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Goodlatte staff to hold open door meeting

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WASHINGTON, DC – A member of Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s staff will hold open door community office hours the first and third Wednesdays of the month in Front Royal. A staff member will be available to meet with citizens to assist with problems they might have with a federal agency and hear their views on current issues before Congress.

Warren County Open Door Meeting
10:00am – 12:00pm
Samuels Public Library

330 E. Criser Road
Front Royal, Virginia

Upcoming Dates:
July 4, 2018Cancelled due to federal holiday
July 18, 2018

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 24, 2021

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This last week, I attended the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the 46th President and 49th Vice-President of the United States respectively. While there is much on which President Biden and I disagree, I join President Trump and all Americans in wishing President Biden and his new administration the best of luck during this challenging time in American history. Further, while I was in Washington this week, I took the opportunity to thank members of the Virginia National Guard who have been serving in our Nation’s capital during the inauguration, and I expressed outrage at their relegation to parking garages following the conclusion of the events. Additionally, I began the 117th Congress by reaffirming my commitment to the sanctity of life and to defending the Second Amendment. As the new Administration begins, I will continue fighting for the people of Virginia’s Sixth District.

Inauguration:
On Wednesday, I attended the Inauguration of President Joe Biden out of respect for the office of the Presidency and to commemorate the peaceful transfer of power that has become a cornerstone of our American Republic. However, we must forge beyond this moment in history to meet the short and long-term challenges facing our country. As I have for the last two years, I will continue to support fiscal responsibility and reducing burdensome regulations, defeating the COVID-19 virus while getting Americans back to work and back in school, securing our borders, and supporting our brave men and women in uniform. After four years of progress, we cannot afford a third term of the Obama era’s failed policies. Already, the Biden Administration has announced a first-day agenda that will drag our country backward during a time in which our Nation desperately needs to move forward. With Democrats controlling both Chambers of Congress and the White House, I will continue to strongly advocate for the commonsense conservative values of the citizens of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

Thanking the Guard:
While in Washington this week, I took the opportunity to thank members of the Virginia National Guard who have been deployed in Washington, D.C. these past two weeks. These civilian soldiers put their daily lives on hold in order to serve our country, and we are grateful to them for ensuring the safety and security of everyone attending the Inauguration of President Joe Biden. Whether battling forest fires in California, aiding hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana, or helping quell unrest in our cities this summer, the National Guard continues to live up to its motto of being Always Ready, Always There. Our Nation is forever grateful for their service and sacrifice here at home and in harm’s way across the world.

Sadly, these heroes stationed at the Capitol have not been treated with the respect they deserve. Following the inauguration, Guardsmen were ordered out of the Capitol complex into a nearby parking garage. While I was pleased that this situation was quickly remedied, it should never have happened in the first place. That is why I joined my colleagues in writing to the Capitol Police requesting an explanation as to what initiated this action. We must ensure our men and women in uniform are never simply used as pawns to be discarded again. To read the full letter, please click here.

Standing Up for Life:
This week marked 48 years since Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1973, more than 50 million preborn children in America have had their lives cut short. Our right to life is among our most basic human rights, and I will continue fighting to protect the most innocent among us. One of the very first bills I signed onto in the 117th Congress works toward that end. The Protecting Life in Crisis Act would prevent federal funds allocated in COVID-19 relief legislation from being used for abortions or abortion coverage. The bill would extend existing Hyde Amendment protections to any coronavirus health care provisions, and prevent federal tax credits from being used to cover post-employment health care premiums (COBRA) that include abortion coverage.

Since taking office, I have fought to defend life and have a legislative track record of supporting policies to that end. I am incredibly proud to have received an “A+” rating from Susan B. Anthony List, one of the Nation’s most prominent pro-life organizations.

