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Legislative Update

Goodlatte statement on FBI Deputy Director McCabe

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the statement below regarding reports indicating that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will step down from his position.  Additionally, Chairman Goodlatte today sent a letter urging FBI Director Christopher Wray to preserve Mr. McCabe’s emails, and all other communications, before his official departure from the agency.

“Today’s news that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down from the Bureau is overdue. Recent revelations call into question Mr. McCabe’s leadership in the top operational post in the FBI.  However, Mr. McCabe’s departure certainly does not mean that we are done rooting out the problems at the FBI. I continue to be extremely troubled by the decisions made by the FBI during the 2016 presidential election and the role senior FBI officials played in these questionable decisions and irregularities.

 “The only way to ensure the FBI remains the premier law enforcement agency in the world is to ensure that the leadership at the Bureau holds the trust of the American people. This change in leadership at the FBI is a good first step in repairing the damage to their reputation.”

Background: In October 2017, Chairman Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) announced a joint investigation into decisions made by the Department of Justice in 2016.  In December 2017, Chairmen Goodlatte and Gowdy called on the Department of Justice to allow FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, among others, to be interviewed by congressional investigators. That interview took place shortly following the request.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline: May 21, 2019

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This past week I joined several of my colleagues in the Rose Garden at the White House to listen as the President unveiled his proposal to reform our immigration system. This important measure focuses on areas of bipartisan agreement on the critical issue of immigration, including changes to our asylum laws and visa allocation process.

As anyone following the news is aware, the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border is at historically high levels. Just last month, nearly 100,000 individuals crossed the border illegally. While these individuals have broken the law, often our immigration courts are so overwhelmed that many claiming asylum are released into the United States to await their hearings, for which more than half of these illegal immigrants will never appear. President Trump’s proposal would focus on securing our border, modernizing security along the southern and northern borders through sustainable funding. It would also focus on streamlined hearings, so our courts are no longer backlogged with an ever-growing immigration caseload.

The proposal set forth by President Trump would also put the United States in line with countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan by shifting our immigration policy to a merit-based visa system. By shifting to a merit-based system, the Trump Administration believes more immigrants will be able to find employment with higher wages. Currently, the average immigrant earns approximately $43,000 per year, and only 55% of immigrants secure employment. Under the President’s proposal, the employment rate would rise to an estimated 69% for all immigrants, and wages would be about $93,000 per year.

The President’s proposal is a good starting point as we begin the discussion on immigration. There is a lot of work ahead of us as we seek to reform a broken system, and I am proud to be a part of that conversation as the President and Congress work toward a long-term solution. It is an issue the American people want addressed instead of continuing to kick the can down the road.

Another bright spot this week included the House passage of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, a bill which extends disability benefits for veterans who served during Vietnam and had potential exposure to Agent Orange along the country’s territorial waters. Currently, only Vietnam veterans who served inland are eligible to receive benefits for Agent Orange exposure. I was proud to join my colleagues in voting for this bill, which passed the House with unanimous support.

One bill that I stood up against this week was H.R. 987. As I said during the floor debate, this bill is another bait and switch maneuver by the House majority. The original bill was a bipartisan consensus that allows consumers to access cheaper generic drugs. It would have driven down costs and saved Americans $3.9 billion over 10 years. Unfortunately, the majority took a bipartisan bill and loaded it down with unrelated language that banned the sale of certain types of short-term health insurance plans. Over the past decade, Obamacare has destroyed our health insurance industry, taken decisions away from individuals, and given that authority to the federal government. As a result, premiums are skyrocketing, with the highest in the country being right here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To double down on the mistakes of Obamacare is harmful to Americans, which is why I voted against this bill. While the bill passed the House by a mostly party-line vote, the Senate is unlikely to pass it and the President is unlikely to sign it in its current form, making the entire effort a giant missed opportunity to pass what was originally a bipartisan bill.
I also visited with representatives of the Staunton Talking Book Center, who were recognized this week by the Library of Congress as the Sub-Regional Library and Outreach Center of the Year by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Center is located at the Staunton Public Library and serves individuals unable to read standard print materials. I was proud to attend the awards ceremony at the Library of Congress and congratulate them on their prestigious honor.

