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Legislative Update

Reps. Cline and Phillips introduce bipartisan bill to promote efficient technology use by federal agencies

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Congressmen Ben Cline (VA-06) and Dean Phillips (MN-03) introduced H.R. 7949 – the SMART Government Act. This legislation would implement a three-pronged approach to establish better governance and oversight regarding Federal technology practices.

H.R. 7949 would:
1. Work to consolidate the more than 12,000 government data centers, which would not only save federal dollars but would promote transparency within these facilities.
2. Require Federal agencies to properly track and report their software assets to eliminate unnecessary redundancies in purchasing.

3. Mandate that documents transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration are done so electronically to ensure the government is better equipped to access its data and respond to individual requests in a timely manner.

Rep. Cline said, “The Federal government invests more than $90 billion annually in information technology yet lacks the necessary oversight measures to protect against waste. The SMART Government Act is a first step in working to promote a system of technological use that is more accountable to and efficient for the U.S. tax-payer.”

Rep. Phillips said, “We didn’t leave the Stone Age because we ran out of rocks – we found a better way of doing things. Congress is an 18th-century institution operating in a 21st-century world. In order to meet the needs of the American people, and save the taxpayer money, we have to update and innovate. The SMART Government Act will modernize our government and put us on the path towards being more efficient and responsive to our constituent’s needs.”

This legislation is the first in a series of bipartisan government reform bills that Congressmen Cline and Phillips intend to introduce together over the next several weeks.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – November 22, 2020

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Before returning to Washington this week, I enjoyed the opportunity to join community leaders in Strasburg for the presentation of a Historic Marker for a local school, as well as met with the co-founders of RISE in Waynesboro to tour their new facility and learn more about their work. Although continuing to engage with constituents in-person moving forward may be difficult given the Governor’s new COVID restrictions, please know that my staff and I will remain available to those I am honored to represent. While in Washington, I recognized two Sixth District businesses who were awarded the 2020 HIRE Vets Medallion by the Department of Labor and voted on numerous pro-Veteran bills. Finally, despite Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to address the most pressing issues of the day like coronavirus relief and election integrity, there were a few legislative updates that may be of interest. As the 116th Congress makes its way through the final weeks of the legislative session, I will continue to fight for the good people of Virginia’s Sixth District.

Reimplementing COVID-19 Restrictions:
Despite initial COVID-19 shutdowns causing millions of Americans to lose their jobs and hundreds of thousands of small businesses to close their doors, Governor Northam has decided to impose additional restrictions on individuals and retail establishments. Please be aware that beginning this past Monday, the below mandates are in place throughout the Commonwealth. For questions, comments, or concerns, please call the Governor’s office at (804) 786-2211 or write to him here.

• Reduction in public and private gatherings:
o All public and private in-person gatherings must be limited to 25 individuals, down from the current cap of 250 people. This includes outdoor and indoor settings.

• Expansion of mask mandate:
o All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces. This expands the current mask mandate, which has been in place in Virginia since May 29 and requires all individuals aged 10 and over to wear face coverings in indoor public settings.

• Strengthened enforcement within essential retail businesses:
o All essential retail businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, must adhere to statewide guidelines for physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and enhanced cleaning. While certain essential retail businesses have been required to adhere to these regulations as a best practice, violations will now be enforceable through the Virginia Department of Health as a Class One misdemeanor, with the potential for up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500.

• On-site alcohol curfew:
o The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol is prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight. Virginia law does not distinguish between restaurants and bars, however, under current restrictions, individuals that choose to consume alcohol prior to 10:00 p.m. must be served in a restaurant and remain seated at tables six feet apart.

Sunset Hill School:
It was a pleasure to join local officials in Strasburg this past weekend as the Commonwealth bestowed the once segregated Sunset Hill School with a Virginia Historical Highway Marker – a distinction that is well warranted and long overdue. Contrary to popular belief, the purpose of such a Marker is not to honor, memorialize, or commemorate the person, event, or place that receives it, but rather is intended to educate the public as to the significance such an institution played in the Commonwealth’s history. And while our Nation has long struggled with race relations, events over the past few months have made it all the more necessary to highlight places like Sunset Hill School, whose students faced tremendous adversity solely because of the color of their skin. I am thankful for the opportunity to have reflected on the experiences of those who attended Sunset Hill School and thank the Queen Street Sunset Hill Alumni Organization for working diligently to make certain the school received the recognition it deserves.

