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Legislative Update

Sixth District perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline

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A Week With Sixth District Students
This week started with a familiar but fun event — visiting with the Sixth Congressional District’s senior government students. The pupils at Fort Defiance High School asked great questions during our question and answer session Monday. I appreciate Mr. Tratnack organizing this event for the school’s senior government students!

Pupils at Fort Defiance High School asked great questions during question and answer session.

On Wednesday, students visiting Washington for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Leadership Forum stopped by the office to discuss drug prevention. I am very proud to have these students representing the Sixth Congressional District in Washington and I commend their commitment to living drug and alcohol-free lives.

Students visiting Washington for the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Leadership Forum stopped by the office to discuss drug prevention.

The State of the Union
President Trump presented a positive vision for the future of our country in his second State of the Union address on Tuesday night. The President made clear that if we are to achieve America’s full potential, we must put partisanship aside and work together. Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, protecting our communities from drug and sex trafficking crossing our borders, and addressing the skyrocketing cost of health care all require bipartisan cooperation. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues on these and other important issues in the 116th Congress.

This week the committees began their work, and I spent much of the week in hearings before the Judiciary and Education and Labor Committees.

The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on gun control, where I reminded the Committee that the Second Amendment protects the right of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves, their families, and their property. Gun control measures limit that right, and we do not need additional gun control laws that will do nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms but will interfere with the rights of law-abiding citizens.

The Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour across the entire United States. I inquired about the effect such a mandate would have on unemployment rates and inflation rates on the costs of certain goods. I suggested that the decision about whether and how much to raise the minimum wage in states like Virginia should be left to the states to determine.

Finally, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Friday that should have focused on its responsibility to conduct oversight over the Department of Justice. Instead, we saw the Democrats engage in a partisan effort to force Acting Attorney General Whitaker to divulge information about the ongoing Mueller investigation. I believe it is critical that we await the final report of the Mueller investigation and I look forward to reviewing it in its entirety once it has been issued.

Honoring VMI Graduate George C. Marshall
On Tuesday, I introduced H.Con.Res. 14 to re-name the George C. Marshall Museum and Research Library in Lexington, Virginia, as the National George C. Marshall Museum and Library. The facility is located on the campus of the Virginia Military Institute.

Marshall served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1939-1945, Secretary of State from 1947-1949, and Secretary of Defense from 1950-1951. He is credited with formulating the Allied victory in Europe and the subsequent Marshall Plan to rebuild the continent after World War II.

In Virginia, we remember George C. Marshall as a war hero and a graduate of one of the country’s most storied military schools. Marshall and his contributions to world history are unparalleled. That is why I introduced this bill to honor his legacy for generations to come.

Casework Staff Mobile Office Hours
My office will host Casework Staff Mobile Offices across the Sixth Congressional District during the month of February. A staff member will be available to meet with citizens to assist with problems they might have with a federal agency and hear their views on current issues before Congress. Visit cline.house.gov/about/events for a complete list of locations.

Visiting Washington
Spring Break is quickly approaching. If you or your family are planning a visit to Washington, D.C., during the week off school, my office is here to help you. Staff members are available to lead tours of the U.S. Capitol and can assist you with arrangements for the Library of Congress. Call the office at (202) 225-5431 to schedule your visit or navigate to the Washington Tourism page on my website for information on the National Capital Region’s museums and other attractions.

Thank you for the responsibility of representing Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District. It is a true honor.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – February 16, 2020

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This week the House finally turned its focus back to regular business after months of being distracted with impeachment. One major focus this week was highlighting the need for government reform, which I am hopeful can be accomplished in a bipartisan manner. The House also addressed the deadline for the Equal Rights Amendment and many other legislative items. Further, I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting another town hall this coming week in Lexington. I look forward to meeting constituents both at this event and throughout our region this week during the District Work Period.

Government Reform:
Congress has an average approval rating of only 21.6 percent. This disapproval is largely due to the dysfunction, partisanship, and distrust that is prevalent throughout our Federal bureaucracy. That is why I am proud to work together with my colleagues on the Government, Efficiency, Accountability, and Reform (GEAR) Task Force of the Republican Study Committee. This task force is committed to helping reform our bloated Federal Government to expand opportunities for all Americans.