As the organization stated last year, “Congressman Cline has voted consistently to protect the lives of the unborn as well as the consciences of taxpayers who don’t want their hard-earned tax dollars paying for abortion domestically or internationally. Rep. Cline has defended the Trump administration’s pro-life regulatory efforts from pro-abortion attacks to prohibit their implementation.”

Supporting the Second Amendment:
Whether in Richmond or Washington, I have always been a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. That is why I earned an “A+” rating from the NRA last term, and I will remain an advocate for the Second Amendment in the 117th Congress. As evidence of this, the first piece of legislation I cosponsored in this term was H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This bill affirms that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed firearms in one state can carry in other states that allow residents to do so. Because some states refuse to allow their citizens to fully exercise their Second Amendment rights, concealed carry reciprocity is needed to protect the constitutional rights of millions of law-abiding citizens across America. I look forward to supporting this important legislation, as well as similar bills intended to protect citizens’ rights.

IRS Update:
The Internal Revenue Service announced this week that the agency will not start accepting federal tax returns until February 12. This decision was made to allow the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of agency systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits. Further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS is urging all Americans to file their taxes online this year to ensure taxpayers receive their refunds in a timely manner. To learn more, click here.

COVID-19 Update:
I continue to be disappointed with Governor Northam’s inadequate roll out and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine across the Commonwealth. Currently, only 34% of Virginia residents have received the vaccine, which, percentage-wise, is the 49th worst in the country. And despite setting a goal of inoculating 50,000 Virginians a day, that number has fallen woefully short and stands at only 16,000. Further, the Governor has prioritized urban centers above rural areas in the Sixth District, which is unacceptable. As the federal government considers the rate at which states are administering vaccines to determine the next allotment of doses, I implore the Governor to take the steps necessary to correct this situation.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Warner Weekly Wrap-Up: Presiding

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Shortly after the inauguration, the Senate got to work confirming Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, and today confirmed Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary – the first Black American to run the department.

Sen. Warner also presided over the Senate today for the first time in the 117th Congress. With Democrats in the majority, you can expect to see Sen. Warner holding the Senate gavel from time to time, in addition to the gavel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he will be Chairman.

This and more in your Warner Weekly Wrap-Up:

FOURTY SIX
At noon on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States, while Kamala Harris became the first woman, first Black American, and first person of South Asian descent to become Vice President.

Prior to the inauguration, Sen. Warner appeared on CNBC to talk about what lies ahead for this administration, which inherits a crippled economy and the greatest public health crisis in generations, on top of a host of other threats including one of the worst cyber hacks in history.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Sen. Warner expressed optimism at President Biden’s ability to lead and address the health and economic crisis. He also emphasized the importance of ensuring that vaccine distribution is rolled out appropriately and the next COVID-19 relief package is able to deliver relief to the American people.

AVRIL HAINES
In a win for national security, the Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, making her the first woman to lead the nation’s Intelligence Community.

Prior to the vote, and after participating in open and classified hearings with Ms. Haines, Sen. Warner – the incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support the Haines nomination. You can watch that speech by clicking here.

After the Senate voted to confirm by a vote of 84 to 10, Sen. Warner praised the decision in a statement, saying:

“Given the critical importance of the role of the Director of National Intelligence to our country’s security, it is appropriate that Avril Haines has now become the first member of the new administration to be confirmed by the Senate in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. After being deliberately undermined for four years, the Intelligence Community deserves a strong, Senate-confirmed leader to lead and reinvigorate it. I am confident Ms. Haines will serve capably and honorably in the role and I look forward to working with her.”

You can expect Sen. Warner to continue working with his Senate colleagues to get President Biden the cabinet he needs to get the economy back on track and the COVID-19 crisis under control.

HONORING MLK
In honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Warner on Monday joined Shiloh Baptist Church volunteers to help assemble and distribute supplies to donate to 500 local families. This comes as Virginians continue to rely on food pantries and food banks to help them weather the current economic crisis. You can read more about this in FOX 5 by clicking here or below.

Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate of expanded access to food assistance for families in the Commonwealth amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier today, he announced his intent to reintroduce legislation to allow the federal government to pay 100 percent of the cost to states and localities so that they can partner with restaurants and nonprofits to prepare nutritious meals for vulnerable populations, such as seniors and underprivileged children.

He has previously put pressure on the USDA to formally authorize Virginia’s request to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot Program, successfully pushed USDA to waive a requirement that made it more difficult for families to receive USDA-reimbursable meals, and secured a USDA designation that allows food banks to distribute food directly to Virginia families in need while limiting interactions between food bank staff, volunteers, and recipients. Additionally, in August, Sen. Warner successfully pushed for USDA to extend critical food waivers to help make sure students have access to nutritious meals while school districts participate in distance learning.

In the COVID-19 relief package signed into law last month, Sen. Warner fought to include his legislation to help hard-hit minority communities and businesses weather the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Provisions of the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act, which makes the largest single investment into minority-owned and community-based lending institutions in the nation’s history, will help bring targeted relief to communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Additionally, the relief package provides $13 billion in nutrition assistance, including a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits.

GRAB BAG
· PRECAUTIONS: Ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration, Vice Chairman Warner and Acting Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter requesting information from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe regarding the Intelligence Community’s preparations for the inauguration on January 20, 2021.

· BRIDGE CLOSURES: Sen. Warner, along with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, and Jennifer Wexton (all D-VA), issued a statement on the agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States Secret Service (USSS) authorizing the use of Virginia State Police assets, resources, and personnel, to assist with the closure of bridges spanning the Potomac River during the 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

· TREASURY: Sen. Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released a statement in support of the nomination of Janet Yellen to be Secretary of the Treasury.

WEEK AHEAD
The Senate will be in session next week, holding hearings on more of President Biden’s cabinet nominees and preparing to receive the impeachment articles from the House of Representatives. Sen. Warner is expected to participate in a number of Zooms including with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Public Lands Alliance. He is also expected to host a webinar with Virginia small businesses, so keep an eye on your inbox for an advisory.

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Legislative Update

New Administration, New Congress

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This last week, the world saw the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

After the January 6th attack on our nation’s Capitol, I know many were worried about our inauguration. But we showed ourselves and countries around the world that America could come back from that day and continue our critical tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Amid an incredibly dark winter, Wednesday’s inauguration offered all Americans a bright moment they can feel proud of.

Now, as we enter an era with a new Administration and a new Congress, we can and must work together to get things done for the betterment of our country.

Here are some of my priorities for this Congress:

• COVID relief – My top priority is working with the Biden-Harris Administration to pass a comprehensive plan to better address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes speeding up vaccination efforts and delivering direct relief to those hit hardest

• Broadband access – We’ve learned living through this pandemic how important it is to expand broadband access so that telehealth, virtual education, and keeping in touch with family is available for Americans in every corner of the country

• Infrastructure – Whether it’s the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, I-81, or Metro and rail service, an infrastructure bill would have enormous benefits throughout Virginia that both sides of the aisle can work towards

• Job training – As Americans face massive unemployment numbers, I’m working hard to pass legislation like my JOBS Act to get people access to training and fill millions of jobs

• Expanding health care – Rather than having to constantly defend health care access from being stripped away, we can now focus on expanding and improving access to affordable, quality insurance like I’ll plan to do with my Medicare-X legislation, which establishes a public plan to offer Americans more quality and affordable options

I’m thrilled to get straight to work with both the White House and my colleagues on behalf of all Virginians and deliver the meaningful legislation our communities deserve.

