U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law:
“We’re proud that this law will lower the price of prescription drugs, reduce the deficit, bring down energy bills and fight climate change. We’re also glad that it will help ensure that miners suffering from black lung and their families get the care and benefits they deserve. We will continue to look for ways to support the health and well-being of our communities, decrease inflation, and lower costs for Virginians.”
Below are some of the ways the Inflation Reduction Act will benefit Virginians:
Lower Prescription Drug Costs
- The law allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for seniors and people with disabilities—a provision Warner and Kaine have long fought to pass to lower prescription drug costs.
- The law establishes a $2,000 cap on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs for seniors covered under Medicare Part D. In 2020, more than 36,000 Virginians with Medicare Part D spent more than $2,000 out-of-pocket on their prescription drugs.
- The law expands the Low-Income Subsidy program, a program that currently helps cover prescription drug costs for over 11,000 low-income Virginians with Medicare.
- The law provides free coverage for vaccines under Medicare Part D and improves access to vaccines under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In 2020, nearly 85,000 Virginians received a vaccine covered under Medicare Part D.
Affordable Health Care
- During the pandemic, Congress enhanced subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to help lower health care premiums for millions of Americans. The Inflation Reduction Act will extend these enhanced subsidies for three years through 2025 to help make Virginians’ health insurance more affordable. Over 300,000 Virginians have ACA coverage in 2022.
- The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimated that Virginians with ACA insurance would have seen a $71 increase in their monthly premiums for the next coverage year if these subsidies weren’t extended.
Black Lung Benefits
- The law permanently extends the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund excise tax at a higher rate, providing more certainty for miners, miner retirees, and their families who rely on the fund to access benefits. In Virginia, thousands of miners and their families have received benefits through the trust fund since it was established, including approximately 2,600 Virginians last year alone.
Clean Energy and Climate Provisions
- The law will reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030.
- The law incentivizes investment in and production of renewable energy technologies like solar power and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. The Inflation Reduction Act expands the 48C investment tax credit for clean energy manufacturers, with $4 billion reserved for use exclusively in coal communities. All clean energy tax credits include a bonus for meeting domestic manufacturing requirements related to steel, iron, or other manufactured components. The law also expands tax credits for residential clean energy and home efficiency improvements.
- According to a recent analysis, the clean energy provisions are expected to create nearly 1 million jobs per year.
- The law includes tax credits for clean medium and heavy duty trucks, such as those produced at the Volvo Trucks New River Valley Plant.
- The law includes a $7,500 consumer credit for the purchase of new electric vehicles and incentivizes that vehicles are produced in North America.
- The law includes $9.7 billion for financial assistance to rural electric cooperatives to improve resilience and affordability.
- The law includes $2 billion for the USDA Rural Energy for America Program to provide competitive grants and loan guarantees to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or energy efficiency improvements.
- The law includes $20 billion to help farmers and ranchers adopt agriculture conservation practices that improve landscape resilience.
- The law takes steps to make sure that the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes, without increasing taxes on small businesses or families making less than $400,000 a year.
- The law also provides funding to modernize Internal Revenue Service (IRS) systems and improve customer service when paying taxes. This will help ensure the IRS has the resources it needs to process tax returns quickly, get rebates to taxpayers faster, and address challenges Americans have when filing taxes.
Cracking Down on Espionage: Rep. Cline’s New Bill Targets Visa Loopholes
The Protecting America from Spies Act Seeks to Fortify U.S. Borders Against Foreign Espionage.
In a bold move to safeguard national security, Congressman Ben Cline introduced legislation aimed at tightening the reins on espionage activities by foreign actors. The proposed “Protecting America from Spies Act” sets forth measures to empower the Department of State with the authority to deny visas to individuals suspected of engaging in espionage or intellectual property theft against the United States.
