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Legislative Update

Goodlatte applauds DOJ’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, on March 7th issued the statement below on the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws:

“Attorney General Sessions has made the right decision to sue California for its sanctuary laws. Sanctuary laws are designed to hamper federal immigration enforcement and impede the longstanding cooperation that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has enjoyed with state and local law enforcement.  Not only are California’s laws unconstitutional since they violate the federal government’s explicit constitutional authority to write and enforce immigration laws, the laws also needlessly endanger public safety by allowing criminal aliens to roam free in our communities and make it more dangerous for law enforcement officers to apprehend criminal aliens.

“The Department of Justice’s lawsuit is a critical step toward combating dangerous sanctuary laws, and I have long been a proponent of the Department using its authority to sue sanctuary jurisdictions. We must also strengthen federal law to further prevent state and local governments from enacting such reckless policies. The Securing America’s Future Act, which I introduced with Representatives McCaul, Labrador, and McSally, contains new tools to discourage the adoption of sanctuary policies. I continue to work with Members of Congress to see this important bill come up for a vote in the House of Representatives.”

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – July 12, 2020

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It was great to be home in the Sixth District this week connecting with constituents both in person and on the phone. I not only had the privilege of joining the dedicated staff of Harmony Day Support in Forest for a ribbon-cutting ceremony but also had the opportunity to visit Sweet Briar College in Amherst County. Further, thousands of constituents joined me for a Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall where they were provided the latest updates on both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. As your representative, I will continue to make myself available to ensure your voices are heard in Washington.

Harmony Day Support:
This week I had the pleasure of joining the team at Harmony Day Support in Forest as they cut the ribbon on their new handicap accessible bus. Harmony is a tremendous non-profit that is dedicated to providing adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities with the tools and support necessary for them to lead fulfilling and independent lives. The vehicle was a generous gift from Forest River Bus as part of their National Bus Giveaway, and their donation will allow Harmony to continue its mission of serving those in need.

Sweet Briar College Visit:
Virginia’s Sixth District is home to more colleges and universities than nearly any other congressional district in the country. Throughout the past year and a half, I have enjoyed the opportunity to visit most of these schools and see first-hand the work these institutions are engaged in. This week, I toured Sweet Briar College in Amherst County and always was impressed by the exciting and diverse areas of study they offer. I was pleased that many of their courses pertain directly to industries that are prevalent within our region. I was briefed on the school’s agriculture and forestry activities as well as toured their vineyard, equestrian center, and greenhouse. Sweet Briar College is truly indicative of the abundance of educational opportunities the Sixth District offers students from across the country.


Coronavirus Update Telephone Town Hall:

Being accessible to my constituents and providing them the most up-to-date information on the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus is vital to help control its spread. As such, on July 9, I hosted the third Coronavirus Update Telephone Town Hall and was joined by Dr. Laura Kornegay, the Health Director of Central Shenandoah Health at the Virginia Department of Health and Steve Bulger, the Acting Regional Administrator for Mid-Atlantic Region III of the Small Business Administration.

During the conversation, we fielded questions about schools reopening, safety precautions for reopening businesses, the PPP and EIDL programs, and other federal efforts to mitigate the damages of this pandemic. A recording of the event can be found here.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) recently launched a new application portal to the federal PEUC benefits program. As you may know, this program provides up to an additional 13 weeks of regular/traditional unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have already exhausted their regular Unemployment Insurance benefits. This program applies to claims by individuals whose benefit year ended on July 6, 2019, or after. Payments to recipients are scheduled to start next week. Payments will be retroactive; the first payable week for qualifying applicants under PEUC is the week ending April 4, 2020. The final payable week for extended benefits in the week ending December 26, 2020. The final payable week for supplemental $600 weekly payment is the week ending July 25, 2020. To apply for PEUC benefits visit the VEC website here and click “Apply Online Now.”

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Legislative Update

Cline to hold Coronavirus Update Telephone Town Hall July 9th

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Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) announced that he will host a Coronavirus Update Telephone Town Hall. Cline will be joined on this call by Dr. Laura Kornegay, the Health Director of Central Shenandoah Health District at the Virginia Department of Health, and Steve Bulger, the Acting Regional Administrator for Mid-Atlantic Region III of the Small Business Administration.

The telephone town hall will take place Thursday, July 9, 2020, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Constituents planning to participate should register at cline.house.gov/live or dial (855) 933-0825 during the time of the call.

