WASHINGTON – Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) today welcomed the news that the Inspector General (IG) of the General Services Administration (GSA) will initiate an investigation into the site selection to relocate the new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters, issuing the following statement:
“Given the overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by politics, we agree that an inspector general investigation is the appropriate next step. We applaud the inspector general for moving quickly and encourage him to move forward to complete a careful and thorough review. In the meantime, the GSA must pause all activities related to the relocation until the IG’s investigation is complete.”
U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner & Tim Kaine Announce Nearly $62.4 Million for Clear Water Infrastructure Upgrades in Virginia
Nov 29 2023
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $62,362,000 in federal funding for the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund (VCWRLF) to make clean water infrastructure upgrades across the Commonwealth. The funding was awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a federal-state partnership that provides low-cost financing to communities for a wide range of water quality infrastructure projects, including municipal wastewater facilities, pollution control, wastewater treatment systems, stormwater runoff mitigation, green infrastructure, and water reuse. More than $47 million of this funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Sens. Warner and Kaine helped pass.
“Clean water is important for the health of all Virginians,” the senators said. “We’re glad this funding will help improve infrastructure throughout Virginia and ensure our communities have access to safe water.”
Virginia will use the funding to help communities across the Commonwealth fund necessary water projects that some communities may not have been able to afford otherwise.
Specifically, the funding may be used to:
- Improve wastewater collection and treatment facilities,
- Upgrade stormwater management systems,
- Clean up contaminated brownfields such as abandoned factories, gas stations, and dry cleaners,
- Build living shorelines, which are made from natural materials such as plants, sand, or rock and purify water, buffer floods, and reduce erosion, and
- Conserve lands.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve water infrastructure. Earlier this month, the senators announced over $8.1 million in federal funding to improve wastewater treatment in Kilmarnock and Clarksville. the senators also announced over $4 million in federal funding, courtesy of the BIL for clean water improvement in September of this year.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine secured $4.1 million in federal funding for the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA) to help small businesses across Virginia access capital. Specifically, the funding will provide small business owners with technical assistance like webinars, workshops, one-on-one mentoring, job and resource fairs, and community events. The funding was awarded under the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Technical Assistance Grant Program, which was reauthorized and expanded by the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan was supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine and passed the Senate with a one vote margin.
“Small businesses help keep our communities and economy running, but many of the smallest and most underserved businesses face significant barriers accessing capital,” said the senators. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan we passed, Virginia is receiving funding for the SSBCI program to help ensure entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth have the resources they need to access capital and grow their business.”
In December 2022, Virginia received $230.4 million in American Rescue Plan funding for the SSBCI program, which will enhance access to capital for Virginia’s small businesses. The $4.1 million in funding will help ensure very small and underserved businesses receive technical assistance to assist them in applying for funding through this and other federal programs. The VSBFA anticipates providing technical assistance to 1,000 beneficiaries, resulting in 500 pitch applications submitted to the state’s SSBCI capital programs and other federal programs.
Sen. Warner, the co-chair of the Senate CDFI Caucus, has been a longtime leader in Congress for increasing access to capital for small businesses in underserved communities. To combat hemorrhaging jobs and the loss of economic opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Warner authored legislation to make a record $12 billion investment in CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) and successfully fought to include it in the December 2021 COVID-19 relief package, which the senators voted to pass. Sen. Kaine pushed for permanent authorization of the Minority Business Development Administration, including his Reaching America’s Rural Minority Businesses Act, as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), John Fetterman (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and U.S. Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA-3) in introducing the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act, which would help miners who have suffered from black lung disease and their survivors access the workers’ compensation they are entitled to receive under the Black Lung Benefits Program. This legislation would remove barriers that prevent miners and their survivors from accessing their benefits such as lengthy processing times, lack of a legal representative, and inflation.
“For generations, coal miners across Virginia have made tremendous sacrifices to power America, literally risking their lives and their health to electrify our nation,” said Senator Warner. “Miners living with black lung and their survivors need easy access to the benefits they’ve earned – but far too often, red tape gets in the way. The Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act would take important steps to make sure miners can access legal representation, have protection against inflation, and more so America can keep making good on the debt it owes to victims of black lung.”
“Many of our nation’s miners have developed black lung disease, and we owe it to them to provide them with the care and support they need,” said Senator Kaine. “The Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act is critical to helping more miners, miner retirees, and their families receive the benefits and compensation they’ve earned following their tremendous sacrifices.”
Many miners have developed coal workers’ pneumoconiosis—commonly referred to as “black lung”—a debilitating and deadly disease caused by the long-term inhalation of coal dust in underground and surface coal mines. In response, Congress passed the Black Lung Benefits Act in 1976 to provide monthly compensation and medical coverage for coal miners who develop black lung disease and are disabled. The Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act makes needed updates to ensure Congress is fulfilling its commitment to the Nation’s coal miners by:
- Restoring cost-of-living benefit increases for black lung beneficiaries and ensuring cost-of-living increases are never withheld in the future,
- Helping miners and their survivors secure legal representation by providing interim attorney fees for miners that prevail at various stages of their claim,
- Allowing miners or their survivors to reopen their cases if they had been wrongly denied benefits because of errors in medical interpretations, and
- Prohibiting unethical conduct by attorneys and doctors in the black lung claims process, such as withholding evidence of black lung, and helping miners review and rebut potentially biased or inaccurate medical evidence developed by coal companies.
Warner and Kaine have long worked to support miners and their families. The Senate-passed draft of the Fiscal Year 2024 government funding bill includes $12.19 million in federal funding for black lung clinics, which the senators are working to ensure is included in the final version of the bill. The Inflation Reduction Act, which the senators helped pass, included a permanent extension of the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund’s excise tax at a higher rate, providing certainty for miners, miner retirees, and their families who rely on the fund to access benefits. This followed Warner and Kaine’s successful efforts to ensure that miners receive the pensions and health care they earned. In July, the senators reintroduced the Relief for Survivors of Miners Act, which would ease restrictions to make it easier for miners’ survivors to successfully claim benefits. Warner and Kaine also urged the Biden Administration to issue new silica standards to protect miners across America – a push that helped contribute towards the release of those standards.
A one-pager on the bill is available here.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the statement below after the announcement of a deal between Israel and Hamas to free hostages taken in the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in exchange for a multi-day cessation of hostilities in Gaza.
“I’m very heartened to see the announcement of a deal to finally bring home some of the hostages taken during the unconscionable terrorist attacks on October 7. I applaud all parties involved in the negotiations, including the Biden Administration, for reaching this critical breakthrough. However, our work will not be finished until all hostages have been returned to their families. It’s also clear that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has rapidly deteriorated, and that the multi-day cessation of hostilities secured as part of the deal will enable the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid and save many innocent Palestinian lives. Now that we have a deal, it’s incumbent on both parties to honor this agreement and to continue making every effort to protect innocent civilian lives."
Warner and Kaine Urge Department of Education to Combat Antisemitism and Islamophobia on College Campuses
Nov 17 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote to U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Secretary Miguel Cardona to urge the DOE to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia on college and university campuses. Since the onset of the Israel-Hamas crisis, higher education institutions have seen a precipitous rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia, including hate speech, harassment, and violence – creating an environment of fear and vulnerability for students.
“We write to express our concern about the alarming rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in the United States following the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. These events have had a profound impact on our college and university campuses, where students of all backgrounds come together to learn and engage,” the senators wrote.
The letter draws attention to a few specific and recent examples of Islamophobia and antisemitism on college campuses. At Stanford University, an Arab Muslim student was the victim of a hit-and-run, where the perpetrator shouted vulgar and racist remarks during his attack. At Cornell University, a student posted violent threats online against the Jewish community, subsequently leading to his arrest.
“In the face of these challenges, it is essential that we stand together as a nation against discrimination, xenophobia, and bigotry. Hate has no place in America, and our educational institutions play a pivotal role in ensuring that,” the senators continued. “We look forward to your continued dedication to this important issue. We are hopeful that, together, we can create a safer environment for students at our colleges and universities.”