Sincerely,

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 13, 2021

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Above the entrance to the House of Representatives is a sculpture called the “Apotheosis of Democracy.” This piece of artwork, sculpted in 1916 by Paul Wayland Bartlett, has at its center the figure of allegorical Peace, who is dressed in armor and is depicted protecting the Genius of America. Last week, that peace was tragically disturbed as our U.S. Capitol was invaded for the first time since the War of 1812. A violent mob, including many with hostile intentions, broke past security barriers and unleashed destruction and chaos throughout the Capitol complex. When it was over, five individuals were dead, including a Capitol Police officer and an Air Force veteran from San Diego, California. While I have always supported the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, those who breached the Capitol and assaulted Capitol Police officers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Remembering Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick

Elizabeth and I were heartbroken to learn of the passing of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who sustained a fatal injury while engaging rioters at the Capitol last week. Officer Sicknick grew up in New Jersey, and he enlisted in the National Guard in 1997. He deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan, and he joined the Capitol Police in 2008. He cared for rescued Dachshunds in his spare time and cheered for the New Jersey Devils hockey team. Our Nation mourns the loss of Officer Sicknick, who gave his life in defense of the People’s House.

Condemning Political Violence:
As we continue to mourn the loss of life at the U.S. Capitol, I hope all of us across the ideological spectrum would come together to condemn all forms of political violence, rather than just condemning the violence on one side or the other. Whether I was Tweeting against the violence in Charlottesville, denouncing the BLM/ANTIFA riots this summer, or condemning the mob this week that entered the U.S. Capitol, I have been consistent in my position that violence is not the answer. I hope everyone, regardless of his or her political background, will reject violence and support civil dialogue so that we can more effectively address the pressing issues facing our Nation. Whether in Richmond, or in Washington, that is how I have always approached my job as your representative, and it’s my pledge to you as we continue to move forward during this challenging time.

Electoral College:
Reports indicate that some of the individuals who broke into the Capitol were seeking to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes cast on December 14. If true, these individuals were engaged in and should be prosecuted for, insurrection against the government of the United States. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution states that “The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.” A separate statute, the Electoral Count Act of 1887, mandates that the count occurs on January 6 at 1:00 PM. The Capitol was closed to the public due to the coronavirus, but as the count was taking place, invaders broke windows and forced open doors. While they did temporarily delay the count, Congress reconvened later that night to finish the count and perform its duty as required under the Constitution. Ultimately, Joseph Biden’s election by the Electoral College on December 14 was confirmed by Vice-President Mike Pence, and he will be inaugurated as President next week on January 20, 2021. President Trump has said he is working toward a smooth transition to the new administration, and I am committed to working with President-elect Biden on potential areas of agreement in the upcoming 117th Congress.

Swearing In:
It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the residents of Virginia’s Sixth District in Congress, and I was honored to be sworn into a second term last week. When I took office in January 2019, my staff and I hit the ground running not only pursuing legislative initiatives that would benefit area residents but also in assisting folks to deal with federal agencies to ensure they received the federal benefits they have earned. Over the course of these past two years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to connect with hundreds of thousands of constituents and visit with so many of the groups and places that make our region special. As we begin the 117th Congress, know that I will continue to advocate for conservative values like defending the Constitution, promoting fiscal responsibility, protecting the sanctity of life, defending the Second Amendment, securing our borders, and lifting regulatory burdens on businesses and farmers.

COVID-19 Update:
While I am pleased that several COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the country, I have been very disappointed in Virginia’s distribution plan and slow roll out across the Commonwealth. According to the CDC, Virginia’s current vaccination rate of 23% is the fifth-worst in the country, trailing only behind Kansas, Georgia, Arizona, and Louisiana. This is unacceptable, and changes must be made. With 8.5 million people in the Commonwealth, I hope Governor Ralph Northam can at the very least meet his goal of distributing 25,000 vaccines a week, rather than the 14,000 currently being allocated. With the new appointment of Dr. Danny TK Avula, Director of the Richmond and Henrico health districts, to lead the vaccination effort in Virginia, I am hopeful that the distribution of this important vaccine can get on track.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 4, 2021

