On July 25, 2021, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) appeared on Fox News Sunday with Martha MacCallum to discuss the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and America’s critical infrastructure needs.
On having a bipartisan infrastructure bill come Monday:
“Martha, I believe we will because the one thing I hear all across Virginia the last couple of days, people want us to invest in our infrastructure. If you step back, you know, we have in — we are investing at about half the rate that we invested in our infrastructure as we did in the 1990s. As a matter of fact, infrastructure became, as you know, a joke line during the last of administration.
They kept promising they were going to do infrastructure. It never came to pass. A group of us, ten of us, five Democrats, five Republicans, have been working on this for the last couple of months.
This is the same group who actually put together the last COVID-19 deal under President Trump, so we know each other, we trust each other. I think you’re going to see whether it’s $100 billion-plus for roads and bridges, whether it’s close to $50 billion for resiliency those coasts for having sea level rise, whether it’s making the kind of investments in cleaner buses. For example, our country is going to buy 20,000 new school buses over the next couple of years. Should those buses be made in China are made in America? I think they ought to be made in America, and there’s a host of new things around making our grades smarter.
Broadband, I think we’ve got a menu of options, and candidly, we’ve had those menus of spending items agreed to for weeks. We have had to work through because my Republican colleagues did not want to use enhanced or actually make sure we follow our IRS tax laws, so we had to replace some of those pay fors. We’re down to the last couple of items, and I think you’re going to see a bill Monday afternoon.”
On voting on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and budget reconciliation before August recess:
“I sure want to, and by the way, I mean, there’s a little bit of workmanship going on here. There were a half-dozen times when Mitch McConnell was the leader of the senate where he would put up what’s called a shell bill because you’re not finished with the details. Then you substitute the actual text once you get into the negotiations because there will be amendments on this infrastructure bill. But, still, we will have that text; it will be out there tomorrow.
After we’re done with the bipartisan bill, I would love to have some of my Republican friends join on the reconciliation left for it, the larger effort that looks at things like universal preschool, that looks at things like free community college, that looks at things like a broad-based tax cut for every family that has a child in terms of the child tax credit. I would hope some Republicans would join us on that, but if not, I think the group of 50 Democrats have to work through that resolution as well.”
Video of Sen. Warner’s interview on Fox News Sunday can be found here. A transcript follows.
Fox News Sunday
MARTHA MACCALLUM: So you said you thought there would be an infrastructure bill that could be looked at on Monday and that you all were working through the weekend. Will you have that bill in place for everybody to look at come tomorrow?
SEN MARK WARNER: Martha, I believe we will because the one thing I hear all across Virginia the last couple of days, people want us to invest in our infrastructure. If you step back, you know, we have in — we are investing at about half the rate that we invested in our infrastructure as we did in the 1990s. As a matter of fact, infrastructure became, as you know, a joke line during the last of administration. They kept promising they were going to do infrastructure. It never came to pass. A group of us, ten of us, five Democrats, five Republicans, have been working on this for the last couple of months. This is the same group who actually put together the last COVID-19 deal under President Trump, so we know each other, we trust each other. I think you’re going to see whether it’s $100 billion-plus for roads and bridges, whether it’s close to $50 billion for resiliency those coasts for having sea level rise, whether it’s making the kind of investments in cleaner buses. For example, our country is going to buy 20,000 new school buses over the next couple of years. Should those buses be made in china are made in America? I think they ought to be made in America, and there’s a host of new things around making our grades smarter. Broadband, I think we’ve got a menu of options, and candidly, we’ve had those menus of spending items agreed to for weeks. We have had to work through because my Republican colleagues did not want to use enhanced or actually make sure we follow our IRS tax laws, so we had to replace some of those pay fors. We’re down to the last couple of items, and I think you’re going to see a bill Monday afternoon.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: I know there was that dispute over whether the IRS part of that deal would go through. Would you want to see $800 billion in unspent COVID-19 funds? Is that going to happen?
SEN MARK WARNER: Well, the interesting thing, Martha, is everybody was for some of these unspent COVID-19 funds that came from the 2020 legislation. Again, most of that legislation passed under President Trump, everybody is for scraping most dollars until you go back and look at the actual programs. For example, hospital relief. For example, some of the programs for small businesses. We have agreed jointly on roughly $70 billion of funds that were not already spent that will be redeployed to help pay for this infrastructure package.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: What do you say to the criticism?
SEN MARK WARNER: The challenge, Martha, is that you’ve got folks who want to make big, bold statements but sometimes don’t want to roll up their sleeves; get into the details and make the very hard choices about where we find these pay fors.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: You heard Senator Scott and others say they didn’t have a bill to vote on last week, and this is what Senator Schumer said about his intention and his timeline.
