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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – December 21, 2020

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Americans have become used to two things in December – the holiday season and a looming government shutdown right before Christmas. This year was no different. After being called back to Washington for an additional week of legislative business, Congressional leaders still could not reach a long-term deal to keep the government open and secure additional COVID-19 relief. However, despite the inefficiencies of Congress, we were able to pass historic legislation supporting female veterans this week. Further, I was pleased to see the Senate pass my bill protecting inventors and look forward to it being signed by the President. Finally, with FDA approval of two separate vaccines, hopefully, we have arrived at the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update:
After months of tireless efforts by doctors and researchers, a COVID-19 vaccine is finally here – two of them in fact. This week not only did Pfizer begin distribution and inoculation of its vaccine, which was approved late last week, but the FDA granted Moderna an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its vaccine as well. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, based on the distribution plan outlined by Operation Warp Speed, 20 million individuals will be vaccinated this month, 50 million people will have received the vaccine by the end of January, and 100 million will have gotten it by the end of February.

Coronavirus Telephone Town Hall:
As a Member of Congress, a top priority of mine is to be accessible to the constituents of the Sixth District. For this reason, I made a commitment to hold town halls throughout the District to hear first-hand from those I represent and bring their views back to Washington. While I enjoy in-person town hall meetings and hosted 25 of them prior to the pandemic, state gathering restrictions currently prohibit me from doing them. While not preferable, I have hosted an additional six telephone town halls during the pandemic. On Monday, December 21, at 6:30 pm I will be hosting my seventh telephone town hall. This event will focus on COVID-19 and the recently approved vaccines. I will be joined by two special guests – Representative Phil Roe, the Chairman of the Congressional Doctor’s Caucus, and Dr. Laura Kornegay, Health Director for Central Shenandoah Health District. To participate, register at cline.house.gov/live or dial (855) 933-0825 during the event. I look forward to an informative event and hope you will join me.

Small Business Visits:
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been committed to visiting small businesses across the Sixth District to hear first-hand their experiences. These meetings have demonstrated how economically devastating the state government-mandated restrictions have been. Here in Washington, I have echoed their pleas to safely lift the lockdowns in order to save jobs and get our kids back in school. This week, I had the chance to visit Yelping Dog Wine and Skipping Rock Beer Co., both in Staunton. There I listened to both the owners and employees to gain a better understanding of how the pandemic has affected their lives and livelihoods. I will continue meeting with business owners and others impacted by the pandemic to ensure their requests for help are heard in DC.

Patents for Humanity:
In late-June I was pleased to introduce and have the House unanimously passed the Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s “Patents for Humanity” competition recognizes inventors who develop creative solutions to global humanitarian problems. Through this competition, the USPTO awards inventors with a certificate for an accelerated review of a future patent. The Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act supports this program and the innovators it recognizes by making these acceleration certificates transferable while codifying the program into law. Smaller companies and USPTO encourage the growth of this vital program. This bill increases the power of the program to encourage those seeking to make a global change to pursue their innovations, as well as the opportunity for similarly-sized start-ups to receive a certificate via transfer. Innovations recognized in the past by the program have included better ways to diagnose and treat HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and other diseases, improved crops and better sources of nutrition energy sources for those without a reliable electric grid, and methods to preserve clean drinking water and improve sanitation. I was excited for this legislation to be passed by the Senate this week, and I am looking forward to the President signing it into law.

