Connect with us

Legislative Update

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

Published

on

The House was busy with activity this week and addressed a number of issues regarding the funding of both our government agencies and our military. Members also began unofficial discussions as to what a future coronavirus relief package might look like. And while nothing is set in stone, there are several priorities my colleagues and I would like to see included in any additional COVID-19 related bill. I also had the privilege this week to honor a member of the Virginia National Guard on the House Floor and had the opportunity to discuss some troubling developments surrounding the investigation by the Justice Department into abuses in the FBI and FISA Court process. No matter the issue, I will continue working to represent the values of the Sixth District and its residents.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
Ensuring that our service members have the necessary resources to do their jobs safely and effectively has always been a priority of mine. But in its current form, the FY2021 NDAA passed in the House this week circumvents the executive branch and limits the President’s authority to protect our national security interests both domestically and abroad. Further, Democrats included language in this bill that could strip military personnel of their Second Amendment Rights, while violating due process and limiting soldiers’ ability to protect themselves and their families. And further, the bill creates bureaucratic hoops that the Secretary of Defense must jump through in order to provide assistance to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in their ongoing efforts to secure the Southern Border. And while I could not vote for the House version of this legislation, I look forward to working with my colleagues, following Senate action, to pass a bill that makes certain our military has all that is needed to protect them, secure the Nation’s defense, and could actually be signed into law.

Honoring Captain Candice Bowen:
This week, I took to the House Floor to recognize Captain Candice Bowen who became the first woman to assume command of a Virginia National Guard infantry unit. She will lead the Woodstock-based Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. This command is well-deserved and her superiors say she has, “demonstrated the absolute ability to lead Soldiers in close combat.” I wish Captain Bowen the best of luck in this new role and know the soldiers in Bravo Company are in good hands.

The Horowitz Report:
The Horowitz Report found 17 significant errors and omissions by the FBI in their FISA warrant applications during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Further, the report confirms that the Bureau knew much of the information contained in the now-debunked ‘Steele Dossier’ “could not be corroborated; that certain allegations were inaccurate or inconsistent with information gathered by the Crossfire Hurricane team; and that the limited information that was corroborated related to time, location, and title information was publicly available.” Yet still, the FBI used this politically biased opposition research document to obtain warrants to surveil American citizens and a presidential campaign. Therefore, it is absurd that former FBI Director James Comey plans to release a book entitled ‘Saving Justice’. If he cared at all about justice and the Rule of Law, he would never have offered dubious evidence in the form of the Steele Dossier to the FISA Court.

Appropriations:
This week, the House began its annual appropriations process to fund our government’s various federal agencies. On Friday, we voted on a roughly 700-page bill specifically to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, State, and Veterans Affairs. While there were certain aspects of the legislation I could support, unfortunately, the bill contained numerous provisions that were either unacceptable or wholly unrelated to the agencies at hand. To start, the bill passed in the House jeopardizes our national security by prohibiting funds from being used to continue building the wall along our Southern Border and restricts the President’s ability to transfer funds to address the illegal immigration crisis. Further, the legislation overturns the Administration’s Mexico City Policy, which would allow international organizations to receive funding even if they perform abortions. Additionally, it removes conditions that promote transparency and accountability within organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization. And finally, the legislation hinders the United States’ ability to pursue true energy independence and places burdensome reporting regulations on farmers relating to greenhouse gasses. These are just a few of the reasons why I could not vote in favor of passing this bill.

COVID-19 Relief:
As Congress begins to discuss an additional COVID-19 relief package, there is not yet a clear consensus as to what would be included in such a bill. However, what is clear is that Congress must encourage small business growth and increased employment to ensure the long-term success and viability of our economy. Further, it is my hope that any future coronavirus related bill will include liability protection for businesses. With so many mom-and-pop shops already struggling, the last thing they should have to worry about as they reopen are frivolous lawsuits. Additionally, Congress must continue to make available the necessary resources to increase testing capabilities. And finally, we need to begin looking at ways to safely and securely reopen our schools in the fall. While remote learning was an acceptable alternative in the height of the pandemic, it is not suitable for our kids as a long-term option.

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

Share the News:

Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 25, 2020

Published

on

This week I had the privilege of chatting virtually with Sixth District residents like the Lucas Family of Roanoke to discuss their small business, as well as enjoyed in-person events in the Lynchburg area to cut the ribbon on the Blackwater Creek Trail Expansion and honor the Civil Air Patrol. Further, I was pleased to see Judge Amy Coney Barrett advance favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and was also thankful that the President signed into law two bills aimed at addressing mental health issues of both veterans and civilians. And finally, while there is not yet a consensus on an additional COVID-19 relief package, please know that I will keep you apprised should there be any developments. I have used the October District Work Period to stay in touch with folks here at home, and I look forward to continuing to travel the District discussing the issues that matter most to the citizens.

