Following last week’s crisis of passing a Continuing Resolution, the thirteenth since I came to Congress, the House once again passed legislation increasing the debt limit, while claiming their manufactured crisis demanded acquiescence. Further, when the Senate acts on the measure, we will be back in Washington to finalize the increase. Operating under these sorts of circumstances is simply not how Congress should operate. And while it’s doubtful, I hope the Speaker uses this additional session day to vote on the bipartisan legislation passed in the Senate on Wednesday to nullify President Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate. We also saw the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirm this week what we already knew, that the Democrats Build Back Bankrupt plan will cost $5 trillion.
Also, this week, I had the opportunity to meet with Governor-Elect Youngkin, along with the rest of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, to discuss ways in which we can benefit the lives of all who call the Commonwealth home. Additionally, I was pleased to recognize the Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the end of the month. Following next week’s session, I look forward to spending the next few weeks traveling the District meeting with those who I am honored to represent.
The American people deserve a transparent and bipartisan legislative process – but that’s not what they are receiving. Unfortunately, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle intentionally manufacture crises by waiting until deadlines are immediately upon us before addressing the issue at hand. When Congress is up against a deadline, it gives the Democrat Majority leverage to limit opposition and allows them to ram bad bills through this House – claiming it was a necessity. The Left has done it with multiple Continuing Resolutions, they did it with the Surface Transportation Reauthorization, and now, after having already punted responsibility once on the issue, they are doing it again on raising the debt ceiling. The House is poised to vote on raising the debt ceiling this coming Tuesday, just one day before the United States will default on its debt. We must stop creating fires like this where none should exist. Democrats legislating in this manner creates uncertainty and spooks the market, which contributes to the Biden Economic crisis and soaring energy costs. For our economy to truly recover, we must ensure the government is working efficiently and effectively on behalf of the American people.
As businesses struggle to find employees and grocery store shelves sit empty, President Biden should be doing everything possible to encourage Americans to show up to work. Instead, his Administration plans to implement an unconstitutional vaccine mandate beginning January 4, 2022, that would force millions of Americans out of work based on a health care decision. This is unacceptable as the federal government should never force individuals to choose between their job and a shot.
Fortunately, steps are being taken to combat this government invasiveness. on the judicial side, federal courts have paused the President’s vaccine mandate in several jurisdictions. Most recently, a federal judge in Georgia issued a ruling that halts vaccine mandates nationwide for federal contractors. While victories in the courts are a big step in the right direction, legislative action is also necessary to ensure the rights of Americans are not violated. That is why this week I was pleased to see the Senate pass a bipartisan bill that would nullify President Biden’s mandate in its entirety.
It is my hope that Speaker Pelosi will soon follow suit. However, until that time I will continue fighting against this government overreach to protect our citizens, and most importantly, Sixth District residents. Below are several pieces of legislation I have cosponsored on the matter.
• HR 5860 – Keeping Our COVID19 HEROES Employed Act
o This bill would exempt essential workers from COVID-19 vaccine mandates imposed by the federal government, a public or private federal contractor, a private entity receiving federal funds, or a private entity receiving COVID-19 relief funds appropriated by Congress.
• HR 3860 – Military COVID Vaccine
o This bill would prohibit the use of federal funds to require a member of the Armed Forces to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The bill also prohibits adverse action (e.g., punishment) being taken against a member of the Armed Forces because the member refuses to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
• HR 5892 – Our Veterans Earned It Act
o This bill would ensure that no service member loses their VA benefits for choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
• HJ Res 65 – Congressional Review Act Resolution
o This resolution would nullify OSHA’s emergency temporary standard mandating vaccines for private-sector employers.
• HR 5811 – No Vaccine Mandate Act
o Amends the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2022 to prohibit the use of funds related to any rule requiring a COVID-19 vaccination.
Build Back Broke:
President Biden told the American people for months that his Far-Left Socialist Spending Spree, known as the Build Back Better Act (BBB) was fully paid for. That was a lie. On Friday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the true cost of the massive Build Back Bankrupt bill. According to the CBO, if the 150+ new programs and expansions in Biden’s bill were made permanent, it would cost Americans $4.9 trillion, and add more than $3 trillion to the deficit. And make no mistake about it, President Biden and Democrats fully intend to make these 150+ new programs and expansions permanent. At a time when Americans are facing an inflation rate that hasn’t been this high since 1982, artificially injecting trillions into the U.S. economy is the exact opposite of what we should be doing and will only cause prices to increase even more.
