WASHINGTON — On May 3rd, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) expressed increased concern over how President Trump’s trade war would hurt Virginia’s soybean production, which is the Commonwealth’s number one cash crop. China’s Ministry of Commerce has recently announced they will begin proactively taxing Chinese companies that import some American agricultural products at 178.6% to discourage imports. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed that China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods and suggested President Trump’s tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees. Soybean production in Virginia accounts for roughly $187 million in economic output, which helps supports thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth. Amid escalating rhetoric by the Trump Administration, China announced that it is considering raising tariffs on soybeans, beef, and other critical agriculture commodities produced in Virginia.
“Virginia’s soybean producers should not be held hostage to the uncertainty of President Trump’s trade games,” said Sen. Warner. “While China should be held accountable for its unfair trade practices, this should not be done at the expense of the hardworking soybean farmers in this country. President Trump needs to work with us to find the best way to resolve these disputes and avoid threatening an industry that creates thousands of new jobs and brings millions of dollars to rural communities in Virginia.”
“Clearly China is not taking President Trump’s threats lightly and we’re going to start feeling the pain of his rash actions. Our farmers deserve better than this,” said Sen. Kaine. “President Trump says he wants to create jobs and stimulate the economy yet his actions will have the opposite effect. His inflammatory, bullying tactics are going to hurt Virginians.”
“Exports are a vital source of income for Virginia’s farmers and here in the Commonwealth we have worked hard to open new markets around the world for our agriculture and forestry exporters. However, these efforts are jeopardized by threats of tariffs and trade wars at the national level,” said Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “I hope that our trade negotiators will keep our hardworking farmers and agribusinesses front of mind when working with their Chinese counterparts to solve this trade dispute.”
“The Virginia Soybean Association is concerned with the potential of trade wars within the global marketplace, including China. International trade is vital for the economic viability of the soybean industry,” said Nick Moody, President of the Virginia Soybean Association. “Uncertainty in trade agreements directly affect the stability of markets and price, which is a major concern for producers in a business that is already largely dependent on weather. Our hope is for the administration to work with leaders in international markets to create solid solutions to these trade disputes, which will not continue to disrupt soybean markets.”
According to VDACS, agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, with an economic impact of $70 billion annually that provides more than 334,000 jobs. The agriculture and forestry industries combined have a total economic impact of over $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. Production agriculture alone employs 54,000 Virginians and accounts for more than $3.8 billion in economic output. Almost 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is directly tied to agriculture and forestry.
Sens. Warner and Kaine previously raised concerns about how President Trump’s trade war with China could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, listing the set of products grown and made in Virginia that have been targeted by the Chinese for duties. They also wrote to the Administration last week warning that withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—another significant source of agricultural exports for Virginia—would negatively impact Virginia’s agricultural industry.
A comprehensive list can be found here.
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – June 20, 2021
It was quite a week in Washington as all eyes were on President Biden’s first meeting with the leaders of the G-7 nations, NATO, and Russia. Now the President must turn his attention to policies that grow the economy, combat inflation, help working-class Americans, and secure the border. Legislatively this week, I continued to be involved in discussions among various groups that are trying to come together in agreement on an infrastructure package. With many proposals being floated, rest assured I will keep you apprised as the situation develops. Further, Congress passed and the President signed legislation designating Juneteenth (June 19) as a federal holiday to recognize the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.
Additionally, this week, I fought to defend Americans’ First and Second Amendment rights by joining the Campus Free Speech Caucus and writing to the ATF regarding a proposed rule that would unfairly tax certain gun owners. I also had the opportunity to meet with a number of advocacy groups from Virginia’s Sixth District and honored a high school baseball team in our area for winning their conference’s state championship. This week, we also recognize all of the dads across the District and wish them a very happy Father’s Day. It was certainly a busy few days, but I will return to Washington next week to continue advocating on behalf of the constituents I am honored to represent.
Caving to Russia:
This week marked President Biden’s first meeting with Russian President Putin. Disappointingly, yet not unexpectedly, the Biden Administration has failed to back up their tough talk with strong action. Criminals from Russia have launched several cyberattacks on U.S. soil that have gone unpunished by both the Russian government and the Biden Administration. Most recently was the ransomware attack on the Colonial pipeline, which was perpetrated by a group within Russia and caused alarming price hikes and shortages of gasoline across the East Coast. To make matters worse, during the summit, President Biden gave Putin a list of sixteen American targets that were off-limits to attack. This is like wrapping a yellow ribbon around your valuables to make it easier for a burglar to find. The United States as a whole should be off-limits to Russian cyberattacks.