While it might not be a headline-grabbing issue, government reform is something I have been passionate about since my time as a State Delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. There, I worked to increase transparency both for constituents and lawmakers alike. As your Representative, I remain committed to finding ways here in Washington to increase accountability for my constituents and “drain the swamp”. I am thankful to work with my colleagues on this task force who believe in the vital importance of reforming government so that it truly serves the people for whom it was created and by whom it is empowered.

Click to watch Rep. Cline Discusses the Need for Government Reform. He spoke on February 13, 2020, on the continued efforts to “drain the swamp” and the great reforms that have been proposed this week by the Republican Study Committee. Congress must do its part to promote transparency, rein in a bloated bureaucracy, and reduce the size and scope of the Federal government.

Equal Rights Amendment:
To amend the U.S. Constitution, a two-thirds vote to pass an amendment in both the House and Senate is required, as well as ratification individually from at least 38 states. When Congress voted in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1972, it was sent to the states for ratification with a seven-year deadline. When this deadline came without having been ratified, Congress then extended it by an additional three years. Once the final deadline passed in 1982, the amendment only had 35 states supporting ratification. Since that time, five states have rescinded their support.
This week, following the recent approval of the amendment by the Virginia General Assembly, the House passed H.J. Res. 79, which would remove the ratification deadline for the ERA. I could not support this resolution because Congress simply cannot remove a deadline that expired four decades ago. Punting the issue to the courts for resolution is an abrogation of my duty to my constituents.
Just this week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, “I would like to see a new beginning,” for ERA ratification. She continued, “There’s too much controversy about latecomers, plus, some states have withdrawn their ratification. So if you count a latecomer on the plus side, how can you disregard states that said we’ve changed our minds?’” On this issue, most legal minds agree: The deadline for the ERA cannot be removed, and the process must start again. I hope that the language can be improved to ensure that the amendment would not enshrine taxpayer-funded abortion in the Constitution, and I will continue working to protect the sanctity of life as this debate continues.

Town Hall:
Before the new year, I hosted nineteen town halls – one in each locality – and plan to hold another nineteen in the coming year. Since January, I have already hosted an additional five town halls and will be holding another in Lexington this coming Tuesday. Citizens of Lexington will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall, but all are welcome. To accommodate the diverse schedule of Sixth District constituents, I have rotated all of my town halls between morning, lunch, and evening meetings.

Lexington Town Hall
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Lexington Community Center
300 Diamond Street, Lexington, VA 24450
To Register, Please Click Here

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. If you are or know of a business that deserves to be honored for giving back to those who have given so much to our country, please click here for nomination details. Last year, Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc. of Harrisonburg was awarded the medallion for their longstanding tradition of supporting our troops after they leave the service.

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.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Legislative Update

Legislative update from State Senator Mark Obenshain

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We’re officially past the halfway mark of Session that we call “Crossover” where all bills that originated in the Senate cross over to the House to be debated in Committee and vice versa.

Every year around this time, I like to take a step back and take stock of what we’ve seen so far. The bills I’ve introduced have had varying amounts of success in terms of getting through the Senate but overall, I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from my Senate colleagues on my bills.

I’m particularly thankful for the support for my two good government bills that passed and are headed to the House. In light of the recent Warren County EDA scandal, I introduced SB 701 and SB 703 to ensure government transparency and accountability by requiring Executive Directors and members of Economic Development Authorities (EDA) to take ethics training and submit Statements of Economic Interest (SOEI). EDA’s provide critical economic initiatives for our communities in the Valley and around the Commonwealth and the citizens deserve their trust and confidence. These bills seek to ensure they will have it.

In addition, I’m honored to have carried a bill that passed the Senate dealing with protecting child victims of human trafficking. Oftentimes in these horrific instances of trafficking, whether for sex or labor, it is the parents or legal guardians who are unfortunately the ones participating in the illegal activity. My SB 706 is a Virginia State Crime Commission proposal and allows for local departments of social services to interview victims without the consent of and outside of the presence of such victims’ parents, guardians, or legal custodians.

These bills and the others of mine that passed the Senate are headed to the House where our counterparts will hear them in Committee and then on the floor of the House of Delegates if they are voted out of Committee.

Unfortunately, a number of other bills that will significantly and detrimentally affect Virginians have passed the Senate as well. The new Democrat majority in Richmond has advanced a startling number of liberal bills that will impact every single Virginian. It was almost as if they couldn’t stand the success Virginia has experienced over the past 20 years, and they were eager to make the same mistakes as California and Maryland have made.