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The 116th Congress adjourned this week, and it has certainly been one for the history books. Beginning in January 2019 in the middle of a government shutdown, we should’ve known it would be a session full of challenges. It was an honor to be appointed to the Judiciary and Education Committees during my freshman term, and I hit the ground running in pushing policy initiatives that would benefit our community and advance the values that I was sent to Washington for which to fight. Further, my office worked tirelessly to provide critical constituent services on behalf of residents of Virginia’s Sixth District. Whether helping folks deal with the impact of the COVID-19 virus, assisting with a federal agency, or facilitating tour and flag requests, I have made every effort to make myself and staff available to the citizens of our District. Through town hall meetings, community events, mobile office hours, and direct outreach, I have been able to connect with hundreds of thousands of area residents. It has truly been an honor to serve the people of the Sixth District, and I am returning to Washington this week in the 117th Congress with the same passion to move this country forward and advocate for those whom I am blessed to represent.

Passing Legislation:
Navigating Washington as a freshman Member of Congress can often be tricky. However, my staff and I committed ourselves to build relationships on both sides of the aisle and pursuing commonsense conservative legislation that could make it through both Chambers of Congress, despite facing a politically divided government. These efforts culminated in 6 bills being signed into law that I either introduced myself or co-introduced with a Member of the majority party. Below please find a list of the legislation I have championed that has become law.

• LEGION Act — expands American Legion membership criteria to include all honorably discharged veterans who served during unrecognized times of war.

• Small Business Reorganization Act — simplifies the process for small businesses to use bankruptcy as a means of reorganization, helping them to keep their doors open, employees on payroll, and suppliers and vendors paid.

• National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act — ensures that certain members of the National Guard and Reserves who fall on hard economic times after returning from active duty deployment will continue to obtain bankruptcy relief without having to fill out the substantial paperwork required by the so-called “means test” under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

• Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act — creates a process within the Copyright Office to provide for an efficient and less expensive forum for small creators to better enforce their rights.

• Danger Pay for US Marshals Act — ensures US Marshals qualify for danger pay in certain countries as do employees of other federal law enforcement agencies.

• National George C. Marshall Museum — designates the ‘George C. Marshall Museum’ as the ‘National George C. Marshall Museum’.

Cosponsoring Legislation:
In addition to legislation I have introduced myself, I have sought to sign onto bills and resolutions that if passed would serve the best interests of Sixth District residents. While I have cosponsored bills that promote conservative values like protecting the sanctity of life, defending the Second Amendment, securing our borders, lifting the regulatory burden on businesses and farmers, putting America first, and promoting fiscal responsibility, I have also worked tirelessly to reach across the aisle. In fact, over 80 percent of legislation I have introduced or co-led has included members of both parties as cosponsors. As we begin the 117th Congress, I will continue to seek out opportunities to cosponsor legislation that will benefit our region. For a full list of legislation I have cosponsored, click here.

Working on Your Behalf:
While the work that occurs in Washington is important, one of the most vital functions of a Member of Congress’ office is helping folks in the District. The staff in my District offices in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Roanoke, and Lynchburg are committed to hearing constituents’ questions, comments, and concerns, and are also dedicated to helping folks deal with the Federal Government. If you cannot get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, our office may be able to help resolve the problem or get you the information you need. If you ever need help dealing with a federal agency, whether it be the Department of Veterans Affairs, IRS, State Department, or any other, please know that my office is here to help. Since January of 2019, my staff and I have worked to close more than 3,000 cases and fought to ensure constituents receive their benefits. To request help with a federal agency, please click here.

Accessible to You:
Reaching from Front Royal in the North to Lynchburg and Roanoke in the South, Virginia’s Sixth District stretches nearly 200 miles long, which is larger than most Congressional Districts across the country. In order to accommodate the size, I opened four District offices at the beginning of my term. However, in an effort to make my staff even more available to constituents, my office regularly hosted Mobile Office Hours prior to the pandemic and will again do so when it is safe. During Mobile Office Hours, my staff travel to localities throughout the District on a rotating basis and meet with constituents to listen to questions, comments, or concerns, as well as help with any issues with the Federal Government. To date, my office has held 130 Mobile Office Hours. To stay up to date on where and when these events will occur, sign up for my newsletter here.