Supporting Local Pharmacies:
I had the opportunity to hear from Kayla Lucas, a pharmacy student, and her parents who own DownHome Pharmacy in Roanoke this week. We discussed Rutledge v. PCMA, a case recently heard by the Supreme Court, as well as other issues affecting their industry. The Lucas family explained that over the years they have seen reimbursements for prescriptions continuously drop, which has put a strain on local pharmacies all over the country. Ensuring transparency and patient access, while also ensuring that pharmacies, especially our local pharmacies, have easier access to the marketplace should be a priority. That is why last year I wrote to Secretary Azar of the Department of Health and Human Services to address this issue by expressing my strong support of provisions in the agency’s proposed rule, Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses, which would reform the use of pharmacy direct and indirect remuneration fees, or pharmacy price concessions, in the Medicare Part D program.

Blackwater Creek Trail Expansion:
It was an honor to be in Lynchburg this week to celebrate the renovation of the Langhorne Road Bridge and the extension of the Blackwater Creek Trail. As one of the most popular trails in Hill City, this extension adds to the many recreational opportunities that are available to the community and the surrounding region. I am pleased that this project was made possible with federal funding from the transportation alternatives set-aside which is part of the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program. This program allows communities across the country to invest locally in a variety of smaller-scale transportation projects, and I firmly believe that state and local leaders are best equipped to prioritize our Nation’s transportation needs. This event was another shining example of that. Long-term projects like this are only made possible when localities have a clear picture of future funding, which is why I will continue to be a vocal advocate for a bipartisan surface transportation bill that makes improvements to our country’s crumbling infrastructure.

Civil Air Patrol:
World War II was one of our Nation’s bloodiest conflicts, and for nearly four years Americans fought courageously around the world to secure peace and freedom for all. We thank those who served in the Armed Forces, but as President Roosevelt said, civilian efforts at home to support the War through personal sacrifice was as critical to winning the war as the efforts of the soldiers themselves. One such group of civilian unsung heroes were the 200,000 Americans who served in the Civil Air Patrol during the War. The Civil Air Patrol was critical to the defense of our homeland and partook in coastal patrol operations, convoy escorts, emergency transportation of military personnel, search and rescue missions, and nationwide emergency communications. For their efforts during the War, Congress awarded the Civil Air Patrol as a whole the Congressional Gold Medal in 2014, which any member who served during WWII is entitled to receive. And this week, it was my distinct honor to present this Medal to Mr. George “Rusty” Nichols of Madison Heights who volunteered for the Civil Air Patrol in 1944 at the age of 14. We thank him and all who selflessly served during a critical time of need for the Nation.

Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett:
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved advancing the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Senate Floor this coming week. I am sorry that Senate Judiciary Democrats chose not to show up to participate in the confirmation vote. Considering her qualifications, her judicial philosophy of being a Constitutionalist, and her earning a “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, I am confident that the Senate will confirm this exceptional jurist to the Supreme Court.

Promoting Mental Health:
Recently, the President signed into law two pieces of legislation aimed at addressing mental health issues. The first of the two bills is the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which addresses Veteran suicide by providing essential support to community-based organizations, expanding access to new therapies for behavioral health, increasing support for those with other than honorable discharges, and funding additional suicide prevention coordinators. Further, the President signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, which designates 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number of the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. Mental health advocates say 9-8-8, a simple three-digit number, will be easier for people to remember in the midst of a mental health emergency. Please note that the 9-8-8 number will not be operational until 2022. At this time, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Both pieces of legislation have the potential to save countless lives, and I was proud to support them on the House Floor.

COVID-19 Update:
People are hurting yet Speaker Pelosi chooses big cities and special interests over those most in need. Instead of seeking targeted relief to families and small businesses, the Speaker is trying to run out the clock hoping she can get the full $3.4 trillion passed by the House in the next Congress. While no deal on an additional COVID-19 relief bill was reached this week, the Administration continues its whole of government approach to address the coronavirus pandemic. Below please find just a few of the many examples of how the Federal government has provided direct relief to the Commonwealth of Virginia. For additional examples, view last week’s Sixth District Perspectives here.

• The President approved Virginia’s major disaster declaration on April 2, 2020, and National Guard funding requests on April 7, 2020, providing additional Federal resources to supplement State response efforts.

• The Federal government has and continues to coordinate the surge of resources to Virginia Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes – to supplement private sector supplies, the federal government is coordinating the provision of point-of-care COVID-19 testing to 235 Virginia Medicare & Medicaid certified nursing homes.

• Coordinated donation of 493 cases (40 vials per case) of Remdesivir, and 365 cases of commercially available Remdesivir, to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Virginia.