Supporting Veterans:
Currently, women veterans comprise the fastest-growing demographic within the Veteran community, yet there is no consistency of services to meet the unique needs of females within the VA system. Fortunately, the Deborah Sampson Act, which passed in the House this week, seeks to change that. This legislation requires the VA to establish policies to report and respond to harassment and sexual assault at its facilities, establish a new VA Office of Women’s Health, expands services for veterans who experience intimate partner violence or military sexual trauma, and extends and expands VA assistance for veterans with newborns. This legislation is historic, and I was pleased that it passed in the House unanimously. In fact, this legislation had been rolled into a larger bill, the Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvements Act, which also expands education and training opportunities for transitioning service members and further ensures veterans impacted by COVID-19 have access to proper care. One of my top priorities as a Member of Congress is making certain that we take care of our service members, and this legislation continues that ongoing effort.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Legislative Update

Warner & Kaine join colleagues in introducing bill to raise minimum wage

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U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) on January 27, 2021, joined Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Patty Murray (D-WA) in introducing the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

A study conducted by the Commonwealth Institute found that approximately 1,018,000 Virginians would have their wages raised under the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, while another 254,000 Virginians who make just above the new minimum would see increases, as well as employers, seek to maintain wage scales and reward seniority. Combined, one in every three working people in Virginia will benefit from raising the wage. The vast majority of Virginians who would benefit are working adults helping to support themselves and their families – 92 percent are age 20 or older and 89 percent are working at least 20 hours a week. In Virginia, the General Assembly approved a gradual increase to the hourly minimum wage beginning May 1, 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered the economic disparities that already exist in this country. In the midst of an unprecedented economic and health crisis that has pushed millions of workers to the brink of poverty, the least we can do is ensure that our minimum wage is a living wage that allows folks who work a full-time job to make ends meet,” said Sen. Warner. “That’s why I joined my colleagues in introducing a bill that will help expand economic opportunity for more families.”

“Every day, millions of hardworking Americans struggle to put food on the table or pay the rent. These hardships have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Kaine. “Raising the minimum wage will stimulate our economy and give people a fair shot at economic mobility.”

Specifically, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would increase the federal minimum wage over a four-year period from $7.25 to $15. It would also index future increases in the federal minimum wage to median wage growth in addition to phasing out the subminimum wage for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities. According to an independent analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 would increase wages for nearly 32 million Americans, including roughly a third of all Black workers and a quarter of all Latino workers.

The legislation is also cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker, (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy, (D-CT), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL).

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 24, 2021

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This last week, I attended the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the 46th President and 49th Vice-President of the United States respectively. While there is much on which President Biden and I disagree, I join President Trump and all Americans in wishing President Biden and his new administration the best of luck during this challenging time in American history. Further, while I was in Washington this week, I took the opportunity to thank members of the Virginia National Guard who have been serving in our Nation’s capital during the inauguration, and I expressed outrage at their relegation to parking garages following the conclusion of the events. Additionally, I began the 117th Congress by reaffirming my commitment to the sanctity of life and to defending the Second Amendment. As the new Administration begins, I will continue fighting for the people of Virginia’s Sixth District.

Inauguration:
On Wednesday, I attended the Inauguration of President Joe Biden out of respect for the office of the Presidency and to commemorate the peaceful transfer of power that has become a cornerstone of our American Republic. However, we must forge beyond this moment in history to meet the short and long-term challenges facing our country. As I have for the last two years, I will continue to support fiscal responsibility and reducing burdensome regulations, defeating the COVID-19 virus while getting Americans back to work and back in school, securing our borders, and supporting our brave men and women in uniform. After four years of progress, we cannot afford a third term of the Obama era’s failed policies. Already, the Biden Administration has announced a first-day agenda that will drag our country backward during a time in which our Nation desperately needs to move forward. With Democrats controlling both Chambers of Congress and the White House, I will continue to strongly advocate for the commonsense conservative values of the citizens of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

Thanking the Guard:
While in Washington this week, I took the opportunity to thank members of the Virginia National Guard who have been deployed in Washington, D.C. these past two weeks. These civilian soldiers put their daily lives on hold in order to serve our country, and we are grateful to them for ensuring the safety and security of everyone attending the Inauguration of President Joe Biden. Whether battling forest fires in California, aiding hurricane relief efforts in Louisiana, or helping quell unrest in our cities this summer, the National Guard continues to live up to its motto of being Always Ready, Always There. Our Nation is forever grateful for their service and sacrifice here at home and in harm’s way across the world.