Further, in blatant defiance of the U.S. Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, the Biden Administration has refused to implement mandatory sanctions after Putin’s regime poisoned and arrested opposition activist Alexei Navalny. This reveals the current Administration’s passive stance on the egregious human rights violations in Russia. Additionally, President Biden has done nothing to protect our ally Ukraine, despite mounting Russian tensions as Putin continues to order more and more troops to the Ukrainian border. Finally, after canceling the Keystone Pipeline here at home, President Biden waived mandatory sanctions surrounding Putin’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline that Congress has mandated in a bipartisan effort. The use of this pipeline will endanger Ukraine and empower the Kremlin.
My Republican colleagues and I are ready to work on bipartisan solutions for improving America’s infrastructure. However, the President’s proposal is a $1.9 trillion “social justice” and “climate justice” initiative masquerading as an infrastructure plan that will raise taxes, hurt the US economy, advance unrelated Democrat policies, and dramatically increase the size of the government. Worse yet, only about 5% of the bill actually goes toward infrastructures such as roads and bridges, with much of the funding being directed toward the Green New Deal and the “Care Economy.” Some proposals from the far-left go even further, reaching price tags of $6+ trillion. As a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to develop a plan that is fiscally responsible, not simply a climate bill, and ensures that rural communities like ours are not left behind.
Fighting for the Second Amendment:
Recently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) proposed a rule that would make firearms with stabilizing braces subject to unjust taxation and registration requirements. Stabilizing braces are attachments that were first created to meet the needs of disabled combat veterans who are no longer able to hold or stabilize heavy firearms for recreational shooting without assistance. This tax unfairly targets disabled citizens, many of whom are veterans, and infringes upon constitutionally protected rights. Should this rule go into effect, law-abiding citizens will become felons overnight unless they turn in or destroy the firearm, destroy the brace, or pay a $200 tax. I joined my colleagues this week in writing to the ATF urging the agency to withdraw this proposed rule. The letter can be found here. I have always been a staunch defender of the Second Amendment and will continue to advocate for its protection here in Congress.
Protecting Free Speech:
I recently joined the Campus Free Speech Caucus, which was launched by my colleagues’ Representatives Jim Jordan and Kat Cammack, in partnership with Young America’s Foundation. The caucus was created to defend the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and all Americans’ right to free speech. We will aim to educate folks about the increasing bias of free speech in academia and shine a national spotlight on the suppression of conservative voices on college campuses. In a united front, we will hold these institutions accountable for silencing students. The fact that students are being attacked at their schools for their beliefs is simply un-American. The members of this caucus must stand strong to ensure the future leaders of our Nation are afforded the basic rights set forth by our Founding Fathers.
In my office, I display the seals of all our service branches as a daily reminder of the men and women to whom we owe our freedom. This week, I was pleased to be presented with the seal of our Nation’s sixth and newest military branch – the seal of the United States Space Force (USSF). Space Force protects the U.S. and allied interests in space and provides capabilities to the joint force. USSF supports Combatant Commands by acquiring military space systems and developing doctrines surrounding space power. Space Force will safeguard the competitive advantage of all our military branches, making America a stronger and more secure Nation now and for generations to come.
This week, Congress passed legislation, which I voted in favor of, to make Juneteenth the newest national holiday. Juneteenth, short for ‘June Nineteenth,’ commemorates the day that all slaves were effectively freed in the United States. It was not until June 19, 1865, almost two months after the end of the Civil War, that Union Army General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston, TX. There, he was finally able to proclaim the end of slavery in the Lone Star State, immediately freeing more than 250,000 enslaved people. This week, we take time to remember our history and recognize the overwhelming struggle that enslaved African Americans faced for far too long. To commemorate the day I spent time with celebrants at the Juneteenth festivities at Eureka Park in Roanoke.
Grace Christian Warriors:
This week, I took to the House Floor to recognize the Grace Christian School Warriors baseball team for their come-from-behind victory in this year’s Virginia Association of Christian Athletics State Championship. Down to their last 12 outs, the Warriors trailed four to zero, but thanks to some timely hits, their comeback started as they were able to put one run on the board in the fourth.