In the letter, the senators specifically call on the DOE to:
- expand the Antisemitism Awareness Campaign,
- craft an Islamophobia Awareness Campaign,
- conduct additional outreach to Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab student communities, and
- provide resources to colleges and universities from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long been vocal advocates against Islamophobia and antisemitism. Earlier this week, they also sent a letter to the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Special Counsel requesting guidance on the self-expression rights of federal workers as related to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
A copy of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Secretary Cardona:
We write to express our concern about the alarming rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia in the United States following the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. These events have had a profound impact on our college and university campuses, where students of all backgrounds come together to learn and engage.
The United States prides itself on being a nation that values diversity, inclusion, and religious freedom. Unfortunately, hate-fueled incidents targeting Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab students on our college campuses have shown that we still have much work to do to uphold these values. Incidents such as hateful rhetoric, harassment, vandalism, and threats have been reported, creating an environment of fear and vulnerability for students, many of whom have deep and personal connections to the region and the ongoing conflict.
At Stanford University, an Arab Muslim student was the victim of a hit-and-run, where the perpetrator shouted vulgar and racist remarks during his attack. At Cornell University, a student posted violent threats online against the Jewish community, subsequently leading to his arrest. Sadly, these are just a few of the startling incidents reported across the country, and we must do all we can to prevent it from growing.
We want to commend the Department of Education for the creation of the Antisemitism Awareness Campaign, which lays out a set of initiatives to ensure that all students, including Jewish students, are able to attend school free from discrimination. Recent events have highlighted the urgency and importance of continuing and expanding this campaign, which we urge you to do.
Similarly, in following the Administration’s recent announcement to establish the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia, we urge you to build upon that and create an Islamophobia Awareness Campaign for educational institutions. Through this effort, it is critical to acknowledge that Islamophobia also hurts those who are not of the Muslim faith. Individuals perceived to be Muslim, such as members of the Christian Arab and Sikh community, have unfortunately experienced the pain of anti-Muslim hate.
As you work to combat these various acts of hate, we also ask you to expand outreach to Jewish, Muslim, Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab student communities. This outreach should aim to address the specific concerns and challenges faced by these communities and provide a platform for support and action. By actively listening and understanding their unique concerns, we can work towards creating an environment where students feel safe, heard, and protected.
Additionally, we were pleased to learn that the Department of Education recently issued a Dear Colleague reminding schools of their legal obligation to provide all students with a learning environment free from discrimination. This Dear Colleague included an updated discrimination complaint form, which specifies additional protections for students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We appreciate these efforts and request that you continue to provide comprehensive information and resources from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to colleges and universities. These tools can empower educational institutions to respond effectively to and report discrimination, harassment, bias, and related incidents.
In the face of these challenges, it is essential that we stand together as a nation against discrimination, xenophobia, and bigotry. Hate has no place in America, and our educational institutions play a pivotal role in ensuring that.
We look forward to your continued dedication to this important issue. We are hopeful that, together, we can create a safer environment for students at our colleges and universities.
Nov 16 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation to support spaceports across the nation, unleashing investment in space and addressing the concerning spaceport bottleneck. The Alleviating Spaceport Traffic by Rewarding Operators (ASTRO) Act would award funding to spaceports with proven track records of launches, protecting and promoting America’s strategic, military, and commercial interests in space exploration while supporting local economies surrounding spaceports.
“Space is an incredibly critical frontier for the next generation of America’s strategic needs and economic growth,” said Sen. Warner. “The ASTRO Act would solve a pressing need by allowing successful spaceports to rapidly scale their operations, unleashing the potential for more frequent launches and paving the way for breakthroughs across the cosmos.”
“America’s spaceports are facing increasing demand for launch services,” said Sen. Sullivan. “As one of four sites in the United States with a demonstrated ability to vertically launch objects into orbit, the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island plays a key role in providing American access to space, and also providing much-needed missiles to our allies, like Israel. The ASTRO Act is a critical step towards strengthening our space launch capabilities and will allow for needed infrastructure developments that will help bolster our national security, and propel our nation’s space ambitions for generations to come.”
America faces a severe and worsening “spaceport bottleneck” as the need for space launch facilities vastly outstrips supply, creating very high demand on a small number of facilities. The ASTRO Act would get non-federal spaceports the resources they need to build transit infrastructure and quickly increase launch capacity and cadence. Under the ASTRO Act, spaceports would receive $250,000 for each licensed launch and $100,000 for each permitted launch up to $2.5 million annually, promoting investment in spaceports that already have a record of successful launches.
Spaceports across the nation would be eligible for these funds, including the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, and the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Full text of the ASTRO Act is available here.
In Response to the People's Republic of China's Dominance in the Industry, Senate Intel Chair and Vice Chair Lead Colleagues in Push to Support Critical Mineral Projects
Nov 16 2023
WASHINGTON – In response to China’s continued dominance of the critical mineral supply chain, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) led a group of bipartisan colleagues in a call for action to secure supply chains and reduce U.S. reliance on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for minerals that are inputs for critical technologies, including through increased government support to U.S. private sector companies investing and operating in critical mineral projects.
This is the latest step that the Intelligence Committee leaders have taken to counter China’s dominance of this growing industry. Last month, Sens. Warner and Rubio hosted government officials and domestic industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on access to critical minerals.
In a letter to the Biden administration, the senators highlighted the exploding demand of critical minerals and their growing importance to U.S. national security, while pointing out the U.S. is falling behind its adversaries in efforts to secure the global critical mineral supply chain.
The senators wrote, “Demand for critical minerals is growing exponentially, yet the U.S. substantially lags behind its adversaries in securing critical mineral supply chains. In fact, in many cases China controls nearly 100 percent of the end-to-end supply chain, and is actively seeking to maintain and increase its control of these resources around the globe.”
Outlining key areas where improvement is needed to expand domestic capabilities, the senators requested that the administration take a series of steps to ensure U.S. support to domestic industry, to strengthen internal coordination across government agencies, and to formulate a strategy for U.S. collaboration with our allies, to combat China’s growing dominance in this space.
They continued, “Focusing the efforts of the U.S. government, in coordination with our allies, upon standing up processing, refining, and metallurgical capacity must be a priority if we are going to succeed in reducing our reliance on China for critical minerals.”
Sens. Warner and Rubio were joined in this letter by U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
In a separate letter to Reta Jo Lewis, Chair of Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), Sens. Warner and Rubio advocated for the prioritization of EXIM’s projects to secure critical mineral supply chains both domestically and in allied and partner nations, in order to reduce dependence on China.
The senators wrote, “Given the national security and economic implications of critical mineral supply chains, U.S. government agencies and institutions – including EXIM – must better align efforts to support the establishment of supply chains that serve our interests and are independent of the influence and control of the PRC.”
In order to ensure that appropriate steps to prioritize critical mineral projects are being taken, the senators requested EXIM seek approval from their board of directors to invest in relevant projects, develop a strategy to coordinate with the private sector engaged in this space, and notify Congress of any additional resources or fixes needed to better support critical mineral projects.
They concluded, “The stakes of our economic struggle with the PRC demands that we reduce our dependence on them in critical technology sectors and for critical goods, especially those with defense and energy applications.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to President Biden recommending both Patice Holland and Jasmine Yoon to fill one upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, which will be created when Judge Michael F. Urbanski assumes senior status in July 2024.
Patice Holland was born and raised in Franklin County and has worked at Wood Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC in Roanoke, Virginia since 2007, having first joined the firm as a law clerk and now serving as a Principal Attorney and chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. In addition to her practice, she currently serves as substitute judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Virginia. Ms. Holland dedicates her free time to community outreach and serves on nine bar associations in Virginia.
Jasmine Yoon is the Vice President for Corporate Integrity, Ethics, and Investigations at Capital One Financial Corporation. Prior to this role, she served as Interim University Counsel and Associate University Counsel at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, her alma mater. She also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where she investigated and prosecuted over 80 financial crimes and public corruption cases.
“We are pleased to recommend Ms. Patice Holland and Ms. Jasmine Yoon for the vacancy on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, following the decision by Chief Judge Michael F. Urbanski to assume senior status effective July 4, 2024,” said the senators. “Both would serve with great distinction and have our highest recommendation.”
Warner and Kaine recommended Patice Holland and Jasmine Yoon based on their distinguished records and the assessments of an independent panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth as well as feedback from numerous bar associations in Virginia. President Biden will now nominate one individual for the position to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the full Senate.