When their litany of bills become law and go into effect on July 1, it is going to cost your family a lot more to live in Virginia than it does today.

The Democrats have a new transportation scheme that raises the gas tax by 15-cents per gallon over the next two years in most of the state. Those living in the areas where higher gas taxes are already in place because of the 2013 transportation tax hike will see their gas taxes rise a little less since they’re already paying higher taxes. But, most of Virginia will see an 86% increase in the gas tax over the next two years. And, the tax will continue to automatically increase every year thereafter.

They also approved a “Green New Deal” energy bill that will result in higher prices on electricity. The plan is to have consumers pay more in their monthly electric utility bills to finance “renewables” like wind and solar. The estimates of what the average family will pay for this range from $23 to $50 on their power bill per month.

In addition to the gun control bills that will severely limit our Second Amendment rights which I have covered in-depth in previous updates, Democrats in the Senate have passed numerous pieces of legislation that will hurt small business owners and impact the pocketbooks of every hardworking Virginian family.

On Tuesday – the last day to hear Senate bills that actually concluded at 12:50 AM on Wednesday – the Democrat majority in the Senate flexed its newfound majority power to pass priorities like prevailing wage legislation and collective bargaining for public employees.

Despite touching on this last week, I want to highlight again how damaging these bills will be to Virginia.

Because of the prevailing wage legislation that requires construction companies and other trade jobs to meet a certain level of wages and benefits, we will see fewer schools, fewer affordable housing units, and fewer wastewater treatment facilities. Did you know that in 2018, Richmond discharged more than 3.4 billion gallons of raw sewage into the James River? With construction companies having to pay a prevailing wage that is 10% – 25% more than the market rate for construction workers, local governments like Richmond are going to have less money to pay for needed sewage system upgrades. Other localities will have less money available to pay for school construction.

This new prevailing rate is really just an attempt by out of state contractors to win Virginia construction contracts that were out of reach because their union pay scales kept them from competing with Virginia businesses.

Another bill we saw pass on Tuesday was the minimum wage bill. If I listed all the negative impacts that this will have on young people entering the workforce, small business owners, mom, and pop retail shops, etc., this weekly blast would turn into a short novel.

But to name just a few… requiring employers to pay a minimum wage will raise unemployment levels, depress wages, make it harder for young people to find an entry-level job and it will significantly hurt the cash flow of our small businesses.

The sadly ironic reality of proponents of minimum wage legislation is that it will end up harming the very people that they want to help. Sure, workers may make more money hourly but when an employer is strapped for cash and capital because of the mandate to pay more in wages, they are going to end up cutting their workers’ hours.

Generally speaking, when it comes to liberalists, California/New York-style economic policies like collective bargaining for public employees or forced union membership that comes from repealing or gutting Right to Work, these policies truly end up creating more economic hardship for those in our communities for which they are trying to raise economic prospects.

Not to mention that the left has done a good job claiming the moral high ground on these issues. Proponents seek to paint economic conservatives as heartless, money-grabbing capitalists in the pockets of big businesses. And this attempt to claim the moral high ground on economic issues again only seeks to create less economic prospects for the families in our community who have the most potential to grow economically.

We will continue to hear debates on these important issues and more until our time here in Richmond concludes on March 7. My staff and I welcome the opportunity to see you if you are visiting the General Assembly. My office is Room 502E in the Pocahontas Building. I appreciate hearing your views on pending legislation. We have received thousands of emails this session already and hundreds of calls. Thank you for your advocacy on issues that are important to you. You can always let me know your views on any of the issues before the General Assembly by emailing me at mark@markobenshain.com or filling out my survey at https://www.markobenshain.com/2020-survey/. Or if you prefer to call, my district office in Harrisonburg is 540-437-1451 or my General Assembly Office in Richmond is 804-698-7526.

More updates coming soon!

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Legislative Update

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

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The Senate’s acquittal of President Trump and the State of the Union grabbed most of the headlines this week. I was proud to stand in defense of citizens’ right-to-work and opposed legislation seeking to force people to join a labor union to get or keep a job. It was also a pleasure to have so many different groups from across the Sixth District join me in Washington this week to advocate for the issues they care most about. With impeachment officially behind us, I am hopeful Congress can move past partisanship and spend the next year working for the American people.