Sadly, these heroes stationed at the Capitol have not been treated with the respect they deserve. Following the inauguration, Guardsmen were ordered out of the Capitol complex into a nearby parking garage. While I was pleased that this situation was quickly remedied, it should never have happened in the first place. That is why I joined my colleagues in writing to the Capitol Police requesting an explanation as to what initiated this action. We must ensure our men and women in uniform are never simply used as pawns to be discarded again. To read the full letter, please click here.

Standing Up for Life:
This week marked 48 years since Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since 1973, more than 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. One of the very first bills I signed onto in the 117th Congress works toward that end. The Protecting Life in Crisis Act would prevent federal funds allocated in COVID-19 relief legislation from being used for abortions or abortion coverage. The bill would extend existing Hyde Amendment protections to any coronavirus health care provisions, and prevent federal tax credits from being used to cover post-employment health care premiums (COBRA) that include abortion coverage.

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 from Susan B. Anthony List, one of the Nation’s most prominent pro-life organizations.

As the organization stated last year, “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.”

Supporting the Second Amendment:
Whether in Richmond or Washington, I have always been a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. That is why I earned an “A+” rating from the NRA last term, and I will remain an advocate for the Second Amendment in the 117th Congress. As evidence of this, the first piece of legislation I cosponsored in this term was H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This bill affirms that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed firearms in one state can carry in other states that allow residents to do so. Because some states refuse to allow their citizens to fully exercise their Second Amendment rights, concealed carry reciprocity is needed to protect the constitutional rights of millions of law-abiding citizens across America. I look forward to supporting this important legislation, as well as similar bills intended to protect citizens’ rights.

IRS Update:
The Internal Revenue Service announced this week that the agency will not start accepting federal tax returns until February 12. This decision was made to allow the IRS time to do additional programming and testing of agency systems following the December 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits. Further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS is urging all Americans to file their taxes online this year to ensure taxpayers receive their refunds in a timely manner. To learn more, click here.

COVID-19 Update:
I continue to be disappointed with Governor Northam’s inadequate roll out and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine across the Commonwealth. Currently, only 34% of Virginia residents have received the vaccine, which, percentage-wise, is the 49th worst in the country. And despite setting a goal of inoculating 50,000 Virginians a day, that number has fallen woefully short and stands at only 16,000. Further, the Governor has prioritized urban centers above rural areas in the Sixth District, which is unacceptable. As the federal government considers the rate at which states are administering vaccines to determine the next allotment of doses, I implore the Governor to take the steps necessary to correct this situation.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Warner Weekly Wrap-Up: Presiding

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Shortly after the inauguration, the Senate got to work confirming Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, and today confirmed Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as Defense Secretary – the first Black American to run the department.

Sen. Warner also presided over the Senate today for the first time in the 117th Congress. With Democrats in the majority, you can expect to see Sen. Warner holding the Senate gavel from time to time, in addition to the gavel of the Senate Intelligence Committee, where he will be Chairman.

This and more in your Warner Weekly Wrap-Up:

FOURTY SIX
At noon on Wednesday, former Vice President Joe Biden became the 46th President of the United States, while Kamala Harris became the first woman, first Black American, and first person of South Asian descent to become Vice President.

Prior to the inauguration, Sen. Warner appeared on CNBC to talk about what lies ahead for this administration, which inherits a crippled economy and the greatest public health crisis in generations, on top of a host of other threats including one of the worst cyber hacks in history.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Sen. Warner expressed optimism at President Biden’s ability to lead and address the health and economic crisis. He also emphasized the importance of ensuring that vaccine distribution is rolled out appropriately and the next COVID-19 relief package is able to deliver relief to the American people.

AVRIL HAINES
In a win for national security, the Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to confirm Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence, making her the first woman to lead the nation’s Intelligence Community.