“I have every intention of passing both major infrastructure packages, the bipartisan infrastructure framework, and budget resolution with reconciliation instructions before we leave for the August recess. That’s the schedule we laid out at the end of June, and that’s the schedule I intend to stick to.”
I mean, that’s very ambitious. Democrats hold the House, the Senate, and the White House. Can you get those two things done by this August recess, senator?
SEN MARK WARNER: I sure want to, and by the way, I mean, there’s a little bit of workmanship going on here. There was a half-dozen times when Mitch McConnell was the leader of the senate where he would put up what’s called a shell bill because you’re not finished with the details. Then you substitute the actual text once you get into the negotiations because there will be amendments on this infrastructure bill. But, still, we will have that text; it will be out there tomorrow. After we’re done with the bipartisan bill, I would love to have some of my Republican friends join on the reconciliation left for it, the larger effort that looks at things like universal preschool, that looks at things like free community college, that looks at things like a broad-based tax cut for every family that has a child in terms of the child tax credit. I would hope some Republicans would join us on that, but if not, I think the group of 50 Democrats have to work through that resolution as well.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: Well, Senator, there’s a lot of concern about the inflation that we see rising in the country, and Senator Graham spoke to this just the other day. Let’s watch that.
“There’s a mandate in this bill to require every employer to offer paid family leave. That sounds good, I guess, on its face, until the employer has to come up with the cash to meet the mandate in this bill. Guess what the employer is going to do? They are going to increase their prices because the government has increased their cost. And over time, as we increase taxes in this bill, which they will have to do, there’s less money to do things that businesses need to do, like modernizing and hiring people. So this is a nightmare for American business. It’s going to be a nightmare for American consumers if this reconciliation bill passes.”
So he’s talking about driving up the costs for American businesses across this country and what the impact might be on consumers. Do you share those concerns about this in the three-and-a-half trillion dollar bill?
SEN MARK WARNER: Like many of the folks I work with within the senate, I spent 30 years in business. I was involved in the telecommunications industry, started a very large company. I can actually read a balance sheet, which is something that some of my colleagues can’t. The amazing thing that Lindsay just mentioned is there is every industrial country in the world, with the exception of the United States, providing some level of paid leave if somebody is having a baby or has got a death in the family. Other countries have managed to do that, and their economies are still moving forward. As a matter of fact, if there are inflationary pressures, it is because we put $5 trillion into the economy, three and a half trillion of that under President Trump, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. I think history will actually treat that — those investments — as appropriate because we are seeing our economy rebounds. We’ve added three million jobs in the last five months, and, Martha, I just got to tell you, as somebody who spent longer in business than I have in politics, if we don’t invest in road, rail, water, and sewer systems, broadband, those infrastructure investments will actually help us grow the economy, virtually every economist from left to right agreed on that.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: As somebody who spent 30 years in business, as you say, what about the bottom line? What about these trillions and trillions of dollars that have been spent since COVID-19? The fear is that all of this money that you talk about that’s being thrown at this problem is going to ignite inflation that will not just be transitory, that will be long-lasting, and I don’t think Americans have a long memory for what that actually feels like companies and individuals. Are you concerned about that as you seek to push through this $3.5 trillion deal?
SEN MARK WARNER: Well, again, am I concerned about inflation? I’m always concerned about inflation, but I also believe the federal reserve has pointed out that they think this is short-term in nature. We’ve already seen things like the cost of lumber, which went sky high, start to come down. We’ve already seen a little bit of relaxing in the used car market. One of the problems around our car market is that it would not have available semiconductor chips. We need to make investments there to keep up with China, and when you talk about some of these numbers, 3.5 trillion, big, big number, but that is spent out over ten years, so that’s not —
MARTHA MACCALLUM: It is still a big, big number.
SEN MARK WARNER: Right, but —
MARTHA MACCALLUM: It’s unprecedented.
SEN MARK WARNER: Nothing near to the 5 trillion we spent in the last year under both Trump and Biden.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: All right. Just in general, as a Democrat, when you look at this period of time with control over the White House, the House, and the Senate, are you disappointed with what you’ve been able to get done so far?
