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Legislative Update

Senators introduce legislation to undo Trump-Era rulemaking concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

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On March 16, 2021, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and 26 of their Senate colleagues introduced the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2021 in an effort to undo Trump-era rulemaking and guidance that, if fully enacted, would destabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance market, weaken protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, and increase costs for millions of individuals with quality health plans. With nearly 30 million Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 – a disease disproportionately affecting minority populations – this legislation would ensure that health coverage for individuals living with preexisting conditions meets the ACA’s minimum quality and consumer protection standards.

“In the midst of an unprecedented health crisis caused by COVID-19, we should make it easier, not harder, for more Americans to get access to affordable health care coverage. Unfortunately, the Trump administration used every tool at their disposal to undermine the success of the Affordable Care Act, including flooding the health insurance market with plans that don’t offer protections for the 30 million Americans who’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19,” said Sen. Warner. “With millions of Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 – a disease that can cause long-term lingering effects and complications long after recovery – we hope to provide peace of mind for individuals searching for affordable health care coverage that meets their needs.”

“For the hundreds of millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions like arthritis, cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, or pregnancy, it is critical that health insurance fully protect them and cover essential health benefits. The Trump Administration’s 1332 Waiver Guidance was one of many, blatant examples of the previous administration’s lack of support in protecting those with pre-existing conditions,” said Sen. Cardin. “It is essential that Congress restore the 1332 Waiver Guidance to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions from being left with higher out-of-pocket costs for less services, now including tens of millions who have recovered from COVID-19.”

“The Trump administration’s dangerous efforts to undermine and unravel the Affordable Care Act – and in the middle of the greatest health crisis of our lifetime – is shameful. It also demands a robust response to mitigate the damage done and ensure every American has access to the quality, affordable care they deserve. That’s precisely what this legislation aims to do,” said Sen. Shaheen. “Our legislation would reverse President Trump’s rule that promoted “junk health plans” which exclude safeguards for those with pre-existing conditions. Millions of Americans and thousands of Granite Staters live with pre-existing conditions, and that is not including the many who’ve been afflicted with COVID-19 which very well may be considered a pre-existing condition in the future. We cannot – now or ever – allow Americans with pre-existing conditions to be denied the care and coverage they need and deserve. Health care is a right, not a privilege.”


“It’s time to turn the page after the Trump Administration spent years sabotaging our health care system and threatening guaranteed protections for people with pre-existing health conditions,” said Sen. Baldwin. “We need to protect and expand access to affordable health insurance. Anyone who says they support quality health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions should support this legislation. This is an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to join together and protect people’s access to health care when they need it most.”

Since the ACA was signed into law in 2010, congressional Republicans have constantly attempted to overturn it. Unsuccessful in their legislative effort, the Trump administration carried the baton in an effort to bypass the consumer protections available for Americans under the ACA.

Beginning in 2018, the Trump administration issued changes to the 1332 waiver guidance in its effort to sabotage Americans’ health care and undermine the critical preexisting condition protections that millions of Americans rely on. On January 14, 2021, on its way out the door, the Trump administration cemented its harmful October 2018 1332 wavier guidance – making it more difficult for future administrations to undo. Specifically, this rule gives states the green light to use taxpayer dollars to push “junk” health insurance plans that cost more and cover less. Under these plans, insurance companies can charge people more if they have a preexisting condition, can deny specific benefits – or can deny coverage altogether. In 2019, Sen. Warner led the entire Senate Democratic Caucus in introducing a resolution to force an up-or-down vote to reverse these harmful Section 1332 rule changes. Although Sen. Warner successfully forced a vote on this resolution, it was ultimately defeated by the Republican-led Senate.

The bill also boasts the support of numerous organizations, including the American Heart Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Alliance for Retired Americans, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Commonwealth Institute, March of Dimes, Hemophilia Federation of America, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Susan G. Komen, National Hemophilia Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Protect Our Care, Cancer Support Community, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Families USA, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Lung Association, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).

“The importance of ensuring individuals have access to high quality, comprehensive and affordable health insurance coverage cannot be overstated,” said Lisa Lacasse, President, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “COVID-19 has certainly shone a spotlight on the impact of not having access to care for millions of people. However, the need for health insurance is not only about the current pandemic. This bill takes a critical step to help ensure individuals have the coverage they need when they need it, helping to reduce cancer disparities and improve cancer outcomes.”