Prior to the vote, and after participating in open and classified hearings with Ms. Haines, Sen. Warner – the incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support the Haines nomination. You can watch that speech by clicking here.

After the Senate voted to confirm by a vote of 84 to 10, Sen. Warner praised the decision in a statement, saying:

“Given the critical importance of the role of the Director of National Intelligence to our country’s security, it is appropriate that Avril Haines has now become the first member of the new administration to be confirmed by the Senate in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. After being deliberately undermined for four years, the Intelligence Community deserves a strong, Senate-confirmed leader to lead and reinvigorate it. I am confident Ms. Haines will serve capably and honorably in the role and I look forward to working with her.”

You can expect Sen. Warner to continue working with his Senate colleagues to get President Biden the cabinet he needs to get the economy back on track and the COVID-19 crisis under control.

HONORING MLK
In honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Sen. Warner on Monday joined Shiloh Baptist Church volunteers to help assemble and distribute supplies to donate to 500 local families. This comes as Virginians continue to rely on food pantries and food banks to help them weather the current economic crisis. You can read more about this in FOX 5 by clicking here or below.

Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate of expanded access to food assistance for families in the Commonwealth amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier today, he announced his intent to reintroduce legislation to allow the federal government to pay 100 percent of the cost to states and localities so that they can partner with restaurants and nonprofits to prepare nutritious meals for vulnerable populations, such as seniors and underprivileged children.

He has previously put pressure on the USDA to formally authorize Virginia’s request to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot Program, successfully pushed USDA to waive a requirement that made it more difficult for families to receive USDA-reimbursable meals, and secured a USDA designation that allows food banks to distribute food directly to Virginia families in need while limiting interactions between food bank staff, volunteers, and recipients. Additionally, in August, Sen. Warner successfully pushed for USDA to extend critical food waivers to help make sure students have access to nutritious meals while school districts participate in distance learning.

In the COVID-19 relief package signed into law last month, Sen. Warner fought to include his legislation to help hard-hit minority communities and businesses weather the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Provisions of the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act, which makes the largest single investment into minority-owned and community-based lending institutions in the nation’s history, will help bring targeted relief to communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Additionally, the relief package provides $13 billion in nutrition assistance, including a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits.

GRAB BAG
· PRECAUTIONS: Ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration, Vice Chairman Warner and Acting Senate Intelligence Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter requesting information from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe regarding the Intelligence Community’s preparations for the inauguration on January 20, 2021.

· BRIDGE CLOSURES: Sen. Warner, along with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, and Jennifer Wexton (all D-VA), issued a statement on the agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States Secret Service (USSS) authorizing the use of Virginia State Police assets, resources, and personnel, to assist with the closure of bridges spanning the Potomac River during the 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

· TREASURY: Sen. Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released a statement in support of the nomination of Janet Yellen to be Secretary of the Treasury.

WEEK AHEAD
The Senate will be in session next week, holding hearings on more of President Biden’s cabinet nominees and preparing to receive the impeachment articles from the House of Representatives. Sen. Warner is expected to participate in a number of Zooms including with the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Public Lands Alliance. He is also expected to host a webinar with Virginia small businesses, so keep an eye on your inbox for an advisory.

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New Administration, New Congress

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This last week, the world saw the historic inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

After the January 6th attack on our nation’s Capitol, I know many were worried about our inauguration. But we showed ourselves and countries around the world that America could come back from that day and continue our critical tradition of a peaceful transfer of power. Amid an incredibly dark winter, Wednesday’s inauguration offered all Americans a bright moment they can feel proud of.

Now, as we enter an era with a new Administration and a new Congress, we can and must work together to get things done for the betterment of our country.