HIRE Vets Medallion:
The U.S. Department of Labor’s HIRE (Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing) Vets Medallion recognizes the meaningful and verifiable efforts undertaken by job creators to hire and retain veterans. This year, two businesses in the Sixth District were presented with this award for their commitment to serving those who served our Nation. Based on their size, Tactical and Survival Specialties, Incorporated, of Harrisonburg won a Medium Gold award for the second year in a row, while Rubicon Planning of Roanoke earned the distinction of a Small Gold award for the first time. It was an honor to recognize the good work of these two companies on the House Floor this week. To learn more about the HIRE Vets Medallion program and to find other patriotic businesses across the country, click here.

RISE:

It was a pleasure to join Sharon Fitz and Chanda McGuffin, the co-founders of RISE, this week to tour their newly remodeled facility in Waynesboro, including the organization’s rapidly growing library. RISE is a community organization that is committed to empowering and serving as a “voice of hope” for African-Americans in our area. One of their primary services is an after-school reading program for children that promotes traditional learning tools over technology. Their summer camp also focuses on reading, writing, and public speaking to help build confidence among the students participating. Further, the group works to highlight everyday people who may have had an impact on our lives but may not have garnered notoriety for their actions. This is an important piece of RISE’s programming, as it gives kids a sense that they, too, can do important things without being famous. I wish RISE continued success on these endeavors and look forward to seeing more of their exciting work in the coming months.

The Telemedicine Act:
As we recognized Rural Health Day this week, we took time to applaud rural communities in their ongoing efforts to address the unique challenges of accessing and delivering health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this crisis, the need for telemedicine and its importance to rural communities has become abundantly more clear. That is why I recently cosponsored H.R. 8723, the Telemedicine Act. This bill seeks to expand access to telemedicine by encouraging states to adopt the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which would allow physicians to work across state lines through telemedicine. This measure would not only increase access to doctors and specialists in rural areas, but the competition created could lower the overall cost of health care in our communities. To read the text of this bipartisan bill, click here.

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – November 17, 2020

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As the District Work Period comes to an end, defeating COVID-19 remains at the top of our agenda in Washington. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear from business leaders in Botetourt this past week and chat with government students at James River High School. With the House returning to Washington, I would also like to hear from you to better understand what issues you believe Congress should focus on in the last two months of the 116th Congress. Be sure to take the survey below and let me know. However, one issue I know we should take up is ensuring the integrity of our federal elections. Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, there was some very promising news regarding a potential vaccine this past week from Pfizer and Moderna. Finally, this past week we honored our Nation’s service members as we celebrated Veterans Day.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update:
In extremely encouraging news this past week, Pfizer and Moderna announced that the first interim analysis of their Phase Three vaccine candidates was found to be 90% and 94.5% effective respectively in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. According to CNBC, scientists were hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, while White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has previously said one that is 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable. Both Pfizer and Moderna plan to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of their two-dose vaccines later this month after the companies have collected the recommended two months of safety data. By the end of the year, it is reported that the two companies would be able to manufacture enough doses to immunize 40 million people. Experts believe we could have wide-spread vaccine availability by early Spring.

Botetourt Chamber of Commerce:
It was a pleasure to join the Botetourt Chamber of Commerce on a video-call this past week to hear first-hand from small business owners and to answer questions regarding negotiations on future COVID-19 relief legislation. As of right now, Majority Leader McConnell has said that Congress should pass a limited stimulus bill by the end of the year, especially after positive data on unemployment and encouraging news on a COVID vaccine. This limited plan is around $500 billion, but Speaker Pelosi says this package is inadequate and continues to push her $2.4 trillion plan to bail out poorly-run cities and states. But regardless of where things stand now, as I return to Washington, I will continue to advocate for targeted relief to individuals and businesses, as well as fight for liability protections to be included in any proposal. As our economy continues to reopen, the last thing our small business owners should be worried about is frivolous lawsuits.