“People with bleeding disorders and other serious health conditions rely on comprehensive health care coverage and stable insurance markets. HFA is pleased to support this bill which would roll back harmful guidance and rules released over the past three years, restoring key guardrails around the section 1332 waiver process,” said Sonji Wilkes, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, Hemophilia Federation of America.

“The Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act would overturn dangerous CMS guidance that allows states to undermine critical protections for millions of Americans living with pre-existing conditions. Under the guidance issued in 2018, ‘state innovation waivers’ could allow for the sale of cheap, inadequate health insurance plans that can deny coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, charge them more for being sick or retroactively rescind coverage. We thank Senator Warner for championing the patient protections under the Affordable Care Act that are strengthening access to life-saving care, and we urge lawmakers to support this important legislation,” said Emily Holubowich, Vice President of Federal Advocacy, the American Heart Association.

“The Virginia Poverty Law Center thanks Senator Warner for filing the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2021. This legislation would reverse harmful actions taken by the previous administration and ensure that all consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act continue in states seeking certain waivers. All consumers, especially lower-income and vulnerable people with chronic health conditions, need and deserve these protections,” said Jill Hanken, Health Attorney, the Virginia Poverty Law Center.

“The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is proud to support the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2021. Access to quality, affordable health care coverage is critical to Americans with preexisting conditions like asthma and plays an important role in addressing health disparities. Inadequate health insurance coverage remains unequally distributed along racial and ethnic lines, contributing to inequity in health outcomes. We thank Senators Warner, Cardin, Shaheen, and Baldwin for ensuring continued protections for individuals with preexisting conditions,” said Kenneth Mendez, President & CEO, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“For more than a decade, cancer patients have relied on the vital protections provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recent regulations expanded and promoted access to subpar insurance products, including Association Health Plans and short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI), which have undercut important patient protections and may leave patients vulnerable. These regulations also permitted states to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize inadequate insurance, exposing patients and consumers to greater risk while simultaneously increasing premiums for those who rely on comprehensive coverage. This legislation is an important step in reining in subpar insurance and a critical component of ensuring patients have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance. We applaud Senator Warner for his leadership on this issue and look forward to working with Congress to protect the millions of Americans who live with a pre-existing condition,” said Gwen Nichols, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

In addition to Sens. Warner, Cardin, Shaheen, and Baldwin, the legislation is also cosponsored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Alex Padilla (D-CA).

A copy of the bill text can be found here. A copy of the bill summary can be found here.

The introduction of the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2021 comes on the heels of President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan into law, which includes key Warner health care priorities to expand access to affordable health care coverage for Americans during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The American Rescue Plan offers states additional incentives to expand their Medicaid programs to millions of more Americans. More than 4 million Americans are eligible for Medicaid under the federal expansion included in the ACA but live in states that have elected not to expand their Medicaid programs. The American Rescue Plan encourages states to expand their Medicaid programs by offering a two-year federal matching payment of 95 percent. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan also ensures that Americans have access to affordable health care coverage by extending premium assistance and capping health care costs at a maximum of 8.5 percent of household income. These provisions are similar to actions Sen. Warner called for in legislation he led this year – the SAME Act and Health Care Improvement Act.

Warner wraps up week with American Rescue Plan update: Relief is on the way

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Warner Weekly Wrap-Up: Build bridges, not walls

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Happy Friday from the Warner press office. Sen. Warner is traveling around the Commonwealth this weekend – this afternoon, he was briefed in Richmond about the December 2021 cyber-attack on the Virginia General Assembly and spoke with the press about his proposed policy solutions. Earlier in the week, the Senate voted on sanctions and continued to work on voting rights.

Sen. Warner also participated in nomination hearings for Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve nominee Lael Brainard, and Sandra Thompson, President Biden’s nominee to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). In his capacity as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner also chaired the nomination hearing of Kenneth L. Wainstein, the nominee to be Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, and celebrated some exciting infrastructure funding announcements.

All of this (and more) in your Warner Weekly Wrap-Up:

BRIDGE OVER (WELL-FUNDED) WATERS


The bipartisan infrastructure law continues to make it rain for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This morning, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched its Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program – an exciting initiative devoted to repairing bridges nationally. Virginia will receive $536.8 million from this program, making it the largest EVER investment in Virginia bridges.

The funding comes at a critical time – with 577 bridges across the Commonwealth deemed “in poor condition,” this is an important investment in making transportation safer and more reliable.