“I look forward to hearing from constituents from across the Sixth District this week,” Cline said. “This telephone town hall will not only give me the opportunity to engage directly with those I represent but will also allow me to provide them with the latest information regarding the health and economic implications stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This event will mark the third coronavirus telephone town hall held by Congressman Cline since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – July 6, 2020

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The House returned to Washington last week to, unfortunately, play politics with a number of pressing issues facing our Nation – most notably our crumbling infrastructure. However, one bit of news that should have all Americans cheering is the June jobs report. As America reopens, the number of jobs added in the United States blew past expert predictions for the second month in a row. The economy gained a whopping 4.8 million jobs in June, making it by far the largest single-month gain in our Nation’s history. And while it was a busy week in Washington, I am thankful to be spending this Independence Day in the District. This weekend might not be as filled with festivities as it usually is, but I am truly blessed to be celebrating surrounded by family and friends in a beautiful District that I am proud to call home.

Fixing Our Nation’s Infrastructure:
The Sixth District is in dire need of resources to modernize its aging infrastructure and relieve the congestion bottlenecks that afflict our highways. Most notable for our area is Interstate 81 – a road which is the economic backbone of the region and that spans six states, with over 300 miles of it in Virginia, and stretches the majority of the District from Front Royal in the North to Roanoke in the South. Each year there are nearly 2,000 crashes on I-81, with more than 25% involving heavy trucks, and over 45 major crashes a year causing delays greater than four hours. Current conditions are not only frustration but a grave public safety concern. People are dying on this road, and the failure to keep America’s infrastructure up to par is costing lives.

Sadly, instead of focusing on public safety and improvements to highways like I-81, the Majority passed an infrastructure bill this week that is nothing more than political messaging. H.R. 2 prioritizes big cities and big government over the interests of the American taxpayer while neglecting the needs of rural America. We simply cannot afford the $1.5 trillion-dollar Green New Deal agenda that was included in this legislation. Instead of negotiating realistic ways to rebuild our highways and infrastructure, the Majority created uncertainty for our local communities by saddling them with an ever-growing deficit and even more restrictive government regulations. There no doubt that our Nation is in need of an infrastructure overhaul, but it must be done in a fiscally responsible manner.

That is why I support the Surface Transportation Advanced through Reform, Technology, & Efficient Review (STARTER) Act. The STARTER Act focuses on state flexibility, provides reasonable regulation reform, emphasizes traditional core transportation needs, prepares our system for future transportation technologies, and places a greater emphasis on rural America. The bill:

• Ensures state flexibility
• Streamlines the project delivery process to maximize available funding
• Prioritizes more programs and functions of our existing federal surface transportation programs
• Incorporates innovative developments in technology to improve our infrastructure
• Provides for the infrastructure needs of America’s rural communities
• Addresses the long-term sustainability of the Highway Trust Fund

Protecting Life:
I was disheartened to see the Supreme Court ruling last week in the June Medical Services v. Russo case. Louisiana passed a law that protects women by requiring that abortion providers have access to a nearby hospital in case of an emergency that threatens the life of the mother. Abortion facilities sued the state on the grounds that the law places an “undue burden” on mothers seeking abortions. By fighting against Louisiana’s common-sense safety regulation, abortion advocates have proven that they care little for the lives and health of women and are primarily invested in the industry of abortion. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court issued a misguided ruling deeming that Louisiana’s regulation of abortion clinics is somehow in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Nevertheless, I will continue fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. We must continue to stand for life.

Phase Three Reopening:
On July 1, Virginia moved into Phase Three of reopening. Although there is a slight increase in confirmed cases, Virginia remains steady in most counties, which allowed for the continued reopening.

In Phase Three, non-essential retail, beaches, and state parks are open in full capacity, but with proper distancing. Restaurants will also be open at full capacity but bar seating continues to be prohibited. Entertainment venues are open with 50 percent capacity. Fitness and exercise centers are open at 75 percent capacity with no restrictions on shared equipment, but an increase in sanitization is encouraged. Childcare and personal grooming businesses are open in full capacity. The 50-person limit on gatherings has increased to 250 people. Please note that the situation remains fluid, and these guidelines are subject to change. For the most up to date information regarding Virginia’s Phase Three reopening, click here. Keep in mind that even as these businesses open, face coverings and physical distancing are still required.