At the bottom of the fifth, things really started turning in Grace Christian’s favor. A few hits, some heads-up base running, and costly errors made by their opponents gave the Warriors a five to four lead. However, the lead didn’t last long as the Bulldogs from Westover Christian Academy scored two in the top of the Sixth, but the Warriors battled back tying the game in the bottom half of the inning. Grace Christian’s MVP pitcher, Isaiah Riddle, mastered Westover hitters in the top of the seventh, meaning it all came down to the Warriors’ bats. First baseman Justin Hain led off with a base hit, then stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch. With another wild pitch, Hain sprinted home and secured Grace Christian the title. Congratulations to the players, coaches, parents, and staff on an incredible season and a well-deserved win.
If you are planning on traveling outside of the country anytime in the next six months, I would highly recommend you check on the validity of your passport. Due to increased demand and backlogs caused by COVID-19, it may take longer than normal to obtain or renew your passport – the State Department currently projects a 10-12 week wait time for renewals. You can begin the process of renewing or obtaining a passport here. If you are in need of assistance renewing your passport in an expedited manner, please contact one of my District offices listed at the bottom of this page.
A father wears many hats – friend, coach, mentor, spiritual guide, and so much more. Today we celebrate all of the great dads across the Sixth District who do so much for their children and families. On this Father’s Day, we thank dads for their hard work, support, and love.
As of June 20, 2021, Virginia has had 678,649 total cases of COVID-19, including confirmed lab tests and clinical diagnoses, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The current death toll in the Commonwealth stands at 11,351. Further, according to the VDH’s COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, as of June 20th, 4,929,523 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 4,201,439 people are fully vaccinated.
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.
Protecting Virginia’s Dreamers
This week, we recognized the 9th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program provides nearly 700,000 young immigrants brought to the country as children, also known as Dreamers, the opportunity to live, attend school, and work in the United States. Unfortunately, the last administration did everything in its power to disrupt this program through anti-immigrant policies, and as a result, DACA applicants are experiencing delays.
It’s estimated that Virginia is home to more than 9,000 DACA recipients [and another 24,000 who may be eligible to apply for DACA], and I am committed to protecting these Dreamers and ensuring that they can keep contributing to the nation they love. That’s why I’ve joined my Senate colleagues in a letter calling on the Biden Administration to take meaningful action to address the processing delays and backlog for program applicants.
These Dreamers make critical contributions to Virginia and to the United States. For example, over 200,000 DACA recipients worked as critical infrastructure workers nationwide, with 2,700 in Virginia alone. They are Americans in every way, except on paper. The DACA program gives these young people the chance to be full participants in our communities without living in fear of deportation.
I’ll continue pushing for efforts to improve this vital program and for a pathway to citizenship for these Dreamers.
Warner introduces bipartisan bill to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing
On June 18, 2021, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined his colleagues Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Steve Daines (R-MT), in introducing the Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors (FABS) Act to strengthen supply chains and create good-paying jobs in America by incentivizing domestic manufacturing of critical semiconductor technology.
“There’s bipartisan consensus that the U.S. must bolster investments in emerging technologies – like semiconductors – to be better positioned to compete against China’s tech dominance. However, the reality is that the U.S. heavily relies on semiconductor manufacturing abroad, which not only leaves our supply chains vulnerable, but it also means we’re offshoring too many good-paying jobs,” said Sen. Warner. “That’s why I joined my colleagues on this bipartisan bill, which will build on the record $52 billion investment included in the bipartisan United States Innovation and Competition Act, by incentivizing companies to bring these critical manufacturing facilities back to the U.S. in order to create more job opportunities in our communities and strengthen our national security.”
The share of global semiconductor production in the U.S. has dropped significantly, from 37 percent in 1990 to just 12 percent today. Semiconductor production is increasingly concentrated overseas, with 75 percent of global production now in East Asia. As much as 70 percent of the cost difference for producing semiconductors overseas is driven by foreign subsidies, rather than comparative advantages. The bill would help close that gap by incentivizing the production of semiconductors in the United States.