Here are some of my priorities for this Congress:

• COVID relief – My top priority is working with the Biden-Harris Administration to pass a comprehensive plan to better address the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes speeding up vaccination efforts and delivering direct relief to those hit hardest

• Broadband access – We’ve learned living through this pandemic how important it is to expand broadband access so that telehealth, virtual education, and keeping in touch with family is available for Americans in every corner of the country

• Infrastructure – Whether it’s the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel, I-81, or Metro and rail service, an infrastructure bill would have enormous benefits throughout Virginia that both sides of the aisle can work towards

• Job training – As Americans face massive unemployment numbers, I’m working hard to pass legislation like my JOBS Act to get people access to training and fill millions of jobs

• Expanding health care – Rather than having to constantly defend health care access from being stripped away, we can now focus on expanding and improving access to affordable, quality insurance like I’ll plan to do with my Medicare-X legislation, which establishes a public plan to offer Americans more quality and affordable options

I’m thrilled to get straight to work with both the White House and my colleagues on behalf of all Virginians and deliver the meaningful legislation our communities deserve.

Sincerely,

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 13, 2021

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Above the entrance to the House of Representatives is a sculpture called the “Apotheosis of Democracy.” This piece of artwork, sculpted in 1916 by Paul Wayland Bartlett, has at its center the figure of allegorical Peace, who is dressed in armor and is depicted protecting the Genius of America. Last week, that peace was tragically disturbed as our U.S. Capitol was invaded for the first time since the War of 1812. A violent mob, including many with hostile intentions, broke past security barriers and unleashed destruction and chaos throughout the Capitol complex. When it was over, five individuals were dead, including a Capitol Police officer and an Air Force veteran from San Diego, California. While I have always supported the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, those who breached the Capitol and assaulted Capitol Police officers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Remembering Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick

Elizabeth and I were heartbroken to learn of the passing of Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who sustained a fatal injury while engaging rioters at the Capitol last week. Officer Sicknick grew up in New Jersey, and he enlisted in the National Guard in 1997. He deployed to Saudi Arabia and Kyrgyzstan, and he joined the Capitol Police in 2008. He cared for rescued Dachshunds in his spare time and cheered for the New Jersey Devils hockey team. Our Nation mourns the loss of Officer Sicknick, who gave his life in defense of the People’s House.

Condemning Political Violence:
As we continue to mourn the loss of life at the U.S. Capitol, I hope all of us across the ideological spectrum would come together to condemn all forms of political violence, rather than just condemning the violence on one side or the other. Whether I was Tweeting against the violence in Charlottesville, denouncing the BLM/ANTIFA riots this summer, or condemning the mob this week that entered the U.S. Capitol, I have been consistent in my position that violence is not the answer. I hope everyone, regardless of his or her political background, will reject violence and support civil dialogue so that we can more effectively address the pressing issues facing our Nation. Whether in Richmond, or in Washington, that is how I have always approached my job as your representative, and it’s my pledge to you as we continue to move forward during this challenging time.

Electoral College:
Reports indicate that some of the individuals who broke into the Capitol were seeking to disrupt the counting of Electoral College votes cast on December 14. If true, these individuals were engaged in and should be prosecuted for, insurrection against the government of the United States. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution states that “The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.” A separate statute, the Electoral Count Act of 1887, mandates that the count occurs on January 6 at 1:00 PM. The Capitol was closed to the public due to the coronavirus, but as the count was taking place, invaders broke windows and forced open doors. While they did temporarily delay the count, Congress reconvened later that night to finish the count and perform its duty as required under the Constitution. Ultimately, Joseph Biden’s election by the Electoral College on December 14 was confirmed by Vice-President Mike Pence, and he will be inaugurated as President next week on January 20, 2021. President Trump has said he is working toward a smooth transition to the new administration, and I am committed to working with President-elect Biden on potential areas of agreement in the upcoming 117th Congress.