Take Your Legislator to School Day:
Since taking office, it has been a priority of mine to meet with students across the Sixth District. 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. And this past week, I participated in the Virginia School Boards Association’s “Take Your Legislator to School Day” at James River High School in Botetourt. While there, l enjoyed chatting with government students and hearing about issues regarding the legislative process and college affordability. I look forward to meeting with more students in the new year and continuing to foster the value of public service.

Your Opinion Matters:
This weekly e-newsletter regularly provides updates on my work both in Washington and from across the Sixth District. However, as your representative, hearing from you is equally important to me. As the House returns to Washington this week, it faces some tough questions in its remaining legislative days. I value your opinion and want to hear from you about which issues you believe the House should focus on in the next two months. Take the survey below and let me know.

Honoring our Nation’s Veterans:
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns of World War I finally fell silent, and the armistice with Germany went into effect. Out of the ashes of this day rose what was originally called Armistice Day, but since 1954 has been recognized and set aside as Veterans Day. This past week, as we celebrated Veterans Day, we recognized those who have served this country in both war and peace, and as a Nation, we extended our gratitude to all our Veterans who put their lives on the line to protect freedom at home and around the world.

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – November 9, 2020

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Representing the citizens of the Sixth District in the House has been the greatest honor of my life, and I am pleased to have the privilege of continuing to serve as your Congressman. Know that as the116th Congress comes to a close, I will remain an advocate for the citizens of our District. And as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, I am committed to providing Sixth District residents with the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus and believe you may find the resources listed below useful. Finally, as Veterans Day approaches, we honor all who served our Nation in uniform and the families who stand beside them.

Humbled and Honored:
I am incredibly humbled by the opportunity to continue serving on behalf of Sixth District residents in the 117th Congress. I take this responsibility seriously and look forward to once again fighting for the values we hold dear. Since being sworn in, I have advocated fiscal responsibility, stood for life, defended our Second Amendment, fought for farmers, attempted to repair our crumbling infrastructure, and supported our veterans and first responders. I remain a champion for conservative principles and always prioritize assisting residents across the District who need help dealing with the Federal government. Since January 2019, my dedicated staff and I have worked to close nearly 2,767 cases and fought to ensure constituents receive the benefits to which they are entitled. 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.

IRS Updates:
The IRS has designated this coming Tuesday, November 10, as National Economic Impact Payment Registration Day. This is part of the agency’s final push to encourage everyone who does not normally file a tax return to register to receive an Emergency Relief Check. If you are a non-filer and have yet to receive your check, click here to submit your information before the November 21 deadline.

Please be aware, the IRS is warning of a new text scam created by thieves that trick people into disclosing bank account information under the guise of receiving a $1200 Emergency Relief Check. Please know, the IRS will never request such information via text. To learn more, click here.

COVID-19 Resources:
Over the past several months I have strived to provide constituents with the most up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus and will continue to do so as our Nation navigates this pandemic. Below please find information and resources from across the Federal government that I believe you might find useful.

USDA: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 Application
IRS: Non-Filers Tool (Emergency Relief Check)
CDC: Mental Heath and Coping During COVID-19
HHS: Explaining Operation Warp Speed

(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand) Data as of October 9, 2020

Veterans and Military Families Month:
Knowing things at home are taken care of is vital to those serving our Nation. This month we honor and recognize these unsung heroes and their sacrifices as we celebrate National Veterans and Military Families Month. In the President’s proclamation in officially declaring this month as such, he said, “Our Nation’s service members — past and present — and their families represent the very best of America. Motivated by patriotism and love of country, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Space Warfighters serve at home and abroad with professionalism, ingenuity, integrity, and devotion. Their families always stand beside them in their missions and as they transition to civilian life. During National Veterans and Military Families Month, we celebrate the loved ones of our country’s men and women in uniform and recognize the sacrifices they have made in support of our Nation’s heroes.”