Specifically, the Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors (FABS) Act would create a 25 percent investment tax credit for investments in semiconductor manufacturing, both for manufacturing equipment and the construction of semiconductor manufacturing facilities. The proposal includes incentives for the manufacturing of semiconductors, as well as for the manufacturing of the specialized tooling equipment required in the semiconductor manufacturing process. Taxpayers could elect to receive the tax credit as a direct payment and must make this election before their facility or equipment is placed in service. To provide certainty and predictability for taxpayers, the credit would be permanent.
Earlier this month, the Senate passed the United States Innovation and Competition Act, which includes several Warner-led provisions to foster U.S. innovation and shore up American leadership in the microelectronics industry. The bill includes $52 billion to implement the CHIPS for America Act a bipartisan law championed by Sen. Warner – which called for a similar incentive tax credit included in the FABS Act – to help restore semiconductor manufacturing back to American soil. That legislation now awaits action by the House of Representatives.
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – June 13, 2021
With the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget testifying before the House Budget Committee last Wednesday, the President’s Budget proposal was the focus of the week. Unfortunately, the proposal is full of deficit spending, prioritizing issues like the Green New Deal rather than securing our southern border. As inflation continues to rise, we simply cannot afford to spend the way this Administration has since taking office a mere six months ago. This week, I also joined my colleagues in writing a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture encouraging the Department to expedite relief to our Nation’s poultry growers. Additionally, I continued meeting with constituents both in-person and virtually to connect with those I am privileged to represent. As the House prepares to return to Washington next week, know that I will continue fighting for the residents of the Sixth District and ensure your voices are heard in DC.
This week, the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget testified before the House Budget Committee in an attempt to defend President Biden’s bloated budget proposal. This nightmare will explode the deficit and lead to skyrocketing inflation rates while harming our families and our small businesses in the process. The President’s proposal spends more than $6 trillion a year for the next decade and adds $1.3 trillion to the deficit each year – $14.5 trillion over ten years. Further, the proposal includes $55 trillion in taxes through 2032 and breaks President Biden’s promise of not raising taxes on those making less than $400,000 by allowing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to expire. This will hurt small businesses and jobs and take money out of the pockets of hard-working Americans. On top of this, the President’s Budget threatens our National Security by funding our military at the lowest level, as a percentage of the economy, since WWII and gives $124 million to the World Health Organization despite its failure to hold China accountable for the COVID-19 pandemic. The President’s proposal also spends $528 billion to push a Green New Deal agenda. All of this deficit spending will have consequences, and the budget projects only a 1.9% yearly economic growth rate for the majority of the next 10 years – well below the 75-year average of 3%. The President’s Budget is wrong for the American people. I spoke with WSVA about the proposal here.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for May accelerated at its fastest pace in nearly 13 years as inflation pressures continue to build due to President Biden’s unprecedented government spending. As a result of the trillions of dollars this Administration has already spent, the cost of everyday items is increasing at record levels. Gasoline is 56.2% more expensive today than 12 months ago, transportation services are up 11.2% since this time last year, and, together, food and energy prices have increased 3.8%, which is the fastest rate since 1992. Congress must rein in spending to protect the wallets of the American people and ensure the long-term viability of our economy.
It has been more than 80 days since Vice-President Harris was named the Biden Administration’s Border Czar. And while she made time to visit Guatemala and Mexico this week, the Vice President has ignored the raging immigration crisis here at home and neglected to visit our southern border to see the crisis she is “managing” firsthand. When confronted by NBC Reporter, Lester Holt, about why she has not been to the border, she laughed and retorted that she had not been to Europe either. The fact that she thought it’s appropriate to joke about the dire immigration situation highlights how incapable of overseeing this crisis she really is. With a 21-year high of 180,034 encounters at the border last month, something needs to change. May marked the third straight month of 170,000+ apprehensions of migrants illegally crossing the border, which hasn’t occurred since 2000. President Biden’s statement that border crossings are “way down, we’ve now gotten control” is becoming less and less true as each day passes. Worse yet, President Biden’s budget proposal includes only a 0.1% increase in funding for the Department of Homeland Security. This is unacceptable, and this week, I pressed the Acting OMB Director about the Administration’s failure to prioritize border security in the FY22 Budget. The President is not taking this crisis seriously, and in order to ensure the safety and security of our Nation, his administration must finish the wall, stop catch and release, reinstate the Remain in Mexico asylum policy, so we can restore order at the border, and provide the resources necessary to Border Patrol to allow them to do their jobs effectively.