Independence Day:
On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia and voted to officially sever ties with Great Britain. Pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, 56 brave men proclaimed to the world the sovereignty of the Thirteen Colonies. This statement, made public two days later, has since become known as the Declaration of Independence, and its words are at the very core of the American Ideal.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I strive every day to uphold these values as your representative in Congress. I fight to ensure that the American Dream is never out of reach for any citizen in this country and that regardless of status, I will always work to preserve liberty, opportunity, and equality. President Trump gave a great speech on Friday from Mt. Rushmore. On this Independence Day weekend, I urge you to take some time to listen and reflect on what the day is all about. The speech can be found here.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – June 27, 2020

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This week in Washington the House debated legislation related to police reforms, patent programs, and several other issues. Additionally, I was pleased to see another one of my bills pass in the House, and I look forward to it being considered in the Senate. As the Nation reopens and Congress begins to resume a more regular schedule, I will continue working to represent the values of the Sixth District and its residents.

Police Reforms:
The horrific killing of George Floyd led to millions across the country to call for additional transparency and accountability in policing. Instead of working across the aisle on this important matter, Democrats rammed a partisan bill through the House that will impede the ability of good police officers to do their jobs effectively and uphold the Rule of Law. During the markup of this legislation, my colleagues and I offered a dozen thoughtful amendments in an effort to improve this bill. However, our ideas were voted down.

While I could not support this legislation on the Floor, I have cosponsored the House version of a police reform bill called the JUSTICE Act. Offered on the Senate side by Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the JUSTICE Act would:

• Improve law enforcement transparency through additional reporting, including annual reporting on the use of force and reporting on no-knock warrants.

• Ensure law enforcement agencies and officers are held accountable by developing accessible disciplinary records systems.

• Provide $500 million for state and local law enforcement agencies to equip all officers with body cameras, improve the use of body cameras, and store and retain footage.

• Eliminate the use of chokeholds except for when the use of deadly force is permitted under law.

• Improve officer training by directing the Attorney General to develop curricula related to the duty to intervene and de-escalation tactics.

• Includes the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, making lynching a federal crime.

Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act:
Earlier this month, I joined my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act, and this week, I was pleased to see it pass the House with unanimous support. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s “Patents for Humanity” competition recognizes inventors who develop creative solutions to global humanitarian problems. Through this competition, the USPTO awards inventors with a certificate for an accelerated review of a future patent.

The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act supports this program and the innovators it recognizes by making these acceleration certificates transferable while codifying the program into law. Smaller companies and USPTO encourage the growth of this vital program. This bill increases the power of the program to encourage those seeking to make a global change to pursue their innovations, as well as the opportunity for similarly-sized start-ups to receive a certificate via transfer.

Innovations recognized in the past by the program have included better ways to diagnose and treat HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases, improved crops, and better sources of nutrition energy sources for those without a reliable electric grid, and methods to preserve clean drinking water and improve sanitation.

Alzheimer’s Association:
This week, I joined the Virginia Alzheimer’s Association for a virtual town hall. I appreciated the opportunity to hear folks’ first-hand experiences with this illness and welcomed the suggestions on how together we can make progress on this issue. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and more than 5 million Americans are currently suffering from it. Congress must work toward realistic solutions to help combat this ever-growing disease and bring an end to the pain and suffering it has inflicted on far too many. To that end, I announced my cosponsorship of the bipartisan Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act.

Phase Three Reopening:

This week Governor Northam announced that on July 1, the Commonwealth will move into Phase Three of reopening. Previously, Virginia moved into Phase One on May 15 and Phase Two on June 12.

Once in Phase Three, non-essential retail, restaurants and beverage services, beaches, and state parks will be open in full capacity, but with proper distancing. Entertainment venues will be open with 50 percent capacity. Fitness and exercise centers will be open at 75 percent capacity with no restrictions on shared equipment, but an increase in sanitation is encouraged. Childcare and personal grooming businesses will be open in full capacity. The 50-person limit on gatherings will increase to 250 people. Please keep in mind that even as these businesses open, face coverings and physical distancing is still required. You can find more information and a full list of changes when we enter Phase Three here.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application Deadline:

Time is running out because as of June 30, the application for PPP loans will be closed. If you intend to seek relief funding, I encourage you to talk to an eligible lender as soon as possible by clicking here.