Veterans History Project:
The Veterans History Project, which was created by Congress in 2000 and is facilitated by the Library of Congress, collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American veterans so that future generations may hear directly from service members and better understand the realities of war. This week the project is celebrating its 20th anniversary and will be hosting a number of performances and panel discussions to mark the occasion. For a complete schedule of events and to stream them live, please visit the Veterans History Project Facebook page here. If you or someone you know may want to participate in a Veterans History Project of your own, my district offices are standing by to help.

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – November 1, 2020

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As I crisscross the Sixth District, I am fortunate to have the privilege of meeting constituents from every walk of life and from every corner of our District. This interaction truly enables me to understand the concerns of area residents and to better represent their views. For example, just this week I visited a nonprofit in Buchanan to hear about how our communities and government can best support veterans when they return to civilian life. I was also at the grand opening of a technical institute in Roanoke, which reaffirmed to me the importance of investing in vocational education to adapt to 21st century needs. I always enjoy traveling the District and attending events like this because it gives me a greater perspective of how I can best serve the citizenry.

Also this past week, the Supreme Court was fortunate enough to welcome its newest Associate Justice, Amy Coney Barrett. As we look toward the week ahead, please be sure to find Election Day resources below, as well as educational opportunities for servicemembers as we begin Veteran Small Business Week.

New Freedom Farm:

Founded in 2016, New Freedom Farm in Buchanan, Virginia is a non-profit community that aids veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Through animal therapy, farming, and peer-to-peer support, this tremendous organization strives to empower veterans and help them heal through the realization of their own efforts and contributions. New Freedom Farm helps our servicemembers reintegrate into civilian life by fostering physical, emotional, and spiritual health. In late-September, I recognized this fantastic organization on the House Floor, and this week, I was thrilled to tour the facility to see their inspirational work firsthand. I applaud the organization’s founder, Lois Dawn Fritz, and the entire team at New Freedom Farm for their passion and commitment to serving those who served our Nation.


Build Smart Institute:
In order to adapt to changing 21st century needs, we must invest in technical and vocational education. That is why I was so pleased to join officials in Roanoke for the grand opening of Build Smart Institute. This institute is working to fill the economic development gap in the construction industry by providing the necessary hands-on and classroom training to students and adults interested in the field. Build Smart Institute’s multifunctional approach provides a clear path to a successful career in construction to folks who participate in the programs. I am excited by the opportunities this institution will provide to residents in the Roanoke Valley.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett:
On Monday night, Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed as the newest member of the Supreme Court. Watching her be sworn in by Justice Thomas on the South Lawn of the White House was a powerful image. It showed all Americans, like my young daughters who were watching beside me, that regardless of your race, religion, or sex, anything is possible in this country. I am ecstatic that a principled, female conservative now sits on the High Court and know that the judicial philosophy which has guided her decision making throughout her career will result in rulings that defend the core principles and values embodied in the Constitution. I wish Justice Barrett the best of luck in this new endeavor.



Election Day Resources:
Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 3, and the polls will be open from 6am to 7pm across the Commonwealth. With potential changes because of COVID-19, please be sure you know where your polling location is by clicking here. To check on your voter registration status, you can click here. For all other questions regarding Election Day and voting, visit the Virginia Department of Elections’ website here.


Veterans Small Business Week:
Tomorrow, November 2, marks the beginning of the seventh annual National Veterans Small Business Week. Sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), this week is dedicated to celebrating, connecting, and empowering servicemembers, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses. According to the SBA, this year’s theme is ‘Resources in Your Local Community,’ which highlights the breadth of free to low-cost entrepreneurial resources that veteran and military entrepreneurs can access right in their neighborhood – from seeking business counseling services from a local SCORE chapter, to visiting the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) in their area for help formulating a business plan. To learn more and to sign up for virtual events, click here.