Under President Biden, the senators have confirmed 153 federal judges to the bench, including the Honorable Toby Heytens, Patricia Tolliver Giles, Michael S. Nachmanoff, Elizabeth Haines, Jamar Walker, and Robert Ballou for federal courts across Virginia.
Full text of the letter is available here and below.
Dear Mr. President:
We are pleased to recommend Ms. Patice Holland and Ms. Jasmine Yoon for the vacancy on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, following the decision by Chief Judge Michael F. Urbanski to assume senior status effective July 4, 2024. Both would serve with great distinction and have our highest recommendation.
Born and raised in Franklin County, Virginia, Ms. Holland has worked at Wood Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC in Roanoke, Virginia since 2007, having first joined the firm as a law clerk to now serving as a Principal Attorney and chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. In addition to her practice, she currently serves as substitute judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit of Virginia. Ms. Holland dedicates her free time to community outreach and serves on nine bar associations in Virginia. These experiences give us great confidence that Ms. Holland would make an excellent nominee for this seat.
Ms. Yoon is the Vice President for Corporate Integrity, Ethics, and Investigations at Capital One Financial Corporation. Prior to this role, she served as Interim University Counsel and Associate University Counsel at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, her alma mater. She also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where she investigated and prosecuted over 80 financial crimes and public corruption cases. These experiences qualify Ms. Yoon for this nomination and we are honored to recommend her.
Ultimately, we believe either of these individuals would secure confirmation from the Senate and serve capably on the bench. We are honored to recommend them to you.
Warner and Kaine Request Guidance on Federal Employees' Right to Self-Expression During Middle East Conflict
Nov 16 2023
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of Special Counsel requesting guidance on the self-expression rights of federal workers as related to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. This letter comes in response to concerns voiced by Virginia federal workers who fear censorship or retaliation for expressing their personal views about the ongoing conflict.
“Virginia is home to one of the highest concentrations of federal employees in the country. These federal employees perform essential work for the country and deserve respect for their public service and commitment to their fellow citizens,” wrote the Senators. “Unfortunately, we have heard from a number of federal employees in Virginia that they are either afraid to share their personal views for fear of being targeted for reprisal, or do not know the policies around sharing personal views and have consequently remained silent, even amid personal grief. Fears of being targeted for reprisal or remaining silent have manifested in numerous ways, including deleting social media, refraining from attending demonstrations, or simply refusing to share any views.”
“As federal employees – many of whom have personal connections to the ongoing conflict – continue to serve their country with dignity and professionalism through this challenging period, it is essential that they be offered clear and transparent guidance on their right to self-expression as employees of the United States government,” they continued. “Although we appreciate your outreach efforts to federal employees thus far, current OPM and OSC policies lack adequate guidance on this matter and have left many federal employees unaware of their rights. This conflict has brought incredible heartache to countless Americans, and we urge you to act swiftly to develop clear guidance on federal employees’ rights allowing for the appropriate expression of these sentiments.”
A copy of the letter is available here, and full text is available below.
Dear Director Ahuja and Acting Special Counsel Gorman:
We are writing on behalf of federal employees in Virginia who have expressed fears about censorship and reprisal resulting from their expression of views related to the horrific terrorist attack committed by Hamas against Israel on October 7 and the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. We are concerned that the federal government has not provided adequate guidance on federal employees’ rights to self-expression. To that end, we request that you develop and circulate clear guidance, or direct agencies to do so, concerning the federal government’s policies on federal employee self-expression, and that you ensure federal employees do not face retaliation for expressing their personal views in line with that guidance.
Virginia is home to one of the highest concentrations of federal employees in the country. These federal employees perform essential work for the country and deserve respect for their public service and commitment to their fellow citizens. Unfortunately, we have heard from a number of federal employees in Virginia that they are either afraid to share their personal views for fear of being targeted for reprisal, or do not know the policies around sharing personal views and have consequently remained silent, even amid personal grief. Fears of being targeted for reprisal or remaining silent have manifested in numerous ways, including deleting social media, refraining from attending demonstrations, or simply refusing to share any views.
We understand your office held a “Learning Community Webinar” to discuss antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of religious discrimination on October 27. We appreciate efforts such as this and strongly encourage you to build on this conversation to further inform federal employees and provide clarity on their rights to self-expression. As federal employees – many of whom have personal connections to the ongoing conflict – continue to serve their country with dignity and professionalism through this challenging period, it is essential that they be offered clear and transparent guidance on their right to self-expression as employees of the United States government.
Although we appreciate your outreach efforts to federal employees thus far, current OPM and OSC policies lack adequate guidance on this matter and have left many federal employees unaware of their rights. This conflict has brought incredible heartache to countless Americans, and we urge you to act swiftly to develop clear guidance on federal employees’ rights allowing for the appropriate expression of these sentiments.
Nov 15 2023
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after voting to avert a government shutdown by passing a stopgap government funding bill that will fund federal agencies covered by the Agriculture, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water Development and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bills through January 19 and all remaining departments through February 2:
“Today, we voted to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown. We have long warned that a shutdown would cause catastrophic damage to Virginia’s economy, hurt our military readiness, and jeopardize Virginians’ ability to access crucial services, like help resolving issues with Social Security or Medicare benefits. While today’s bipartisan action is a relief, we share Virginians’ frustration with short-term fixes. We will continue to urge our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a full-year budget as quickly as possible, and will keep working to ensure that budget includes Virginia’s priorities.”
Warner and Kaine have been vocal in emphasizing the harmful impacts of government shutdowns, including on America’s military readiness and the Commonwealth’s economy, air travel, and food security. Additionally, the senators worked to secure key wins for Virginia in the draft Fiscal Year 2024 budget bills, which will provide long-term government funding and are making their way through the legislative process.
Today’s vote comes after a series of bipartisan agreements to fund the government. Earlier this year, congressional leadership and a majority of House Republicans came to an agreement with the White House regarding government funding levels for Fiscal Year 2024. As a means of protesting that bipartisan agreement, a vocal minority of House Republicans pushed Congress to the brink of a government shutdown at the end of September, when the Fiscal Year 2023 budget was set to expire. A bipartisan coalition of Senate and House lawmakers, including Kaine and Warner, came together on September 30 to overcome that effort and passed a stopgap funding bill to fund the government through November 17.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement to mark the two-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law becoming law:
“In the two years since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed into law, communities across Virginia have reaped its benefits. We’re finally seeing once-in-a-generation investments to upgrade our roads and bridges, improve water infrastructure, expand broadband, and more. We are proud to have passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make these improvements possible. We’re excited to see how this law will continue to improve our infrastructure, create jobs, and transform communities across Virginia.”
So far, Virginia has received $8.4 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, including funding for over 247 specific projects. Read below for some examples of how Virginians across the Commonwealth are benefiting from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
A $25 million federal grant will bring a “fiber-to-the-premises” network that will deliver high-speed internet to more than 17,000 residents and more than 1,000 businesses in Wise and Lee counties and the city of Norton, federal legislators announced Monday.
The money was awarded to the Scott County Telephone Cooperative through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program and was funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law of 2021, according to a joint news release from U.S. Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine, both Democrats, and releases by U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, Louisa County/Freeman Field Airport, and Orange County Airport are among the facilities that will be receiving federal funding.
Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Va., announced on Wednesday that airports throughout Virginia will be receiving nearly $400 million over the next five years from the bipartisan infrastructure deal that was signed into law.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
That funding, from the bill’s Airport Terminals Program, joins another $49.6 million the project already received. It would replace gates built in the 1990s at the eastern end of Concourse A, where many regional-flight passengers currently go outdoors to access their planes via the walkways and stairs. Passengers instead will be able to board their flights using jet bridges. Connected to an Aerotrain station, the new concourse will be nearly four times larger than the current facility.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Richmond receives $18.4 million infrastructure grant for bridge project
A federal infrastructure grant will help Richmond raise an aging bridge out of the way of freight train traffic at a critical railroad crossing at the northern gateway to the city along Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
The $18.4 million award is in one of the first federal grants approved under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It will help the city replace a 79-year-old bridge that carries Ashe Boulevard over CSX railroad tracks that divide Scott’s Addition from what the city bills as “the Diamond District,” a proposed economic development surrounding the baseball stadium that is home to the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
Virginia will receive $100 million in federal funding to help alleviate rail congestion and delays by constructing a passenger rail bridge in a busy train corridor in Northern Virginia.