Swearing In:
It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the residents of Virginia’s Sixth District in Congress, and I was honored to be sworn into a second term last week. When I took office in January 2019, my staff and I hit the ground running not only pursuing legislative initiatives that would benefit area residents but also in assisting folks to deal with federal agencies to ensure they received the federal benefits they have earned. Over the course of these past two years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to connect with hundreds of thousands of constituents and visit with so many of the groups and places that make our region special. As we begin the 117th Congress, know that I will continue to advocate for conservative values like defending the Constitution, promoting fiscal responsibility, protecting the sanctity of life, defending the Second Amendment, securing our borders, and lifting regulatory burdens on businesses and farmers.

COVID-19 Update:
While I am pleased that several COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the country, I have been very disappointed in Virginia’s distribution plan and slow roll out across the Commonwealth. According to the CDC, Virginia’s current vaccination rate of 23% is the fifth-worst in the country, trailing only behind Kansas, Georgia, Arizona, and Louisiana. This is unacceptable, and changes must be made. With 8.5 million people in the Commonwealth, I hope Governor Ralph Northam can at the very least meet his goal of distributing 25,000 vaccines a week, rather than the 14,000 currently being allocated. With the new appointment of Dr. Danny TK Avula, Director of the Richmond and Henrico health districts, to lead the vaccination effort in Virginia, I am hopeful that the distribution of this important vaccine can get on track.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – January 4, 2021

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The 116th Congress adjourned this week, and it has certainly been one for the history books. Beginning in January 2019 in the middle of a government shutdown, we should’ve known it would be a session full of challenges. It was an honor to be appointed to the Judiciary and Education Committees during my freshman term, and I hit the ground running in pushing policy initiatives that would benefit our community and advance the values that I was sent to Washington for which to fight. Further, my office worked tirelessly to provide critical constituent services on behalf of residents of Virginia’s Sixth District. Whether helping folks deal with the impact of the COVID-19 virus, assisting with a federal agency, or facilitating tour and flag requests, I have made every effort to make myself and staff available to the citizens of our District. Through town hall meetings, community events, mobile office hours, and direct outreach, I have been able to connect with hundreds of thousands of area residents. It has truly been an honor to serve the people of the Sixth District, and I am returning to Washington this week in the 117th Congress with the same passion to move this country forward and advocate for those whom I am blessed to represent.

Passing Legislation:
Navigating Washington as a freshman Member of Congress can often be tricky. However, my staff and I committed ourselves to build relationships on both sides of the aisle and pursuing commonsense conservative legislation that could make it through both Chambers of Congress, despite facing a politically divided government. These efforts culminated in 6 bills being signed into law that I either introduced myself or co-introduced with a Member of the majority party. Below please find a list of the legislation I have championed that has become law.

• LEGION Act — expands American Legion membership criteria to include all honorably discharged veterans who served during unrecognized times of war.

• Small Business Reorganization Act — simplifies the process for small businesses to use bankruptcy as a means of reorganization, helping them to keep their doors open, employees on payroll, and suppliers and vendors paid.

• National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act — ensures that certain members of the National Guard and Reserves who fall on hard economic times after returning from active duty deployment will continue to obtain bankruptcy relief without having to fill out the substantial paperwork required by the so-called “means test” under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

• Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act — creates a process within the Copyright Office to provide for an efficient and less expensive forum for small creators to better enforce their rights.

• Danger Pay for US Marshals Act — ensures US Marshals qualify for danger pay in certain countries as do employees of other federal law enforcement agencies.

• National George C. Marshall Museum — designates the ‘George C. Marshall Museum’ as the ‘National George C. Marshall Museum’.

Cosponsoring Legislation:
In addition to legislation I have introduced myself, I have sought to sign onto bills and resolutions that if passed would serve the best interests of Sixth District residents. While I have cosponsored bills that promote conservative values like protecting the sanctity of life, defending the Second Amendment, securing our borders, lifting the regulatory burden on businesses and farmers, putting America first, and promoting fiscal responsibility, I have also worked tirelessly to reach across the aisle. In fact, over 80 percent of legislation I have introduced or co-led has included members of both parties as cosponsors. As we begin the 117th Congress, I will continue to seek out opportunities to cosponsor legislation that will benefit our region. For a full list of legislation I have cosponsored, click here.