President Acquitted:
From the beginning, Speaker Pelosi said that impeachment must be compelling, overwhelming, and bipartisan. However, the impeachment of President Trump did not possess any of these qualities. The flawed and rushed process conducted in the House, coupled with the lack of evidence required to prove high crimes and misdemeanors, made the acquittal of President Trump by the Senate appropriate and necessary.

The impeachment process in the House was a sham, and it set a dangerous precedent that we must reject moving forward. Never again can we allow one political party to use impeachment as a tool for political gain. This entire process has been little more than an attempt by Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats to overturn the results of the 2016 election and the will of 63 million Americans – all while denying the President his right to due process. The partisanship displayed by some of my colleagues has fueled the rancor and division within this country, and this entire display of political theater will forever be remembered as a sad stain on the House of Representatives.

After wasting months focusing on impeachment, I am hopeful that Congress can now get back to work on issues important to the American people, including improving our Nation’s infrastructure and highways, supporting our military and veterans’ programs, securing our border and preventing the flood of drugs and human trafficking that has flowed across it, and finding solutions to bring down the costs of health insurance and prescription drugs.

State of the Union:
After an eventful few months, President Trump gave his annual address to a joint session of Congress this week. He delivered a message that Americans already knew – that the state of our union is strong. Throughout his speech, he laid out a forward-looking and optimistic agenda that will lead to the continued prosperity of this Nation.

Over the course of the last three years, President Trump and his Administration have accomplished a great deal for the American people. Above all, President Trump’s commitment to cutting bureaucratic red-tape has allowed businesses to thrive and the economy to flourish. Since his swearing in, the United States has added more than 7 million new jobs and a record 160 million people are currently in the workforce. Many of these new jobs have been in the manufacturing sector – a result of more than 12,000 factories opening their doors throughout the President’s term. Further, unemployment currently stands at or near-fifty-year lows, including record lows among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Women, and Veterans. The President’s landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created opportunity zones to encourage investment in low-income areas, which have lifted nearly 2.5 million Americans out of poverty and risen the median wage for middle-class families by $5,000 a year.

These economic victories can also be seen right here in Virginia. Our Commonwealth’s unemployment rate stands at 2.6 percent – a result of the 120,000 new jobs created in the state since President Trump took office. Unemployment insurance claims are down 22 percent since his election and real median household income in Virginia is up 12 percent. The 212 opportunity zones designated in our state have lifted 137,000 Virginians out of poverty and have inspired hope in our struggling communities.

While the economic success our Nation has seen during this Administration is immense, President Trump has secured countless other victories for our country. Not only has he signed new trade deals like USMCA and the Phase One agreement with China, but he has also made significant progress in securing our border, passed historic criminal justice reform legislation, stood for pro-life values, enhanced vocational education, strengthened our military, and taken out numerous terrorists abroad ensuring the safety and security of our Nation.

Protecting the Right to Organize Act:
This country was founded so that all Americans could have the opportunity to succeed. One way that we promote this is through policies and laws that allow people the right to work, which in turn makes us more competitive in the business market. Thankfully, our Commonwealth is a right-to-work state. And because of this, Virginia was once again ranked as the number one state in which to do business in 2019 by CNBC.

H.R. 2474, which passed the House this week, would inappropriately preempt and prohibit right-to-work laws in 27 states that value and protect this fundamental right. This is unacceptable. In an even further affront to liberty, this bill abhorrently violates the privacy of workers by forcing them to share their personal contact information with union organizers, even when this has been shown to enable harassment and intimidation of those very workers. If signed into law, this bill would have grave impacts on workers and businesses at great cost to the fabric of our workforce.

Every American deserves the right to create their own success from their own volition – free of the requirement that they join an organization solely to hold a job. Simply put, as our Founding Father and fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.” I voted against this bill to protect Virginia workers and stand for the freedom and success in which our Founding Fathers believed.

