no pollutants in the air, whether NOx (nitrogen oxide) and SOx (sulfur dioxide) and mercury. And it 100 percent meets our global warming goals, which is to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide).

Twenty percent of our electricity today is nuclear, and we haven't built a new plant in 30 years. France, Japan are heavily committed to nuclear power, and it's paying off for them. Britain just announced five new nuclear plants.

We're running behind here. And there's this tremendous possibility that baseload nuclear power, particularly in the night off-peak time, could charge automobile batteries, so we would run our automobiles without any fossil fuel being burned. And could create hydrogen that could be in a new fuel-cell hydrogen automobile.

Are we at that tipping point where those new plants are going to happen?

Yeah. I think the American people are far more supportive of nuclear power than politicians think. Polling data show that. And it's not even "not in my backyard," because all the people around Scottsboro want to see the NuStart (Bellefonte) plant built.

There's no real sizable opposition to that locally. We passed legislation two years ago that really helped. We now look forward to a formal licensing request for as many as 30 new plants. Two years ago there were zero requests for licensing for new plants.

You've also spoken in favor of building a nuclear materials reprocessing facility in the Tennessee Valley. Some question the wisdom of bringing radioactive waste here. What's the advantage of building such a plant?

Reprocessing facilities are proven to be safe. They're being utilized in Russia, France, England and Japan right now. It is a technologically advanced process that could have 2,000 jobs, and the waste would not be thrown out on the ground. It will be carefully handled.

It doesn't blow up. It has no ability - if you're not real close to it - to harm anyone. When it's properly secured, it would not be dangerous. It's a proven procedure.

I'm pleased TVA has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Energy to look to some new methods of processing spent nuclear fuel. That's the only thing they're committed to. But we do need to have reprocessing in America. I think it's fair to say it would be safer than a nuclear plant.

What are you seeing here and other parts of Alabama regarding the economy?

I'd say people are worried, which is probably driven primarily by what they're hearing on TV and media. I think people are uneasy. Another major factor of their unease is rising energy prices, particularly gasoline. They know that this threatens their budget, and it will hurt the American economy to be heavily dependent on foreign oil that is ever increasing in price.

It's important to note in April that the national unemployment rate fell from 5.1 percent to 5 percent. Alabama is a full percentage point below the national average in unemployment.

We are weathering the storm better than most areas of the country.

Can Madison County's success be duplicated in other places in Alabama, or do the natural advantages - Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal - give this area a permanent head start?

It can be replicated, but the truth is we've reached a level of development here that feeds on itself. A lot of businesses don't want to be in a remote area. They want to be in an area where there's already a lot of technology, that they can subcontract to or work with and their employees like being in this kind of environment.

So for a whole host of reasons, beginning with NASA, Huntsville-Madison has become a very unique and special technological center for America.

Does Congress need to help address challenges in the economy, in housing, energy and the credit markets? Or should you wait to see how this will shake out?

Often Congress takes steps that make things worse rather than better. There are things we probably need to do. Sen. (Richard) Shelby believes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac need more reform and need to be put on a sounder basis. I think he's making progress on that.

There are probably other actions we can take, but fundamentally in a lot of areas in this country housing prices ballooned out of reality, and they're inevitably going to fall. And when they fall, some people are going to be hurt. And I don't think a frugal, middle-class Huntsville citizen ought to pay for speculation in some suburb of Phoenix.

If you want to ... gamble - a lot of people got rich in this housing binge - they knew they were taking a risk.

Are you concerned about the Republican Party's prospects for the fall elections?

I don't know. I think people are gradually coming around to understanding the Senate and the House are controlled by Democratic leaders. Some of their frustration at Washington will begin to spill more now to the people in charge instead of Republicans.

It's going to be a fascinating presidential election. I assume (Barack) Obama will be the Democractic nominee and (John) McCain the Republican. I've clearly disagreed with McCain on several issues, but I've always admired him. He is a true patriot, he loves his country, he wants America to succeed, and he probably has traveled more and been more engaged in international relations than almost any other member of the House or Senate in the last 20 or 30 years.

I think he's ready to lead.

Obama is very attractive. He's really won friends everywhere he goes, and he's certainly an excellent speaker. But the biggest part of his resume is that he was a state senator in Illinois. He's had very little exposure to the difficult choices that a president must face up close.

It really does help if you have an understanding - if you've been to Russia many times and may have met or at least you understand where (Prime Minister Vladimir) Putin is coming from, the historical forces at work, and you felt them by personal experience over the years - (instead of) just reading them in a book or being briefed on them right before a meeting.

Does the GOP have an image problem? If so, how do you address that?

I think the Republican Party has an image problem, and it has a substantive problem. Maybe the enthusiasm of '94 sort of has run its course. People want real solutions to serious problems facing the country. And the party or the groups of senators, perhaps from both parties, that produce solutions are the ones who are going to find favor with the voters.