Holding Town Halls:
Hearing directly from constituents is why I promised to hold town halls throughout the Sixth District during my campaign. I kept my word, and since being elected I have hosted 25 town halls – with at least one being held in each locality throughout the District. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was on track to hold the second one in each locality, but unfortunately, that plan was hindered due to state-mandated restrictions on public gatherings. I hope to continue these sorts of in-person forums in the future, but for now, virtual events remain the best option to connect directly with constituents on a larger scale and ensure that their voices are heard in Washington. For that reason, beginning in March, I started hosting telephone town halls. Since then, I have hosted seven such events and between in-person and telephone town halls, I have held 32 forums during my first term in Congress. I plan to host additional events in the near future. As we continue to navigate this pandemic, I will continue to make myself available as your representative.

Corresponding With Constituents:
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to petition their Government for a redress of grievances. Therefore, as your Congressman, one of the greatest responsibilities I have is to listen to the concerns of my constituents and provide responses to those who contact my office. Over the course of the past two years, thousands of Sixth District residents have called, emailed, and written to my office with questions and comments. To date, my office has responded to 155,527 constituent inquires. My staff and I pride ourselves on providing timely and thorough responses to address the issues brought to our attention by those we serve. If you would like to express your thoughts on a matter before Congress, please click here.

Meeting With Constituents:
In a representative democracy, having an open dialogue with your elected officials is critically important. Therefore, in order to best serve the interests of the Sixth District, I take regular meetings with constituents both in Washington and in the District. These opportunities allow me to better understand the issues most important to folks in our area and enables me to ensure their views are arcuately represented in Congress. Since January 3, 2019, I have taken 615 meetings with constituents and advocacy groups, which have been invaluable during my tenure. And while in-person meetings have certainly slowed down since March, these have been supplemented with regular Zoom and Skype meetings. If you would like to schedule a meeting, please do not hesitate to reach out by clicking here for a meeting in DC or here for a meeting in the District.

Out and About in the Community:
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of serving as Congressman for the Sixth District is traveling throughout our region and meeting great folks along the way. I have been honored to participate in various community events from the day I took office. Whether touring local businesses or farms, attending ribbon cuttings for new opportunities helped by federal assistance, volunteering with charitable organizations, or visiting service groups like Rotary or Kiwanis for their monthly meetings, I have been so grateful for the opportunity to experience so many of the different groups and places that make the Sixth District special. From Roanoke and Lynchburg to Bath and Highland to Shenandoah and Warren, I have enjoyed visiting nearly every corner of our District. Throughout my first term, despite nearly ten months of government restrictions on public gatherings, I have still managed to attend 234 events throughout our community. I look forward to continuing my travels throughout the District in the 117th Congress.

Visiting With Students:
Since taking office, it has been a priority of mine to meet with students across the region. It has been a pleasure engaging with these bright young minds who will soon be tomorrow’s leaders. As they prepare for the next steps in their lives, whether that be college, joining the military, or entering the workforce, I wish to instill in them the importance of service to others. Since being sworn in, I have had the pleasure of visiting 42 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges and universities. Whether it’s reading House Mouse, Senate Mouse to youngsters, or discussing the issues of the day with older government classes, I always appreciate the opportunity to foster the value of public service within our District’s youth.

Service Academy Nominations:
One of the greatest honors I have serving as the Representative for Virginia’s Sixth District is the privilege of nominating individuals to one of four United States Service Academies. Applicants to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy require a recommendation from a Member of Congress or another nominating authority. An academy appointment has an estimated value of over $400,000 and admission is competitive. Each academy selects nominees based on moral character, scholastic achievement, physical fitness, leadership, and college admission test scores. I make it a priority to meet with each qualified individual who requests a nomination, and to date, have nominated 16 individuals to the U.S. Service Academies. Those that I have had the pleasure of meeting during this process are truly some of the best and brightest of their generation. The passion for service and love of country that these students often exude is truly inspiring. If you are interested in applying to a U.S. Service Academy, please click here.