Poultry growers are a vital part of our District’s economy. Broiler chickens are the number one farm commodity in Virginia, contributing more than $900 million to the Commonwealth’s economy. The industry directly employs 18,743 people throughout Virginia and indirectly supports an additional 34,835 jobs. However, like most industries, the COVID-19 pandemic severely harmed the poultry industry as demand for products dropped, which threatened the livelihood of chicken farmers. That is why I recently joined my colleagues in writing the below bipartisan, bicameral letter in support of expediting the process of administering payments to agricultural workers negatively impacted by COVID-19. Many deserving chicken growers were initially excluded from the funding promised to them in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, and we must protect our agricultural workers and the industry by administering timely payments to these important contributors to Virginia’s economy. Click here or the image below to read the full letter.
Modine Manufacturing Company is an industry leader in thermal management, pioneering ways to better design and manufacture heat transfer products in an impressive variety of markets. The products Modine works with range from commercial and off-highway vehicles to industrial centers to refrigeration and much more. Recently, the company invested $7 million to convert its Rockbridge County warehouse into a full-scale manufacturing plant that will produce data center cooling solutions and is expected to create 60 jobs. This week, I enjoyed meeting employees and touring their existing facility in Buena Vista. I’m excited about the company’s expansion in our area.
As of June 13, 2021, Virginia has had 677,671 total cases of COVID-19, including confirmed lab tests and clinical diagnoses, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The current death toll in the Commonwealth stands at 11,293. Further, according to the VDH’s COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, as of June 13th, 4,846,193 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 4,033,614 people are fully vaccinated.
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.
Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – May 30, 2021
As Memorial Day approaches, our community expresses our profound gratitude for those who gave their lives in defense of our Nation. I am looking forward to joining Veterans and Gold Star Families across the Sixth District in remembering the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for a cause greater than self. While in the District this past week I also had the opportunity to visit with student-athletes in Luray and attend the Rotary Club of Amherst’s 49th Annual Pancake Day. Further, despite being home in Virginia, the legislative work does not stop. I questioned Dr. Fauci regarding the origins of the COVID virus and NIH funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, as well as wrote to the Government Accountability Office asking for an update on their investigation into President Biden’s unlawful freezing of appropriated funds for border wall construction. It was a productive week, and I always appreciate the opportunity to serve on your behalf.
With 4,648,449 Virginians having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which accounts for 54.5% of the Commonwealth’s population, it is time to fully reopen our economy, get folks back to work, kids back in the classroom, and reclaim the freedoms that have been impacted over the past year. While I am thankful that the Governor lifted most COVID-related restrictions this week, there are still conflicting state orders that leave employers and employees in limbo. Earlier this year, Virginia’s Health and Safety Codes Board issued permanent workplace safety standards.
The standards set requirements for companies related to COVID-19 to include cleaning, environmental changes, training, mask-wearing, testing, isolation, return to work, and reporting requirements. In order to remove or revise these requirements, the Health and Safety Codes Board must meet, but it can only do so following the lifting of the Governor’s COVID-19 state of emergency declaration, which does not expire until June 30. Therefore, despite lifting the mask mandate, any business that allows its employees to work without masks while in close contact with others will be in violation of the Board’s standards. Thus, I call on the Governor to rescind the Commonwealth’s emergency declaration to ensure no business or employee faces repercussions for not wearing a mask.
For the past year, Dr. Fauci and the experts have rejected the idea that COVID-19 was leaked from a Wuhan Lab, but now the medical community is backtracking. In a recent interview, Dr. Fauci, when asked about whether the virus originated naturally, said, “I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened.”
Further, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said, “we have to understand how COVID-19 surfaced, we have to understand how it spread so we can try to make sure we are prepared for next time” and “[a] COVID origins study must be launched…to fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak.” This comes after The Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 around November 2019 and had to be hospitalized.
Time and again we have learned that the Chinese government downplayed the pandemic threat for several critical weeks and have covered up vital information. That is why I joined my colleagues in writing to the Speaker urging her to direct the appropriate committee chairs to immediately join Republican calls to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its role in causing the global COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally this week, Dr. Fauci confirmed to me in an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing that the National Institutes of Health earmarked $600,000 for the Wuhan Institute of Virology over a five-year period to study whether bat coronaviruses could be transmitted to humans. This revelation makes clear that the United States must be overly cautious when determining when and if to send research dollars overseas.