The $100 million in funding for the $405 million project comes from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, the bipartisan infrastructure law and the federal government’s 2022 spending bill, according to a Thursday announcement from Democratic U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
Federal and state officials are rolling out a fleet of new programs in an expansive effort to bring faster and less expensive internet to all Virginians, especially those who have had trouble connecting in the past.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
An interstate divided the Jackson Ward neighborhood in Richmond decades ago, and now leaders hope a bridge will help reunite it.
The proposed project area for a bridge deck to better connect the neighborhood runs from the Belvidere Street bridge to east of the North First Street bridge over Interstate 95. Federal dollars from a new program will help fund the project.
Democratic Virginia U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced in late February nearly $3 million in federal funding to improve transportation infrastructure and reconnect communities in Richmond and Norfolk.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Local and federal authorities have reached an agreement that funnels federal funding to the ongoing construction of the Port of Norfolk.
The agreement, signed Friday morning, means the federal government will financially invest in the construction effort to widen and deepen the commercial shipping channels and Norfolk Harbor.
The signing of the PPA authorizes the flow of more than $225 million in federal funding that has already been secured for the Norfolk Harbor Deepening and Widening Project.
Officials say the construction is further made possible with a $72 million federal investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) continues growing.
With more than one million dollars awarded from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, plans are already underway.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
On Thursday, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $13,240,212 in federal funding for Virginia airports to make infrastructure improvements, including extending runways, rehabilitating aprons, and improving taxiway lighting.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
An agreement on Monday morning between Norfolk officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will solidify a partnership on the Resilient Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project. It allows them to access nearly $399 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
More information on this announcement can be found here.
Nov 15 2023
WASHINGTON– Today, members of Virginia’s congressional delegation wrote to the General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to request an investigation into concerns raised by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding the site selection process for a new FBI headquarters. The letter was signed by US Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), and Morgan Griffith (R-VA).
“We write to request an immediate investigation into the serious concerns raised by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray, regarding the site selection process for a new FBI headquarters,” wrote the Members. “There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety – one that was repeatedly curated to arrive at a predetermined outcome.”
“In summary, GSA changed the original site selection criteria – which had been developed by GSA experts, in accordance with the agency’s own best practices for site selection – in a way that favored the Greenbelt site, and did so over the objections of the FBI Director,” the Members continued. “Then GSA changed the person tasked with confirming the final site selection from a career official to a political appointee. As identified by the FBI, there existed a potential conflict of interest with that political appointee, tied to the Greenbelt site. The political appointee then overturned the decision of a panel of career officials who unanimously selected Springfield, in part by changing how certain criteria were calculated and how certain factors were considered, contrary to what had been previously outlined to the public and to Congress by GSA. Almost immediately after directing the final site selection to Greenbelt, the political appointee promptly left the federal government, implicating Congress’s ability to engage with this individual in an oversight capacity. In defending the indefensible, GSA has decided to proceed with the selection of Greenbelt over the objections of its client agency, the FBI.”
“These facts, when taken together, paint an ugly picture of a fatally flawed procurement that demands further investigation,” the Members concluded. “We request that your office initiate an immediate investigation into the site selection process for the FBI headquarters.”
Full text of the letter is available here and below.
Dear Acting Inspector General Erickson,
We write to request an immediate investigation into the serious concerns raised by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Christopher Wray, regarding the site selection process for a new FBI headquarters. There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that the General Services Administration (GSA) administered a site selection process fouled by political considerations and alleged impropriety – one that was repeatedly curated to arrive at a predetermined outcome.
Throughout the site selection deliberations, GSA suppressed, dismissed, and overrode the judgement and recommendations of career officials from GSA and the FBI. This has led the Director of the FBI to take the extraordinary step of calling into question the “fairness and transparency in the process and GSA’s failure to adhere to its own site selection plan.”
In July 2023, the agency executed a series of changes to significantly alter long-established site selection criteria and scoring rules. The changes made to the criteria were almost exclusively responsive to perceived concerns and direct requests from representatives of the Greenbelt site, meant to tilt the selection process in favor of Greenbelt. GSA made these changes over the objections of the FBI, which wrote to GSA in a June 26, 2023 memo that the original scoring criteria “best balanced the many wide-ranging elements considered for optimal site selection.”
That same month, the agency finalized a plan to unilaterally remove a career official from the position of Site Selection Authority, the person tasked with confirming the recommendation of the site selection panel and certifying a final site selection. The agency, instead, installed a political appointee as the Site Selection Authority. Director Wray, once again, raised serious objections to the change. Additionally, the FBI identified potential conflicts of interest that the appointee had related to the Greenbelt site, and raised concerns about potential impartiality. These concerns were never fully addressed by GSA.
In August 2023, the site selection panel, comprised of two career GSA officials and one career FBI official, reached a unanimous decision to select Springfield, Virginia as the home for the new FBI headquarters. The new Site Selection Authority unilaterally overturned the decision of the panel, including by making changes to the scoring – contrary to GSA’s own site selection plan – which benefited consideration of the Greenbelt site, and hurt the Springfield site. According to the FBI, “the justification offered for those changes have been both varied and insufficient.”
In summary, GSA changed the original site selection criteria – which had been developed by GSA experts, in accordance with the agency’s own best practices for site selection – in a way that favored the Greenbelt site, and did so over the objections of the FBI Director. Then GSA changed the person tasked with confirming the final site selection from a career official to a political appointee. As identified by the FBI, there existed a potential conflict of interest with that political appointee, tied to the Greenbelt site. The political appointee then overturned the decision of a panel of career officials who unanimously selected Springfield, in part by changing how certain criteria were calculated and how certain factors were considered, contrary to what had been previously outlined to the public and to Congress by GSA. Almost immediately after directing the final site selection to Greenbelt, the political appointee promptly left the federal government, implicating Congress’s ability to engage with this individual in an oversight capacity. In defending the indefensible, GSA has decided to proceed with the selection of Greenbelt over the objections of its client agency, the FBI.
These facts, when taken together, paint an ugly picture of a fatally flawed procurement that demands further investigation. We request that your office initiate an immediate investigation into the site selection process for the FBI headquarters.
Warner & Kaine Applaud $10 Million in Federal Funding for St. Paul's Transformation Project's New Multipurpose Park in Norfolk
Nov 09 2023
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $10,000,000 in federal funding for St. Paul’s Blue Greenway, a multipurpose park that will be located in St. Paul’s Redevelopment Project in Norfolk. Specifically, this funding will be used for the park’s development, which includes uncovering a buried creek and creating a resilient creek area, which will provide the neighborhood with a green space that will also help prevent future flooding. Once finished, St. Paul’s Blue Greenway will feature two playgrounds, a 10-station fitness area, splashpad, overlook deck, channel pier, outdoor stage, game tables, bike racks, grills, and an outdoor public gathering area and pavilion.
“We’re thrilled to see this federal funding go towards building an inventive green space that will serve families in the St. Paul’s community while addressing the complex flooding challenges facing the region,” the Senators said. “We will be following the development of this project and look forward to seeing Norfolk lead the way with innovative solutions that strengthen our climate resilience.”
This funding was awarded by the Department of the Interior’s Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program – a nationally competitive program targeting grant assistance to help economically disadvantaged urban communities with no, or almost no, access to publicly available, close-by, outdoor recreation.
The ORLP program is funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which was permanently authorized by Congress in 2020 as part of the Great American Outdoors Act – a once-in-a-generation law Sens. Warner and Kaine helped pass. The LWCF supports increased public access to and protection for federal public lands and waters — including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas — and provides matching grants to state governments for the acquisition and development of public parks and other outdoor recreation sites. Sens. Warner and Kaine have for years helped to deliver millions of dollars in federal support for resilience efforts in the St. Paul’s area, including through the Department of Transportation’s Reconnecting Communities Pilot and BUILDS Programs; Housing and Urban Developments’ Choice Neighborhoods and Natural Disaster Resilience Programs; the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program; the Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project; and through the Fiscal Year 2022 budget and the draft Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
This funding helps advance the Biden-Harris administration's America the Beautiful initiative, a locally led, voluntary conservation and restoration effort that aims to address the nature and climate crises, improve equitable access to the outdoors, and strengthen the economy
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Armed Services Committee, (both D-VA) joined U.S. Sens. John Ossoff (D-GA), Jack Reed (D-RI), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in a letter to President Biden regarding increasing violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. On October 29, the United Nations warned of escalations in the West Bank, and since, reports continue to warn about the destabilizing potential of the violence in the region.