Targeting Espionage at the Immigration Level
According to Rep. Cline, the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to permeate American society, pilfer intellectual property, and uncover state secrets present a clear and present danger to the nation’s security. This bill, mirroring Senator Ted Cruz’s Senate version, proposes to close loopholes that currently allow expelled spies, particularly those associated with the Chinese Communist Party, to reapply for U.S. visas with little delay.
This legislative action comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s closure of China’s Houston consulate in 2020, following evidence of espionage and theft of intellectual property. The Protecting America from Spies Act seeks to amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to ensure that anyone attempting espionage or technology transfer is barred from visa eligibility.
The Path Ahead for Immigration and National Security
If enacted, this bill could signify a major step in overhauling immigration policies with a sharp focus on national security concerns. Rep. Cline believes the country can make significant headway in combating foreign espionage activities by preventing the entry of those who seek to undermine U.S. interests.
As the proposed bill gains traction in Congress, it draws attention to the persistent challenge of intellectual property theft—a problem with vast economic and security implications. The bill is anticipated to prompt a broader discussion on immigration reform and national security strategies in the digital age.
Your Voice Matters: Meet Ben Cline’s Team in Front Royal
Address Your Concerns with Federal Agencies on November 14th.
Congressional representation goes beyond casting votes and debating policies; it’s about genuinely understanding the challenges and aspirations of the people who put their faith in a representative. Congressman Ben Cline knows this and is actively making efforts to be accessible.
For residents of the district who’ve found themselves entangled in bureaucratic complications with federal agencies like the Social Security Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or the Internal Revenue Service, relief might be a few days away. Cline’s office is bringing its “Mobile Office Hours” to Front Royal to hear and address constituents’ issues directly.
Whether you’re a veteran navigating the intricacies of the VA, a retiree with Social Security inquiries, or a taxpayer with IRS questions, you’re encouraged to meet and chat with a dedicated member of Congressman Cline’s team. It’s a personalized approach to governance designed to cut through the red tape and bridge the distance between policy-making corridors in Washington, D.C., and the daily lives of ordinary citizens.
The upcoming session will occur on November 14th, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Interested attendees should visit the Baxter-Bowling Conference Room at Samuels Public Library at 330 East Criser Road in Front Royal, VA. It’s an opportunity to seek resolutions and make your voice heard, offering insights that could potentially inform future legislative decisions.
Congressman Cline extends his hope that many will take advantage of this opportunity, reinforcing his commitment to an interactive and dynamic form of representation. Remember, democracy works best when its stakeholders – all of us – actively participate.
Warner and Kaine Announce Over $71 Million to ‘Rapp’ Electric Co-op & Dominion Power to Improve Electric Grid Resiliency Across Virginia
WASHINGTON – Today (Oct. 19), U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $71,816,110 in federal funding to reduce power outages, enable more clean energy sources to reach the electric grid, and provide consumers with cost-saving insights into their power use. The funding, made possible by the bipartisan infrastructure law, which both senators helped pass, was awarded through the Department of Energy’s Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program.
“Communities across Virginia need access to consistent, affordable power – especially as we face increasing threats of severe weather and surging demand on our electric grid,” said the senators. “We’re glad to see federal money headed straight to Virginia to make sure we limit power outages, utilize more clean energy, and help folks save money on their power bills.”
The funding is distributed as follows:
- $38,162,015 for the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative for the Enabling EV and DER Adoption through DERMS, AMI, and Fiber Integration Project. This funding will deploy a distributed energy resources management system, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), and a fiber utility network. AMI allows consumers to access cost-saving plans that offer different electricity prices throughout the day. This project will also support the expansion of clean energy within the Rappahannock Tribal Designated Area and lay the fiber network necessary to transmit vast amounts of grid data.