If you are interested in a loan and do not yet have a lender, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the launch of a new dedicated tool for applicants to be matched with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders, as well as traditional smaller asset size lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This tool is designed as an additional resource for pandemic-affected small businesses who have not applied for or received an approved PPP loan to connect with lenders, so they may receive relief assistance. The platform can be accessed here.

After entering their information into the Lender Match platform, a borrower receives an email from lenders who have been matched with them. The borrower can see lenders’ requests for them to begin an application. Borrowers are then able to begin the application process directly from the email they receive. Leads will only be forwarded to CDFIs and Lenders with less than 10 billion dollars in assets until the PPP program ends. At that time, the Lender Match platform will then be open to all participating SBA Lenders. Additionally, the Lender Match platform can connect borrowers with other SBA lending products currently offering debt relief. An overview of alternative relief options can be found here.
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COVID-19 Data and Testing:
Increased COVID-19 testing is important to maintaining the move towards reopening Virginia and the Nation. As we begin to see an increase in new coronavirus cases across the country, it is important that we continue to expand testing and pursue data on coronavirus recovery in the U.S. and around the world. This important information could indicate how easily people can build immunity against the virus, as well as help us predict a timeline for getting recovered and immune segments of our population back to work. As your Representative I will continue to advocate for Federal support for testing at locations with high infection rates around the country.

At vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus, you will find a map searchable by zip code intended to help provide information on known locations of various COVID-19 test sampling sites. I also recommend that you keep up with local media networks, which may be providing information on testing sites in their respective localities.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.
For the latest updates from Washington and across the Sixth District, please follow my Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District prepares for Phase Three – COVID-19 Update

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While the spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases across the country is something we should monitor closely, I continue to be hopeful about the downward trend here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The seven-day average of new cases is less than half the level from three weeks ago. While other states have hit the pause button on reopening, Virginia remains steady in the number of new coronavirus cases and is experiencing a decline in coronavirus related deaths which allows for the continuation of our phased reopening.

As we examine returning to normal activities, please continue to follow the CDC’s latest guidelines. This includes staying six feet away from others, wearing a mask where appropriate, washing your hands, cleaning and disinfecting, and monitoring your health. If you are sick or in a vulnerable population, please stay at home. Continue reading for further resources and updates on various programs designed to help you through this crisis and the current status of the Commonwealth’s Virginia Forward Phased reopening.

Reopening: Phase Three

This week Governor Northam announced that on July 1, the Commonwealth will move into Phase Three of reopening. Previously, Virginia moved into Phase One on May 15 and Phase Two on June 12.

Once in Phase Three, non-essential retail, restaurants and beverage services, beaches, and state parks will be open in full capacity, but with proper distancing. Entertainment venues will be open with 50 percent capacity. Fitness and exercise centers will be open at 75 percent capacity with no restrictions on shared equipment, but an increase in sanitation is encouraged. Childcare and personal grooming businesses will be open in full capacity. The 50-person limit on gatherings will increase to 250 people. Please keep in mind that even as these businesses open, face coverings and physical distancing is still required. You can find more information and a full list of changes when we enter Phase Three here.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Application Deadline

Time is running out because as of June 30, the application for PPP loans will be closed. If you intend to seek relief funding, I encourage you to talk to an eligible lender as soon as possible by clicking here.

If you are interested in a loan and do not yet have a lender, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the launch of a new dedicated tool for applicants to be matched with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs), Farm Credit System lenders, Microlenders, as well as traditional smaller asset size lenders in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This tool is designed as an additional resource for pandemic-affected small businesses who have not applied for or received an approved PPP loan to connect with lenders, so they may receive relief assistance. The platform can be accessed here.

After entering their information into the Lender Match platform, a borrower receives an email from lenders who have been matched with them. The borrower can see lenders’ requests for them to begin an application. Borrowers are then able to begin the application process directly from the email they receive. Leads will only be forwarded to CDFIs and Lenders with less than 10 billion dollars in assets until the PPP program ends. At that time, the Lender Match platform will then be open to all participating SBA Lenders. Additionally, the Lender Match platform can connect borrowers with other SBA lending products currently offering debt relief. An overview of alternative relief options can be found here.