Finally, during National Police Week, I took time to thank the men and women in blue who risk so much to protect our communities. On Tuesday, I attended the Lynchburg Police Department’s Memorial Service. This service has taken place for over 24 years to acknowledge the law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year, we remembered Virginia State Trooper Lucas Dowell and Winchester Police Officer Hunter Edwards. While these men died as heroes, they will also be remembered for their everyday acts of kindness by those whom the officers helped in their communities. Even though the week honoring police has ended, I hope you will join me in thanking our men and women in blue each day.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

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Legislative Update

Bringing down the cost of prescription drugs

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Hundreds of Virginians have reached out to me to let me know how the high cost of prescription drugs affects their health and their ability to put food on the table or a roof over their heads. I spoke about this on the Senate floor this week and shared some of the stories I’ve heard from constituents.

• Laurie from Norfolk shared her story with me. She has rheumatoid arthritis and lives on Social Security. She can’t use her hands without the drug, but can’t afford the $65,000 the drug company charges for the drug. Even with Medicare part D, the drug costs $8000, which is 1/3 of her annual income.

• Andrew from Great Falls shared the story of his father with me. When he wrote to me, the drug his father needed to battle Leukemia cost $146,000 a year.

• Marie from Virginia Beach shared her story with me. The drug she needs to take is $375,000 a year. Without the drug, she tells me she will likely be bedridden.

Every corner pharmacy negotiates the price of prescription drugs. It makes no sense that the federal government is not allowed to do the same.

We need to ensure that patients are able to access the medicine they need. So I’m going to continue fighting to bring down prescription drug costs so that Virginia families can get the care they need without jeopardizing their health or economic security.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline: May 11th, 2019

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Not everything in Washington is partisan politics. On Thursday in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Members had the opportunity to question Andrei Iancu, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was a wonderful opportunity to address a concern residents of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District grapple with each time they fill a prescription.

It is no secret that prescription drug prices are at record highs and experts do not expect prices to fall back to Earth anytime soon. In fact, a recent study found prescription prices rose 3.3 percent in 2018, are protected to grow 4.6 percent this year, and could average 6.1 percent per year through 2027. With prices continuing to rise, Congress must ensure that the marketplace includes timely access for citizens to affordable generic drugs.

While Thursday’s subcommittee hearing was bipartisan, I was disappointed Wednesday to see my colleagues put politics ahead of policy and the law. Led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Democratic Members of the committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for his refusal to release protected grand jury material, a violation of federal law. This is despite the fact that the Attorney General has provided transparency to Congress and the American people, releasing the Mueller Report to the committee and the public. The vote on Wednesday was simply designed to score political points rather than further debate on important issues facing our nation.

On the floor this week, we passed bills that reaffirm long-standing relations with Taiwan and promote American business diplomacy abroad.

H.Res. 273 not only reaffirms the U.S. relationship with Taiwan but encourages strengthened relations with one of Asia’s most mature and stable democracies. America’s friendship with Taiwan is as vital now as it was 40 years ago. I support increased relations and was proud to support this bill.

H.R. 1704, the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act of 2019, would require American ambassadors to promote American economic interests in the nations where they are based. Ambassadors and their staffs would receive training on economic diplomacy, which would promote the export of American goods and services. This has the potential to grow the American manufacturing sector and further strengthen our nation’s already impressive economic growth and record employment figures.