Energy is a good example. The Republicans are putting together a far more realistic set of proposals to produce clean American energy at a reasonable cost. What the Democrats are doing is a fantastic cap and trade bureaucracy that really amounts to a massive tax increase on energy.

For people who just want us to use less and less, I guess that makes them happy, but in the long run it must be a goal of our economy to have readily available, low-cost, clean energy - energy that's American-made.


06/02/2008 (12:00PM)  Delta Regional Authority hosts conference June 23-25.  Click here for conference details


03/27/2008 (5:00PM)  Sessions Wraps Up Week of State Travel
                                           Meeting with Constituents the Focus during 16 County Swing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wraps up a weeklong tour of Alabama today with a town hall meeting in Enterprise and a speech to the Alabama-Florida Council of Boy Scouts in Dothan.

In all, Sessions will have visited 16 counties in the state, speaking with constituents, hosting numerous town hall meetings, and touring the industrial and manufacturing facilities that are keeping Alabama’s economy moving.

Sessions has visited each of Alabama’s 67 counties each year since being elected to the Senate in 1996. Sessions enjoys the opportunity to discuss local issues with constituents and share his thoughts on issues pending before Congress.

On Monday, Sessions visited the CIBA chemical production facility in Washington County, met with the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce and toured Foster Farms plant in Marengo County.

Foster Farms, which produces food products at their Demopolis factory, recently completed a $10 million expansion. Praising employees at the plant, Sessions said, “At the end of the day you can be proud that you make a good product, and it’s good for the community to see you grow.”

On Tuesday, Sessions toured the Innovation Depot in Birmingham, a public-private partnership affiliated with the University of Alabama-Birmingham that focuses on the development of information and science technology businesses. Sessions noted that the Innovation Depot can play an important role in the future of Birmingham’s economy. “We need to see more companies move to the medical and technology field. We need to do a better job exploiting UAB’s research.”

Later that day, Sessions highlighted the importance of faith and Christian values during a speech to an audience of more than 150 members of the United Church of Christ’s convention.

Wednesday’s travel schedule included a speech to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce’s "Eggs and Issues” breakfast. Sessions told the crowd of business leaders that the Northrop Grumman/EADS team will likely hold onto the important air refueling tanker contract recently awarded by the Air Force. The award to build the tanker, which will be assembled in Mobile, means more than 2,000 new high paying manufacturing jobs in Alabama. “We believed from the beginning in the merit of the aircraft that Northrop Grumman/EADS proposed,” said Sessions.

Wednesday also took Sessions to the Prattville Chamber of Commerce, where he shared his thoughts on a number of important national issues and answered questions from constituent at a town hall meeting.

Additionally, Sessions had the honor of presenting the Bullock County High School ‘Stinging Hornets’ the Class 4-A boys varsity basketball state championship trophy Wednesday afternoon. The boys team finished the season with a 31 – 3 record and took top honors at the state championship basketball tournament last month.

Sessions will meet with peanut farmers in Pike County today to discuss this year’s crop, the effects of last year’s severe drought, and the impact of the next farm bill before moving on to Enterprise and Dothan.

He is scheduled to return to Washington next week when the Senate begins work after the Easter recess.








 02/26/2008 (6:30 PM) The Senate is currently debating legislation introduced by Sen. Feingold (D-WI) that would require all U.S. troops to completely withdraw from Iraq in 120 days. Last night, Sen. Sessions took to the floor to state his opposition to this legislation.



"I remember asking General Petraeus: Sir, will you tell us the truth, the good and bad? And he committed in private and in public to do that. Will you give us your best judgment? Will you let us know if you think this is not an acceptable, feasible action in Iraq; that we need to acknowledge that we can't be successful? He made that commitment.So what has happened since? We sent five additional brigades into Iraq as part of the surge. Three have already returned to the United States. The other two are planned to be returned by summer. We will be at or possibly below the 15 combat brigades that we had in Iraq before the surge."







"Let me say this Feingold bill would be disastrous if it were passed. It would cut off funding after 120 days for any missions not approved by Senator Feingold and politicians in Washington. It would replace the deployment decisions and recommendations of General Petraeus with political decisions. Some, I guess, who are in the moveon.org camp think General Petraeus is a betrayer. That is what they put in an ad in the paper last year. I say he is one of the best generals we have had. He has had a remarkable tenure of success in Iraq."

"The military estimates that attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi forces and Iraqi civilians have collectively fallen by 60 percent against Iraq since June of last year. Iraqi Army estimates put the number as high as an 80-percent reduction. In June there were almost 1,700 IED explosions across Iraq. That number fell to 600 in December. While one U.S. combat death is so serious that we are not able to articulate the gravity of it, we are seeing, I am pleased to say, a major reduction in casualties among our troops and Iraqi troops. It is quite remarkable."