COVID-19 Data and Testing

Increased COVID-19 testing is important to maintaining the move towards reducing infection rates and reopening Virginia. As we begin to see an increase in new coronavirus cases across the country, it is important that we continue to expand testing and pursue data on coronavirus recovery in the U.S. and around the world. This important information could indicate how easily people can build immunity against the virus, as well as help us predict a timeline for getting recovered and immune segments of our population back to work. As your Representative I will continue to advocate for Federal support for testing at mobile locations with high infection rates.

At vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus, you will find a map searchable by zip code intended to help provide information on known locations of various COVID-19 test sampling sites. I also recommend that you keep up with local media networks, which may be providing information on testing sites in their respective localities.

Economic Impact Payments

Still waiting on your Emergency Relief Payment? The IRS has released a process in which taxpayers can trace their Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if they have not received it and:

• They have received Notice 1444 telling them the date their EIP was sent, or

• The “Get My Payment” online tool shows their EIP was issued and it has been more than:
o 5 days since the scheduled direct deposit date
o 4 weeks since it was mailed by check to a standard address
o 6 weeks since it was mailed, and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office
o 9 weeks since it was mailed, and you have a foreign address.

A trace on an EIP follows the same process as a trace on a tax refund. To start a Payment trace:

• Call the IRS at 800-919-9835 (you may experience long wait times or recorded help because of staffing limitations)
Or

• Submit a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund (PDF).

• If you submit the form and you are Married Filing Jointly, both spouses must sign the form;

• Write “EIP” on the top of the form and complete Sections I, II and III;

• Answer the refund questions as they relate to your EIP;

• When completing Number 7 under Section I, check the box for “Individual” as the Type of return; enter “2020” as the tax period and leave the date filed blank;

• Mail or fax the form to {see the FAQ for where to mail or fax form 3911}:

Taxpayers should not request a payment trace to determine if you were eligible for a payment you should have received, or you have not received a Notice 1444 or a payment date from Get My Payment.

Virginia Department of Veterans Services Reopening

On June 29, the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (VDVS) will begin reopening some of their offices and facilities. As conditions continue to improve, more offices will reopen. VDVS will begin providing in-person services for Virginia Veterans and their family members at select Benefits Offices on an appointment-only basis. Prior to their reopening, Veterans are encouraged to contact their local VDVS office by telephone or email for service during regular business hours Monday – Friday.

General visitation at the Virginia Veterans Care Center (VVCC) in Roanoke will continue to be prohibited to protect the health of residents and staff. Exceptions are made for end-of-life state visitation with prior coordination. Virginia State Veterans Cemeteries are now reopened to memorial services with limitations. Visitors are encouraged to use face masks and maintain distance between themselves and others.

Centers for Disease Control Resources:

Centers for Disease Control

How to Protect Yourself

Symptoms and Testing

If You Are at Higher Risk

If You Are Sick

Frequently Asked Questions

Follow @CDCgov on Twitter

Other:

Salem VA Medical Center Resumes Services

Shenandoah National Park Reopening

Virginia Enters Phase Three

COVIDCheck

Emergency Relief Payments – Debit Cards

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

USDA ReConnect Loan and Grant Program 

DOT Enforcement Notice

VA COVID Coach

Keep Americans Connected

FDA FAQs Regarding Masks and Gowns

Resources for Educators

IRS Unveils Their People First Initiative

The Virginia Department of Health Has Activated Call Centers Throughout the Commonwealth

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management Has Begun Accepting Donations

Virginia Employment Commission waives the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits

How to aid the relief effort 

FDA Warns of Fraudulent Home Testing Kits

Trust Your Sources

Tax Day Moved to July 15th

At cline.house.gov/covid-19, you can access further information about the coronavirus pandemic, including administrative, congressional, and state action that has been taken to curb the spread of the virus, resources for businesses, and information from the CDC on how to keep you and your families healthy. Rest assured, I will continue to monitor the situation in Virginia and around the country and work with my colleagues to ensure the full, coordinated force of the federal government is behind our efforts to stop the spread of this disease.

If you need help with a federal agency in regard to coronavirus relief, please reach out to the District office located closest to your home or business about Economic Impact Payments, the Paycheck Protection Program, EIDL, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or bringing home a loved one stuck in a foreign country. My District staff welcome your communication so that they can address these and other matters together with you.