Booking Tours:
Our Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC provides visitors with numerous opportunities to explore and experience the many facets of history, culture, and government that the city has to offer. One of the many services in which my office provides is helping constituents book and arrange tours throughout Washington. My tour coordinator will work to help ensure your visit to Washington is enjoyable. My office can help you book tours of the Capitol Building, White House, Smithsonian museums, and many other federal buildings. In the past two years, my office has arranged tours for more than 560 families from the Sixth District. While most tours in Washington remain suspended due to COVID-19, click here to learn more about tour options.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – December 30, 2020

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Driving home from Washington to Botetourt for Christmas last week gave me a chance to reflect on the challenges all Americans have faced this year. Our way of life was fundamentally altered by COVID-19, and each of us was asked to make sacrifices for our fellow Americans. I have been so incredibly proud of how Americans have responded, and I pray that with the approval of these vaccines we may soon begin to put the coronavirus behind us. While we may have celebrated Christmas last week, the spirit of giving and helping neighbors in need has been embodied every day throughout these past 10 months. I have no doubt that our country and our people will come out of this pandemic stronger and more united than ever before.

COVID-19 Update:

With the FDA approval of the Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, Virginia is slated to receive 370,650 doses throughout the Commonwealth in December alone. The Governor has issued Vaccination Prioritization Guidance, which is broken down into three phases. Phases I will prioritize health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, Phase II will allocate doses to critical infrastructure staff, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and adults ages 65 and older, and in Phase III inoculation will be available to the general public. For the latest updates regarding vaccine distribution, visit the Virginia Department of Health’s website here.

It was also announced last week that the Salem VA Medical Center was chosen to be a recipient of the Moderna vaccine, and distribution began throughout the Commonwealth. I am thankful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for their efforts to get the COVID-19 vaccine to our veterans in as expeditious a manner as possible. To read more about the administration of the vaccine at the Salem VA, click here.

COVID Relief Bill:
The coronavirus has been both a health disaster and an economic disaster for Virginia. In addition to the tragic loss of thousands of lives, the economic impact of Governor Northam’s shutdowns has been devastating for millions of Virginians. Businesses have gone bankrupt or are on the brink, thousands are unemployed or at risk of losing their jobs, and the shutdowns have produced spikes in depression and suicides, alcohol and drug addiction, and incidents of domestic violence.

These shutdowns amount to a “taking” by the government of the ability of Virginia workers and businesses to earn a living. It’s similar to the taking of private property by the government under the power of Eminent Domain. But when the government normally uses this power to take property, the Constitution requires that the government must provide “just compensation” to the owner.

For the workers and businesses who are the victims of Governor Northam’s “taking,” however, there has been no such compensation. That is why coronavirus relief from Congress is so important for Virginia, and why I voted for passage of the COVID relief bill – to help Virginians impacted by the shutdowns and provide critical assistance to those in need.

The COVID relief bill includes an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and adds deductibility for PPP expenses, provides $600 Emergency Assistance checks for Americans earning less than $75,000 per year, temporarily provides unemployed individuals an additional $300 per week for 10 weeks, includes $8 billion for vaccine distribution and $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines to make the vaccine available at no charge for anyone who needs it, $20 billion to assist states with testing, and $82 billion in funding for schools and universities to assist with reopening for in-person learning. While the bill provides no money to bail out mismanaged state governments like California and New York, I was frustrated that it was attached by Speaker Pelosi to an appropriations bill that included billions in wasteful and unnecessary spending.