In July 2021, Sen. Warner visited the historic Mayo Bridge in Richmond, which could receive funds as part of the law. Images from that visit here.

Sen. Warner was a key author and negotiator of this law, and he welcomed this latest announcement as just one of the transformative investments coming to Virginia as a result of its passage. In a joint statement with Sen. Kaine, he wrote,

“We’re thrilled to announce this record amount of funding to fix aging bridges across Virginia. Modernizing bridges will improve safety and support economic growth in every corner of the Commonwealth. Today’s announcement is one more reason we were proud to support the once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment that is improving lives and livelihoods across the country.”

This follows announcements about funding for Virginia airports and transit, with more announcements about IIJA funding expected all throughout 2022.

Beyond bridges, Sen. Warner announced another win for VA infrastructure this week, with an additional $500,000 headed to the Town of Dungannon to replace 13,840 feet of waterline so individuals and businesses have better access to clean, reliable water.

RUSSIAN SANCTIONS DISCUSSIONS CONTINUE

Sen. Warner continues to be an outspoken advocate for engaging in strict diplomatic negotiations with Russia as they continue their armed buildup around Ukraine. While some of his Senate colleagues proposed a bill that would complicate the ongoing negotiations, Sen. Warner carefully considered and voted against this ultimately failed bill, writing,

“The bill that we’re considering today is neither well-targeted nor well-timed; in the midst of serious diplomatic conversations, it takes a shot at our European allies and risks undercutting negotiations. I look forward to working with my bipartisan colleagues to continue advancing the strong support that exists for Ukraine, and backing a clear and resolute stance in opposition to Russian aggression.”

Sen. Warner has instead signed on to a bill with 25 colleagues that would offer a more targeted approach to sanctioning Russia in the case of a renewed Kremlin invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement on this bill, he wrote,

“This bill reinforces the message that the Biden administration must be conveying to Russia in face-to-face meetings this week – that accelerated aggression towards Ukraine will only strengthen U.S. assistance for our Ukrainian partners, reinvigorate NATO’s collective defense posture, and bring about devastating consequences for the Russian economy.”

VOTING RIGHTS SOLDIERS ON

As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, conversations about the legacy and future of voting rights are heating up. Sen. Warner continued to be outspoken in favor of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act this week, issuing a statement, graphics, and several tweets on the topic.

Sen. Warner has also continued to support the idea of a carve-out to the filibuster to get it done. Next week, he will vote in favor of this legislation as Sen. Schumer will likely bring it to the floor. In Sen. Warner’s words,

“As a member of the greatest deliberative body in the world, I continue to believe that we must preserve the Senate’s ability to debate contrasting viewpoints on matters of public policy. However, voting is the bedrock of our democracy and it is a right that should never be up for contention. As President Biden doubles down on his efforts to safeguard democracy from the barrage of attacks by state legislatures, Virginians can be sure that I’ll be working in the Senate to do whatever it takes to protect Americans’ access to the ballot.”

He continues to release graphics highlighting the benefits of these bills and voicing his strong support for their passage.

GRAB BAG

STRENGTHENING PROTECTIONS: Sen. Warner signed onto a letter with 31 colleagues calling on the administration to offer or extend Temporary Protected Status protections for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua.

HEAR YE HEAR YE: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Warner held a nomination hearing for Kenneth L. Wainstein, the nominee to be Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. As a member of the Senate Banking Committee, he also questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom President Biden has nominated to serve another term atop the Central Bank, about the effects of inflation and child care on our economic growth.

FRIEND OF THE (BIG TECH) POD: Sen. Warner appeared on the Big Technology podcast to discuss why 2022 is the year Congress should finally take action and put guardrails around Big Tech.

ARP DELIVERS FOR RURAL VA: Another round of funding from the American Rescue Plan was announced Friday morning, delivering an additional $7.4 million for Virginia health providers and suppliers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries. This brings the total to $130 million for 882 providers across the Commonwealth as a result of the ARP.

WEEK AHEAD

This weekend, Sen. Warner will continue his travel around Virginia and attend the inauguration of governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, and (weather permitting) will participate in events on Monday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day. When the Senate readjourns on Tuesday, he expects to participate in debates on voting rights. He plans to hold a remote media availability for the press in Virginia, so stay tuned for an announcement on that.