Harrisonburg: (540) 432-2391
Staunton: (540) 885-3861
Roanoke: (540) 857-2672
Lynchburg: (434) 845-8306

If you experience symptoms or have been exposed to someone recently diagnosed with COVID-19, contact your doctor immediately to determine if you need screening.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – June 20, 2020

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In the past month, Americans have come together to protest the brutal killing of George Floyd. And while I support everyone’s right to peaceably assemble, the “Defund the Police” movement being pushed by the left is reckless and nothing more than a partisan talking point that will divide the country. Our dedicated police officers put their lives on the line each day to protect our communities and ensure that lawlessness does not prevail in our streets and neighborhoods. The anarchy unfolding within Seattle’s “Autonomous Zone” is a perfect example of what “Defund the Police” would actually look like across America. As Congress begins discussing legislation to reform policing, I will fight to ensure our law enforcement officers are not stripped of the resources they need to effectively do their jobs.

Reforming Policing
The vast majority of law enforcement officers serve their communities with honor and distinction. But unfortunately, a select few bad actors have made it necessary to implement reforms to ensure that those who cross the line are held accountable. This week, the Judiciary Committee held a markup on the Justice in Policing Act. While this bill contained some positive reforms, I also introduced an amendment to address law enforcement collective bargaining agreements.

In some states, unions have been permitted to shield bad officers from accountability by negotiating contracts that make it nearly impossible for a department to remove those who are unfit to serve. Many such agreements among police unions limit officer interrogations after alleged misconduct, mandate the destruction of disciplinary records, prevent anonymous civilian complaints, and limit the length of internal investigations. My amendment would have ensured that the Department of Justice and the Attorney General were not hindered by collective bargaining agreements when working with law enforcement to resolve patterns or practices of misconduct. Further, it would have reallocated more federal funding to states who reform their collective bargaining laws. Regretfully, my amendment was not accepted, but I will continue to work with my colleagues toward a bipartisan consensus on improving law enforcement and ending racism in our communities.

While I could not support the proposal mentioned above, I joined my colleagues this week in introducing the JUSTICE Act, which offers real solutions to increase transparency, accountability, and training within our Nation’s police departments. This bill builds upon the directive in President Trump’s Executive Order to develop policies that encourage proactive police strategies to address concerns and strengthens relationships that ensure the safety and security of all communities. Specifically, this legislation would:

• Improve law enforcement transparency through additional reporting including annual reporting on the use of force and reporting on no-knock warrants.

• Ensure law enforcement agencies and officers are held accountable by developing accessible disciplinary records systems.

• Provide $500 million for state and local law enforcement agencies to equip all officers with body cameras, improve the use of body cameras, and store and retain footage.

• Ban the use of chokeholds except for when the use of deadly force is permitted under law

• Improve officer training by directing the Attorney General to develop curricula related to the duty to intervene and de-escalation tactics.

• Includes the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, making lynching a federal crime.


Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce:
It was a pleasure to join the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and Congressman Morgan Griffith on a video-call this week to hear first-hand from small business owners and to answer questions regarding the federal resources that are available to them in this difficult time. During the call, we touched on subjects relating to the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, future coronavirus relief legislation, and more. I recently participated in similar events with the Botetourt Chamber of Commerce and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and will continue listening to business leaders throughout this pandemic to better understand the situation they are currently facing. If you have questions, resources are available to help during this trying time. Please consult my COVID-19 website at www.cline.house.gov/covid-19.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance
On June 15, the U.S. Small Business Administration began accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance applications from all qualified businesses. This advance is designed to provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Previously, the Disaster Loan application portal was only available to agricultural businesses but as of June 15, the portal is available to all eligible applicants. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL application through the streamlined application portal prior to this legislative update, SBA will process these applications without the need for re-applying. Eligible small businesses and agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.

Operation Warp Speed
When it comes to combating the effects of the coronavirus, the Administration has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach. Most recently, a presidential task force named “Operation Warp Speed” has tasked several agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Department of Defense, to work together on the accelerated development, manufacturing, and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.

This program is expected to produce large quantities of vaccines while the clinical trials are still underway. This is to ensure that there is not a delay once those clinical trials determine safety and efficacy. Private-sector drug companies do not have the ability to produce a drug in this way due to the financial risk involved. Operation Warp Speed and the Federal Government will be assuming the risk to ensure economic confidence does not hinder the development of this life-saving vaccine. Though the timeline is speeding up, rest assured science and safety will not be compromised. Read the full update from the Department of Defense here.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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