"I conclude by saying we are a great nation. We made some tough decisions. We went through a full debate last summer. We decided to give General Petraeus a chance. We have him a chance. We supported the surge in a bipartisan vote. We sent the money. We sent him the resources to carry out the the surge. It has been successful beyond anything we could have imagined at the time. And now, to undertake a precipitous withdrawal, directly contrary to his opinion as to what should be done to help continue to secure Iraq, would be unthinkable. No great nation should flip-flop around like that, certainly not the United States of America."

The rest of Sen. Sessions' remarks can be read on our Floor Statements page.


 02/12/2008 (2:30 PM) Sen. Sessions participated in the Senate Judiciary Committee debate on federal sentencing guidelines for crack and powder cocaine offenses.



 The Senate Judiciary Committee today heard testimony on legislation championed by U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to reduce the disparity in federal sentencing guidelines for crack and powder cocaine offenses from 100-to-1 to 20-to-1.
The underlying goal of Sessions’ legislation, the Drug Sentencing Reform Act of 2007, is equity – treating possession of similar drugs more fairly when it comes to sentencing.
A recent U.S. Sentencing Commission report said that 83 percent of offenders sentenced for crack violations were African Americans. Sessions’ legislation would minimize the disparity in mandatory minimum sentences for crack and powder cocaine by reducing the penalty for crack cocaine and increasing the penalty for powder cocaine.
Witnesses at the hearing included officials from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the American Bar Association.

Some of Sessions' remarks can be heard on our multimedia page.

IMMIGRATION -- Information regarding Senator Sessions' speech at the Heritage Foundation (Real Immigration Reform: A Roadmap to Demonstrating Credibility on One of America's Most Important Issues) can be found here:


01/31/2008 (3:18 PM) -- Sen. Sessions took part in a promotion ceremony today for Monique Matthews. 

Matthews, now a Major in the United States Army, is currently serving on a one year fellowship in our office.  She assists and advises the Senator on Department of Defense and military issues.  Visit our photo gallery for more.


12/19/2007 (10:12 AM) -- After the vote late last night, Sen. Sessions commented on the importance of supporting our troops overseas:

“. . . the Senate’s action tonight provides funding to support our courageous men and women in uniform as they carry out their important missions overseas.   The funding is made available without the counterproductive language sought by Democrats to dictate the strategy of U.S. commanders on the ground in Iraq.  It appears that remarkable progress is being made under the leadership of General Petraeus, and I am pleased that the Senate turned back efforts to pull the rug out from under our brave U.S. troops who are working so superbly to defeat Al Qaeda and bring stability to that region."


12/13/2007 (11:58 AM) -- Sen. Sessions took to the floor of the U.S. Senate last night to argue against the harmful Dorgan-Grassley amendment and explain why it would hurt Alabama's farmers.  A portion of his speech is as follows:

Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, I want to thank Senator Lincoln for her articulate and effective explanation of the difficulties in the Dorgan-Grassley amendment. I absolutely am confident that it will undermine the traditional agricultural safety net for farmers in the Southeast.

There are a lot of reasons for that. I cannot say for sure what it is like in other areas of the country. Apparently, the amendment would not have the same effect in every area, at least in the same percentage of farmers. But since the 2002 bill, input costs to produce agricultural products have increased, particularly in the Southeast and particularly for cotton, one of our most significant cash crops.

The cost of nitrogen, potassium, phosphate, and diesel fuel have risen dramatically. I do not mean a little bit; some of them have doubled during this time. However, support payments have remained level.

As a result, the safety net already has, in effect, been cut in half. The committee-passed bill essentially continues the 2002 structure of having a safety net that is half of what it was a few years ago.

Producer groups in the Southeast understand the Federal budget reality is not something they want to deny. And the lack of availability of new funding impacts our ability to provide increases in the safety net as we would normally expect to occur. But they are united in their concern and opposition to any effort to further reduce the safety net. The Grassley-Dorgan amendment would not impact producers in the Midwest, it appears. Crops such as corn and wheat are not expensive commodities to produce. As a result, payments do not have to be as high to support farmers in those areas when prices fall.

Crops grown in the Southeast, such as cotton and peanuts, are high-value commodities that cost a great deal to produce. For example, cotton currently costs approximately $450 to $500 to plant and harvest per acre. That is a lot of money. In Alabama, the average Statewide yield is approximately 700 pounds per acre from year to year. However, with current market conditions, producers are barely able to break even with the safety net currently in place. Any further attempt to limit payments will practically destroy agricultural production of high-value commodities in the Southeast.

I suggest our colleagues take note of what the farm bill did. Before, when you actually compute the support payment levels, they were $360,000. Now, with the changes in amendments and loophole closings that have occurred, it has dropped to $100,000. Multiple payments are no longer effective, and a decreased limit has the potential to be very harmful.

(Sessions entire speech can be found here: http://sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=LegislativeResources.FloorStatements&ContentRecord_id=d49d0c27-7e9c-9af9-7cfb-d4d9ad1eb1b6&Region_id=&Issue_id=)


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