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Warner & Kaine announce Virginia to receive $536.8 million for bridge repair

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On January 14, 2022, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced the largest-ever federal investment in Virginia’s bridges, made possible by the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law negotiated by Sen. Warner and supported by Sen. Kaine. Virginia will receive $536.8 million over five years to address highway bridge needs, which include 577 bridges across the Commonwealth that are currently rated as being in “poor” condition, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“We’re thrilled to announce this record amount of funding to fix aging bridges across Virginia,” said the senators. “Modernizing bridges will improve safety and support economic growth in every corner of the Commonwealth. Today’s announcement is one more reason we were proud to support the once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment that is improving lives and livelihoods across the country.”

In July 2021, Sen. Warner joined Richmond officials for a tour of the Mayo Bridge, which was constructed in 1913 to cross the James River and is one of the hundreds of bridges across Virginia that are currently considered structurally deficient and expected to benefit from the investment announced.

In December 2021, Sen. Kaine joined U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg in Richmond and Henrico County to discuss how the $7.7 billion in federal funds Virginia expects to receive from the infrastructure bill will be used to repair and replace roads and bridges and improve public transportation.


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Statement of Senate Intel Chair Mark R. Warner on Nord Stream 2 pipeline

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement ahead of an expected vote this afternoon on S. 3436, a bill to require the imposition of sanctions with respect to entities responsible for the planning, construction, or operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline:

“The bellicose actions and rhetoric that we have seen from Vladimir Putin in recent months represent the latest in a long string of offensive actions by the Russian President. Russia’s armed buildup around Ukraine – on top of the continued occupation of eastern Ukraine and Crimea – represents a serious threat not just to Ukraine, but to the broader peace and stability of Europe, and of the world. The Biden administration is actively engaged in conversations with Russia and with our European partners and allies to de-escalate the situation.

“What the Senate should be doing is reinforcing those ongoing conversations. We could do that by passing legislation that makes clear that accelerated aggression towards Ukraine will only strengthen U.S. assistance for our Ukrainian partners, reinvigorate NATO’s collective defense posture, and bring about devastating consequences for the Russian economy.

“The bill that we’re considering today is neither well-targeted nor well-timed; in the midst of serious diplomatic conversations it takes a shot at our European allies and risks undercutting negotiations. I look forward to working with my bipartisan colleagues to continue advancing the strong support that exists for Ukraine, and backing a clear and resolute stance in opposition to Russian aggression.”


Yesterday, Chairman Warner joined Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and 24 of their Senate Democratic colleagues in introducing the Defending Ukraine S

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It’s a new day in Virginia

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Happy New Year! I hope that you and your families had a safe and healthy holiday and that you are starting 2022 off on a positive note.

2021 certainly was full of highs and lows. In November, Virginia sent a very loud and clear message that we need new leadership for our Commonwealth to get moving in the right direction once more. The House of Delegates is now back to a Republican majority. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, Lt. Governor-elect Sears, and Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares will be sworn in to their new posts this Saturday. I am looking forward to working with them over the course of the next four years to bring about positive changes to critical issues like education, public safety, the business climate, and more. One thing is for sure, they are ready to go to work for you on Day One. It’s a very exciting and refreshing time for Virginia!

This year’s General Assembly Session began today and will continue for the next 60 days. During that time, the legislature will be working on a new state budget for the next two years along with about three thousand bills that will be filed and debated over the coming weeks. Committee meetings and floor debates will get underway in full next week and the pace for the next two months will be fast moving.

You will remember that last year’s session was like no other. Due to the pandemic, the Senate met in person but it was at the Science Museum of Virginia where we could spread out. The House of Delegates, however, had completely virtual meetings. Testimony from the general public in support of or in opposition to all bills in both chambers was done via Zoom. I did not support the lack of transparency this process afforded but am happy to report that this year, it will be back to business as usual – live and in person – at the Capitol.


The Senate will hold committee meetings in person at the Pocahontas Building and the daily floor sessions will be held in the Senate Chamber in the state Capitol. The Pocahontas Building will be open to the public again (maximum capacity limits will be monitored by the Capitol Police). Testimony from the general public on bills will be allowed in person, and a virtual option will be available for those not able or comfortable to come to Richmond.