• The Commonwealth of Virginia and eligible local governments received over $3.3 B from the CARES Act’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to help address unforeseen financial needs created by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Tribal governments received over $18.9 M in CRF funding.

• The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has made over $179.9 M in COVID-19 funding available to Virginia grantees to help America’s low-income families and most vulnerable citizens via CARES Act authorizations.

• The U.S. Department of Education provided $312.1 M to support post-secondary education students and institutions of higher education in Virginia, authorized $66.8 M for the State from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, and $238.6 M to ensure learning continues for all elementary and secondary students.

• The U.S. Department of Transportation allocated more than $456.4 M to help the Virginia public transportation systems and $318.5 M to help Virginia airports.

(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand) Data as of October 9, 2020

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 18, 2020

Published

on

It was another beautiful fall week here in Virginia’s Sixth District. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with constituents across the region both in person like at Sweet Briar College and virtually. This week we also saw some excitement out of Washington as the Senate Judiciary Committee began the confirmation process of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Further, while negotiations for another coronavirus aid package between the White House and Speaker continue, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the significant relief this Administration has provided to the people of the Commonwealth. And finally, as the deadline for nomination applications to the U.S. Service Academies approaches, be sure to find more information below if you or someone you know is interested in applying. As the House continues its District Work Period, I look forward to another week of meeting folks across the District.

Expansion at Sweet Briar:
It was a pleasure to join President Woo and other Sweet Briar College faculty to tour the school’s new state-of-the-art health clinic this week. In partnership with Centra Health and Horizon Behavioral Health, this facility will enable the college to expand COVID-19 testing and other wellness activities on campus. The clinic is part of Sweet Briar’s commitment to keeping its campus safe at this challenging time. The college currently has no active COVID-19 cases among students, faculty, or staff members, and have mindfully managed the few cases that have occurred since the onset of classes seven weeks ago. Sweet Briar has taken to heart public health recommendations and developed protocols to navigate the pandemic, including individual behaviors and institutional operations. SBC should serve as a shining example to other institutions of higher education as to how to safely reopen.

Confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett:
This week the Senate Judiciary Committee began to hold confirmation hearings on the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court. Based on her record and testimony thus far in front of the committee, I am confident that Judge Amy Coney Barrett will make a tremendous Supreme Court Justice. Her experience serving on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals shows that she is a true Constitutionalist who understands that a Justice is meant to interpret the laws, not make them. Because Judge Barrett is an outstanding jurist who is eminently qualified to be on the Supreme Court, Democrats have instead decided to attack her faith and are pushing the falsehood that she will strip healthcare away from the American people. This is despite the fact that the American Bar Association – an organization repeatedly called the “gold standard” by Senator Schumer – has deemed Judge Barrett “well qualified”. Even commentators on CNN said that if this were a different time and Judge Barrett was appointed by a different President, she would be confirmed with 70+ votes because of her credentials. It is time Democrats stop playing politics with this confirmation process and consider Judge Barrett’s merits when voting on her nomination.

COVID-19 Update:
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, government at every level has been working vigorously to provide individuals, businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities with the resources they need to navigate these trying times. Aside from the five pieces of coronavirus relief legislation already signed into law, this Administration has also been dedicated to providing aid directly to the states. Below please find just a few of the many examples of how the federal government has provided direct relief to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

• This year, over 2.9 M N-95 masks, 25.7 M surgical & procedural masks, 1.1 M eye and face shields, 8.1 M isolation & surgical gowns, and 630.8 M medical gloves have been shipped to Virginia through the private sector, State, and Federal collaboration.

• The Federal government has directly supported 35 community-based testing sites in Virginia and will be providing 295,000 swabs to support state testing needs in the month of October. Through October 7, the Federal government has provided 1,527,980 swabs.

• On September 28th, President Trump announced the Administration will send 100 million BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests to States free of charge. 2,570,000 BinaxNOW tests have been allocated for distribution to Virginia with 363,200 tests delivered to date.

• Medical facilities and providers in the Commonwealth of Virginia have received over $3 B in COVID19 related allocations from HHS. This includes more than $2.5 B from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 and ensures uninsured Americans can get testing and treatment for COVID-19.

• In Virginia, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued over $12.5 B in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to 114,570 small businesses as well as $3.8 B in Economic Injury Disaster Loans to 71,437 small businesses. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made 3.9 M Economic Impact Payments totaling more than $6.6 B to hardworking taxpayers of Virginia.

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided Virginia agriculture producers with $97 M in financial assistance for price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.
(B = Billion, M = Million, K = Thousand)
Data as of October 9, 2020

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. Those interested in a nomination must have their application postmarked by October 23. For more information and to find the required application packet, please click here.

Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans:
In June 2019, the president signed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, of which I was a proud cosponsor. For decades, tens of thousands of veterans suffering from diseases caused by Agent Orange in the Vietnam War and their families had been denied their earned benefits under the Agent Orange Act of 1991. However, the provisions in this new law ensure veterans who served in specified offshore areas near Vietnam from January 9, 1962, through May 7, 1975, are now given the presumption of Agent Orange exposure, thus allowing them to receive medical care and disability compensation. Since becoming law, the National Archives and Records Administration and the Veterans Affairs Administration have digitized more than 1,800 vessels’ deck logs, which are critical in determining qualifying ship locations in accordance with the law. Since January, the VA has approved 22,524 claims of sailors exposed to Agent Orange and have identified at least 420,000 others who may qualify. If you were in the Navy or Coast Guard serving off the shores of Vietnam during the war, please click here to file a claim or to learn about your eligibility to do so.

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Legislative Update

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

Published

on

As fall arrives there are few more beautiful places than Virginia’s Sixth District. I thoroughly enjoyed being home and having the opportunity to meet with constituents and listen to their thoughts and concerns. In Front Royal, I met with members of the American Legion Post 53, and in Salem and Roanoke, I talked with folks from VDOT and then received donations at a local food bank.

This week I also hosted a virtual higher education roundtable with academic leaders from across our region, as well as chat via Zoom with our District’s nominee for the Angels in Adoption program. And while I may be home in Virginia, please know I will keep you apprised should there be any update relating to COVID-19 relief legislation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I look forward to meeting with those I am honored to represent as I continue traversing the Sixth District.

Second Annual Higher Education Round Table:
Virginia’s Sixth District is home to more institutions of higher education than nearly any other district in the country. With more than 20 colleges and universities within our borders, students from across the United States flock to the Sixth District to pursue their education. For this reason, it is critically important that I foster an open dialogue between myself and our region’s schools to ensure that I am best representing their and our students’ interests on the House Education and Labor Committee. That is why I hosted my Second Annual Higher Education Roundtable, which was attended by representatives from 15 schools throughout the District. We discussed a wide array of topics ranging from college affordability, 21st-century learning, and of course, how their institutions are adapting to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A common theme echoed by many of the school officials was an appreciation for Congress’ creation of the Paycheck Protection Program as well as expressing their desire that any future coronavirus legislation includes liability protections for their institutions to safeguard against frivolous lawsuits. It was a thorough and thoughtful conversation, and I hope to continue these sorts of productive forums in the future.

Improving Infrastructure:
The Sixth District is in dire need of resources to modernize its aging infrastructure and relieve the congestion bottlenecks that afflict our highways – particularly Interstate-81. That’s why over the past two years I have advocated for Federal funding for our area by testifying before the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and also by speaking on the House Floor. I will continue to fight for our District’s fair share of Federal funding throughout the duration of my tenure in Congress, and for this reason, I have been meeting regularly with regional administrators from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to better understand the specific needs of our area. Just this week I met with VDOT engineers at the Regional Traffic Operations Center in Salem to discuss the importance of improving safety measures along the I-81 corridor. Further, it was great to see the outstanding work they are already doing to make much-needed improvements to our area highways and bridges.

Angels in Adoption:
Each year, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) accepts nominations for individuals, families, or organizations across the Nation who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of children in need of permanent, loving homes. The individuals nominated by Members of Congress and then selected from across the country by CCAI are bestowed with the title “Angels in Adoption” for their work. This year I had the honor of nominating the Janney family from Roanoke, who have become tireless advocates for adoption after bringing their daughter into their home two years ago. This week, I had the privilege of meeting with the Janney’s to discuss their journey and greatly appreciated their suggestions on how Congress can cut red-tape in regard to international adoption to help bring families together in a timelier manner.

American Legion:
Last week I was pleased to join folks at the Giles B. Cook American Legion Post 53, in Front Royal, to accept a Certificate of Appreciation for my office successfully resolving an issue the Post was having with a federal agency. I share this not to highlight the award, but to use this opportunity to remind Sixth District residents that my office is always available should you require any assistance when dealing with the federal government. The dedicated caseworkers in my District offices are committed to aiding constituents while navigating the federal bureaucracy. For more information, please visit my website or call any of my District offices listed at the bottom of this page.

Feeding the Hungry:
On Thursday, I joined volunteers at the Feeding Southwest Virginia in Roanoke to receive a 20,000lb donation of non-perishable food made by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church also made an identical donation to the Rockbridge Christmas Basket Program. Our community is forever grateful for this generosity, which will aid countless families in need.