Working on Your Behalf:
While the work that occurs in Washington is important, one of the most vital functions of a Member of Congress’ office is helping folks in the District. The staff in my District offices in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Roanoke, and Lynchburg are committed to hearing constituents’ questions, comments, and concerns, and are also dedicated to helping folks deal with the Federal Government. If you cannot get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, our office may be able to help resolve the problem or get you the information you need. If you ever need help dealing with a federal agency, whether it be the Department of Veterans Affairs, IRS, State Department, or any other, please know that my office is here to help. Since January of 2019, my staff and I have worked to close more than 3,000 cases and fought to ensure constituents receive their benefits. To request help with a federal agency, please click here.

Accessible to You:
Reaching from Front Royal in the North to Lynchburg and Roanoke in the South, Virginia’s Sixth District stretches nearly 200 miles long, which is larger than most Congressional Districts across the country. In order to accommodate the size, I opened four District offices at the beginning of my term. However, in an effort to make my staff even more available to constituents, my office regularly hosted Mobile Office Hours prior to the pandemic and will again do so when it is safe. During Mobile Office Hours, my staff travel to localities throughout the District on a rotating basis and meet with constituents to listen to questions, comments, or concerns, as well as help with any issues with the Federal Government. To date, my office has held 130 Mobile Office Hours. To stay up to date on where and when these events will occur, sign up for my newsletter here.

Holding Town Halls:
Hearing directly from constituents is why I promised to hold town halls throughout the Sixth District during my campaign. I kept my word, and since being elected I have hosted 25 town halls – with at least one being held in each locality throughout the District. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was on track to hold the second one in each locality, but unfortunately, that plan was hindered due to state-mandated restrictions on public gatherings. I hope to continue these sorts of in-person forums in the future, but for now, virtual events remain the best option to connect directly with constituents on a larger scale and ensure that their voices are heard in Washington. For that reason, beginning in March, I started hosting telephone town halls. Since then, I have hosted seven such events and between in-person and telephone town halls, I have held 32 forums during my first term in Congress. I plan to host additional events in the near future. As we continue to navigate this pandemic, I will continue to make myself available as your representative.

Corresponding With Constituents:
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees citizens the right to petition their Government for a redress of grievances. Therefore, as your Congressman, one of the greatest responsibilities I have is to listen to the concerns of my constituents and provide responses to those who contact my office. Over the course of the past two years, thousands of Sixth District residents have called, emailed, and written to my office with questions and comments. To date, my office has responded to 155,527 constituent inquires. My staff and I pride ourselves on providing timely and thorough responses to address the issues brought to our attention by those we serve. If you would like to express your thoughts on a matter before Congress, please click here.

Meeting With Constituents:
In a representative democracy, having an open dialogue with your elected officials is critically important. Therefore, in order to best serve the interests of the Sixth District, I take regular meetings with constituents both in Washington and in the District. These opportunities allow me to better understand the issues most important to folks in our area and enables me to ensure their views are arcuately represented in Congress. Since January 3, 2019, I have taken 615 meetings with constituents and advocacy groups, which have been invaluable during my tenure. And while in-person meetings have certainly slowed down since March, these have been supplemented with regular Zoom and Skype meetings. If you would like to schedule a meeting, please do not hesitate to reach out by clicking here for a meeting in DC or here for a meeting in the District.