I promise you that I will continue to stand up for our conservative ideals for you and your family. While the Democrats still have a slim majority in the Senate, we have a Republican House and Republican Governor. After two years of complete Democrat control, there is a lot that needs to be corrected. We will work to roll back many of the liberal policies that have been detrimental to our Commonwealth – burdensome business regulations, pro-labor union bills, so-called social justice reforms that actually make our most vulnerable communities less safe, and climate change policies that make Virginia look more like California than the Commonwealth that we know and love. It is a new day in Virginia. The core values on which my viewpoint on the world is built – small government, lower taxes, less regulation, and the freedom to bear arms and worship – will continue to guide my voting and actions this session.

I have a number of bills that I will be introducing this session that will deal with charter schools, small businesses, right to work, elections, elder abuse prevention, and public safety. I will be covering these more extensively in future updates along with other bills of interest the legislature takes up. To follow my legislative package, click here.

Even though this session still may look and feel a bit different, one thing that remains unchanged is my stellar legislative team. We will again have two offices operating during General Assembly:

Richmond Office- Room 502E Pocahontas Building
Connor Smith
connor@markobenshain.com
804-698-7526

Harrisonburg District Office
Jenni Aulgur
jennifer@markobenshain.com
540-437-1451

If you have scheduling requests, constituent concerns or would like to let me know what you think about a piece of legislation please reach out to my office at the contact information above or email me at mark@markobenshain.com As always, I appreciate hearing from my constituents on issues that are important to you.

I am grateful for the privilege of serving the Shenandoah Valley in the Virginia Senate!

Best,

Mark Obenshain

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 10, 2022

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As Congress begins a new session, it is a good time to reflect and update you on the past year of service on behalf of the people of Virginia’s Sixth District. Over the last twelve months, I have worked on several legislative initiatives that advocate for small government, lower taxes, and the protection of our God-given constitutional rights. While the sections below are only snippets of my work, I hope they serve as a good representation of the policies for which I am fighting.

Introducing Legislation:
As I have done throughout my career, I have worked to reach across the aisle and introduce several pieces of legislation that could realistically be passed in both Chambers of Congress and signed into law by the President. Two areas in which Republicans and Democrats can often agree are on issues supporting Veterans and reforming the federal government, which is why I have sponsored the below bipartisan bills. I will continue working to find positive solutions to the issues facing all Americans and look forward to pursuing other legislative initiatives in the Second Session of the 117th Congress.

• H.R. 4433, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act expands the options under which Veterans can access their earned GI Bill benefits to open or purchase a small business.

• H.R. 4434, the Ensuring Accountability in Agency Rulemaking Act requires all rules proposed by federal agencies, except in limited circumstances, to be signed and issued by an individual appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate – thus limiting the power of federal bureaucrats.


• H.R. 4866, the Federal Insurance Office Elimination Act seeks to eliminate a duplicative federal agency created by Dodd-Frank and returns regulatory power to the states.

• H.R. 4867, the Data Centers and Government Records Oversight Act implements a three-pronged approach to establish better governance and oversight regarding Federal technology practices, thus saving the taxpayer money and making bureaucracies more efficient.

Supporting Veterans:
Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have striven to support Veterans by advocating for legislation that honors the service and sacrifice of military personnel and their families. A few of the most consequential pieces of legislation I have championed for Veterans relate to burn pits, suicide prevention, health care options, Blue Water Navy, the widow’s tax, Reserve and National Guard bankruptcy, and opening up membership into the American Legion for previously disqualified veterans. Further, my District offices are committed to aiding Veterans with their claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure they receive the benefits that have earned. Below are just a few examples of pieces of legislation I’ve supported this year to accomplish these goals:

• H.R. 3224, the Deborah Sampson Act eliminates barriers to care and services that many women Veterans face and would help ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs addresses the needs of women Veterans who are more likely to face homelessness, unemployment and go without needed health care. (Signed into law)

• H.R. 1448, the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement a pilot program to provide canine training to Veterans diagnosed with PTSD as an element of an integrative health program. (Signed into law)

• H.R. 2974, the Military Spouse Hiring Act expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to include the hiring of a qualified military spouse.

• H.R. 3674, the Vet Center Support Act directs the VA Secretary to submit to Congress a report on mental health care furnished by the Department of Veterans Affairs in certain States to ensure our Veterans are being properly cared for.

• H.R. 2192, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 ensures that applicable individuals who resided, worked, or were otherwise exposed to government-provided tap water that was contaminated with harmful chemicals, found at levels ranging from 240 to 3,400 times levels permitted by safety standards, at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, could obtain appropriate relief from harm.