On a Friday, President Biden released his budget for Fiscal Year 2022. This $6 trillion proposal is a roadmap of where he wants to take the country, but sadly, it leads right off a fiscal cliff. This socialist nightmare will explode the deficit and lead to skyrocketing inflation rates while harming our families and our small businesses in the process. The plan shows a lack of respect for the American people and would take money out of the pockets of working-class folks through tax hikes and a higher cost of living. In 2022 alone, “Biden’s budget projects a $1.8 trillion deficit, half of the record $3.6 trillion deficit expected for this year. In the following years, that would fall to a range of $1.3 to $1.6 trillion, higher than all but a few years following the Great Recession.”
Further, “By 2030, the cost of servicing the debt alone would become the largest contributor to the deficit, growing to $914 billion by 2031 — 11.1 percent of total spending and 58 percent of the total deficit.” To make matters worse, there is no mention of the word ‘border’ in the proposal despite the worsening immigration crisis, and it fails to include Hyde protections that prevent taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions. The plan is a slap in the face to our economic recovery from COVID, and American families will pay the price. Our country cannot afford this Administration’s runaway spending.
Building the Wall:
Early in the Biden Administration, one of the key acts that fueled the current border crisis was the unlawful suspension of congressionally appropriated funds to finish the border wall. This violation of the Impoundment Control Act has effectively led to an open border. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified before the House Budget Committee that they began looking into the President’s decision to freeze funding of the border wall in January, and now their report and findings from the investigation are long overdue.
I had joined more than 100 of my colleagues in requesting a legal opinion from the GAO by March 2021, a similar time frame for past GAO opinions. As we head into June, Congress has still not received detailed information nor a specified timeline for when the GAO will release its opinion. This delay is concerning especially considering the GAO issued a legal opinion on a similar executive use of congressionally appropriated funds during the Trump Administration within a matter of two months. That is why this week members of the Budget Committee and I wrote to Comptroller General Dodaro demanding answers. President Biden must uphold the Rule of Law, secure the border, and release congressionally appropriated funds for the wall. To read the full letter, click here.
This week, I continued to make my rounds throughout the District to recognize the accomplishments of our region’s high school student-athletes. On Monday, I visited with the Luray High School Lady Bulldogs to present them with a copy of the Congressional Record honoring their Class 2 state championship victory. This win capped off a perfect season for the Bulldogs, and I offer my congratulations to the players, coaches, and staff. Hard work truly does pay off.
Rotary Club of Amherst:
Rotary International describes itself as a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in their communities, and in themselves. I recently enjoyed the opportunity to join the Rotary Club of Amherst for the organization’s 49th Annual Pancake Day. Portions of the money raised from this event will be donated to local charities, as well as used to fund scholarships for graduating high school seniors throughout Amherst County. I commend the Rotary Club of Amherst for their continued efforts to help our community.
The word hero often gets misused, but when it comes to those who have given their lives in service to our Nation, there is no other word that more accurately describes the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Tomorrow, as we observe Memorial Day, we remember the patriots who have laid down their lives while wearing our Nation’s uniform in defense of the American Ideal.
Every Memorial Day, I remember the words President Lincoln spoke during the Gettysburg Address:
“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
May God continue to bless our Nation and produce those willing to stand in the gap and sacrifice for those they never met but are bound to through a shared American heritage all in the name of freedom.
As of May 30, 2021, Virginia has had 675,392 total cases of COVID-19, including confirmed lab tests and clinical diagnoses, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The current death toll in the Commonwealth stands at 11,173. Further, according to the VDH’s COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, as of May 30th, 4,648,449 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 3,753,299 people are fully vaccinated.
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.
$20 million in federal funds go to Northern Virginia for COVID-19 measures
On May 26, 2021, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that two emergency projects across Northern Virginia will receive a combined reimbursement of $20,902,666.81 in federal funding in response to COVID-19 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding will cover costs associated with the communication of COVID-19 warnings and guidance to Virginians, as well as medical supplies and equipment to combat the virus.
“We’re pleased to see these federal dollars go towards managing, controlling, and reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Northern Virginia,” said the Senators. “It’s important for folks to have the necessary tools and procedures to tackle this health crisis.”
The funding was awarded as follows:
• Valley Health will receive $3,786,140.24.
• Fairfax County will receive $17,116,526.57.