Out and About in the Community:
Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of serving as Congressman for the Sixth District is traveling throughout our region and meeting great folks along the way. I have been honored to participate in various community events from the day I took office. Whether touring local businesses or farms, attending ribbon cuttings for new opportunities helped by federal assistance, volunteering with charitable organizations, or visiting service groups like Rotary or Kiwanis for their monthly meetings, I have been so grateful for the opportunity to experience so many of the different groups and places that make the Sixth District special. From Roanoke and Lynchburg to Bath and Highland to Shenandoah and Warren, I have enjoyed visiting nearly every corner of our District. Throughout my first term, despite nearly ten months of government restrictions on public gatherings, I have still managed to attend 234 events throughout our community. I look forward to continuing my travels throughout the District in the 117th Congress.

Visiting With Students:
Since taking office, it has been a priority of mine to meet with students across the region. It has been a pleasure engaging with these bright young minds who will soon be tomorrow’s leaders. As they prepare for the next steps in their lives, whether that be college, joining the military, or entering the workforce, I wish to instill in them the importance of service to others. Since being sworn in, I have had the pleasure of visiting 42 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as colleges and universities. Whether it’s reading House Mouse, Senate Mouse to youngsters, or discussing the issues of the day with older government classes, I always appreciate the opportunity to foster the value of public service within our District’s youth.

Service Academy Nominations:
One of the greatest honors I have serving as the Representative for Virginia’s Sixth District is the privilege of nominating individuals to one of four United States Service Academies. Applicants to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy require a recommendation from a Member of Congress or another nominating authority. An academy appointment has an estimated value of over $400,000 and admission is competitive. Each academy selects nominees based on moral character, scholastic achievement, physical fitness, leadership, and college admission test scores. I make it a priority to meet with each qualified individual who requests a nomination, and to date, have nominated 16 individuals to the U.S. Service Academies. Those that I have had the pleasure of meeting during this process are truly some of the best and brightest of their generation. The passion for service and love of country that these students often exude is truly inspiring. If you are interested in applying to a U.S. Service Academy, please click here.

Booking Tours:
Our Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC provides visitors with numerous opportunities to explore and experience the many facets of history, culture, and government that the city has to offer. One of the many services in which my office provides is helping constituents book and arrange tours throughout Washington. My tour coordinator will work to help ensure your visit to Washington is enjoyable. My office can help you book tours of the Capitol Building, White House, Smithsonian museums, and many other federal buildings. In the past two years, my office has arranged tours for more than 560 families from the Sixth District. While most tours in Washington remain suspended due to COVID-19, click here to learn more about tour options.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
29
Fri
12:30 pm Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Edu... @ Online Event
Jan 29 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education @ Online Event
Save a Life: Free REVIVE! Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education January 29th The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative and Northwestern Community Services Board will offer a free virtual REVIVE! Training on January 29th from 12:30 pm to[...]
Jan
30
Sat
2:00 pm Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
Jan 30 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Paint Camellias with The Studio @ The Studio - A Place for Learning
We will paint these beautiful camellias on Saturday, January 30th at 2 pm at The Studio. This will be the first in a series of floral paintings we will do over the course of 2021.[...]
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
6:00 pm Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Jan 30 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Robert Burns Night 2021 @ Virginia Beer Museum
Known in medieval Celtic culture as a storyteller, verse maker, and composer, the word ‘Bard’ has become synonymous with the world’s greatest poets. However, few are as celebrated as Scotland’s own ‘National Bard’, Robert Burns,[...]
Feb
9
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 9 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
11
Thu
6:30 pm Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 11 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
13
Sat
6:00 pm Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Parent’s Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Feb 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Parent's Night Out @ Code Ninjas
Help Code Ninjas Front Royal celebrate our Grand Opening! We are hosting our first Parent’s Night Out! $35 per child, space limited to 5! – Drop them off. Go have fun. Just remember to pick[...]
Feb
15
Mon
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 15 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Feb
16
Tue
10:00 am Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
Feb 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training @ Online Event
The Warren Coalition, in partnership with Northwestern Prevention Collaborative, will offer area residents two opportunities to take a free, virtual Course 1 Trauma-Informed Training in February. This course is designed to provide information about identifying[...]
Feb
17
Wed
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Feb 17 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]