Securing our Border:
President Biden inherited a southern border from President Trump that was secure. Unfortunately, since taking office, the Biden Administration has worked to open the border, not secure it. Our communities are less safe because the President has stopped building the wall, brought back Catch and Release, and did away with the Remain in Mexico policy. This has incentivized illegal immigration, and to date, at least 1.9 million illegal immigrants have unlawfully crossed our border in the last twelve months. It’s simple, border security is national security, and below are several bills I have supported this year to combat President Biden’s radical border agenda.

• HR 1496, Sarah’s Law requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States and has been charged with a crime that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another person.

• HR 413, the SAFE For America Act eliminates the diversity immigrant program, which makes immigrant visas available solely to individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

• HR 4593, the Securing Our Border States Act establishes a block grant program to enable southwest border States to construct barriers along their borders with Mexico.

• HR 1259, the REMAIN In Mexico Act requires the Department of Homeland Security to implement the Migrant Protection Protocols as outlined in the January 25, 2019, memo titled Policy Guidance for Implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocols.

Rep. Cline during a previous trip to the US-Mexico border.

Standing for Life:
All life is precious, and throughout my career, I have always remained a voice for the voiceless and a vocal advocate for the unborn. Sadly, over the past year, we have seen the Democrats fight tooth and nail to expand the practice of abortion, all the while attempting to have your tax dollars pay for such procedures. However, rest assured, my Republican colleagues and I are pushing back against their pro-abortion agenda. Below are several pieces of legislation I have supported this past year to Stand For Life.

• H.R. 18, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions or for health coverage that includes abortions.

• H.R. 28, the Protecting Life in Crisis Act prohibits the expenditure for an abortion of Federal funds authorized or appropriated for preventing, preparing for, or responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• H.R. 619, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act amends title 18, United States Code, to prohibit a health care practitioner from failing to exercise the proper degree of care in the case of a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion.

• H.R. 541, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act provides for a moratorium on Federal funding to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc.

• H.R. 534, the Protecting Life in Foreign Assistance Act restricts the availability of Federal funds to organizations associated with the abortion industry.

Advocating for Farmers:
Our Nation’s farmers and ranchers continue to weather every storm, working through supply chain disruptions, and ensuring we have a safe and healthy food supply from the farm to the table. I am committed to defending the Sixth District farm families and want to see these operations continue for generations to come, which is why I joined the newly established Congressional FFA Caucus. This Caucus will serve as a collective group of U.S. Representatives dedicated to issues related to the next generation of agriculture leaders and students pursuing careers in agriculture, food, natural resources, and related sciences. Along with supporting our next generation of agriculturalists, I have also been busy advocating for our local meat processors and livestock producers; bringing more choices to our students’ school nutrition options; and working to provide access to resources, like broadband, for our rural areas. Here are a few key pieces of legislation I have supported this last year on behalf of our farmers:

• H.R. 4140, the Butcher Block Act rebalances the cattle market by easing regulatory barriers and offering U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat processing grants for small processors looking to expand or add shackle space.

• H.R. 1861, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2021 amends the National School Lunch Act to allow school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to serve flavored and unflavored whole milk.

• H.R. 2244, the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act allows member-owned cooperatives and small broadband and voice providers the ability to refinance specific Rural Utilities Service (RUS) loans and waive all associated fees, resulting in saving providers millions per year in debt payments that can be passed on directly to consumers, invested in quality rural broadband networks, or used to upgrade aging electronic infrastructure.

• H.R. 3369, the Broadband for Rural America Act expands rural broadband assistance to improve the administration and accountability of the broadband programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to empower farmers, better serve rural America, and fuel our economy.

Defending the Second Amendment:
Whether in Richmond or Washington, I have always been a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to protect us from the government and gave individuals the Second Amendment to protect themselves and their families. Unfortunately, throughout the past year, Democrats have vilified gun owners and sought to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. This is unacceptable, and I will continue to defend all citizens’ Constitutional rights from far-Left policies. To that end, below are several pieces of legislation I have supported in the past year to protect and expand Americans’ Second Amendment rights:

• H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act allows a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.

• H.R. 95, the Hearing Protection Act removes suppressors from the definition of firearms for purposes of the National Firearms Act.

• H.R. 1534, the Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act prohibits the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services from declaring certain emergencies or disasters for the purpose of imposing gun control.