Supporting Local Farmers and Ranchers:
Since being sworn into Congress, I have worked to support those in the agriculture industry, which is why I recently cosponsored the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act. This legislation would make it easier for small farms and ranches to serve local consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic by giving individual states the ability to allow intrastate distribution of meat processed in custom-exempt facilities such as beef, pork, or lamb to consumers and grocery stores. Though many farmers and ranchers are able to maintain normal production levels at the moment, bottlenecks and disruptions in the food supply chain have made the distribution to everyday consumers incredibly challenging. Currently, in order to sell individual cuts of locally-raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA or federally-compliant slaughterhouses. These slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away, which adds substantial transportation and labor costs, makes workers more vulnerable, and subjects the entire supply system to major disruptions should an outbreak occur in a plant or its surrounding region. The PRIME Act would expand the current custom exemption, and allow states to empower small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to reduce waste and provide much-needed food to communities here in Virginia and across the nation.

COVID-19:
Last week, the White House and Congressional Republicans tried to strike a COVID-19 relief deal with Speaker Pelosi for $1.6 trillion, but she refused to negotiate in good faith. Instead, she forced through a bloated, partisan $2.2 trillion bill that barely passed when 18 of my Democrat colleagues voted alongside Republicans against the measure. This was after Senate Democrats blocked two relief bills that would have provided immediate aid to the American people. In an effort to provide targeted relief to those struggling, the President has urged Congress to send him standalone bills that he could sign such as authorizing another round of $1,200 Emergency Relief Checks and extending the Paycheck Protection Program. It is my hope that Speaker Pelosi will put people above politics and bring individual legislation like this to the House Floor.

Economic Impact Payments:
The IRS announced this week that the deadline to register for an Economic Impact Payment, also known as an Emergency Relief Check, is now November 21, 2020. This new date will provide an additional five weeks beyond the original deadline. The IRS urges people who don’t typically file a tax return – and haven’t received an Economic Impact Payment – to register as quickly as possible using the Non-Filer Tool here. More information can be found at irs.gov.

If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 4, 2020

Published

on

In what was likely the last legislative week in Washington before November’s elections, the House was back in full swing conducting the business of the people. Recognizing good policy proposals regardless of party, I cosponsored Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) recently introduced legislation aimed at protecting our elections. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi does not share our attitude of bipartisanship, and I was disappointed that she rammed through a Democratic wish list masquerading as a COVID-19 aid package.

This week I stood in defense of the First Amendment and religious liberty by sending a letter to Attorney General Barr urging him to investigate the mistreatment of churches and their congregations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, after having been regularly frustrated by the legislative processes these past 21 months, I offered my suggestions to the House Rules Committee on ways in which our chamber can operate in a more transparent and accountable manner. Additionally, I took to the House Floor on Wednesday to honor New Freedom Farm in Buchanan for the work they do supporting our veterans. It was a busy week, and I am very much looking forward to returning to the Sixth District for the month of October. I hope to have the opportunity to chat with as many constituents as possible over the next few weeks. And finally, I’d also like to take a moment to extend my thoughts and prayers to the President and First Lady as they battle COVID-19.

New Freedom Farm:

Founded in 2016, New Freedom Farm in Buchanan, Virginia is a non-profit community that aids veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Through animal therapy, farming, and peer-to-peer support, this tremendous organization strives to empower veterans and help them heal through the realization of their own efforts and contributions. New Freedom Farm helps our service members reintegrate into civilian life by fostering physical, emotional, and spiritual health. I applaud the entire team at New Freedom Farm for their passion and commitment to serving those who served our Nation, and it was a privilege to recognize their great work on the House Floor this week.

Protecting our Elections:
The heart of our democratic republic lies in the integrity of our elections. For that reason, I cosponsored H.R. 8285, the Election Fraud Prevention Act, which was introduced by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI). This bill would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to prohibit payments to States that permit ballot harvesting. Currently, depending on the state or locality, voters have the option of mailing their ballot, leaving their ballot in a dropbox, having their ballots collected and submitted by a third party, or returning them at the polls or a local election office. The Election Fraud Prevention Act ensures that voters seeking to turn in their absentee ballots may only be assisted by an election official or mail carrier acting in their official capacities as well as family members, household members, or caregivers. This legislation will help ensure our elections remain free and fair, and I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting this bill.

Defending Religious Freedom:
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many state and local governments have taken appropriate action to implement temporary health and safety guidelines to mitigate the risk the virus poses to our communities. However, the country has seen a concerning number of cases where misguided efforts have resulted in an intolerable infringement on the constitutional First Amendment rights of churches, their congregations, and other religious entities. That is why I joined my colleagues this week in writing to Attorney General Barr urging the Department of Justice to investigate possible violations of the First Amendment and remain vigilant in the preservation of our rights and protection of religious liberties for all Americans. To read the full letter, click the graphic below.