Sixth District in DC:
It is truly always a pleasure to host Sixth District residents in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Cline Meets with members of the VA Farm Credit

Rep. Cline meets with Sixth District advocates from the Community from the Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

Rep. Cline meets with members of the VA Rural Water Association

Rep. Cline meets with Ken Garren, President – University of Lynchburg

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.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – February 2, 2020

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With impeachment behind us in the House, my colleagues and I were able to get back to work for the American people this week. Not only did the President sign USMCA into law, but the House also voted to save lives with the renewal of the classification of fentanyl as a Schedule I narcotic. I was also proud to introduce a new piece of legislation that, once passed, will ensure employees of the U.S. Marshals Service are eligible for parity of danger pay while serving in certain regions abroad. Further, I was pleased to honor Botetourt County on the House Floor as they are set to celebrate their 250th anniversary. It was a productive week in Washington, but I am pleased to be spending the weekend back in the Sixth District with those I represent.

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Danger Pay for U.S. Marshals:
The U.S. Marshals Service often works alongside their DEA and FBI counterparts on dangerous missions abroad. From working to combat transnational criminal organizations to interrupting human trafficking rings, the brave men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and security of American citizens. Yet under the current statute, Marshals do not qualify for danger pay in certain countries as do employees of other federal law enforcement agencies. To remedy this inequity, I along with Lou Corea (D-CA, introduced the bipartisan Danger Pay for U.S. Marshals Act. I am proud to have sponsored this bipartisan legislation which ensures, without requiring additional funding, that our Marshals are compensated fairly and earn the pay they rightly deserve while protecting Americans from violent criminals.

Signing USMCA:
After more than a year waiting in limbo, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) was signed this week by President Trump. USMCA is a big win for the American people, creating a more level playing field for workers, strengthening agricultural trade, and modernizing intellectual property protections. This agreement has the potential to create nearly 600,000 jobs and generate up to $235 billion in economic activity. USMCA opens new markets for our manufacturers and farmers, which will allow them to thrive. American agricultural exports are expected to increase by $2.2 billion under USMCA – with annual dairy exports predicted to rise by nearly $315 million. Further, the agreement is expected to create up to 76,000 new auto jobs, spur $34 billion in new investment in the auto industry, and add $23 billion in auto parts purchases each year. I am excited to have been a part of passing this historic agreement, and look forward to seeing the prosperity it is bound to bring to our country.

The President continues to keep his promise to the American people that he will fight for fairer trade deals for our nation. Not only did the President recently sign the Phase One Trade Deal in which China pledged to increase American imports by $200 billion over the next two years, but he also signed profitable deals with Japan and Taiwan.

Fentanyl & the Opioid Epidemic:
The opioid epidemic does not discriminate based on age, sex, race, or socioeconomic status. It is a plague that affects Americans in all regions of the country, including Virginia’s Sixth District. In 2016, the United States experienced an astonishing 60,000 deaths related to drug overdose, nearly two thirds of which involved opioids. That means that more than 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose each day, making it the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. This crisis is being fueled in-part by a synthetic opioid known as fentanyl – a drug 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. In 2018 alone, more than 800 people died from fentanyl overdoses in Virginia.

I applaud my colleagues for voting to save lives this week by renewing the classification of fentanyl as a Schedule I narcotic. Through commonsense solutions like this and support for first responders and treatment programs, I am confident we can help our fellow Americans struggling with opioid abuse and end this insidious epidemic.

Fentanyl kills. The small dose pictured below is enough to be fatal.

Botetourt County’s 250th Anniversary:
I took to the House Floor this week to recognize the 250th anniversary of Botetourt County. Not only is our region filled with beautiful landscapes, but it is rich in history and culture. Whether it is to experience the countless outdoor recreation opportunities or to immerse themselves in an area with ties to great Americans like Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark, visitors come from far and wide to experience the place where I and thousands of others are fortunate enough to live. May God continue to bless Botetourt County on its next 250 years.

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.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 26, 2020

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It was great to be back in Virginia’s Sixth District this week. I spent my time traveling up and down I-81 meeting with constituents, business leaders, and students discussing the important issues facing our country. Two topics frequently brought up by folks across our region were Lobby Day at the Capitol Building in Richmond and pro-life issues as this week marked the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. While it is always hard to leave the people and beauty of the Sixth District, I am ready to return to Washington next week to continue fighting for the values we all share.