• H.R. 1210, the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) Reform Act amends title 18, United States Code, to improve the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act and provisions relating to the carrying of concealed weapons by law enforcement officers.

Growing the Economy:
Since the day I was sworn in, I’ve been focused on growing the economy and keeping more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans. In that vein, I’m fighting every day to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and employees and am also committed to lowering taxes that stunt economic growth. Further, I believe in promoting free trade agreements and policies that benefit farmers and small businesses in Virginia’s Sixth District. Below are just a few examples of pieces of legislation I’ve sponsored this year to accomplish those goals:

• H.R. 1712, the Death Tax Repeal Act repeals the estate tax, also known as the death tax, which, in effect, is a double tax on families and taxes property transferred at death.

• H.R. 3625, the Middle-Class Savings Act aligns the brackets for assessing capital gains taxes with those created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to enable middle-class families to invest and save more through the stock market.

• H.R. 1346, the Hospitality and Commerce Job Recovery Act provides federal tax credits to support the travel, convention, trade show, entertainment, tourism, and hospitality industries across the country impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

• H.R. 4181, the Stop Inflationary Spending Act amends the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to require the Congressional Budget Office to conduct an analysis of the impact on inflation from certain reconciliation legislation reported or submitted pursuant to reconciliation directives in a concurrent resolution on the budget.

• H.Res. 620 the Protect Right to Work expresses support for right-to-work laws that protect workers from being required to join and pay forced dues to a union to get or keep a job.

Afghanistan:
Despite increasing Taliban violence in the first three months of 2021 and intelligence that the Taliban and al-Qaida were maintaining close ties, on April 14, 2021, President Biden announced a full United States troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September of last year. While he said, “We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit’’ and, ‘‘We’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely,” we know that neither of these things was true. President Biden botched the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which resulted in the death of 13 American servicemembers, countless civilians stranded, and a complete Taliban takeover of the country. Below you can find the legislation I have supported in response to this tragedy. I have also signed several letters condemning the President’s actions and demanding answers to ensure this never happens again.

• H. Res. 607, Condemns President Biden’s failure to heed the advice of military and intelligence advisors about the speed and nature of the Taliban offensive, leading to a disorganized, chaotic, and abrupt evacuation of United States personnel and Afghan allies.

• H.R. 5142, posthumously awards a Congressional Gold Medal, in commemoration to the servicemembers who perished in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021, during the evacuation of citizens of the United States and Afghan allies at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

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.

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Legislative Update

Virginia Senator Warner issues statement on anniversary of Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol:

“One year ago today, the world watched as a violent mob stormed and desecrated the U.S. Capitol in an effort to rob the American people of the sacred right to elect their President. Despite these insidious efforts, democracy prevailed due to the brave actions of the Capitol Police, Metropolitan Police, Virginia State Police, Maryland State Police, and members of the National Guard who put themselves in peril, saving many lives and in some cases, losing their own. It is my hope that we will continue to honor those who lost their lives by remembering that democracy must be upheld each and every day. We must realize that what happened on January 6 did not end on January 6. Efforts to sow doubts about the integrity of our elections are chipping away at the values upon which our nation was founded. As state legislatures across the country continue to exploit Donald Trump’s Big Lie to restrict access to the ballot, we must act to protect the right to vote and safeguard our democracy once more.”

Sen. Warner is a member of the Senate Rules Committee, which continues to examine the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Yesterday, Sen. Warner participated in the committee’s latest hearing on the Capitol Police response to the attack.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Family Preservation Services

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

Ole Timers Antiques

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Examiner

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Salvation Army

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

St. Luke Community Clinic

Studio Verde

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

Jan
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jan 19 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
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Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jan
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7:00 pm FRWRC Woman Gathering @ ONLINE
FRWRC Woman Gathering @ ONLINE
Jan 20 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FRWRC Woman Gathering @ ONLINE
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1:00 pm FRWRC Book Circle @ ONLINE
FRWRC Book Circle @ ONLINE
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jan 26 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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12:30 pm Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and... @ ONLINE
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Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, in conjunction with Northwestern Community Services Board, will offer a free, virtual REVIVE! Training on January 28th from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. The one-hour online class provides an overview of how[...]
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6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Feb 2 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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all-day First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
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all-day First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
First Friday @ Downtown Main Street
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9:00 am Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
Women’s Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
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Women's Wellness Workshop @ ONLINE
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Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion[...]