“As Israel confronts the atrocities of the October 7th Hamas attacks, and threats in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is crucial that U.S. and Israeli policy reinforce the stability and security of the West Bank,” the senators wrote. “If additional action to prevent these violent settler activities is not taken, we worry that civilians and U.S. national security interests will suffer grave harm.”
“We are encouraged by recent statements from the White House emphasizing the need to mitigate settler violence. We also note the vital role that the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) is playing to manage risk in the area,” they continued. “However, more must be done. We urge your administration to enhance its diplomatic efforts to prevent further violence and respectfully request a briefing from your administration on current policy to address incidents of extremist settler violence and the forcible displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank.”
Following the October 7th attacks, Sens. Warner and Kaine strongly condemned the assault. In the days following Hamas’s attacks, Sens. Warner and Kaine took a series of steps to ensure that the Biden Administration addresses emergency needs in Gaza, curbs crypto-financed terrorism, and continues supporting the release of American hostages throughout this crisis. Earlier this month, Sens. Warner and Kaine also called for a short-term cessation of violence in order to ensure assistance is reaching Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
A copy of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Mr. President,
We write to express concern about threats to West Bank stability and the risks these threats pose to U.S. national security interests and to civilians. As Israel confronts the atrocities of the October 7th Hamas attacks, and threats in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is crucial that U.S. and Israeli policy reinforce the stability and security of the West Bank. Alarming incidents of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians represent an acute destabilizing risk that must be mitigated to prevent wider conflict in the region. Israeli media has reported that Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, is itself concerned that settler violence could inflame the West Bank.
Moreover, reports from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that Israeli forces at times accompany extremist settlers as they attack Palestinian people, evict them from their homes, and destroy property, are cause for serious concern and must be addressed.
If additional action to prevent these violent attacks is not taken, we worry that civilians and U.S national security interests will suffer grave harm. The situation is likely to exacerbate anger and grievance among the people of the West Bank and across the Arab world, inhibit efforts to cooperate with Arab states against shared threats, and undermine moderate Palestinian leaders who can offer an alternative to Hamas and make peace with Israel. Ultimately, these conditions could provoke widespread violence and a broader conflict.
We are encouraged by recent statements from the White House emphasizing the need to mitigate settler violence. We also note the vital role that the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC) is playing to manage risk in the area.
However, more must be done. We urge your administration to enhance its diplomatic efforts to prevent further violence and respectfully request a briefing from your administration on current policy to address incidents of extremist settler violence and the forcible displacement of Palestinians in the West Bank.
Thank you for your timely response to this request.
WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), Governor Glenn Youngkin, and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) issued a statement following new reports regarding the selection process run by the General Services Administration (GSA) to determine a location for the new headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):
“We are deeply disturbed to learn that a political appointee at the General Services Administration overruled the unanimous recommendation of a three-person panel comprised of career experts from the GSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluding that Springfield, Virginia is the site best suited for the new FBI headquarters. We have repeatedly condemned political interference in the independent, agency-run site selection process for a new FBI headquarters. Any fair weighing of the criteria points to a selection of Virginia. It is clear that this process has been irrevocably undermined and tainted, and this decision must now be reversed.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after reports that the General Services Administration (GSA) decided the FBI’s new headquarters will be in Greenbelt, Maryland:
“We’re deeply disappointed that despite the clear case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI, the Administration went a different direction. It’s especially disappointing that the FBI’s initial criteria for this decision—developed independently by the GSA and affirmed by Congress just last year—were changed at the 11th hour by the Administration following political pressure. We spent years appropriately criticizing the last Administration for politicizing the new FBI headquarters—only for a new Administration to come in and allow politics to taint the selection process. We know from our experience recruiting Hilton, Capital One, Northrop Grumman, Amazon, and many other companies to Virginia that our Commonwealth is the best state for business, and we’ll continue to focus on promoting economic growth and supporting law enforcement in the Commonwealth.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, wrote to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm detailing the need for the United States to establish its leadership in the research, development, production and manufacturing of new battery technologies. Currently, the People’s Republic of China dominates end-to-end supply chains, including the mining and refining of critical mineral inputs for lithium-ion batteries, which are used in the U.S. energy grid, electric vehicles, and military weapons and platforms, among other industries.
In October 2023, China restricted exports of raw and synthetic graphite, critical to manufacturing battery anodes. The move followed July 2023 export controls on gallium and germanium, two components used in the manufacturing of semiconductors and other critical technologies.
“The PRC near-monopoly over battery production, and the upstream materials they require, poses substantial defense and economic security vulnerabilities,” the senators wrote.
In recent years, the U.S. has taken steps through the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act to establish and re-shore capabilities related to advanced batteries. However, the U.S. currently lacks the infrastructure needed to test and scale up next-generation battery technologies to reach commercial, “gigafactory” scale. Private sector companies then turn to China for up-scaling facilities – posing significant supply chain risks to the United States.
They continued, “We commend the Department of Energy for continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, but the U.S. must become a leader in manufacturing batteries and battery components, while securing our supply chains for the materials that make up those components. In addition, it is critical that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistries, including by supporting domestic companies developing and producing solid-state electrolytes, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur, and iron-oxide among others.”
In order to ensure that the federal government is adequately investing in domestic battery developments, the senators requested that the Department:
- Ensure consideration of innovative technologies beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries in the next round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing & Recycling Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA);
- Consider support for public-private pilot-line manufacturing facilities, focusing on innovative technologies;
- Coordinate with the Department of Defense and other national security agencies to support procurement of innovative, U.S.-developed energy storage technologies; and
- Coordinate with federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies to accelerate reviews for domestic mining and processing facilities to secure our supply chains for next-generation battery manufacturing.
In his capacity as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner has been an active advocate on the need for the U.S. to counter China’s dominance of this growing industry. Last month, Sen. Warner hosted government officials and domestic industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on securing access to critical minerals, including those used in the manufacturing of advanced batteries.
A copy of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Secretary Granholm:
We write to emphasize the national security imperative in outcompeting our adversaries in the next generation of battery technologies. Experts assess the United States to be ten to twenty years behind Asia in commercialization of battery technology, with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) accounting for over three quarters of battery cell production, maintaining a near monopoly on the mining and refining of critical mineral inputs for most batteries. We provide specific recommendations below to ensure U.S. leadership in this space.
Last year, demand for lithium-ion batteries exceeded 700 GWh globally, and demand is expected to grow over seven times by 2035. These batteries are critical inputs for our electric vehicles, our power grid storage, and our military equipment. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks cautioned in 2021, batteries are “essential to thousands of military systems from handheld radios, to unmanned submersibles and to future capabilities like lasers, directed energy weapons and hybrid electric tactical vehicles.” And that “when it comes to batteries, America needs to lead the world.”
Yet, the U.S. produced less than 10 percent of these batteries last year. By contrast, the PRC accounted for 70 percent of the global production of lithium-ion batteries. Of the five critical minerals required for most lithium-ion batteries, the PRC controls between 60-100 percent of the mining or refining for these minerals.
The PRC near-monopoly over battery production, and the upstream materials they require, poses substantial defense and economic security vulnerabilities. In October 2023, China restricted exports of graphite, critical to manufacturing battery anodes. This follows China’s proposed export controls on gallium and germanium in July 2023.
We commend the Department of Energy for continuing to be at the forefront of innovation, but the U.S. must become a leader in manufacturing batteries and battery components, while securing our supply chains for the materials that make up those components. In addition, it is critical that the U.S. lead in next-generation battery technology and alternative chemistries, including by supporting domestic companies developing and producing solid-state electrolytes, sodium-ion, lithium-sulfur, and iron-oxide among others.