Lobby Day:
Lobby Day has been a tradition in Virginia for the past twenty years. It is an opportunity for the citizens of our Commonwealth to come together to exercise their right of free speech and assembly to defend their God given right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, the national media decided this year to portray this annual event as a riot. To the press’ dismay, this rally was peaceful as it always is without any violence being reported. Tens of thousands of Virginians descended upon Richmond to let our Governor know that they do not support his overreaching, unconstitutional gun control proposals. I hope that our elected officials in the State Capitol are paying attention.

Click here for Fox News interview with Congressman Cline.

Defending Life:
This week marked 47 years since Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1973, over 50 million preborn children in America have had their lives cut short. Our right to life is among our most basic human rights, and I will continue fighting to protect the most innocent among us.

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

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

Meeting With Students:
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 or entering the workforce, I wish to instill in them the importance of service to others. This week, I visited Stuarts Draft High School and enjoyed answering students’ questions about government and discussing the issues that are important to them. I look forward to meeting with more students over the next year and continuing to foster the value of public service.

Town Halls:
As the Congressman for the Sixth District, I am steadfast in my commitment to being as available to my constituents as possible. Aside from meeting daily with residents in DC or during my various stops throughout the District, I think it is important to host public forums to allow folks an even greater opportunity to have a dialogue with their Representative. Prior to the new year, I hosted 19 town halls – one in each locality – and I plan to do the same in 2020. Already in January I have held five town halls including one in both Lynchburg and Roanoke City this week where I had the opportunity to hear from nearly 150 constituents. Having a back and forth discussion on the issues is so vital to civil debate, and I always appreciate those who take the time to attend events like these across the District.

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.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 19, 2020

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With the impeachment Articles finally sent over to the Senate, the House can now begin focusing on the issues most important to the American people. One of the highlights of the week was the signing of a historic trade deal with China which will help Sixth District farmers by dramatically increasing U.S. exports. Along the same vein, I joined my Virginia colleagues in supporting the Norfolk Harbor Project which will allow Commonwealth manufacturers to more effectively ship their goods overseas. While it was a busy week in Washington, I had the pleasure of visiting with students throughout the District and am looking forward to meeting with constituents in Lynchburg and Roanoke City during the coming week’s town halls.

Impeachment:
For months, Democrats called impeaching the President urgent – yet 28 days went by before the Speaker transmitted the Articles to the Senate this week. This attempt to grab headlines exposed what Americans already knew, that impeachment was nothing more than political theater. This show has been at the expense of working on truly urgent matters like fixing our crumbling infrastructure, reforming our broken immigration system, and getting USMCA across the finish line. Further, the delay once again denied the President the right to due process that is afforded to every American.

Phase One Trade Agreement & USMCA:
This week President Trump continued to make progress in working towards negotiating better, fairer trade deals for the United States. On Wednesday, the President signed the “Phase One” Trade Agreement with China which will serve as a tremendous boost to American businesses, farmers, manufacturers, and innovators. At the core of this deal, China has pledged to increase American imports by $200 billion over the next two years. Of that, $40 to $50 billion will be on agriculture products, $75 billion in manufacturing goods, $50 billion in the energy sector, and $40 billion in financial services. Further, this deal addresses longstanding intellectual property and trademark concerns and will establish enforcement mechanisms against pirated and counterfeit goods. This trade agreement rebalances the playing field for the United States and China and will be beneficial to both countries.

This deals comes on the heels of the Senate approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. The measure creates a more level playing field for American workers, strengthens agricultural trade, and modernizes intellectual property protections. USMCA is a win for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses and will create 176,000 new jobs and add $68 billion to the U.S. Economy. I look forward to the President signing this Agreement into law.

Supporting the Iranian People:
The United States has always and will always stand for freedom and democracy around the world. Following recent actions by the Iranian government, the nation’s people took to the streets to demand accountability and express their collective desire for the country’s leaders to respect human rights. Iran has a violent history when faced with opposition from within its borders, and the government killed 1,500 demonstrators as recently as November of last year. In response, I cosponsored a resolution this week introduced by Leader McCarthy condemning the Iranian government and supporting the protesters. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi rejected this resolution in yet another purely political move.

Norfolk Harbor Project:
This week, I was proud to join my Virginia colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the Office of Management and Budget requesting additional funds for the Norfolk Harbor Project. This critical infrastructure project will widen and deepen the port and add an additional traffic lane, making it more capable of handling mega container commercial vessels and ships. Not only will this increase the Harbor’s competitiveness and further connect Virginia to global markets, but it will also enable continued operational successes for our service members at Naval Station Norfolk.