Fighting for Virginia:
Once a month the entire Virginia congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats, come together to share lunch and ideas. While we may often disagree on policy, these forums allow us to build better working relationships with one another that can be beneficial on nonpartisan issues. This week, we welcomed Governor-Elect Youngkin to our monthly lunch. This was a great opportunity to discuss ways in which we can work together at the state and federal levels to benefit the lives of those who are fortunate enough to call the Commonwealth home. One issue I discussed at length with the Governor-Elect was vaccine mandates. We both agreed that mandates would be harmful to both Virginia employers and employees. Further, we had a good conversation about the importance of lowering taxes to help promote economic growth and keep more money in folks’ pockets. I look forward to keeping the line of communication open with the Governor-Elect over the next four years to make certain we are both serving our constituencies well.
While I strongly support our troops and believe they should have every necessary resource to ensure their and our country’s safety, I could not support this year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). First and foremost, the legislation fails to hold the Pentagon or anyone in the Biden Administration accountable for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths of 13 brave Americans. Further, the NDAA passed through Congress continued to fund policies that attempt to racially divide our troops allowing them to be little more than social experiments. Moreover, the bill wastes taxpayer funds to advance the Green New Deal through climate literacy trainings and mandates certain military instillations to achieve energy, water, and waste net-zero by 2035 – marking yet another political provision included in the legislation. The NDAA also fails to protect the constitutional rights of our service members by allowing them to be discharged for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. No service member should be forced out of the military for making a personal health care decision. For these reasons, in addition to the fact that Members of Congress were given less than a day to review the 2,100-page bill text, I could not in good conscious support the NDAA. However, rest assured that I will continue to fight on behalf of our men and women in uniform at every opportunity I am given.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County:
This week I took to the House Floor to recognize the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary on December 21st. Since its founding in 1995, this organization has grown from just one location to now more than seven throughout the region. For the past two and a half decades, they have strived to ensure children in the Shenandoah Valley have a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment to call home after school. They are committed to fulfilling their mission to help mold our region’s youth into productive, caring, responsible citizens through programs focused on academic success, healthy lifestyles, good character, and citizenship. Serving more than 900 kids annually, ages five to eighteen, for the past quarter-century, the positive contribution the group has had on the Valley’s youth is immeasurable. I congratulate the organization on its first 25 years of success and wish them many more. Our community is forever grateful for all they do.
This week in Virginia there was an average of 27.6 cases of COVID-19 per every 100,000 residents. This is up from an average of 18.3 cases from one week prior. This week’s positivity rate was 8.1%, up from 6.8% from last week. For more information, click here.
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.
Warner & Kaine statement on bipartisan bill commemorate Moton Museum in Farmville becoming law
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 12, 2022, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after their bipartisan bill to commemorate historic sites that catalyzed litigation leading to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, was signed into law by President Biden:
“We’re excited our legislation to commemorate the Moton Museum in Farmville and other historic sites associated with the Brown v. Board of Education decision was signed into law today by President Biden,” said Senators Warner and Kaine. “This bill will preserve the site and help ensure future generations can learn about its significance, as well as the history of Barbara Johns, who led her classmates in a protest against school segregation at the Moton School.”
The Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park Expansion and Redesignation Act will expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas and designate National Park Service (NPS) Affiliated Areas in Delaware, South Carolina, Kansas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Specifically, it will recognize the Moton Museum, formerly the Robert Russa Moton High School, in Farmville, Virginia, where Barbara Johns led a protest against school segregation and demanded better conditions for Black students. This designation would help protect the site.
The 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka transformed the United States, overruling Plessy v. Ferguson and striking down school segregation as unconstitutional. The Brown decision was a major catalyst of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
The bill unanimously passed the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) led the Senate version of the bill. Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC 6) led companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Senators Warner and Kaine secured $500,000 in funding for critical facility upgrades at the Moton Museum in Farmville through the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, and supported efforts to honor Barbara Johns as one of Virginia’s two statues in the United States Capitol.
U.S. Senator Mark Warner: Senate’s failure to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, released the statement below after voting for a procedural motion to advance legislation to codify reproductive rights into law. The legislation failed to move forward by a vote of 49-51 after falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to open debate on the bill.
“I’m gravely concerned by the Senate’s failure to codify Roe. For almost 50 years, women have had the right to make private medical decisions about their own reproductive health. If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe soon, women in many states will be stripped of their right to a safe abortion – including in cases of sexual assault, incest, or high-risk pregnancies. This is not what the majority of Virginians or Americans support, and it sets an extremely dangerous precedent for rolling back established rights. I’m extremely disappointed that the Senate chose inaction, but I’ll keep supporting measures to allow women to access the care they need.”