Stimulus Package Update:
As Election Day approaches, the White House and Speaker Pelosi were unable to reach an agreement on an additional COVID-19 relief package this week. In the spirit of negotiation, the White House upped their proposed offer to $1.9 trillion, while Speaker Pelosi refused to budge on the Democrats’ $2.4 trillion bill. At this point, it is clear that the Speaker is not negotiating in good faith. She is intentionally stalling negotiations as a political ploy to benefit her caucus and is simply trying to run out the clock on a deal hoping the next Congress will pass her original $3.4 trillion package to bail out poorly run cities. Her actions have left countless struggling individuals and small businesses without much needed help.


COVID-19 Update:

Over the past several months I have strived to provide constituents with the most up to date information regarding the coronavirus and will continue to do so as our Nation navigates this pandemic. Below please find information and resources from across the Federal government that I believe you might find useful.

The Latest on Operation Warp Speed

Coronavirus Fact Vs Fiction

COVID-19 Rumor Control

COVID-19 National Response Team

(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand) Data as of October 9, 2020

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 25, 2020

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This week I had the privilege of chatting virtually with Sixth District residents like the Lucas Family of Roanoke to discuss their small business, as well as enjoyed in-person events in the Lynchburg area to cut the ribbon on the Blackwater Creek Trail Expansion and honor the Civil Air Patrol. Further, I was pleased to see Judge Amy Coney Barrett advance favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was also thankful that the President signed into law two bills aimed at addressing mental health issues of both veterans and civilians. And finally, while there is not yet a consensus on an additional COVID-19 relief package, please know that I will keep you apprised should there be any developments. I have used the October District Work Period to stay in touch with folks here at home, and I look forward to continuing to travel the District discussing the issues that matter most to the citizens.

Supporting Local Pharmacies:
I had the opportunity to hear from Kayla Lucas, a pharmacy student, and her parents who own DownHome Pharmacy in Roanoke this week. We discussed Rutledge v. PCMA, a case recently heard by the Supreme Court, as well as other issues affecting their industry. The Lucas family explained that over the years they have seen reimbursements for prescriptions continuously drop, which has put a strain on local pharmacies all over the country. Ensuring transparency and patient access, while also ensuring that pharmacies, especially our local pharmacies, have easier access to the marketplace should be a priority. That is why last year I wrote to Secretary Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services to address this issue by expressing my strong support of provisions in the agency’s proposed rule, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses, which would reform the use of pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees, or pharmacy price concessions, in the Medicare Part D program.

Blackwater Creek Trail Expansion:
It was an honor to be in Lynchburg this week to celebrate the renovation of the Langhorne Road Bridge and the extension of the Blackwater Creek Trail. As one of the most popular trails in Hill City, this extension adds to the many recreational opportunities that are available to the community and the surrounding region. I am pleased that this project was made possible with federal funding from the transportation alternatives set-aside which is part of the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program. This program allows communities across the country to invest locally in a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects, and I firmly believe that state and local leaders are best equipped to prioritize our Nation’s transportation needs. This event was another shining example of that. Long-term projects like this are only made possible when localities have a clear picture of future funding, which is why I will continue to be a vocal advocate for a bipartisan surface transportation bill that makes improvements to our country’s crumbling infrastructure.

Civil Air Patrol:
World War II was one of our Nation’s bloodiest conflicts, and for nearly four years Americans fought courageously around the world to secure peace and freedom for all. We thank those who served in the Armed Forces, but as President Roosevelt said, civilian efforts at home to support the War through personal sacrifice was as critical to winning the war as the efforts of the soldiers themselves. One such group of civilian unsung heroes were the 200,000 Americans who served in the Civil Air Patrol during the War. The Civil Air Patrol was critical to the defense of our homeland and partook in coastal patrol operations, convoy escorts, emergency transportation of military personnel, search and rescue missions, and nationwide emergency communications. For their efforts during the War, Congress awarded the Civil Air Patrol as a whole the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014, which any member who served during WWII is entitled to receive. And this week, it was my distinct honor to present this Medal to Mr. George “Rusty” Nichols of Madison Heights who volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol in 1944 at the age of 14. We thank him and all who selflessly served during a critical time of need for the Nation.

Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett:
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved advancing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Senate Floor this coming week. I am sorry that Senate Judiciary Democrats chose not to show up to participate in the confirmation vote. Considering her qualifications, her judicial philosophy of being a Constitutionalist, and her earning a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, I am confident that the Senate will confirm this exceptional jurist to the Supreme Court.

Promoting Mental Health:
Recently, the President signed into law two pieces of legislation aimed at addressing mental health issues. The first of the two bills is the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which addresses Veteran suicide by providing essential support to community-based organizations, expanding access to new therapies for behavioral health, increasing support for those with other than honorable discharges, and funding additional suicide prevention coordinators. Further, the President signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. Mental health advocates say 9-8-8, a simple three-digit number, will be easier for people to remember in the midst of a mental health emergency. Please note that the 9-8-8 number will not be operational until 2022. At this time, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Both pieces of legislation have the potential to save countless lives, and I was proud to support them on the House Floor.

COVID-19 Update:
People are hurting yet Speaker Pelosi chooses big cities and special interests over those most in need. Instead of seeking targeted relief to families and small businesses, the Speaker is trying to run out the clock hoping she can get the full $3.4 trillion passed by the House in the next Congress. While no deal on an additional COVID-19 relief bill was reached this week, the Administration continues its whole of government approach to address the coronavirus pandemic. Below please find just a few of the many examples of how the Federal government has provided direct relief to the Commonwealth of Virginia. For additional examples, view last week’s Sixth District Perspectives here.

• The President approved Virginia’s major disaster declaration on April 2, 2020, and National Guard funding requests on April 7, 2020, providing additional Federal resources to supplement State response efforts.

• The Federal government has and continues to coordinate the surge of resources to Virginia Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes – to supplement private sector supplies, the federal government is coordinating the provision of point-of-care COVID-19 testing to 235 Virginia Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes.

• Coordinated donation of 493 cases (40 vials per case) of Remdesivir, and 365 cases of commercially available Remdesivir, to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Virginia.

• The Commonwealth of Virginia and eligible local governments received over $3.3 B from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help address unforeseen financial needs created by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Tribal governments received over $18.9 M in CRF funding.

• The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made over $179.9 M in COVID-19 funding available to Virginia grantees to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens via CARES Act authorizations.

• The U.S. Department of Education provided $312.1 M to support post-secondary education students and institutions of higher education in Virginia, authorized $66.8 M for the State from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, and $238.6 M to ensure learning continues for all elementary and secondary students.

• The U.S. Department of Transportation allocated more than $456.4 M to help the Virginia public transportation systems and $318.5 M to help Virginia airports.

(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand) Data as of October 9, 2020

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 18, 2020

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It was another beautiful fall week here in Virginia’s Sixth District. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with constituents across the region both in person like at Sweet Briar College and virtually. This week we also saw some excitement out of Washington as the Senate Judiciary Committee began the confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Further, while negotiations for another coronavirus aid package between the White House and Speaker continue, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the significant relief this Administration has provided to the people of the Commonwealth. And finally, as the deadline for nomination applications to the U.S. Service Academies approaches, be sure to find more information below if you or someone you know is interested in applying. As the House continues its District Work Period, I look forward to another week of meeting folks across the District.

Expansion at Sweet Briar:
It was a pleasure to join President Woo and other Sweet Briar College faculty to tour the school’s new state-of-the-art health clinic this week. In partnership with Centra Health and Horizon Behavioral Health, this facility will enable the college to expand COVID-19 testing and other wellness activities on campus. The clinic is part of Sweet Briar’s commitment to keeping its campus safe at this challenging time. The college currently has no active COVID-19 cases among students, faculty, or staff members, and have mindfully managed the few cases that have occurred since the onset of classes seven weeks ago. Sweet Briar has taken to heart public health recommendations and developed protocols to navigate the pandemic, including individual behaviors and institutional operations. SBC should serve as a shining example to other institutions of higher education as to how to safely reopen.

Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett:
This week the Senate Judiciary Committee began to hold confirmation hearings on the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Based on her record and testimony thus far in front of the committee, I am confident that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will make a tremendous Supreme Court Justice. Her experience serving on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals shows that she is a true Constitutionalist who understands that a Justice is meant to interpret the laws, not make them. Because Judge Barrett is an outstanding jurist who is eminently qualified to be on the Supreme Court, Democrats have instead decided to attack her faith and are pushing the falsehood that she will strip healthcare away from the American people. This is despite the fact that the American Bar Association – an organization repeatedly called the “gold standard” by Senator Schumer – has deemed Judge Barrett “well qualified”. Even commentators on CNN said that if this were a different time and Judge Barrett was appointed by a different President, she would be confirmed with 70+ votes because of her credentials. It is time Democrats stop playing politics with this confirmation process and consider Judge Barrett’s merits when voting on her nomination.

COVID-19 Update:
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, government at every level has been working vigorously to provide individuals, businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities with the resources they need to navigate these trying times. Aside from the five pieces of coronavirus relief legislation already signed into law, this Administration has also been dedicated to providing aid directly to the states. Below please find just a few of the many examples of how the federal government has provided direct relief to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

• This year, over 2.9 M N-95 masks, 25.7 M surgical & procedural masks, 1.1 M eye and face shields, 8.1 M isolation & surgical gowns, and 630.8 M medical gloves have been shipped to Virginia through the private sector, State, and Federal collaboration.

• The Federal government has directly supported 35 community-based testing sites in Virginia and will be providing 295,000 swabs to support state testing needs in the month of October. Through October 7, the Federal government has provided 1,527,980 swabs.

• On September 28th, President Trump announced the Administration will send 100 million BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests to States free of charge. 2,570,000 BinaxNOW tests have been allocated for distribution to Virginia with 363,200 tests delivered to date.

• Medical facilities and providers in the Commonwealth of Virginia have received over $3 B in COVID19 related allocations from HHS. This includes more than $2.5 B from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and ensures uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.

• In Virginia, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued over $12.5 B in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to 114,570 small businesses as well as $3.8 B in Economic Injury Disaster Loans to 71,437 small businesses. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made 3.9 M Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $6.6 B to hardworking taxpayers of Virginia.

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided Virginia agriculture producers with $97 M in financial assistance for price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.
(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand)
Data as of October 9, 2020

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. Those interested in a nomination must have their application postmarked by October 23. For more information and to find the required application packet, please click here.

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans:
In June 2019, the president signed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, of which I was a proud cosponsor. For decades, tens of thousands of veterans suffering from diseases caused by Agent Orange in the Vietnam War and their families had been denied their earned benefits under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. However, the provisions in this new law ensure veterans who served in specified offshore areas near Vietnam from January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, are now given the presumption of Agent Orange exposure, thus allowing them to receive medical care and disability compensation. Since becoming law, the National Archives and Records Administration and the Veterans Affairs Administration have digitized more than 1,800 vessels’ deck logs, which are critical in determining qualifying ship locations in accordance with the law. Since January, the VA has approved 22,524 claims of sailors exposed to Agent Orange and have identified at least 420,000 others who may qualify. If you were in the Navy or Coast Guard serving off the shores of Vietnam during the war, please click here to file a claim or to learn about your eligibility to do so.

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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

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Upcoming Events

Dec
5
Sat
all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Dec 5 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]
7:00 am 64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
Dec 5 @ 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
64th Annual Pancake Day @ Warren County High School
The Kiwanis Club of Front Royal is celebrating its 75 anniversary this year and are committed to holding the annual Pancake Day fundraising event. This event raises significant funds which are put back directly into[...]
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 5 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
7:00 pm Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
Dec 5 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Rotary Club Cash Fair @ Online Event
It’s that time of year for Rotary Club of Front Royal’s annual Cash Fair, and we are going virtual this year due to COVID. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and[...]
Dec
6
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 6 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 6 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
Dec
13
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 13 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 13 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
Dec
19
Sat
11:00 am Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 19 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Holiday House Tours @ Sky Meadows State Park
Enjoy special tours of our Historic Mount Bleak house during this festive season. Visit each of the rooms in this stone manor and discover how the people who called Sky Meadows “home” celebrated the holidays[...]
Dec
20
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 20 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]