- $33,654,095 for Dominion Energy for the Analytics and Control for Driving Capital Efficiency Project. This funding will expand grid management capabilities to integrate $70 million of clean energy and eliminate approximately 500 outages per year. Additionally, funding will improve grid planning by collecting real-time electrical grid data, increase network capacity to accommodate rising electric use, and work alongside academic institutions to invest in the clean energy jobs pipeline.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve resiliency and invest in clean energy across the Commonwealth. In addition to the GRIP program, the bipartisan infrastructure law provided $47 billion for climate resilience measures to help communities address the impacts of severe weather and $7.5 billion to expand electric vehicle charging stations across the country. Sens. Warner and Kaine also supported the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), landmark legislation that will reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. In August, Sen. Warner broke ground on the largest-ever clean energy project at a U.S. airport alongside Dominion Energy, which will power 37,000 homes and businesses in Northern Virginia. In April, Kaine hosted an event with the U.S. Department of Energy in Big Stone Gap to discuss clean energy tax credits, economic development, and job creation in the IRA. Additionally, Sens. Warner and Kaine have advocated and secured hundreds of millions in federal funding for initiatives that reduce utility costs for Virginians, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
(From a release by the Office of Sen. Mark Warner)
Virginia’s Small Businesses Brace for Impending Shutdown
Senators Warner & Kaine Sound the Alarm on Funding Delays and Business Impact.
As the clock ticks down with only a day left to the government funding deadline, Virginia’s small business sector stands on the edge, looking at a precarious future. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine have voiced their concern, emphasizing the potential derailment of businesses in Virginia if the government fails to reach a consensus on its budget.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and economy, and many of these businesses rely on support from the Small Business Administration to operate. Every day the government is shut down, critical access to capital provided by the Small Business Administration will be delayed, forcing Virginia small businesses that rely on this funding to make tough decisions about how they’re going to continue to stay open. The only reason we’re in this position is because of a small but loud group of members in the House who are refusing to fund the government if they don’t get everything they want. We remain committed to working in a bipartisan way to fund the government as quickly as possible.”
The primary concern remains the inability of the Small Business Administration (SBA) to greenlight new loans or alter existing ones through their 7(a) and 504 programs during a shutdown. Breaking down the numbers reveals the gravity of the situation: an estimated financing delay of $2,122,200 daily for Virginia’s small businesses.
This year, the positive momentum was evident as the SBA approved 955 loans, amassing a value of over $488 million, propelling Virginia businesses through their 7(a) program. But this momentum is at risk of being stalled.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices Survey underscores the sentiments of the business owners. A staggering 91% believe it’s paramount for the federal government to circumvent a shutdown. Moreover, 70% of these owners foresee a negative impact on their establishments if the shutdown ensues. Drilling further into the data, 93% anticipate revenue reduction, while 67% predict a drop in customer demand, attributing it to the ensuing economic uncertainty and instability.
While policy decisions and political wrangling continue, the real impact cascades down to the businesses and, by extension, the people of Virginia. As Senator Warner and Kaine reiterated, “We remain committed to working in a bipartisan way to fund the government as quickly as possible.” Time will tell if their efforts and the voices of the business community will resonate within the halls of Congress.
Virginia Airports to Receive Over $17.2 Million for Vital Upgrades
Investments Aim to Bolster Safety, Infrastructure, and Economic Potential.
Virginia’s skies are about to become safer and more efficient. Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine disclosed a significant grant of $17,259,239 aimed at enhancing several airports across the state.
This hearty financial injection comes courtesy of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s 2023 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) Grant Program. An initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the AIP focuses on the crucial infrastructural elements of our airports. These range from primary aspects like runways and taxiways to the details of lighting, signage, and markings that ensure efficient and safe airport operations.
The latest allocation is a continuation of the ongoing support, with Virginia’s regional airports having benefited from an impressive $56,828,185 through the AIP just this year.
Speaking about this financial boost, the senators jointly expressed, “Our regional airports are pivotal for economic growth in our communities. We’re excited that these funds will enhance safety and reliability by upgrading infrastructure at various airports across the Commonwealth.”
Here’s a breakdown of the allocation:
- Winchester Regional Airport receives $4,875,000 to refresh its apron.
- Leesburg Executive Airport gets $4,018,500 for its apron rehabilitation, a project Senator Kaine highlighted in a recent visit.