As I have discussed in previous columns, the nation’s economy continues to show strength. Just this week, Hershey announced a $104 million expansion in Stuarts Draft which will add 65 new jobs. Last week, Merck announced a $1 billion expansion in Elkton which will add dozens of jobs paying high wages. These are just a few examples of how tax cuts and a reduction in Washington red tape has led to investment in our communities and its citizens. I believe the economy can continue to charge forward if Congress identifies and cuts areas of the federal bureaucracy which are impeding growth. I am committed to protecting Virginia jobs and growing our economy. This is how job creators will invest in expansion and add more people to the payroll, allowing more Virginians to achieve the American dream.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your representative in Congress. Please reach out with questions or if you need assistance with a federal agency by calling (202) 225-5431 or visiting cline.house.gov.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline: May 4, 2019

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(L to R) Congressman Ben Cline, Mrs. Shari Falwell, and Rev. Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg

It was a special week in the U.S. House of Representatives, where on Thursday Rev. Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg served as guest chaplain and opened the day’s proceedings in prayer. It meant a lot to have an esteemed Christian leader from Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District begin the day’s proceedings with a call to God for forgiveness, wisdom, and blessings on the National Day of Prayer.

This week started with votes of bipartisanship on a variety of suspension bills, including H.Res. 327 and H.Res. 328, bills to encourage greater public-private sector collaboration to promote financial literacy for seniors and young adults. Both the elderly and young people need an understanding of basic financial services such as banking and student loans, as well as the potential fraudsters out to steal their hard-earned life savings and how to prevent such illegal acts. I thank leaders on both sides for their efforts to bring these bills to the floor.

This week also brought Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to the House Committee on Education and Labor. With economic growth at 3.2% in the first quarter of this year and unemployment at its lowest level in 50 years, I was encouraged to have Secretary Acosta before the committee discussing the positive economic environment for American workers. The Department of Labor has encouraged economic growth in the private sector by cutting red tape, which opens the door for job creators to expand with less government interference.

One area we touched on during my questions was the important principle of right to work, a law that protects the rights of workers to get or keep a job without being forced to join a labor union. States with right to work laws are typically economically strong and growing, which is just where the Commonwealth of Virginia finds itself. We are competitive with surrounding states and often land new businesses and jobs due to our friendly business environment. It is imperative that the U.S. protects the rights of states like Virginia to maintain their right to work laws if we are to maintain a healthy, growing economy.

On Thursday, I took to the floor to once again request a vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (H.R. 962). As you may know, this is the 36th time House Democrats have refused to go on the record and once and for all say murder of a child who survives an abortion is wrong. For the 36th time, they have refused to stand for life and against infanticide. I stand with Republican Whip Steve Scalise and my 197 other colleagues who have signed a discharge petition which would force a vote. I believe we will secure the final 19 signatures necessary to finally force a vote and put all Members of the House on record.

The week concluded with my signing another discharge petition, which would force a vote on the Green New Deal. This misguided legislation would hurt the U.S. Economy, Virginia agriculture, and put our farmers and ranchers out of business. Just as with the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, I believe it is time for Democrats to put their beliefs on the record with a vote on the Green New Deal and when it fails, hopefully we can meet and work on true solutions with an all of the above energy policy for the United States.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. If you need assistance with a federal agency, please call my office at (202) 225-5431. And feel free to like @RepBenCline on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and follow my YouTube channel.

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Legislative Update

Congressman Ben Cline testifies for Interstate 81 Funding

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Congressman Ben Cline testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee May 1, 2019 advocating for improvements to Interstate 81. Each year there are nearly 2,000 crashes on I-81, with over 25% involving heavy trucks, and over 45 major crashes a year causing delays greater than four hours.

Current conditions are not only a 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. Cline say that Congress must act to get America’s roads moving again with public safety at the forefront of our agenda.

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Legislative Update

Warner meets with the 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met with the National Teacher of the Year, Rodney Robinson, at Sen. Warner’s office in Washington, D.C. Robinson, a social studies teacher in Richmond, Va., was recently named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). He teaches at Virgie Binford Education Center, a school inside the Richmond Juvenile Justice Center.