COVID-19 Legislative Update:
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has authorized trillions of dollars in aid to help struggling families and businesses. However, as our Nation continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus, there is no denying that the American people are in need of additional relief. Unfortunately, for months, Democrats have stood in the way of multiple attempts to provide targeted aid to those most in need. And sadly, as November approaches, Speaker Pelosi decided this week to introduce a partisan $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill that included poison pills that prevented it from attracting bipartisan support. Instead of actually working with Republicans, the Speaker instead decided to pass an election year messaging bill that has no chance of being signed into law. Some of the most egregious provisions contained in the bill include:

• Fails to provide sensible liability protections to businesses, hospitals, and schools to protect them from frivolous lawsuits

• Allows illegal immigrants to receive direct stimulus payments

• Mandates a blanket release for certain covered federal prisoners and alleged criminals

• Uses taxpayer dollars to bail out failing multiemployer pension plans while failing to include any needed reforms to fix the problem

• Federalizes elections, by including stringent, impossible to achieve mandates on how states must run elections

• Bails out poorly run states and localities to the tune of $436 billion (Almost 1/5 of the bill’s total spending)

• Defunds the police by removing $600 million from the original Heroes Act intended for the COPS Hiring program

Reforming Government:
Many of the House Rules that are in place provide the necessary transparency and accountability in the legislative process, but sadly, these rules are often worked around or waived when it matters most. For this reason, I testified before the Rules Committee to express my thoughts on how our Chamber could practice better governance moving forward. First and foremost, we need to ensure that both legislators and the American people have adequate time to review bills before they are voted on.

That is why I took this opportunity to discuss with Committee members my proposal to institute the 48-Hour Bill Review Resolution. Additionally, I urged the Committee to once again allow bills to be brought to the Floor under an “Open Rule”. This would enable Members to have greater input on legislation before it is voted on by allowing them the opportunity to offer an amendment to a bill outside the committee process. No piece of legislation has been considered under an Open Rule in nearly four years, despite this practice having been commonplace in Congress for decades. And finally, I stressed to the Members of the Rules Committee the importance of individual bill consideration when it comes to appropriations measures. Far too often Members are asked to vote on massive packages that contain multiple programs that are wholly unrelated to one another, which makes it difficult to responsibly and thoughtfully consider legislation. I am hopeful that these rule changes will be implemented in the 117th Congress.

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.

Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – September 20, 2020

Published

on


After months of Speaker Pelosi keeping the House in recess due to COVID-19, we finally returned to regular order this week to conduct the business of the people. Aside from passing important legislation in the Judiciary Committee, particularly one bill related to Alzheimer’s, the House also resumed a full schedule of votes before the whole House. I also took to the Floor this week to support our brave law enforcement officers and to call for the restoration of the Rule of Law in our communities. Additionally, we saw exciting news from the White House as a historic Middle East peace deal was signed on the South Lawn. And finally, on Tuesday, I joined my Republican colleagues on the steps of the Capitol as we laid out our Commitment to America.

Supporting Law Enforcement:
Over the past several months, we have heard politicians, pundits, and riot participants vilifying our Nation’s law enforcement officers – brave men and women who have sworn an oath to protect and serve their communities. This week, following the tragic ambush of two LA County Sheriff’s Deputies, I took to the House Floor to call for the restoration of the Rule of Law in our country and urged my Democrat colleagues to stop using hateful, violent rhetoric when speaking about police officers. Since the beginning of the year, 193 members of law enforcement have been killed in the line of duty. We cannot continue to dishonor their memory by advocating that we dismantle or disband police departments.

Fighting Alzheimer’s:
Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and more than 5 million Americans are currently suffering from it. And while medical advancement has led to a decrease in the number of deaths for many illnesses, Alzheimer’s is unfortunately not one of them. Over the past 20 years, deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased a startling 146% and nearly 1 in 3 seniors die from it or another dementia-related illness. That is why I was pleased this week that the Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 6813, the Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act, the legislation of which I am a cosponsor. This bill would require the Department of Justice to develop training materials to assist professionals in supporting victims of abuse living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This legislation is crucial to ensuring our Nation’s seniors are receiving the quality care they deserve. As World Alzheimer’s Day approaches next week, it is my hope that Speaker Pelosi will call this bill for a vote in front of the whole House. To learn more about H.R. 6813, please click here.

Commitment to America:
This week, I joined my Republican colleagues on the Capitol steps as we formally unveiled our caucus’ “Commitment to America”. This plan calls for restoring our way of life, rebuilding the greatest economy in the world, and renewing the American Dream. Our vision for our Nation differs drastically from that of the Democrats, which promotes a message of defund, dismantle, and destroy. To learn more about our “Commitment to America,” click here.