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – May 9, 2022
While I was home in Virginia this week for District Work Period, it was still a busy few days policy-wise. The week began with an unprecedented leak from the Supreme Court. While I was disturbed by the violation of this sacred institution’s confidentiality, I am hopeful that the court reaffirms the sanctity of life when it rules on Roe v. Wade later this summer. Further, this week, I introduced legislation with my colleagues to defund the Biden Administration’s recently announced “Disinformation Governance Board,” which is a gross federal overreach and an assault on the First Amendment. Additionally, I was pleased that the Department of Interior responded to calls from me and other Members of Congress to resume Park Police escorts for the Honor Flight Network, an organization dedicated to bringing Veterans to the war memorials recognizing their service. Finally, as the United States continues to face an economic downturn, I visited several small businesses and with other groups to ensure the voices of Sixth District residents are heard in Washington. It is an honor to serve the people of western Virginia, and I will continue fighting for the values that make our region a great place to live and raise a family.
Recently, in an unprecedented moment for the Supreme Court, a draft opinion was leaked, which indicates the High Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This leak is of great concern, as the judicial process must be non-political and always be rooted in the letter of the law. A breach of this nature undermines the confidence the American people have in the Supreme Court, it erodes the trust the Justices have in one another, and it hurts the confidentiality necessary for the Court to discuss cases before them. This was a disgraceful attempt to leverage public pressure to influence the Justices, and it will now be used by the Left to try to end the filibuster and pack the Court with radical liberals. With that said, I will always seek to protect the sanctity of life, and I hope and pray that the Supreme Court will do so when it rules on the case later this year.
The Biden Administration’s decision to create a Disinformation Governance Board, or probably better known as the ‘Ministry of Truth,’ is dystopian in design, almost certainly unconstitutional, and clearly doomed from the start. The government has no role whatsoever in determining what constitutes permissible truth or acceptable speech, and further, the President’s choosing of Nina Jankowicz to serve as the Board’s Executive Director is of equal concern. Jankowicz, who refers to herself as the “Mary Poppins of Disinformation,” is a frequent purveyor of falsehoods, and appears sympathetic to the cause of censoring Americans. President Biden should dissolve this Board immediately, but assuming he won’t do so, my colleagues and I introduced legislation this week to bar federal tax dollars from funding it. Additionally, several Members of Congress also wrote to the Secretary of Homeland Security expressing our concerns that this Board’s creation is an alarming attempt by the Biden Administration to use the Department as a political tool. The full letter can be found here.
Honor Flight Network:
Since its founding in 2005, the Honor Flight Network has taken more than 250,000 World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and terminally ill Veterans on an all-expense-paid trip to visit our Nation’s capital. Veterans visit – many for the first time – the very war memorials dedicated to their service to our country. During these trips, Veterans share memories and accounts from their time in service, pay tribute to their lost comrades, and build important bonds with fellow participants. Honor Flights Hubs meticulously plan these experiences to further the Honor Flight Network’s vision of a country where “all of America’s Veterans experience the honor, gratitude, and community of support they deserve.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the National Park Police halted their escorts of the groups’ buses. This made the trips far more difficult as parking near the memorials is limited, and many of the Veterans are handicapped. That is why my colleagues and I wrote to the Secretary of Interior requesting that Park Police once again be allowed to provide such escorts. Fortunately, following our letter, the decision was reversed, and escorts will resume on June 1. To read the full letter, click here.
Over the last two years, the CDC found the power to shut down the cruise ship industry, stop landlords from evicting tenants who had not paid their rent and required that people using public transportation wear masks. These actions were a gross federal overreach, and the CDC blatantly violated the law by using the Public Health Services Act as justification for these mandates. The interpretation of this statute was unconstitutional and egregious, and I recently asked Attorney General Garland why he was appealing a federal judge’s ruling specifically overturning the mask mandate.
President Joe Biden and House Democrats’ liberal policies and out-of-control government spending are driving the American economy off the cliff. Inflation is at a 40-year high, and according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, America’s GDP decreased at an annual rate of 1.4% in the first quarter of 2022. Instead of addressing the economic crisis they created, Biden and House Democrats continue to double down on their Far-Left policies and out-of-control spending. Gas prices have soared, grocery costs are through the roof, folks are spending more to heat/cool their homes, and now, interest rates are rising .5% – the highest one-time raise in over two decades. This means, on top of all of the other cost increases Americans are facing, folks will now pay more for home, auto, and business loans. Families are already struggling, and this is yet another example of how Biden’s broken economy will hurt their bottom lines.
