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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – October 6, 2021

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Once again the American people were failed by the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Congress. After days of canceling scheduled votes in an attempt by Speaker Pelosi to get her caucus in line, Democrats failed to pass their bloated “infrastructure” package, even after a Capitol Hill visit from President Biden. Instead, they passed a 30-day extension of the existing surface transportation law. However, the fight is not over. Speaker Pelosi will use the next 30 days to attempt to wrangle the votes she needs to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which serves as the key for progressives to unlocking the massive $4.3 trillion tax and spending spree reconciliation legislation.

We also heard this week from Generals Milley and McKenzie, as well as Secretary of Defense Austin, regarding the disastrous withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. These advisors testified that they recommended leaving a stabilizing force in the country, which is in direct contradiction to the President’s claims.

On a more positive note, there was movement on several pieces of legislation that I have cosponsored, including the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act, which was signed into law. Further, this week, I took action to support our veterans, expressed residents’ concerns to the US Postal Service, and honored a local charitable foundation. It was a busy few days, but I appreciate the honor to serve on your behalf.

“Infrastructure”:
The House was in disarray this week as the Speaker tried desperately to unite her party around a $1.2 trillion boondoggle infrastructure package. After days of canceling votes, the Speaker was forced to temporarily concede after she and President Biden failed to get the bill over the finish line. The far-Left wing of their caucus refuses to vote for the $1.2 trillion package unless the behemoth $4.3 trillion reconciliation bill is passed first in the Senate. This delay is a win for the American people as neither bill truly addresses infrastructure and instead prioritizes Green New Deal initiatives and pork-barrel spending, all the while raising taxes on American families and saddling future generations with crippling debt.


By the time Friday evening came and no deal was reached, the Speaker was forced to pass a 30-day extension of the existing surface transportation law. I voted no when the bill came to the Floor because this legislation is simply a tool being used by the Speaker to buy more time that will be used to coerce Democrats to support the larger “infrastructure” package. I will continue to oppose these two bills as they would be detrimental to the long-term viability of the US economy and would cause inflation to soar to even higher levels than we are already experiencing.

Democrats Mismanagement of Government:
The past few days once again highlighted the dysfunction that occurs when Democrats are left to govern. After playing a game of “chicken” by trying to tie passage of a Continuing Resolution to fund the government to an increase in the debt ceiling, the Left was forced to split the bills in order to avert a government shutdown. While the House and Senate did pass a CR to keep the government open, the debt ceiling issue still remains. Contrary to Democrat claims, the responsibility for default would fall squarely on the shoulders of the Left. Democrats control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, and they have the procedural tools and time necessary to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the Treasury’s deadline. However, if Democrats would like this to be a bipartisan initiative, they must make serious reforms to rein in reckless spending.

Afghanistan Revelations:
The withdrawal from Afghanistan was an avoidable disaster and the following facts are indisputable: hundreds of Americans were abandoned and many remain stranded, thousands of Afghan allies are still stuck with little hope of escape, billions of dollars worth of US provided military equipment are now in the hands of the Taliban, thousands of hardened Al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists were freed from prison, 10 innocent Afghans were killed in a botched airstrike, and 13 of our brave service members were murdered by a coward in a suicide vest.

Prior to the withdrawal, President Biden repeatedly said that the Taliban takeover was not inevitable; that we had plenty of time to safely evacuate Americans and Afghan allies; and that this was not going to be like the Fall of Saigon. When all of these events did eventually happen, he claims his military advisors had not warned him of these possibilities nor that he had received a recommendation to leave a stabilizing force of US troops in the country to prevent such a disaster. However, this week, those assertions by the President were contradicted by Secretary Austin, General Milley, and General McKenzie during their testimony before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. It’s clear that President Biden ignored the advice of his top military advisors, which resulted in a disastrous and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Finally, it is ridiculous that Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller is, to date, the only military official who has suffered any consequence for the failed Afghanistan withdrawal. For speaking out and demanding accountability from civilian and military leadership LtCol Scheller was removed from command and ultimately placed in the brig. This is unacceptable, and my colleagues and I demanded he is removed from confinement immediately. The full letter can be found here.


Congressional Budget Transparency Act:

Throughout my career, I have worked to make government at all levels more transparent to the people it serves. Transparency in and of itself is key to good governance and is not a partisan issue. That is why I was pleased to work with both sides of the aisle to get the Congressional Budget Justification Transparency Act signed into law. Congressional budget justifications are plain language explanations of how agencies propose to spend money that they request from Congress. While agencies produce an annual congressional budget justification, they are not always made publicly available. With this bill now being signed into law, agencies are required to post those justifications on a single, searchable, publicly available database. This is a win in ensuring the Federal government is more accountable to the taxpayer.



Veterans Backlog:

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) is the central repository of personnel-related records for both the military and civil services of the United States Government. Unfortunately, the agency is currently operating at only 10 percent capacity, despite a $15 million appropriation from Congress. As a result, the NPRC has a backlog of more than half a million records requests – predominantly for DD-214 forms – that have been unfulfilled. A DD-214 form is a Veteran’s primary document used to prove his or her service in the United States military. It is required to obtain an identification card needed to receive Veteran benefits like health and dental care, access preferential hiring for federal jobs, shop and receive services at military bases, and more. Without this verification, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Veterans to access the benefits they have earned through hard work and sacrifice to our country. My colleagues and I recently wrote to the President, the Archivist of the United States, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to urge them to take swift action to address this issue. Veterans are our Nation’s heroes, and they should not be left behind because of bureaucratic red-tape and staffing shortages. To read the full letter, click here.

Solving Postal Issues:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides a vital national service, especially for those in rural areas like ours. Unfortunately, my office hears regularly from Sixth District residents about frustrations they have with the USPS. Chief among these concerns is slow mail delivery or folks not receiving their mail at all. This is a serious issue that must be addressed. In addition to this, residents often experience issues with facility accessibility, employee interactions, and the safety of mailbox locations. Please know that I am aware of these difficulties and am taking steps to address them. This week, I met with the USPS government affairs team to voice these concerns and called on them to take corrective action. Rest assured I will keep constituents apprised of any update related to this situation. In the meantime, if you are experiencing issues with the USPS, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of my District Offices.

Rep. Cline meets with representatives from the USPS


Community Foundation:
This week I was pleased to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Community Foundation for Rockbridge, Bath, and Alleghany. In its first year as an independent organization in 2011, the Foundation was able to provide $32,000 in grants to the community. Through the support of many individuals, families, and businesses over the years, the organization has grown exponentially, and in the past ten years, the Community Foundation has been able to grant a cumulative $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations, projects, and programs across the organization’s service area. Just this year alone, the group will be awarding more than $300,000 in community grants and an additional $30,000 in scholarships. These grants are made possible through the generosity of individuals and businesses and primarily support projects related to arts and culture, community betterment, education, health, and human services. In celebration of their 20 years, the organization pledged to give away $20,000 in 20 days to various nonprofits throughout our region. The work of the Community Foundation is truly inspiring, and I thank them for their tireless efforts. I wish the organization another 20 plus years of success.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Legislative Update

Senators introduce legislation to help first responders save money in retirement

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U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Thune (R-SD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation to allow retired first responders to withdraw from their retirement without being penalized. The senators’ legislation would improve and reform the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety Act (HELPS) by changing state and local direct payment requirements from mandatory to optional and creating an alternative to the current method, allowing the retirement system to make the distribution to the retired public safety officer. The retiree can then make the premium payment to the provider and remain eligible for the tax exclusion.

“Ohio firefighters and other first responders wear their bodies out protecting our families and communities, and they shouldn’t have to worry about being penalized for withdrawing from retirement that they’ve earned,” said Senator Brown. “This is a simple solution that allows first responders to keep their own money and alleviate pressure on state and local governments.”

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our retired police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who dedicated their lives to protecting our communities and keeping our friends, families, and neighbors across South Dakota safe,” said Senator Thune. “Currently, it is extremely difficult for retired first responders to utilize an existing benefit that helps cover certain health care expenses, which is why I introduced this legislation that would ensure these retirees can make tax-free withdrawals from their pension and direct those amounts to qualifying insurance premiums.”

“Virginia’s first responders put themselves at risk every day to protect our communities – the least we can do is ensure that they are taken care of in retirement,” said Senator Warner. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Police and Fire Health Care Protection Act of 2022, which will make it easier for tens of thousands of retired officers – like Mr. Wally Bunker, a stalwart advocate and retired police officer from Culpepper – to claim the benefits that they have earned.”


“First responders play a vital role in our communities, addressing a variety of high-stress emergency situations throughout their careers. All first responders ought to be able to take advantage of a tax benefit that is intended to help them access health coverage in retirement,” said Senator Grassley.

In order to implement the direct payment requirement under current law, state and local retirement systems are now responsible for directly paying often numerous health and long-term care providers and keeping track of changes to premium amounts and payment deadlines for thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of retirees. This already challenging task is made even more difficult because providers will often communicate only with the retiree policyholder and not with the retirement system. Information does not flow seamlessly, and inadvertent errors are made. In addition, due to the complexity, some retirement systems have made the decision to not implement HELPS, thereby resulting in retired public safety officers covered by these pension plans being ineligible for the tax benefit.

“Too often, firefighters are forced to retire early and have no access to affordable health insurance. We owe it to our firefighters and EMS providers to help them access quality healthcare after making a career’s worth of physical and mental sacrifices for our communities,” said Edward Kelly, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters. “This legislation ensures our retired firefighters can access their hard-earned retirement income to pay for health insurance costs. The IAFF thanks Senators Brown, Thune, and Warner for their commitment to supporting our retirees and helping them to maintain a healthy and secure retirement.”

“In 2006, Congress enacted the HELPS Retirees Act, which provided a modest tax benefit to help retired public safety officers afford health insurance by allowing the use, on a pre-tax basis, of up to $3,000 annually from their pension funds health care and long-term care insurance,” said Patrick Yoes, National President, Fraternal Order of Police. “However, too many public safety officers were ineligible or lost their eligibility for this benefit because of the law’s ‘direct pay’ requirement. This means that the public pension system must pay the health or long-term care insurance company directly in order to exclude these payments from the employee’s gross income. Officers whose pensions are or came to be administered by third parties could not take advantage of this tax break. We are very grateful to Senators Brown and Thune for introducing legislation which repeals this direct pay requirement and provides a modest increase to the benefit.”

“On behalf of Ohio’s and the nation’s public safety personnel, we are grateful to Senator Brown for his leadership on this issue. The new legislation will ensure that first responders receive the assistance Congress intended them to receive with their health care expenses in retirement,” said Mary Beth Foley, Executive Director, Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F).

Under the senators’ bill, plans that are able to implement HELPS through the current direct payment method, possibly because they have only one or two providers to pay and a small number of retirees, may continue to do so. However, for the many retirement systems that are experiencing administrative problems with the current requirement or have refused to implement HELPS because of the burdens, the senator’s legislation will allow them to make distributions to their retirees without rendering the retiree ineligible for the tax exclusion.

In cases where the distribution is made to the retiree, the legislation would require the retiree to include with their tax return an attestation that the amount sought to be excluded from the pension distribution does not exceed the amount paid by the employee for qualified health insurance premiums for the taxable year. The tax exclusion is capped under current law at $3,000 per year.

The bill has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

 

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Legislative Update

Warner and Kaine announce $6.2 million in federal funding for Virginia college readiness programs

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U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $6,236,161 in federal funding for 15 Virginia schools for Upward Bound programs. Upward Bound, administered through the Department of Education, provides support to low-income and first-generation high school students in order to increase high school and college graduation rates.

“All students deserve access to the resources they need to succeed,” the senators said. “This funding for Upward Bound programs will support low-income and first-generation students through high school and help them prepare for higher education. This represents another critical investment in leveling the playing field so that more students have the tools to reach their goals and get ready for life after high school.”

The funding will be awarded as follows:

Patrick Henry Community College will receive $312,480 for programs, including tutoring, mentoring, and a summer bridge program. It will serve 68 students in Martinsville as well as Henry and Patrick Counties.

Norfolk State University will receive $297,485 for programs aimed at increasing students’ GPAs, standardized test scores, and retention and graduation rates. It will serve 60 students in Norfolk and Suffolk.


Virginia Tech will receive a total of $1,146,350 for programs, including financial aid application assistance, Pell Grant education, and course selection. It will serve 223 students across Southwest Virginia.

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will receive $427,133 for programs, including tutoring, information on financial aid and alternative education programs, and college application support. It will serve 80 students across Southwest Virginia.

Virginia State University will receive $451,377 for academic and summer residential programs. It will serve 88 students across the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg and the counties of Dinwiddie, Greensville, Sussex, and the Matoaca District of Chesterfield.

James Madison University will receive $287,537 for programs including personal advising, college and cultural immersion experiences, and FAFSA education. It will serve 60 students across Northern Virginia.

Portsmouth Public Schools will receive $297,601 for programs, including an Individualized Educational Success Plan (IESP) for every recruited student. It will serve 60 students from I.C. Norcom and Manor High Schools.

Paul D. Camp Community College will receive $290,714 for programs, including supporting dual enrollment opportunities. It will continue serving Franklin, Lakeland, and Southampton High Schools.

Southwest Virginia Community College will receive a total of $685,387 for initiatives, including a Summer Discovery Program, study skills and time management workshops, and college and financial aid seminars. It will serve a total of 132 students across Grundy, Hurley, Twin Valley, Council, Castlewood, Honaker, and Lebanon High Schools.

Hampton University will receive $297,599 for programs, including SAT/ACT preparation workshops, financial literacy seminars, and tutoring. It will serve 60 students across Newport News.

Virginia Union University will receive $444,616 for programs, including Saturday supplementary education, summer residential components, and Individualized Academic Plan creation. It will serve 85 students across Armstrong, George Wythe, Huguenot, John Marshall, and Thomas Jefferson High Schools.

Rappahannock Community College will receive $287,537 for tutoring, counseling, cultural enrichment, and mentoring programs. It will serve 60 students from Essex County, Lancaster County, and Washington and Lee High Schools.

Wytheville Community College will receive $297,601 for programs, including service-learning opportunities, post-graduation bridge programs, and Wellness Wednesday workshops. It will serve 57 students across Southwest Virginia.

Old Dominion University will receive $400,571 for programs, including after-school tutoring, an intensive summer bridge experience, and college tours. It will serve 77 students across Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Virginia Highlands Community College will receive $312,173 for programs, including a Summer Academy, career advising and counseling, and cultural and social enrichment programs. It will serve 65 students from Chilhowie, Northwood, Holston, Patrick Henry, and Virginia High Schools.

This funding follows advocacy by both Sens. Warner and Kaine to increase funding for all TRIO programs – including Upward Bound – in a letter to the leadership of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations last year.

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Legislative Update

Warner & Kaine statement on bipartisan bill commemorate Moton Museum in Farmville becoming law

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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.

 

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Legislative Update

U.S. Senator Mark Warner: Senate’s failure to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act

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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.”

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – May 9, 2022

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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.

Protecting Life:
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.

Big Brother:
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.


Mask Mandates:
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.

Economic Downturn:
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.

Rep. Cline Visits Deb’s Frozen Lemonade in Cave Spring

Constituent Visits:
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.

CloudFit Software – Lynchburg, VA

 

Altec Inc. – Daleville, VA

Amherst Rotary Pancake Day – Amherst, VA

 

Jefferson Forest High School – Forest, VA

COVID-19 Update:
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.

For the latest updates from Washington and across the Sixth District, please follow my Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

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Legislative Update

Warner & Kaine applaud administration’s new efforts to lower internet costs

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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.


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May 25 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
May
28
Sat
8:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 28 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion[...]
May
30
Mon
7:00 pm 2022 Memorial Day Community Band... @ Gazebo
2022 Memorial Day Community Band... @ Gazebo
May 30 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2022 Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
2022 Memorial Day Concert by Front Royal Community Band Monday, May 30, 2022, 7pm, at the Gazebo on Main St. (sponsored by American Legion Post #53)
Jun
1
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jun 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jun
4
Sat
10:00 am Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – Jun 5 @ 11:00 am
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Overnight Parking Lot. Ready to try backcountry camping? Spend 24 hours in nature learning backcountry skills and survival techniques with professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch. With Sky Meadows’ Backcountry Campground as the[...]
10:00 am Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Boston Mill Road Trail near the Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park. Stop by our Explorer Outpost table along the Boston Mill Road Trail where[...]
10:00 am National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – Jun 5 @ 12:00 pm
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the intersection of Boston Mill Road Trail and Hadow Trail. Get your hands dirty as we work to improve the hiking experience on Hadow Trail. Join park trailblazers as they work to enhance[...]
11:00 am Gospel Music Festival @ Gazebo
Gospel Music Festival @ Gazebo
Jun 4 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Gospel Music Festival @ Gazebo
FOOD WILL BE AVAILABLE | FUN ACTIVITIES! | LIVE MUSIC!
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what tasty treats are cooking on the hearth. Watch as a Sky Meadows volunteer dons historic clothing and cooks delicious[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]