Promoting Peace in the Middle East:
This week, President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, and King Hamad Al Khalifa signed the Abraham Accords at the White House, normalizing relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. This historic agreement is the most significant step toward peace in the Middle East in more than 25 years, and it will bring about greater stability to the region while also increasing pressure on America’s adversaries. To read more about this notable agreement, click here.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program:
From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this Administration has been committed to supporting our Nation’s producers – most notably through the Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Since April, this program has provided critical support to farmers and ranchers, helped maintain the integrity of our food supply chain, and ensured that every American continues to receive and have access to the food they need. This week, the President announced that the program would be expanded and receive an additional $14 billion beginning September 21. To learn more or to apply for assistance, please click here.

Vaccine Update:
While vaccines typically take years to produce, the world’s leading scientists and researchers are hard at work to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine at record speeds. There are currently 9 vaccines in Phase 3 of clinical trials meaning they are undergoing large-scale efficacy testing, and 5 have even been approved for early and limited use. The medical community is hopeful that we can have a large-scale vaccine approved by early next year. To learn more, click here.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – September 6, 2020

Published

on

legislation and have begun to negotiate the outlines of an agreement to fund the government after October, no Floor action is scheduled in the House next week. However, House committees will be busy meeting next week to consider several pieces of legislation. This week also brought announcements from the Administration concerning White House tours and a telephone town hall for veterans. It was a great week traveling the Sixth District, and I continue to enjoy the opportunity to hear from constituents daily at events throughout our community.

Business Expansion:
This week I was pleased to join Bloomaker, the leading producer and supplier of hydroponically grown flowers in the U.S., as they broke ground on a 22,000 square foot expansion of their facility in Waynesboro. This new warehouse will allow them to meet their largest demand to date and ship nearly 1.5 million amaryllis bulbs to stores across the country. The company currently employs more than 100 part-time seasonal workers to help with the planting, harvesting, packaging, and shipping of its blooms and has plans to further expand its Waynesboro facility in the near future.

It was also announced this week that VIRTEX, an electronics manufacturing service company that provides services to military, aerospace and medical customers, would be introducing a new product line at its facility in Waynesboro. This expansion will create at least 40 new manufacturing jobs for area residents and is another example of our continued economic recovery.

Supporting Child Nutrition:
I recently joined my Republican colleagues on the Education and Labor Committee in writing to Secretary Perdue urging the Department of Agriculture to review flexibilities allowed under law to our Nation’s child nutrition program. Utilizing such flexibilities at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis allowed schools to provide meals to students in need and employing them again would enable educational institutions to continue doing so. I was pleased that Secretary Perdue agreed with our recommendation and this week authorized schools to continue to provide meals to vulnerable students through the end of 2020. To read more about the USDA’s decision, click here. To read the full letter my colleagues and I sent to Secretary Purdue, click here.

COVID-19 Update:
This week, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine entered Phase 3, the final phase of clinical trials. The Federal Government’s task force, Operation Warp Speed, now has three vaccine candidates in the final phase of clinical trials. Earlier this month, the FDA Commissioner emphasized that no matter what, only a safe, effective vaccine will get final approval.

Currently, vaccine developers are searching for thousands of volunteers for these clinical trials. If you wish to participate or would like more information, click here. Additionally, there is a need for plasma donations from those who have recovered from COVID-19 that may help treat people who have recently contracted the coronavirus. To find out if you are eligible and how to donate, click here. Fueled by American ingenuity, scientists and doctors are working around the clock to develop a vaccine, improve and increase testing, and create more effective treatment plans.

Veterans Benefits Administration Telephone Town Hall:
The Under Secretary of the Veterans Benefits Administration, Dr. Paul Lawrence, will be hosting his second Virginia state-wide telephone town hall next Wednesday at 4 pm for veterans in Virginia. He will discuss the benefits our service members have rightly earned and then will take questions for approximately 45 minutes. To participate, dial (833) 380 -0417 during the time of the call.

White House Tours:
While most tours of federal buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, remain suspended due to COVID-19, the White House announced this week that tours will resume in a limited capacity on September 12. Tours will be hosted two days a week instead of five, on Friday and Saturday, from 8:00 am to 11:00 am and the number of guests will be limited to 18% of normal capacity. Further, safety precautions will be in place such as the requiring of wearing masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizer will be readily available. To learn more about White House tours, please click here or call my office at (202) 225-5431.

Schools Reopening:
With school-aged children of my own, I am aware of the uncertainty that surrounds sending kids back to school. To help clarify school plans, over the last few weeks, I have tried to provide you with the most up-to-date reopening information on school districts across the Sixth District. The below schools are slated to begin instruction this week.

Amherst County Schools: School will start September 9th
• All elementary school students will be in school Monday through Thursday with block scheduling in place
• For middle and high school students, they will be split into groups. One group will go to school on Mondays and Wednesdays, the other on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with both groups doing at-home instruction on Fridays.
• Virtual learning is available for those who have requested.

Bedford County Schools: First day of school pushed back to September 8th
• Pre-K through sixth grade students will attend school daily starting after Labor Day for face-to-face instruction with reduced class sizes so physical distancing can be achieved.
• Seventh graders, eighth graders and high schoolers will receive primarily virtual instruction in the fall, with each student connected to a “learning coach” throughout the school day to provide support and determine days when students may need to come into buildings for individual or small-group interactions with teachers.

Highland County Schools: First day of school set for September 8th
• In-school option Plan A will have students attending school 5 days a week.
• Parents may choose Plan B for their students to have 100% virtual learning.

Lexington Schools: School set to begin remotely on September 8th
• 100% virtual start for the fall semester.
• The school board passed the changes at a remote special session Monday night, and will consider what to do next no later than its next meeting in October.

Rockbridge County Schools: Start date pushed back to September 8th
• Students grades 2 through 12 will learn 100 percent virtually for the first nine weeks.
• Pre-K, Kindergarten and 1st grade students will attend in-person learning four days per week, breaking on Wednesdays for building sanitation.

Rockingham County Schools: School set to open on September 10th
• Students will begin the year 100% virtual for grades 2-12 and will then transition to a hybrid model of both distance and virtual learning.
• Grades PK-1 will come to school 4 days of the week.

Warren County Schools: School board will vote to push back start date to September 8th
• Preschool through 12th grade students will participate in a combination of in-person and remote instruction each week.
• Parents were asked to fill out an intent form online by July 17 to let school officials know whether their student would be attending classes online through the virtual academy or in person.

For a full list of public schools’ reopening plans, please click here.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your congressman. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
48°
Cloudy
7:38am6:14pm EDT
Feels like: 45°F
Wind: 6mph NNW
Humidity: 96%
Pressure: 29.71"Hg
UV index: 0
FriSatSun
54/34°F
52/39°F
61/34°F

Upcoming Events

Oct
19
Mon
all-day WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Oct 19 – Nov 12 all-day
WCHS Band Annual Fruit Sale @ ONLINE STORE
Please show your support by purchasing fresh fruit for you, your family and friends to enjoy over the holidays! To place your order online, simply click here. Navel, Grapefruit, Juice Oranges — Whole Box $40, Half[...]
Oct
30
Fri
6:00 pm Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Oct 30 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Fire Pit Fridays @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Oct 30 @ 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.
Oct
31
Sat
10:00 am Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
Oct 31 @ 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Halloween on Main Street @ White Picket Fence
10-11 am: Dog Costume Parade and judging 1-2 pm: Wedding on the Gazebo 4 pm: Children’s Costume Parade with judging and prizes 5 pm: Trick or Treat on Main Street. Merchants and County Businesses will[...]
10:00 am Skyline Middle School Food Drive @ C&C Frozen Treats
Skyline Middle School Food Drive @ C&C Frozen Treats
Oct 31 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Skyline Middle School Food Drive @ C&C Frozen Treats
Skyline Middle School kicks off its 38th Annual Food Drive Saturday, October 31, 10 am-3 pm, at C&C Frozen Treats. Please bring nonperishable food.
5:00 pm Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Oct 31 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Halloween Glow Throw @ Shenandoah Valley Axe Throwing Co
Bring your best costumes and GLOW throw with us! Trick or treat, throw axes and have an amazing Halloween with SVAXETHROWINGCO! KID friendly! Make your reservation today, spots will fill up fast: www.svaxethrowingco.com Fill out[...]
Nov
1
Sun
all-day 2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Gr... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Nov 1 all-day
2021 Dare to Dream Enrichment Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Beginning on November 1, 2020, to accept Applications for 2021 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a[...]
Nov
4
Wed
6:00 pm Annual Meeting of St. Luke Commu... @ Online Event
Annual Meeting of St. Luke Commu... @ Online Event
Nov 4 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Meeting of St. Luke Community Clinic @ Online Event
St. Luke Community Clinic, Inc., of Front Royal, will hold its Annual Meeting at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, by ZOOM. All members (those who donate $35 annually or volunteer at the clinic) are[...]
Nov
5
Thu
6:00 pm Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitt... @ West Oaks Farm Market Event Venue
Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitt... @ West Oaks Farm Market Event Venue
Nov 5 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitting Boy Scouts @ West Oaks Farm Market Event Venue
Fashion Show Fundraiser benefitting Shenandoah Area Council Boy Scouts Fashion, food, cash bar, silent auction, raffle, door prizes, vendors on-site. Sponsored by Anna Quinn Jewelers, Grove’s Winchester Harley Davidson and Firenza Pizza. Showcasing clothing by[...]
Nov
7
Sat
all-day Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Nov 7 all-day
Small Business Saturday @ Front Royal, Virginia
Why should Small Business Saturday just be celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? Buy Local – Shop Local – Eat Local – Support Front Royal’s Small Business Community and stay local! Small Business Saturdays –[...]