In order to ensure that the U.S. reduces its dependence on adversary-dominated supply chains and capitalizes on innovative domestic battery development, we ask that the Department:
- Ensure consideration of innovative technologies beyond conventional lithium-ion batteries in the next round of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing & Recycling Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). Alternative technologies developed and manufactured in the U.S. can help to ensure a more resilient domestic battery market and foster alternatives to supply chains China currently dominates.
- Consider support for public-private pilot-line manufacturing facilities, focusing on innovative technologies. Such facilities could play a key role in allowing our domestic companies to scale up and compete internationally. Currently, no such shared pilot-scale battery and battery component manufacturing facilities exist in the U.S. forcing many of our innovative companies to seek out such facilities abroad exposing firms to IP theft.
- Coordinate with the Department of Defense and other national security agencies to support procurement of innovative, U.S.-developed energy storage technologies. The U.S. government must lead in procuring new technologies, which can enhance mission capability while sending an important signal to domestic industry that the government will reward innovative technology produced domestically.
- Coordinate with federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies to accelerate reviews for domestic mining and processing facilities to secure our supply chains for next-generation battery manufacturing. For example, several years have passed since the last approval of a major new critical minerals mine on federal lands while at the same time smelters and processing facilities have been closing across the country. This is occurring despite the strong bipartisan consensus that additional mining and processing in the United States is necessary to secure the supply chain for batteries and compete with our adversaries. The Department must ensure that federal, state, and tribal permitting agencies are aware of the urgent nature of this issue.
We ask that your Department within 30 days of receiving this letter brief the Senate Intelligence and Energy and Natural Resources Committees on the initiatives outlined above, and on ongoing research and development of next-generation battery technologies. We also welcome your consideration of how the Intelligence Community can best contribute to, collaborate on, and support these efforts.
With the right support, we are confident that our domestic industry can lead the next generation of battery technology, as it has done in so many of the world’s greatest innovative technologies. We stand ready to assist in that effort.
Sens. Warner & Kaine Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Access to Telehealth Treatment for Substance Use Disorder
Nov 06 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in introducing the Telehealth Response for E-prescribing Addiction Therapy Services (TREATS) Act, legislation that would increase access to telehealth services for individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) temporarily removed an in-person exam requirement for providers to prescribe SUD treatments. This change expanded access to care and reduced the risk of overdose, but it is set to expire at the end of next year. The TREATS Act would make this flexibility permanent.
“Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we learned valuable lessons in how to adapt our health care system in order to better care for patients, including the successful treatment of patients with opioid addiction using telehealth services,” said Sen. Warner. “The TREATS Act would make permanent commonsense, safe telehealth practices that will expand care options for those battling with substance use disorder.”
“Telehealth has helped many Virginians get the health care they need, including access to treatments for substance use disorder,” said Sen. Kaine. “By permanently allowing doctors to prescribe life-saving treatments via telehealth, the TREATS Act would better support individuals in recovery and help reduce the risk of overdoses.”
In 2021, 2,622 Virginians died from overdose, averaging seven Virginians per day. Despite strong evidence that medication is the most effective treatment for SUD, only one in five Americans with SUD receive medication treatment that would help them quit and stay in recovery. The TREATS Act would make life-saving medication like buprenorphine more accessible and save lives.
Joining the senators in cosponsoring this legislation are Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD-6), Jay Obernolte (R-CA-23), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) led the introduction of the legislation in the House.
Full text of the bill is available here.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $2,483,817 in federal funding for the Commonwealth to provide distance learning services for rural areas. The funding was awarded through U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants, which provide rural communities with advanced telecommunications technology. In all, these grants will provide 197,010 Virginia students with the technology they need to take advantage of education opportunities through local colleges and universities.
“Over the past several years, we have seen the tremendous capabilities of distance learning to extend opportunities to students that have previously been limited by their geography,” said the senators. “This funding will provide 197,010 Virginia students with the technology and infrastructure they need to continue taking advantage of distance learning.”
The funding is broken down as follows:
- $952,388 for Germanna Community College in order to equip 10 locations throughout Spotsylvania, Stafford, Orange, Culpeper, Wise, Page, and Madison counties with video conferencing equipment. Instructors at Germanna Community College will use that technology to deliver mental health and healthcare educational courses to benefit 5,372 students;
- $740,793 for Lee County School District in order to equip 12 locations throughout Lee County with interactive teleconferencing equipment. Instructors at Lee County Public Schools will use that technology to deliver instructional resources, professional development courses, and mental health services to benefit 5,545 students;
- $475,122 for Southside Virginia Community College in order to equip six locations throughout Mecklenburg, Brunswick, Charlotte, Nottoway and Greensville counties with a synchronous interactive video conferencing system. Instructors at Southside Virginia Community College will use that technology to deliver nursing and emergency management services simulation labs, and shared college courses to benefit 2,805 students; and
- $315,5134 for Virginia State University in order to equip 15 locations throughout Petersburg, Roanoke, Prince George, Sussex, Dinwiddie, Henry, Southampton, Franklin, Halifax, Louisa, Brunswick, Greensville and Mecklenburg counties with integrated interactive teaching rooms at the college sites and interactive digital white boards at the high school sites. Instructors at Virginia State University will use that technology to deliver dual credit college courses to benefit 183,288 students.
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to better connect rural Virginia, including through significant funding to extend broadband capabilities to every corner of the Commonwealth.
Warner, Thune, Cortez Masto, and Young Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Reduce Burdensome Health Care Reporting Requirements for Employers
Nov 02 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), John Thune (R-SD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Todd Young (R-IN) today introduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation that would protect Americans’ privacy and remove burdensome and bureaucratic reporting requirements in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) by allowing certain communications to be electronically filed. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed companion legislation for the Employer Reporting Improvement Act and the Paperwork Burden Reduction Act.
“The Affordable Care Act was a seismic achievement in expanding access to health care, but it’s still incumbent on Congress to make sure it’s working as smoothly as possible for the Americans and businesses that it serves,” said Sen. Warner. “These two bipartisan bills will take important steps forward to modernize and streamline compliance requirements while protecting privacy, so that more Americans and employers can access and deploy benefits without getting entangled in red tape.”
“Small businesses in South Dakota and across the country have been forced to comply with overly burdensome administrative requirements from the Affordable Care Act,” said Sen. Thune. “These bills would eliminate convoluted paperwork and streamline the current reporting requirements to ensure businesses can focus their resources on serving their customers and employees.”
“We need to make it as easy as possible for Nevada businesses to provide workers with high-quality health care without forcing them to jump through unnecessary hoops,” said Sen. Cortez Masto. “Our bipartisan bills will reduce unnecessary paperwork burdening businesses, and I will continue working to cut through red tape and help Nevadans access high quality health care.”
“Under current law, overreaching compliance requirements create uncertainty and stress for employers in Indiana and across the nation. Our bipartisan bills will help reduce these unnecessary burdens and increase efficiency,” said Sen. Young.
The Employer Reporting Improvement Act would protect Americans’ privacy and ease compliance burdens on employers. Among other steps, it would modernize communication by allowing employers to electronically file certain documents. It would also protect privacy by clarifying that the IRS can accept full names and dates of birth in lieu of dependents’ and spouses’ Social Security numbers. In addition, it would ease compliance burdens by extending the time period (from 30 days to 90 days) during which an applicable large employer can appeal a penalty for not offering adequate, affordable health insurance to all full-time employees. Finally, it would enact a six-year statute of limitations for the IRS to levy penalties under the Employer Shared Responsibility provision of the ACA.
The Paperwork Burden Reduction Act would reduce the number of physical forms that employers have to mail to employees as part of complying with the ACA. Currently, employers and health insurance providers that provide minimum essential coverage must report this information to the IRS for each covered individual and provide a copy of this information to the covered individual (through 1095-B or 1095-C tax forms, depending on the coverage type) by January 31 of each year. Current IRS regulations allow employers to provide only 1095-B forms electronically. The Paperwork Burden Reduction Act would codify the current IRS policy by allowing the 1095-B to be provided electronically and would extend this to 1095-C, limiting unnecessary physical paperwork.
“The Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage (P4ESC) applauds introduction of the Employer Reporting Improvement Act and the Paperwork Burden Reduction Act in the Senate. We thank the bill’s bipartisan sponsors, Senators Warner, Thune, Cortez Masto, and Young. We are particularly grateful to Senator Warner, who has championed this issue ever since the Affordable Care Act became law. P4ESC hopes that 2023 finally will be the year ACA reporting gets fixed,” said Neil Trautwein, P4ESC’s Executive Director.