I agreed with President Trump that the appropriations bill attached to the COVID relief bill wasted taxpayer dollars on foreign aid and did not provide enough help for the American people. I supported his effort to modify the bill to increase Emergency Assistance payments to $2,000 and pay for it by cutting wasteful spending in the appropriations bill. Unfortunately, Democrats blocked our efforts on Christmas Eve to make these important changes. When Democrats would not cut the pork, I joined my colleagues in voting against the increased emergency payments. In the end, this entire process exemplifies just how broken Washington is. We must return to the regular appropriations process, work to eliminate wasteful spending and restore the integrity of the legislative process to best serve the American people.

Telephone Town Hall:
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, I had promised to hold in-person town halls throughout the Sixth District. In fact, since being elected, I have hosted 25 town halls – with at least one being held in each locality throughout the District. I was on track to hold the second one in each locality, but unfortunately, that plan was hindered due to state-mandated restrictions on public gatherings. I hope to continue those sorts of in-person forums in the future, but for now, virtual events remain the best option to connect directly with constituents on a larger scale and ensure that their voices are heard in Washington. Last week, I enjoyed hosting my seventh telephone town hall and was joined by Representative Phil Roe, M.D., Chairman of the Congressional Doctors’ Caucus, and Dr. Laura Kornegay, Health Director for Central Shenandoah Health District. We discussed a number of topics related to the coronavirus and a great deal of information were shared.

To listen to a full recording of the event, please click here. As we continue to navigate this pandemic, I will continue to make myself available as your representative.

Academy Nominations:
One of the greatest honors I have serving as the Representative for Virginia’s Sixth District is the privilege of nominating individuals to one of four United States Service Academies. Applicants to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy require a recommendation from a Member of Congress or another nominating authority. An academy appointment has an estimated value of over $400,000 and admission is competitive. Each academy selects nominees based on moral character, scholastic achievement, physical fitness, leadership, and college admission test scores. Last week my office began the second round of the nomination process as I interviewed a number of interested applicants. Those that I had the pleasure of meeting are truly some of the best and brightest of their generation. The passion for service and love of country that these students exuded was truly inspiring, and with this pool of applicants, I know that the Sixth District will inevitably be represented well at our Nation’s Service Academies.

Rockbridge Christmas Baskets:
The Rockbridge Christmas Baskets Program has been a blessing to Valley residents since 1948. Originally founded as the Santa Claus Truck, this tremendous, all-volunteer organization assembles and delivers thousands of food and toy care packages to struggling families each year. This year the group donated a record 68,000 pounds of food and 1,300 toys to families throughout Lexington, Rockbridge, and Buena Vista. Having worked side-by-side with this group many times over the years, it is truly inspiring to see folks from all walks of life coming together to help their neighbors in need. It was my pleasure to recognize the Rockbridge Christmas Baskets Program on the House Floor and highlight their efforts.

Merry Christmas:
It has undoubtedly been a trying year for all Americans. The past 10 months have tested our collective spirits, especially during the holidays as we would typically be surrounded by all of our friends and family. As we celebrate the holidays in modified fashion this year, take solace in the true meaning of Christmas. From my family to yours, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a joyous and healthy New Year.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Fri
12:30 pm Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Jan 29 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education @ Online Event
Save a Life: Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education January 29th The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative and Northwestern Community Services Board will offer a free virtual REVIVE! Training on January 29th from 12:30 pm to[...]
Jan
30
Sat
2:00 pm Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Jan 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
We will paint these beautiful camellias on Saturday, January 30th at 2 pm at The Studio. This will be the first in a series of floral paintings we will do over the course of 2021.[...]
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
6:00 pm Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Known in medieval Celtic culture as a storyteller, verse maker, and composer, the word ‘Bard’ has become synonymous with the world’s greatest poets. However, few are as celebrated as Scotland’s own ‘National Bard’, Robert Burns,[...]
Feb
9
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
11
Thu
6:30 pm Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 11 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
13
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Feb
15
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Feb
16
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
17
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 17 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]