SEN MARK WARNER: Well, I actually think the American Rescue Plan ended up providing, for example, a middle-class tax cut for every family that makes less than $150,000 that got children with the child tax credit, I think, makes sense. I think state and local government sure those up who lost revenues during COVID-19 make sense and I was a telegram guy. We are going to make sure every household in Virginia has high-speed broadband 2024. that would only happen because of the American Rescue Plan. I frankly think, and I would hope, every state would do that same kind of plan because if you don’t have broadband going forward, your chances for any kind of economic future is not going to be bright buried.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: Before I let you go, do you think the President should move to get behind the idea of eliminating the filibuster in order to get some of these things through while this window is still open?
SEN MARK WARNER: I don’t want the Senate to become like the House. Still, I do believe when it comes to voting rights when it comes to that basic right to exercise and participate in democracy, I get very worried about what’s happening in some of these states where they are actually penalizing, saying if you give somebody water waiting in line to vote, or in states like Texas where they are seeing a local government can overcome the results of a local election, that is not democracy. If we have to do a small carve-out on filibuster for voting rights, that is the only area where I would allow that kind of reform.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: Do you don’t think that’s a slippery slope?
SEN MARK WARNER: Listen, I would wish we wouldn’t even have started this a decade ago. When the democratic leaders actually changed the rules, I don’t think we have the Supreme Court we did if we still had a 60 vote margin on the filibuster, but we are where we are in the idea that somehow to protect the rights of the minority in the senate were going to cut out rights of minorities and young people all across the country, that’s just not right to me.
MARTHA MACCALLUM: Senator Warner thank you, good to have you here today.
Cracking Down on Espionage: Rep. Cline’s New Bill Targets Visa Loopholes
The Protecting America from Spies Act Seeks to Fortify U.S. Borders Against Foreign Espionage.
In a bold move to safeguard national security, Congressman Ben Cline introduced legislation aimed at tightening the reins on espionage activities by foreign actors. The proposed “Protecting America from Spies Act” sets forth measures to empower the Department of State with the authority to deny visas to individuals suspected of engaging in espionage or intellectual property theft against the United States.
Targeting Espionage at the Immigration Level
According to Rep. Cline, the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to permeate American society, pilfer intellectual property, and uncover state secrets present a clear and present danger to the nation’s security. This bill, mirroring Senator Ted Cruz’s Senate version, proposes to close loopholes that currently allow expelled spies, particularly those associated with the Chinese Communist Party, to reapply for U.S. visas with little delay.
This legislative action comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s closure of China’s Houston consulate in 2020, following evidence of espionage and theft of intellectual property. The Protecting America from Spies Act seeks to amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to ensure that anyone attempting espionage or technology transfer is barred from visa eligibility.
The Path Ahead for Immigration and National Security
If enacted, this bill could signify a major step in overhauling immigration policies with a sharp focus on national security concerns. Rep. Cline believes the country can make significant headway in combating foreign espionage activities by preventing the entry of those who seek to undermine U.S. interests.
As the proposed bill gains traction in Congress, it draws attention to the persistent challenge of intellectual property theft—a problem with vast economic and security implications. The bill is anticipated to prompt a broader discussion on immigration reform and national security strategies in the digital age.
Your Voice Matters: Meet Ben Cline’s Team in Front Royal
Address Your Concerns with Federal Agencies on November 14th.
Congressional representation goes beyond casting votes and debating policies; it’s about genuinely understanding the challenges and aspirations of the people who put their faith in a representative. Congressman Ben Cline knows this and is actively making efforts to be accessible.
For residents of the district who’ve found themselves entangled in bureaucratic complications with federal agencies like the Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Internal Revenue Service, relief might be a few days away. Cline’s office is bringing its “Mobile Office Hours” to Front Royal to hear and address constituents’ issues directly.
Whether you’re a veteran navigating the intricacies of the VA, a retiree with Social Security inquiries, or a taxpayer with IRS questions, you’re encouraged to meet and chat with a dedicated member of Congressman Cline’s team. It’s a personalized approach to governance designed to cut through the red tape and bridge the distance between policy-making corridors in Washington, D.C., and the daily lives of ordinary citizens.
The upcoming session will occur on November 14th, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Interested attendees should visit the Baxter-Bowling Conference Room at Samuels Public Library at 330 East Criser Road in Front Royal, VA. It’s an opportunity to seek resolutions and make your voice heard, offering insights that could potentially inform future legislative decisions.
Congressman Cline extends his hope that many will take advantage of this opportunity, reinforcing his commitment to an interactive and dynamic form of representation. Remember, democracy works best when its stakeholders – all of us – actively participate.
Warner and Kaine Announce Over $71 Million to ‘Rapp’ Electric Co-op & Dominion Power to Improve Electric Grid Resiliency Across Virginia
WASHINGTON – Today (Oct. 19), U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $71,816,110 in federal funding to reduce power outages, enable more clean energy sources to reach the electric grid, and provide consumers with cost-saving insights into their power use. The funding, made possible by the bipartisan infrastructure law, which both senators helped pass, was awarded through the Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program.
“Communities across Virginia need access to consistent, affordable power – especially as we face increasing threats of severe weather and surging demand on our electric grid,” said the senators. “We’re glad to see federal money headed straight to Virginia to make sure we limit power outages, utilize more clean energy, and help folks save money on their power bills.”
The funding is distributed as follows:
- $38,162,015 for the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative for the Enabling EV and DER Adoption through DERMS, AMI, and Fiber Integration Project. This funding will deploy a distributed energy resources management system, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), and a fiber utility network. AMI allows consumers to access cost-saving plans that offer different electricity prices throughout the day. This project will also support the expansion of clean energy within the Rappahannock Tribal Designated Area and lay the fiber network necessary to transmit vast amounts of grid data.
- $33,654,095 for Dominion Energy for the Analytics and Control for Driving Capital Efficiency Project. This funding will expand grid management capabilities to integrate $70 million of clean energy and eliminate approximately 500 outages per year. Additionally, funding will improve grid planning by collecting real-time electrical grid data, increase network capacity to accommodate rising electric use, and work alongside academic institutions to invest in the clean energy jobs pipeline.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve resiliency and invest in clean energy across the Commonwealth. In addition to the GRIP program, the bipartisan infrastructure law provided $47 billion for climate resilience measures to help communities address the impacts of severe weather and $7.5 billion to expand electric vehicle charging stations across the country. Sens. Warner and Kaine also supported the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), landmark legislation that will reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. In August, Sen. Warner broke ground on the largest-ever clean energy project at a U.S. airport alongside Dominion Energy, which will power 37,000 homes and businesses in Northern Virginia. In April, Kaine hosted an event with the U.S. Department of Energy in Big Stone Gap to discuss clean energy tax credits, economic development, and job creation in the IRA. Additionally, Sens. Warner and Kaine have advocated and secured hundreds of millions in federal funding for initiatives that reduce utility costs for Virginians, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
(From a release by the Office of Sen. Mark Warner)
Virginia’s Small Businesses Brace for Impending Shutdown
Senators Warner & Kaine Sound the Alarm on Funding Delays and Business Impact.
As the clock ticks down with only a day left to the government funding deadline, Virginia’s small business sector stands on the edge, looking at a precarious future. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine have voiced their concern, emphasizing the potential derailment of businesses in Virginia if the government fails to reach a consensus on its budget.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and economy, and many of these businesses rely on support from the Small Business Administration to operate. Every day the government is shut down, critical access to capital provided by the Small Business Administration will be delayed, forcing Virginia small businesses that rely on this funding to make tough decisions about how they’re going to continue to stay open. The only reason we’re in this position is because of a small but loud group of members in the House who are refusing to fund the government if they don’t get everything they want. We remain committed to working in a bipartisan way to fund the government as quickly as possible.”
The primary concern remains the inability of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to greenlight new loans or alter existing ones through their 7(a) and 504 programs during a shutdown. Breaking down the numbers reveals the gravity of the situation: an estimated financing delay of $2,122,200 daily for Virginia’s small businesses.
This year, the positive momentum was evident as the SBA approved 955 loans, amassing a value of over $488 million, propelling Virginia businesses through their 7(a) program. But this momentum is at risk of being stalled.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices Survey underscores the sentiments of the business owners. A staggering 91% believe it’s paramount for the federal government to circumvent a shutdown. Moreover, 70% of these owners foresee a negative impact on their establishments if the shutdown ensues. Drilling further into the data, 93% anticipate revenue reduction, while 67% predict a drop in customer demand, attributing it to the ensuing economic uncertainty and instability.
While policy decisions and political wrangling continue, the real impact cascades down to the businesses and, by extension, the people of Virginia. As Senator Warner and Kaine reiterated, “We remain committed to working in a bipartisan way to fund the government as quickly as possible.” Time will tell if their efforts and the voices of the business community will resonate within the halls of Congress.
Virginia Airports to Receive Over $17.2 Million for Vital Upgrades
Investments Aim to Bolster Safety, Infrastructure, and Economic Potential.
Virginia’s skies are about to become safer and more efficient. Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine disclosed a significant grant of $17,259,239 aimed at enhancing several airports across the state.
This hearty financial injection comes courtesy of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s 2023 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Grant Program. An initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the AIP focuses on the crucial infrastructural elements of our airports. These range from primary aspects like runways and taxiways to the details of lighting, signage, and markings that ensure efficient and safe airport operations.
The latest allocation is a continuation of the ongoing support, with Virginia’s regional airports having benefited from an impressive $56,828,185 through the AIP just this year.
Speaking about this financial boost, the senators jointly expressed, “Our regional airports are pivotal for economic growth in our communities. We’re excited that these funds will enhance safety and reliability by upgrading infrastructure at various airports across the Commonwealth.”
Here’s a breakdown of the allocation:
- Winchester Regional Airport receives $4,875,000 to refresh its apron.
- Leesburg Executive Airport gets $4,018,500 for its apron rehabilitation, a project Senator Kaine highlighted in a recent visit.
- Danville Regional Airport is set to use $3,401,884 to revamp its apron.
- Manassas Regional Airport obtains $3,348,877 for taxiway reconstruction.
- Accomack County Airport in Melfa will use $951,500 to build a taxiway and manage obstructions in its airspace.
- Lee County Airport in Jonesville receives $600,748, focusing on navigation aids and runway upgrades.
- Finally, Mountain Empire Airport in Smyth County gets $62,730 for equipment housing repairs related to airfield lighting systems.
In addition to their most recent announcement, both Warner and Kaine have a history of staunchly backing Virginia’s airports. Just earlier this year, the senators heralded grants totaling over $50 million combined, aimed at amplifying airport safety and capacity. Kaine’s endeavors seek to remedy aviation workforce gaps, laying a roadmap for the education and nurturing of pilots, aviation maintenance staff, and aerospace manufacturing professionals.
In the grand tapestry of modern infrastructure, airports serve as pivotal nodes connecting communities and spurring economic growth. With this latest financial commitment, Virginia’s future in the aviation domain seems to be on an assured upward trajectory.
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – September 2, 2023
House Republicans have hit the ground running during the District Work Period, highlighting how the new House Republican Majority continues to deliver on our Commitment to America. We ensured our Veterans, our service members, and their families have the resources they deserve. Combatting illegal immigration and restoring America’s sovereignty is a central pillar of our Commitment, and the passage of the Secure the Border Act fulfills that promise. We’ve also held the Biden Administration and federal agencies, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), accountable to the American people and brought transparency back to how our country is governed. As your Representative, I’ll fight for your values and interests in Washington as Congress returns this fall and help protect the safety, security, and freedom for the people of the Sixth District.
Keeping Our Promise to Our Nation’s Veterans
Congress has a duty to fund the core functions of the federal government responsibly, providing for important programs that help take care of those who have taken care of us. At the top of the list are our Veterans, our service members, and their families. Our Nation’s heroes have sacrificed to give us the cherished freedoms that we have today, and we made a promise to ensure they have the support and resources they deserve.
House Republicans delivered on that promise recently by passing the Fiscal Year 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act — funding that is so important to those who selflessly serve to defend our freedom and protect our homeland. Rest assured, our Nation’s heroes will always have the unwavering support of their Representative in the Sixth District of Virginia. Read more in my op-ed in the Roanoke Times here.
Biden’s Border Crisis Rages On
President Biden and the Far Left’s open border policies have created the worst border crisis on record. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, there were 183,503 illegal border crossings in July, a 27% increase from June. Even more troubling, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now admitted that 40% of illegal migrants caught and released into our communities have disappeared, with no way to track them.
A secure Nation requires a secure border, which is why earlier this year, House Republicans passed the Secure The Border Act – the strongest border security legislation that Congress has ever considered. While President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have no plans to get this chaos under control or take any responsibility, we’re fighting to stop it.
Demanding Answers on CCP-Linked Money Going to NIH Employees
It’s no secret that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) remains one of the biggest threats to our country and will do whatever it takes to gain an advantage in its quest for world domination. According to a recent report, National Institutes of Health (NIH) employees – including Dr. Anthony Fauci – took $325 million in payments from companies directly linked to the CCP, posing a risk to our national security.
The American people deserve to know that their public health officials follow the science and make decisions based purely on objective information, not personal financial motives, which is why I joined my colleagues in demanding answers from the NIH on this concerning report. House Republicans will continue working to hold the Big Bureaucracy accountable and ensure our national security is protected from those who wish us harm. Read our letter here.
National Aviation Week
120 years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright took their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Decades later, in commemoration of National Aviation Week, we celebrate the many aviation trailblazers who paved the way and innovative businesses shaping today’s industry, such as Dynamic Aviation in the Sixth District, which have helped our Nation be the leader in aviation that it is today.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.