“The IRS’s employer reporting requirements offer a significant, complex challenge to Virginia small businesses and employees. With new legislation, Congress can take immediate action to relieve employers and employees of this annual reporting burden and unintended tax implications. We thank Senator Warner and his colleagues for advancing bipartisan, streamlined solutions with these bills,” said Eric Terry, President, Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association.
“We commend Senators Thune, Warner, Young, and Cortez Masto for introducing the Employer Reporting Improvement Act in the Senate. This is a breath of fresh air that small businesses desperately need. By allowing electronic filing of essential documents and promoting flexibility, this legislation slices through bureaucratic barriers, protecting small businesses from being overly exposed to unwarranted fines. It's not just about reducing unnecessary paperwork; it’s about empowering small business owners with the flexibility they need to better support their valued employees,” said Josselin Castillo, Manager of Federal Government Relations, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “The Paperwork Reduction Act, introduced by Senators Warner, Young, Cortez Masto, and Thune, takes a significant step towards providing relief for small business owners from unnecessary red tape. By offering alternative reporting methods, this legislation reduces cumbersome red tape and drives efficiency. This legislation promotes badly needed flexibility and streamlines operations, lowering costs and helping small employers focus on what they do best, running their businesses and supporting their employees.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), together with Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Peter Welch (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), released the following statement:
“The tragic war in Gaza, initiated by Hamas terrorist attacks on innocent civilians on October 7, is causing heartbreaking suffering among Israelis, Palestinians and citizens of other nations living in the region.
“Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself against Hamas, whose leadership continues to state clearly that their goal is the complete annihilation of Israel. Israel also has the obligation, pursuant to international law, to conduct that defense in such a way as to minimize harm to civilians and allow humanitarian aid to reach those who are suffering. We acknowledge the increased burden that this necessarily places on Israel to accomplish these obligations.
“Hamas’s horrific actions cannot be ascribed to all Palestinians. Indeed, Palestinian residents of Gaza have often been victimized by Hamas.
“As Senators, we have been closely monitoring the war in Gaza and believe that much more must be done to protect civilian life. We have been in ongoing dialogue with government officials in the United States, Israel and other nations in the region. We have communicated extensively with international aid officials doing work in Gaza, including those working together with the U.S. Agency for International Development. And we have talked at length with our own constituents who have family and friends in the region.
“The failure to adequately protect non-combatant civilians risks dramatic escalation of the conflict in the region and imposes severe damage on prospects for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. Based on the consensus opinion of U.S. and international aid officials, it is nearly impossible to deliver sufficient humanitarian aid to protect civilian life under current conditions.
“Thus, we join President Biden in his call for a short-term cessation of hostilities that pose high-risk to civilians, aid workers or humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza, in order to accomplish three goals:
- Successful delivery of needed humanitarian aid to civilians under strict and necessary oversight
- Increased focus on the release of all hostages kidnapped on October 7
- Opportunity for broader discussion amongst Israeli and Palestinian leadership, together with regional and global partners, about long-term strategies to reduce decades-long conflict in the region.”
Nov 02 2023
Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, John Cornyn (R-TX), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) launched a bipartisan working group to examine and propose potential legislative solutions in the HELP Committee jurisdiction to strengthen cybersecurity in the health care and public health sector. This effort comes at a time of record cybersecurity attacks on health care entities. Health records, unlike other personal records like credit card numbers, are more valuable on the black market since health conditions are permanent and cannot be reissued.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a record 89 million Americans have already had their health information breached, more than double since last year. These cyberattacks severely impact health care operations, costing an average of $10 million per breach and leading to an interruption or long-term delay in care. Last year in Louisiana, hackers compromised almost 270,000 personal records, including health information.
“As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I am acutely aware of the most serious threats facing our country, and I know that shoring up our cybersecurity is one of the best tools we have to protect ourselves and our sensitive materials. In no industry is this more obvious and important than health care, where such care is increasingly connected and even a brief period of interruption can have life and death consequences. I am proud to launch this bipartisan group to build on the policy options I have been exploring and better improve our cybersecurity through legislative fixes,” said Sen. Warner.
“We are seeing a disturbing rise in cyberattacks on our health care system. These attacks not only put patients’ sensitive health data at risk but can delay life-saving care,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Just like a strong military and police force defends us against physical attacks, we must ensure health institutions can safeguard against increasing cyber threats and protect Americans’ crucial health data.”
“Cyberattacks on health care organizations threaten the security of patients’ private medical information and can interrupt the delivery of critical care,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I am eager to join my colleagues in looking for solutions that shield our health care institutions and Americans from these dangerous crimes.”
“Hospitals and doctor’s offices are increasingly facing cyberattacks that threaten to expose patients’ medical information and even shut down ERs,” said Sen. Hassan. “This is a particularly pressing challenge for rural doctors and hospitals, which often don’t have the resources necessary to protect against these threats. I am glad to join this bipartisan working group to find effective, commonsense ways to protect medical providers and patients from cyberattacks.”
Nov 02 2023
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today introduced legislation to establish guidelines to be used within the federal government to mitigate risks associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI) while still benefiting from new technology. U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D-CA-36) plans to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Congress directed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop an AI Risk Management Framework that organizations, public and private, could employ to ensure they use AI systems in a trustworthy manner. This framework was released earlier this year and is supported by a wide range of public and private sector organizations, but federal agencies are not currently required to use this framework to manage their use of AI systems.
The Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act would require federal agencies to incorporate the NIST framework into their AI management efforts to help limit the risks that could be associated with AI technology.
“The rapid development of AI has shown that it is an incredible tool that can boost innovation across industries,” said Sen. Warner. “But we have also seen the importance of establishing strong governance, including ensuring that any AI deployed is fit for purpose, subject to extensive testing and evaluation, and monitored across its lifecycle to ensure that it is operating properly. It’s crucial that the federal government follow the reasonable guidelines already outlined by NIST when dealing with AI in order to capitalize on the benefits while mitigating risks.”
“AI has tremendous potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government, in addition to the potential positive impacts on the private sector,” said Sen. Moran. “However, it would be naïve to ignore the risks that accompany this emerging technology, including risks related to data privacy and challenges verifying AI-generated data. The sensible guidelines established by NIST are already being utilized in the private sector and should be applied to federal agencies to make certain we are protecting the American people as we apply this technology to government functions.”
“Okta is a strong proponent of interoperability across technical standards and governance models alike and as such we applaud Senators Warner and Moran for their bipartisan Federal AI Risk Management Framework Act,” said Michael Clauser, Director, Head of US Federal Affairs, Okta. “This bill complements the Administration’s recent Executive Order on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and takes the next steps by providing the legislative authority to require federal software vendors and government agencies alike to develop and deploy AI in accordance with the NIST AI Risk Management Framework (RMF). The RMF is a quality model for what public-private partnerships can produce and a useful tool as AI developers and deployers govern, map, measure, manage, and mitigate risk from low- and high-impact AI models alike.”
“IEEE-USA heartily supports the Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act of 2023,” said Russell Harrison, Managing Director, IEEE-USA. “Making the NIST Risk Management Framework (RMF) mandatory helps protect the public from unintended risks of AI systems yet permits AI technology to mature in ways that benefit the public. Requiring agencies to use standards, like those developed by IEEE, will protect both public welfare and innovation by providing a useful checklist for agencies implementing AI systems. Required compliance does not interfere with competitiveness; it promotes clarity by setting forth a ‘how-to.’”
“Procurement of AI systems is challenging because AI evaluation is a complex topic and expertise is often lacking in government.” said Dr. Arvind Narayanan, Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University. “It is also high-stakes because AI is used for making consequential decisions. The Federal Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Act tackles this important problem with a timely and comprehensive approach to revamping procurement by shoring up expertise, evaluation capabilities, and risk management.”