- Danville Regional Airport is set to use $3,401,884 to revamp its apron.
- Manassas Regional Airport obtains $3,348,877 for taxiway reconstruction.
- Accomack County Airport in Melfa will use $951,500 to build a taxiway and manage obstructions in its airspace.
- Lee County Airport in Jonesville receives $600,748, focusing on navigation aids and runway upgrades.
- Finally, Mountain Empire Airport in Smyth County gets $62,730 for equipment housing repairs related to airfield lighting systems.
In addition to their most recent announcement, both Warner and Kaine have a history of staunchly backing Virginia’s airports. Just earlier this year, the senators heralded grants totaling over $50 million combined, aimed at amplifying airport safety and capacity. Kaine’s endeavors seek to remedy aviation workforce gaps, laying a roadmap for the education and nurturing of pilots, aviation maintenance staff, and aerospace manufacturing professionals.
In the grand tapestry of modern infrastructure, airports serve as pivotal nodes connecting communities and spurring economic growth. With this latest financial commitment, Virginia’s future in the aviation domain seems to be on an assured upward trajectory.
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – September 2, 2023
House Republicans have hit the ground running during the District Work Period, highlighting how the new House Republican Majority continues to deliver on our Commitment to America. We ensured our Veterans, our service members, and their families have the resources they deserve. Combatting illegal immigration and restoring America’s sovereignty is a central pillar of our Commitment, and the passage of the Secure the Border Act fulfills that promise. We’ve also held the Biden Administration and federal agencies, like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), accountable to the American people and brought transparency back to how our country is governed. As your Representative, I’ll fight for your values and interests in Washington as Congress returns this fall and help protect the safety, security, and freedom for the people of the Sixth District.
Keeping Our Promise to Our Nation’s Veterans
Congress has a duty to fund the core functions of the federal government responsibly, providing for important programs that help take care of those who have taken care of us. At the top of the list are our Veterans, our service members, and their families. Our Nation’s heroes have sacrificed to give us the cherished freedoms that we have today, and we made a promise to ensure they have the support and resources they deserve.
House Republicans delivered on that promise recently by passing the Fiscal Year 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act — funding that is so important to those who selflessly serve to defend our freedom and protect our homeland. Rest assured, our Nation’s heroes will always have the unwavering support of their Representative in the Sixth District of Virginia. Read more in my op-ed in the Roanoke Times here.
Biden’s Border Crisis Rages On
President Biden and the Far Left’s open border policies have created the worst border crisis on record. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, there were 183,503 illegal border crossings in July, a 27% increase from June. Even more troubling, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has now admitted that 40% of illegal migrants caught and released into our communities have disappeared, with no way to track them.
A secure Nation requires a secure border, which is why earlier this year, House Republicans passed the Secure The Border Act – the strongest border security legislation that Congress has ever considered. While President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have no plans to get this chaos under control or take any responsibility, we’re fighting to stop it.
Demanding Answers on CCP-Linked Money Going to NIH Employees
It’s no secret that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) remains one of the biggest threats to our country and will do whatever it takes to gain an advantage in its quest for world domination. According to a recent report, National Institutes of Health (NIH) employees – including Dr. Anthony Fauci – took $325 million in payments from companies directly linked to the CCP, posing a risk to our national security.
The American people deserve to know that their public health officials follow the science and make decisions based purely on objective information, not personal financial motives, which is why I joined my colleagues in demanding answers from the NIH on this concerning report. House Republicans will continue working to hold the Big Bureaucracy accountable and ensure our national security is protected from those who wish us harm. Read our letter here.
National Aviation Week
120 years ago, Orville and Wilbur Wright took their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Decades later, in commemoration of National Aviation Week, we celebrate the many aviation trailblazers who paved the way and innovative businesses shaping today’s industry, such as Dynamic Aviation in the Sixth District, which have helped our Nation be the leader in aviation that it is today.
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.