Despite the headlines of gridlock in Washington, this project is just one example of legislators from both parties coming together to support an initiative that is beneficial to the Commonwealth as a whole.

School Visits:
I am always excited to discuss government and how legislation becomes law with students across our region. This week I had the pleasure of chatting with government classes from opposite ends of District at both Lord Botetourt High School in Daleville and Skyline Middle School in Harrisonburg. Opportunities like these allow me to answer students’ questions and engage in constructive dialogue about the issues that matter most to my younger constituents.

Town Halls:
Prior to the new year, I hosted nineteen town halls – one in each locality – and plan to continue holding events like these throughout my term. Already in 2020, I have hosted three such forums in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Botetourt County. This coming week, I will hold two additional town halls in Lynchburg and Roanoke City. In order to accommodate the diverse schedule of Sixth District constituents, I have rotated all of my town halls between morning, lunch, and evening meetings. Citizens of these two localities will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall. Please note that signs and noisemakers are prohibited.

Lynchburg Town Hall
Thursday, January 23, 2020
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
American Legion Post 16
1301 Greenview Drive Lynchburg, VA 24502
To Register, Please Click Here

Roanoke City Town Hall
Thursday, January 23, 2020
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
VFW Post 1264
4930 Grandview Ave NW, Roanoke, VA 24012.
To Register, Please Click Here

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Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

Feb
23
Sun
1:00 pm Free Women’s Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Free Women’s Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Feb 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Free Women's Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Instructed by Sgt Winner of the Front Royal Police Department, in collaboration with the Warren Co Victim Witness Program, hosted by Linden Volunteer Fire Department. Space limited to 20 participants. Reserve your spot by visiting[...]
5:00 pm Sunday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Fire Department
Sunday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Fire Department
Feb 23 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sunday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Fire Department
Divinum Auxilium Academy’s Bingo Night! Games, Fun, and Prizes! 6 cards per round of Bingo/15 rounds. Purchase tickets at www.divineassistanceacademy.org or contact Kristin at DAAfundraising@gmail.com Food & drinks, including beer & wine, available for purchase beginning[...]
Feb
25
Tue
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 25 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, February 25 – Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! After[...]
Feb
26
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 26 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 20: Come in for some great stories, songs, and a craft about our feathered friends, Birds!  Siblings welcome. Wednesday, February[...]
Feb
27
Thu
10:00 am Day of Giving @ Samuels Public Library
Day of Giving @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 27 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Day of Giving @ Samuels Public Library
In conjunction with “Love Your Library Month,” Samuels Public Library will hold its first “Day of Giving” on Thursday, February 27, 2020. Thanks to an anonymous donor, all donations made in-person at the Library or[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 27 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 20: Come in for some great stories, songs, and a craft about our feathered friends, Birds!  Siblings welcome. Wednesday, February[...]
Feb
28
Fri
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Feb 28 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Love Revival - FREE Monthly Community Dinner @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Free Community Dinner for everyone! Come enjoy a hot meal on the last Friday of every month at Love Revival Ministry Center.
Feb
29
Sat
10:00 am Loom Knit a Kitten @ Strokes of Creativity
Loom Knit a Kitten @ Strokes of Creativity
Feb 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Loom Knit a Kitten @ Strokes of Creativity
Loom Knit an adorable kitten. In this beginner’s class for teens and adults, you will work on a 24 peg loom to knit a small stuffed toy. *Instruction will be right handed. No prior knitting[...]
11:00 am Kooky Chefs Cook It Up: Soups @ Samuels Public Library
Kooky Chefs Cook It Up: Soups @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 29 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
Kooky Chefs Cook It Up: Soups @ Samuels Public Library
Nothing is more comforting than warm soup on a chilly day! Learn how to make some yummy soup, and do some taste-testing to choose your favorite. For ages 8 and up. Registration begins January 29.
11:00 am Trauma & Resiliency Training for... @ Samuels Public Library
Trauma & Resiliency Training for... @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Trauma & Resiliency Training for Early Childhood Providers @ Samuels Public Library
Statistics show us that one in four children will experience trauma by the age of four. This trauma could be abuse, hunger, homelessness, witnessing violence, medical trauma, or grief. We know that a child’s greatest[...]