"Risk management in AI requires making responsible choices with appropriate stakeholder involvement at every stage in the technology's development; by requiring federal agencies to follow the guidance of the NIST AI Risk Management Framework to that end, the Federal AI Risk Management Act will contribute to making the technology more inclusive and safer overall,” said Yacine Jernite, Machine Learning & Society Lead, Hugging Face. “Beyond its direct impact on the use of AI technology by the Federal Government, this will also have far-reaching consequences by fostering more shared knowledge and development of necessary tools and good practices. We support the Act and look forward to the further opportunities it will bring to build AI technology more responsibly and collaboratively."
“The Enterprise Cloud Coalition supports the Federal AI Risk Management Act of 2023, which mandates agencies adopt the NIST AI Risk Management Framework to guide the procurement of AI solutions,” said Andrew Howell, Executive Director, Enterprise Cloud Coalition. “By standardizing risk management practices, this act ensures a higher degree of reliability and security in AI technologies used within our government, aligning with our coalition's commitment to trust in technology. We believe this legislation is a critical step toward advancing the United States' leadership in the responsible use and development of artificial intelligence on the global stage.”
A one-page explanation of the legislation of the legislation can be found here.
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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the statement below after voting in favor of a legislative package that will fund the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Transportation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, and military construction projects for Fiscal Year 2024. This package, which passed by a vote of 82-15, comes one month after Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown by passing a stopgap funding bill to keep the government funded at Fiscal Year 2023 levels through November 17.
“While we’re disappointed that Congress has yet to get a full spending bill across the finish line, we’re pleased to see the Senate move forward on a package to fund critical components of the government. This package will help fund veterans’ benefits, nutrition programs for families, affordable housing assistance, local infrastructure projects, military construction projects, and much more. We hope that our colleagues in the House of Representatives will pass this package and help steer us away from a government shutdown and towards proper funding for Fiscal Year 2024 at levels that were agreed upon months ago by the White House, Senate leaders, and a majority of House Republicans,” said Sens. Warner and Kaine.
The Senate-passed legislative package includes:
- $154.4 billion for military construction, veterans’ affairs, and related agencies.
- This funding will fully fund veterans’ medical care and benefits and fully fund VA programs. It will help deliver mental health care for veterans, strengthen VA facilities, support critical maintenance projects, upgrade shipyards, improve the resiliency of bases and military infrastructure, strengthen oversight of privatized military housing, and deliver new resources to construct new family housing.
- $26 billion for agriculture, rural development, and Food and Drug Administration.
- This funding will support kids and families by fully funding nutrition assistance programs. It will also invest in agricultural research with new funding to support farmers and ranchers and protect the safety of America’s food supply.
- $99 billion for transportation, housing and urban development, and related agencies.
- This funding will further strengthen our nation’s transportation infrastructure, including through $150 million to support the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and $213 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, which makes grants available to improve facilities within or related to coastal or inland ports. It will also increase the supply of affordable housing nationwide, and deliver resources to help address the homelessness crisis. It also includes a Warner-led amendment to prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from operating, procuring, or otherwise providing funding for drones produced by companies from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba.
As part of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations process, members of Congress were also able to work with the communities they represent to request funding for specific community projects in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. Thanks to advocacy by Sens. Warner and Kaine, today’s legislation includes designated funding for a variety of projects in Virginia, which involve agriculture, nutrition, transportation, housing, and military construction. Sens. Warner and Kaine will continue to advocate for the other projects they secured funding for in the remaining draft government funding bills as they head to the Senate floor.
The projects included in today’s legislation are:
- $2,500,000 to improve the intersection of Minnieville Road and Prince William Parkway in Prince William County to relieve congestion, improve safety, enhance access and connectivity to I-95, Potomac Mills, and Dale City, and support economic development plans for the area.
- $2,031,000 for the Culpepper Garden Senior Affordable Housing Revitalization Project to renovate affordable senior housing to improve accessibility and safety in Arlington County.
- $1,280,000 to create 321 units of new affordable housing in Arlington County, in a high opportunity zone that is close to job opportunities and public transportation, making it an ideal area for economic mobility.
- $850,000 to build a roundabout connecting Stefaniga Road and Lightfoot Drive with Mountain View Road, a main thoroughfare which provides access to I-95 and Mountain View High School in Stafford County. The project will improve walkability and make it easier to travel to the area.
- $4,000,000 to design and plan the construction of a 200-member Army Reserve Center Training Building and a Storage Building on land to be acquired from the Defense Logistics Agency in Richmond.
- $2,000,000 for the Better Housing Coalition to construct 106 affordable rental units in Henrico County.
- $1,749,000 to build a new intersection connecting Harwood Street and Hopkins Road with U.S. Route 1 to improve safety and ensure pedestrian and transit riders have access to sidewalks and transit stops in Richmond.
- $1,000,000 to construct a community center to serve youth in Northumberland County.
- $988,000 for the Virginia Department of Transportation to construct 1.78 miles of a 9.5-mile trail that will connect three rural towns in Lancaster County.
- $650,000 for the Piedmont Housing Alliance to build a permanent location for the Charlottesville Financial Opportunity Center + Housing Hub (CFOC+HH) in Charlottesville, where area residents can go to get financial coaching and support, find help navigating housing options and resources, or get 1-on-1 assistance to prevent evictions.
- $30,000 for the Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity to conduct emergency home renovations and accessibility modifications and assist households with small payments necessary to allow for additional repairs.
Hampton Roads & Eastern Shore
- $3,000,000 for the Norfolk Airport Authority Federal Inspections Services Facility to build a modern customs inspection facility. The new facility will enhance customer experience by expanding capacity for efficient international screening and processing by Customs and Border Protection and acceptance of scheduled international air service.
- $3,000,000 for the Williamsburg Area Transit Authority to construct a transfer facility in York County that will serve as a connection for four bus routes, with planned parking, a customer service area, and real time transit information displays.
- $500,000 for Virginia Supportive Housing to preserve and rehabilitate 60 units of affordable housing and build 40 new units of affordable housing with supportive services, such as transportation assistance, job and financial counseling, and medical care referral services, for those who previously experienced homelessness and very low-income adults from the Norfolk region.
Southwest & Southside
- $7,000,000 for the Virginia Department of Transportation to add additional lanes—an expansion from a two-lane highway to a four-lane highway—to the 2.74-mile Poplar Creek Phase A section and the 2.07-mile Poplar Creek Phase B section of the U.S.121/460 within Corridor Q and the Coalfields Expressway in Buchanan County.
- $3,500,000 for the Virginia Department of Transportation to replace the aging Apperson Drive Bridge and add a 12-foot multi-use pedestrian trail connecting the downstream side of the bridge to the greenway trail on either side of the bridge in Salem City.
- $2,150,000 for the Virginia Department of Transportation to construct two additional lanes and improve drainage on a section of Beaver Creek Drive to service the Patriot Centre Industrial Park in Henry County.
- $1,500,000 for the Appalachia Service Project to reconstruct homes that were destroyed in the recent floods in Buchanan County.
- $1,500,000 for Helping Overcome Poverty’s Existence, Inc. (HOPE) to construct at least 30 units of new, energy-efficient, affordable housing units in HOPE’s Monroe-North development in downtown Wytheville.
- $1,250,000 for the Community Housing Partners Corporation to construct a new 56-unit multifamily affordable housing complex in Blacksburg for low- and moderate-income individuals and families.
- $1,000,000 for the Southside Community Development & Housing Corporation to construct 52 units of affordable housing in Emporia.
- $522,000 for the Ballad Health Foundation to expand access to dental care through the Appalachian Highlands Community Dental Center in the Town of Abingdon.
- $366,000 to complete the Blue Ridge Discovery Center Visitor Center in Smyth County. The visitor center will feature exhibits, interactive displays, and educational materials that highlight the unique natural features of Southwest Virginia.
- $354,000 to improve community safety by expanding and renovating the Emergency Management Service (EMS) building in the Town of Tazewell.
- $90,000 to purchase a new dump truck that will be used to help complete maintenance of the drinking water and wastewater systems in the Town of Cedar Bluff.
- $1,000,000 for the Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center to expand capacity for affordable child care in the community.
- $812,000 for the Blue Grass Resource center to restore an 18-room historic inn on the National Register of Historic Places that was built in 1904 in Highland County.
- $575,000 for the Millennium Group to open a child care center and support the Community Health Workers Training Program in Nelson County.
- $94,000 for the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation to replace all entrance and emergency exit doors for the Historic Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge.