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Legislative Update

Warner sponsors resolution to honor Buffalo Soldiers

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WASHINGTON –  In celebration of the achievements and contributions that African-Americans have made as part of Black History Month, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner cosponsored a bipartisan resolution to honor the “Buffalo Soldiers,” African-American soldiers who served in the United States Army following the Civil War and made invaluable contributions to the fabric of our nation’s history.

Following the conclusion of the Civil War, the United States Army allowed African-Americans to serve in segregated units. Two of these units, the 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry, produced the “Buffalo Soldiers.” The soldiers received their nickname from Native Americans as a testament to their fearlessness in battle. In spite of being allocated inadequate resources and facing prejudice, the Buffalo Soldiers earned more Congressional Medals of Honor and had the lowest desertion rate of any unit in the Army. Five of those Medal of Honor recipients hailed from Virginia – Isaiah Mays (Carters Bridge, Va), Fitz Lee (Dinwiddie County, Va), Henry Johnson (Boydton, Va), Clinton Greaves (Madison County, Va), and Benjamin Brown (Spotsylvania County, Va).

“These brave Americans were among the first to answer the call to service at a time when African-Americans frankly weren’t treated as full members of our society,” said Warner. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the Buffalo Soldiers, and this resolution is an important way to honor their service to the United States.”

The resolution was introduced by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and is cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The text of the Senate resolution follows and can also be viewed here:

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Legislative Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 23, 2020

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As I crisscrossed the Sixth District this week listening and talking with constituents, I was consistently reminded of the hard work and resilience of those I am honored to represent in Congress. Once again, I visited the City of Staunton to see the rebuilding following the devastating flooding in the Queen City two weeks ago. In an effort to obtain federal FEMA assistance for affected residents, I wrote to the Governor requesting an expedited Emergency Declaration from the Commonwealth to get the folks in the area back on their feet in a timely manner. Also, I introduced a third bipartisan government reform initiative with my colleague Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), and the Speaker called us back to Washington to vote on a politically motivated bill affecting the Postal Service.

48-Hour Bill Review Resolution:
One of the most basic principles of representative government is transparency. That’s why this week, Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN-03) and I introduced H. Res. 1086 – the 48-Hour Bill Review Resolution. H. Res. 1086 would require that in addition to the 72-hour notice for bill introduction, the actual text to be voted on must be published at least 48-hours before the vote. Adding this rule strengthens the current 72-hour rule by providing an additional layer of protection for the legislative text being considered, thus closing a loophole used far too frequently in Congress. Further, the 48-Hour Bill Review Resolution would require the House to pass an altogether separate resolution in order to waive the waiting period required under H. Res. 1086. This resolution would promote greater transparency and accountability in the legislative process. This is the third government reform bill Congressman Phillips and I introduced this month. In the past few weeks we have also introduced H.R. 7949, the SMART Government Act and H.R. 8022, the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act.


Politicization of the USPS:

The United States Postal Service provides a vital national service, especially for those in rural areas. With many self-quarantining due to COVID-19, the reliance on the post office for delivery of things like medicine and daily household goods has become even more important. Both parties and past Presidential Administrations realize this and have made bipartisan efforts to reform and strengthen the current postal system.

Unfortunately, this bipartisan tradition has been put in danger by Speaker Pelosi in an effort to score political points. Congress was called into session this week to vote on legislation that would prohibit any further reforms to the USPS, require a rollback of any reforms made after January 1, 2020, and allocate an additional $25 billion to fund the USPS, even though Congress provided an extra $10 billion line of credit as part of the CARES Act enacted earlier this year, and even though the Postmaster General recently announced that he would delay the implementation of any further reforms until after November.

For decades there has been an understanding that the USPS required reforms to meet changing landscapes and competition. Whether President Clinton, Bush, Obama, or Trump, the consistent message has been that in order to ensure financial viability, the USPS needed to continue to reform its operations. Speaker Pelosi could have had the support of most Republicans, including myself, if she had left politics out of the bill and focused on improving USPS operations. Unfortunately, House Democrats placed politics above policy and ended up with a bill that has little chance of actually being signed into law.

Fighting for Staunton:
On August 8, heavy rain and flooding wreaked havoc in downtown Staunton and caused more than $3.1 million in damages to property. Soon after, the City of Staunton provided the necessary data to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and requested an Emergency Declaration but two weeks after the flooding, the State has yet to act. This designation is necessary because state designation helps a locality qualify for Federal Disaster Aid through FEMA. Knowing this is an already difficult time for businesses and area residents, I wrote to the Governor urging swift approval of Staunton’s request for an Emergency Declaration to ensure that the Queen City can quickly begin to rebuild what was lost.

Emergency Relief Check Filing Deadline Extended:
The IRS has extended its deadline to September 30, 2020, for people to provide information to the agency using its Non-Filer Tool. Click here if you have not yet received your Economic Impact Payment and meet any of the criteria below.

• Receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments

• Did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return

• Have a qualifying child under age 17

• Did not already enter information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool for yourself and at least one child

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

Bath County Schools: Schools will open on August 26th
• 4 days/week (Monday-Thursday) and 1-day remote learning (Friday), however, parents may select 100% virtual learning for their children when registering.
• Information on the virtual learning option is included in the plan. If you have additional questions, contact your child’s school principal.

Botetourt County Schools: School is set to start August 24th
• The Botetourt County school board approved a plan for fall in which students in grades 3-12 will have two days of in-person class and then three remote days of learning. The younger students will be in school five days a week.

• Students in grades 3-12 will be assigned to either Group A or Group B and will go to school on Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday and will learn remotely the other three days of the week. Then, starting on Wednesday, Oct. 21, students will learn in person on Wednesdays too. Wednesdays will alternate between Group A and B days.

• Students can alternatively choose to take all their classes remotely. They will not be considered homeschooled, so they will still be eligible to participate in athletics.

Lynchburg Schools: Lynchburg City Schools will start 100% virtual on August 24th

• Students will begin the year with virtual learning, then transition to in-person learning. As originally presented, this option calls for the transition to in-person learning to happen after the first nine weeks of school, however, the specifics of how often classes would meet will be determined by whatever data is available at that time.

• No decision has been made regarding the future of athletics.

Page County Schools: School will reopen on August 24th

• High school students (grades 9-12) will be learning remotely this fall.

• Pre-K through second grade will attend in-person four days a week.

• Grades 3 through 8 will attend in-person twice a week.

• Wednesdays will be used as a remote learning day for all students, giving time to deep clean schools and for teachers to plan.

Roanoke County Schools: First day of school pushed back to August 24th

• Parents can still choose to have their students receive 100% online instruction if desired.

• There will be reduced class sizes for the students in K-2 who attend school in person five days a week. School leaders said some areas of the school, such as libraries and cafeterias, have been converted into classroom spaces.

• Students in grades 3-12 will be split into two groups and will attend school in person two days a week spread out in classroom spaces.

Staunton Schools: First day pushed back from August 18th to August 25th

• Virtual-only learning for the first semester of the school year.

• The hybrid model will no longer be used and the plan for virtual learning can be found at the link below when a plan is published.

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

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker:
While vaccines typically take years to produce, the world’s leading scientists and researchers are hard at work to develop an effective vaccine at record speeds. There are currently more than 165 variations of a vaccine being developed – 32 of which are already in human trials. Of those 32, 8 are in Phase 3 meaning they are currently undergoing large-scale efficacy testing, and 2 have even been approved for early and limited use. The medical community is hopeful that we can have a large-scale vaccine approved by early next year. To learn more, click here.

Source: New York Times, Jonathan Corum, Denise Grady, Sui-Lee Wee and Carl Zimmer



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Legislative Update

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

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This week, I was pleased to return to work in the Sixth District. Although negotiations on a potential coronavirus relief bill have slowed, I am hopeful that we can reach a bipartisan agreement that addresses the needs of the American people and provides aid to those who need it most. Additionally, as schools begin to reopen, I will continue to provide you with the most up-to-date information on local school openings.

Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act
To promote greater transparency within the lobbying industry, I joined my colleague Dean Phillips (MN-03) in introducing H.R. 8022, the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act. At the core of this bipartisan bill is the public’s right to knowledge of ongoing lobbying efforts. Americans are dissatisfied with the way things get done in Washington and updating the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) with these common-sense provisions is a strong step to modernizing our lobbying laws and placing more power in the hands of the people rather than the lobbyists.

This legislation is the second in a series of bipartisan reform bills that I have introduced with my colleagues aimed at continuing to improve government to better serve all Americans, especially those within Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District. For further information on this initiative, please click here.

Schools Reopening
As your representative, I aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information on local school openings. As we near the beginning of the school year, school districts across the Commonwealth are releasing information about their plans for this upcoming term. This information is current as of August 14, 2020, but may change as warranted.

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

COVID-19 Relief
As you know, recently the President issued Executive Order’s aimed at addressing some economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It was the hope that this would also bring both the Administration and Congress back to the negotiating table. Unfortunately, it appears that there is currently little interest in doing so. I understand, due to issues related to COVID-19, there are those within the Sixth District who are in need and I urge you to contact my District offices if we can help you with a question or problem with a Federal agency or any pandemic related issues. They can be reached at:

Harrisonburg: (540) 432-2391
Staunton: (540) 885-3861
Roanoke: (540) 857-2672
Lynchburg: (434) 845-8306

Additionally, you may find the COVID-19 section of my website of interest. It is full of useful information and additional resources and can be found at cline.house.gov/covid-19.

VJ Day
This week marked the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, the precursor to the end of WWII. On August 14, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced that Japan had surrendered in a press conference at the White House: “This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.” We must never forget the immense sacrifice of those that fought in the Far East and the Pacific. Their fortitude and heroism ended the world’s deadliest war and forever changed the course of history.


Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 9, 2020

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While I am home in the Sixth District and not in Washington, DC, know that I am always working on behalf of you. This week, House and Senate Leadership, along with the Administration, discussed an additional COVID-19 relief bill. As potential legislation develops, I will continue to monitor these ongoing negotiations. Further, to help fight red-tape and burdensome regulations, I introduced bipartisan legislation on Friday aimed at saving taxpayers potentially billions of dollars. There was also some excitement here in the District between the naming of a new Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park and the opening of a new emergency call center in Roanoke. And until the time that I am called back to Washington to further address the coronavirus, I look forward to spending time traveling our beautiful District and seeing the folks who I am privileged to represent.

COVID-19 Relief:
In the midst of House and Senate Leadership negotiations regarding an additional COVID-19 relief bill, the President took Executive Action this week to help those in need. In his order, the President provided $400 per-week supplemental unemployment payments to out of work Americans, extended student loan relief, and afforded protections to those facing evictions. The order also directed the Treasury Department to allow employers to defer payment of the employee portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020. This action follows the recently introduced Health, Economic Assistance Liability Protection & Schools Act, or HEALS Act in the Senate.

Among its provisions, this legislation seeks to address several underlying issues still affecting our Nation during the coronavirus pandemic. As millions of Americans continue to face financial hardship, this legislation would provide a second round of direct Emergency Impact Payments to individuals to help them through these difficult times. Further, the bill continues enhanced unemployment benefits established under the CARES Act but lowers the rate slightly to help encourage folks whose places of business are reopening to go back to work, which will ensure the long-term viability of our economy and the financial stability of American families.

The HEALS Act also provides $105 billion in education funding to ensure our schools can open safely in the fall. Additionally, the bill extends the Paycheck Protection Program, which has allocated nearly $612 million to businesses right here in Virginia’s Sixth District and is currently supporting 70,000 jobs in our area. And finally, it affords liability protections to businesses, hospitals, and schools, which is vital as our country continues its phased reopening process. While House and Senate Leadership and the Administration continue negations on a final package, I am hopeful that bipartisanship will prevail and that a targeted relief bill is voted upon soon on the Floor. With that said, before passing another piece of coronavirus-related legislation, we must be mindful that there is still at least $500 billion that has not yet been spent from previous relief bills.

Representative Ben Cline said that he hopes to pass a bipartisan COVID-19 aid bill that will give aid to those in need, small businesses, and schools.

SMART Government Act:
The size and scope of the Federal bureaucracy often leads to waste at the expense of the American taxpayer. That is why my colleague, Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN), and I have teamed up to introduce a series of reform bills over the course of the next few weeks.

This week, we introduced the bipartisan SMART Government Act aimed at promoting efficient technology use by Federal agencies. This legislation would implement a three-pronged approach to establish better governance and oversight regarding Federal technology practices. First, the bill would work to consolidate the more than 12,000 government data centers to not only save Federal dollars but to promote transparency within these facilities. Additionally, it would require Federal agencies to properly track and report their software assets to eliminate unnecessary redundancies in purchasing.

And finally, this legislation would mandate that documents transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration are done so electronically to ensure the government is better equipped to access its data and respond to individual requests in a timely manner. The Federal government invests more than $90 billion annually in information technology, and these measures are needed because, at this time, the Federal bureaucracy lacks the necessary oversight measures to protect against waste.

Blue Hills E-911 Communications Center Facility:
This week, I was pleased to attend the ribbon-cutting of Roanoke’s new 31,000-square-foot Emergency Communications Center. The building will house both Roanoke’s Emergency 911 Center and Virginia 811. Combined, these two entities field more than 1.5 million calls from area citizens each year. The new facility will not only benefit day-to-day operations, but it will also prove beneficial for handling major events and multi-jurisdictional incidents. This public-private partnership was born of a mutual need for better space to dispatch professionals in response to incoming calls. This project will undoubtedly help both organizations best serve our community.

Shenandoah National Park:
Shenandoah National Park not only provides tremendous outdoor recreation to Sixth District residents but also serves as a tourist destination and economic driver for our region. I am excited by the announcement of Patrick Kenney as the new Superintendent, and his experience as the Deputy Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park will serve him well.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431. Follow me on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for the latest updates.

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Reps. Cline and Phillips introduce bipartisan bill to promote efficient technology use by federal agencies

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Congressmen Ben Cline (VA-06) and Dean Phillips (MN-03) introduced H.R. 7949 – the SMART Government Act. This legislation would implement a three-pronged approach to establish better governance and oversight regarding Federal technology practices.

H.R. 7949 would:
1. Work to consolidate the more than 12,000 government data centers, which would not only save federal dollars but would promote transparency within these facilities.
2. Require Federal agencies to properly track and report their software assets to eliminate unnecessary redundancies in purchasing.

3. Mandate that documents transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration are done so electronically to ensure the government is better equipped to access its data and respond to individual requests in a timely manner.

Rep. Cline said, “The Federal government invests more than $90 billion annually in information technology yet lacks the necessary oversight measures to protect against waste. The SMART Government Act is a first step in working to promote a system of technological use that is more accountable to and efficient for the U.S. tax-payer.”

Rep. Phillips said, “We didn’t leave the Stone Age because we ran out of rocks – we found a better way of doing things. Congress is an 18th-century institution operating in a 21st-century world. In order to meet the needs of the American people, and save the taxpayer money, we have to update and innovate. The SMART Government Act will modernize our government and put us on the path towards being more efficient and responsive to our constituent’s needs.”

This legislation is the first in a series of bipartisan government reform bills that Congressmen Cline and Phillips intend to introduce together over the next several weeks.

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Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 5, 2020

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Amid honoring the life of Congressman John Lewis last week, the House continued to vote on bills to fund our government and other timely pieces of legislation. Further, there was some excitement within the committees I serve, including questioning Attorney General Barr in the Judiciary Committee and being named Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. I also had the opportunity to connect with constituents during my sixth telephone town hall. And finally, as school districts begin issuing guidance on what their fall terms will look like, I wanted to provide you the latest information on school reopenings from across our region. While last week was productive, I am glad to be spending a few days home in the Sixth District.

Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee:
Last week, I was honored to be named Ranking Member of the House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over issues relating to employment, welfare reform programs, human services programs, Community Services Block Grants, nutrition programs, child abuse, and domestic violence issues, and civil rights among other areas of focus. As the only freshman Republican to serve as a Ranking Member on the Education and Labor Committee, I appreciate the confidence my colleagues have in me.

Appropriations:
When I was elected to Congress, I vowed to fight against business as usual. Unfortunately, the so-called “mini-bus” bill put forth by the Democrats last week was simply more of the same wasteful spending that got our country into the fiscal crisis it currently faces. This legislation flew under the radar despite having a price tag of a whopping $1.3 trillion, which accounts for a 13.9 percent increase from the currently enacted budget. To make the matter worse, this has been pushed through Floor consideration in about 24 hours, giving Members little time to debate spending more than a trillion dollars of American’s hard-earned tax dollars. This legislation shows a complete disregard for fiscal responsibility through market interference, increased entitlements, Green New Deal provisions, and additional bureaucratic red tape – all while lacking proper funding for border security and school choice programs. Further, the bill includes steps to defund police, measures to reverse religious freedom protections, and would implement provisions that slow economic recovery. It would have been reckless and irresponsible to support legislation such as this.

Questioning Attorney General Barr:
Last week, Democrats on the Judiciary Committee continued to participate in a partisan political theater rather than serious policy discussions. When called to testify, Attorney General Barr stood firm in defense of our Constitution and the President’s Rule of Law policies while withstanding a barrage of badgering attacks and misleading questions from Committee Democrats. I took this opportunity to ask the Attorney General about his thoughts on Governor Northam’s overreach in suppressing Virginian’s civil rights in regard to the expression of their religious faith.

Telephone Town Hall:
Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, I had been committed to holding in-person town halls throughout the Sixth District. In fact, since being elected, I have hosted 25 town halls – with at least one being held in each locality throughout the District. I hope to continue those sorts of in-person forums in the future, but for now, virtual events remain the best option to connect directly with constituents on a larger scale and ensure that their voices are heard in Washington. Last week, I enjoyed hosting my sixth telephone town hall and listening to folks from across the District. And moving forward, I will continue to make myself available as your representative.

Schools Reopening:
As we approach the beginning of the school year, school districts across the Sixth District are releasing information for the fall term. Here is a sampling of some school district plans as of August 3, 2020. Please keep in mind, this information may change as warranted.

Amherst County Schools: School will begin September 9
• All elementary school students will be in school Monday through Thursday with block scheduling
• For middle and high school students, they will split into groups. One group will go to school Mondays and Wednesdays, the other on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with both groups doing at-home instruction on Fridays

Augusta County Schools: School year will begin on August 18
• All students will have a combination of in-person and at-home learning with proper distancing for in-person learning
• Parents who are concerned with sending their children to school also have the option to choose 100 percent at-home learning

Bedford County Schools: Students will start back on three different dates
• Pre-k to 3rd Grade (and 4th for those still housed in elementary schools) will start on August 19
• 4th Grade housed in middle schools through 6th Grade will start August 20
• 7th Grade through 12th Grade will begin August 24

Roanoke County Schools: School year will begin August 24
• Parents can choose to have their students receive 100 percent online instruction
• There will be reduced class sizes for the students in K-2 who attend school in person five days a week
• 3rd Grade through 12th Grade will be split into two groups and will attend school in person two days a week with proper distancing

Rockingham County Schools: School year will begin September 10

• All grade levels will transition from distant learning to in-person learning with proper social distancing

Shenandoah County Schools: School year will begin August 17
• Pre-kindergarten through 5th Grade to be in class four days a week with virtual learning one day a week
• 6th Grade through 12th Grade students will do virtual learning four days a week and be in class one day a week
• Parents who are concerned with sending their children to school also have the option to choose 100 percent at-home learning

Warren County Schools: Tentative start date is August 12th
• The School year is set to run Aug. 27-June 8. However, the school board is still debating four potential reopening options, which include a mix of remote and in-person learning.
• Regardless of the option the County chooses, parents will have the option for their children to participate solely in remote learning.

A full list of Sixth District public schools reopening plans can be found here.

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

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