“It’s clear that Mr. Robinson has devoted his career not just to teaching, but to making meaningful change in the lives of students who need it the most,” said Sen. Warner. “By designing a unique curriculum focused on understanding the history of prison and the juvenile justice system, Mr. Robinson is working to redirect justice-involved students and equip them with the educational opportunity they need to empower themselves. I am proud that teachers in Virginia and all across our nation can look to Mr. Robinson as an example of an educator who uses his classroom to actively tackle a larger structural issue in our society.”

“Our kids need more – they need more specialized curriculum, more specialized courses,” said Robinson. “I’ve noticed that the kids that have the lowest recidivism rates are the ones we help set up with job or mentorship programs to get them in some sort of positive activity where they can make something out of their lives.”

Robinson has worked for Richmond Public Schools for 19 years, and has been teaching at Virgie Binford Education Center since 2015. In the meeting, Sen. Warner and Robinson discussed the importance of providing students with the resources and opportunities they need to learn technical skills and earn industry certifications that will allow them to make a living in the future.

The National Teacher of the Year Program is managed by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Each year, the nation’s top teacher is selected from among state teachers of the year representing the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

May
23
Thu
1:30 pm Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
Portraits for Beginners: People ... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Portraits for Beginners: People and Pets @ Art in the Valley
Learn to create realistic portraits of people and pets. Students will practice drawing and painting techniques used in portraiture. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are required to bring their own reference[...]
3:00 pm The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
May 23 @ 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Employer Expo @ War Memorial Building @ Jim Barnett Park
Have you been thinking about a career change? Are you nearing graduation and not quite sure what you want to do, or what your next step should be? Are you a parent of a student[...]
6:00 pm Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
Painting the Landscape with Oils... @ Art in the Valley
May 23 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Painting the Landscape with Oils: Late Spring @ Art in the Valley
This class provides a hands-on experience for painting with oils. Students will focus on techniques for painting landscapes. Class meets once a week for five weeks. Students are recommended to bring their own reference photos[...]
6:30 pm Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Confederate Memorial Day ceremony @ Prospect Hill Cemetery's Soldiers Circle
The Warren Rifles Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will again lead the annual Confederate Memorial Day ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal. Where: at Prospect Hill Cemetery’s Soldiers[...]
6:30 pm Watercolor Basics @ Strokes of Creativity
Watercolor Basics @ Strokes of Creativity
May 23 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Watercolor Basics @ Strokes of Creativity
Watercolor Basics Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 6:30 PM – 9 PM Learn the basics of watercolor painting. This is a great follow-up class from the watercolor 101 class, learn about techniques and applying techniques[...]
May
25
Sat
1:00 pm Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet the Author: Stephen Hudak @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Of Dreams and Leadership: Learning to lead and sharing along the way by local author, Stephen Hudak In this collection of essays, Stephen Hudak shares his thoughts on Leadership and Learning.
May
27
Mon
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
May 27 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
May
28
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Ou... @ Art in the Valley
May 28 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes: In and Out of the Studio @ Art in the Valley
This four week course will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance. During the first class[...]
May
29
Wed
2:00 pm Introduction to Floral Painting ... @ Art in the Valley
Introduction to Floral Painting ... @ Art in the Valley
May 29 @ 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Introduction to Floral Painting with Hillary White @ Art in the Valley
Learn to paint flowers in landscapes, vases, close up and loosely! Use your own acrylic paint, watercolor or colored pencils. You must have basic knowledge of your medium. Instructor: Hillary White, MAT, CDA Wednesday afternoons,[...]
6:00 pm CASA Information Session @ Meet in the Middle
CASA Information Session @ Meet in the Middle
May 29 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
CASA Information Session @ Meet in the Middle
Become an advocate for abused and neglected children in your community. CASA Children’s Intervention Services is seeking volunteers who care about children growing up in a safe, permanent and loving homes. Attend an Information Session[...]