Small Business Week:
As we celebrated National Small Business Week, I took time to visit small businesses in our area, such as Deb’s Frozen Lemonade in Cave Spring, to hear from owners like Keith Liles about how they’re handling the current economic downturn. Small businesses are vital to the economic success of our Nation, employing more than 61 million Americans or nearly 47% of the workforce. Further, small businesses create two-thirds of new jobs and deliver 43.5% of the United States’ GDP. As mom-and-pop shops continue to recover from COVID lockdowns and struggle to cope with inflation, I wanted to ensure I can take their concerns up to Washington. In Congress, I will continue fighting for pro-business policies that help spur economic growth.
As the Representative for Virginia’s Sixth District, one of my top priorities is making myself available to meet with constituents whether I’m here in the Commonwealth or in Washington. This week, I enjoyed visiting with small businesses, student groups, manufacturing facilities, and more.
Last week in Virginia, there was an average of 18.6 daily cases of COVID-19 per every 100,000 residents. This is up from an average of 15.3 cases from one week prior. This week’s positivity rate was 9.3%, up from an average of 7.8% last week. For more information, click here.
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.
Warner & Kaine applaud administration’s new efforts to lower internet costs
On May 9, 2022, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded President Biden’s announcement of new efforts to lower high-speed internet costs for Virginians and all Americans, including commitments from 20 internet providers to either increase speeds or cut prices to no more than $30/month for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)-eligible households. Warner and Kaine helped create the ACP, which was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Warner negotiated, and they both voted to pass. 1,908,000 or 23% of people in Virginia will be eligible for the ACP.
“We’ve made great progress in expanding broadband in Virginia, but too many Virginians still face challenges in accessing the internet due to high costs. These steps to lower internet costs for families are critical to address that gap. We’re glad the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help more families stay connected with friends and loved ones, access telehealth services, and find job and educational opportunities online,” said Senators Warner and Kaine.
Specifically, the ACP program provides a $30 per month discount, or $75 per month for households on tribal lands, for low-income families to use toward any internet service of their choosing. The commitments from the 20 internet providers will mean tens of millions of ACP-eligible households will receive high-speed internet at no cost. Households can also receive a one-time $100 discount for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Eligible households must have an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or have a family member that meets at least one of these criteria outlined by the Federal Communications Commission. Virginians can go to GetInternet.gov to sign up for the ACP and find participating providers in their area.
As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have long supported expanding broadband access in Virginia. During the pandemic, they secured significant funding for broadband through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the December 2020 government funding bill, which included COVID relief, and the American Rescue Plan. They also introduced legislation to help students access the internet at home. The Fiscal Year 2022 government funding bill supported by Warner and Kaine included $550 million to expand access to broadband and $450 million for the ReConnect program to help rural communities access the internet.
US Senator Mark Warner: Boeing announced their intent to relocate its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington.
Wheels up, Arlington! Sen. Warner revealed this week that his years of persuasion had paid off as Boeing announced their intent to relocate its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington. This move by Boeing, a leader in the aeronautics industry, represents the relocation of their corporate headquarters and their research and development hub, solidifying Virginia’s status as a leader in the “innovation ecosystem,” as Sen. Warner likes to say.
As a longtime advocate for this relocation, Sen. Warner lauded this announcement as both a short-term gain for Virginia’s prominence as a home for businesses but also a long-term investment in making Virginia a research and technology hub that could create even more jobs across the entire Commonwealth over the next several decades. Fortunately, this move is not expected to cause major population density changes in Arlington that might exacerbate local traffic or housing shortages.
In a statement on the decision, Sen. Warner said,
“For well over a year, I’ve been making my case to Boeing senior leadership that Virginia would be a great place for its headquarters, and late last year, I was happy to learn that my efforts were successful. As the former Governor of Virginia, I was proud to secure Virginia’s standing as the best state for business and the best-managed state, among other honors, and I’ve been proud to work in my role as Senator to help continue to cultivate the kind of pro-business environment that world-class companies like Boeing need to grow and thrive.”
U.S. Senator Mark Warner statement on the proposed change to Community Reinvestment Act regulations
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement after the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced a proposed change to regulations surrounding the Community Reinvestment Act:
“I am pleased that federal banking agencies worked together to produce this joint notice of proposed rulemaking to modernize and strengthen their regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA is one of the best tools we have to drive investments in underserved and underbanked communities, but it needs to be updated to reflect the fundamental changes we have seen in the banking sector since 1995, the last time there were significant revisions to the rules. As a former entrepreneur, I understand how important access to capital is to start a business and build wealth. Ensuring broader access to affordable credit, whether it’s to buy a house, start a business, or pay for emergency expenses, is vital to address inequalities and close the racial wealth gap. I look forward to reviewing the proposed rule in coordination with all stakeholders to ensure we end up with a strengthened, 21st-century CRA that can continue to drive meaningful change in low- and moderate-income communities.”