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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) was joined by the White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling in announcing $219.8 million in broadband funding for Virginia, which comes from the $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund authored by Sen. Warner and included in the American Rescue Plan.

As part of the announcement, Sen. Warner and Sperling were joined by NOVA President Anne M. Kress, PhD and NOVA Medical Education Provost Shelly L.S. Powers, DMSc, MA, PA-C in a demonstration of a hybrid Radiation Oncology course, during which they got a first-hand look at the invaluable role of broadband in expanding access to opportunity through quality higher education. The course also serves students in Roanoke, as it is taught by faculty from Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) and Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) through specialized instructional equipment only available at NOVA’s Medical Education Campus.

“In Virginia, broadband is absolutely critical to the economic prosperity, education, and health of every family. Today we saw a partnership between two institutions on either side of the Commonwealth who are able to reach more students and expand access to high-quality higher education thanks to the power of high-speed internet,” said Sen. Warner. “I was proud to negotiate this historic investment as part of last year’s emergency COVID-19 relief bill, and am thrilled to know that Virginia is among the first four states to receive its slice of the pie. I look forward to seeing Virginia achieve universal broadband coverage in the very near future.”

“There were a lot of people involved in the American Rescue Plan negotiations, folks like Senators Manchin, King, Hassan, Tester, Sinema, Hickenlooper, and many others, and of course, a lot of people at the White House were involved. But if you lined them all up and asked who was the leader and who was responsible for this $10 billion for broadband and connectivity, the verdict would be unanimous: we would not be here giving $220 million to Virginia if it wasn’t for Senator Mark Warner," said White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling at the event today. 

“Expanding access to healthcare education programs will help our region address critical nursing and staffing shortages, especially in rural communities,” said NOVA President Anne M. Kress, PhD. “As the only Virginia community college with a dedicated medical education campus, NOVA is proud to share its knowledge and state-of-the art equipment with peer institutions and their students across the Commonwealth. With expanded access to affordable and reliable broadband, more students will have the opportunity to choose and succeed in rewarding career pathways like healthcare, earning degrees and certificates that advance their families and our communities.”

“The pandemic exposed longstanding challenges that workers and families face when they don’t have adequate access to the internet, especially those living in rural areas and other unconnected communities. That is why these broadband investments are so urgently needed across the cuntry,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “This funding through the American Rescue Plan will help connect thousands of communities in Virginia with affordable, high-speed broadband service. Treasury commends Virginia for targeting this funding to places where it is most urgently needed across the state.”

Virginia’s $219.8 million represents 100 percent of its available CPF funding and will expand last-mile broadband access to an estimated 76,873 locations. Through a competitive grant-making program overseen by the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), local governments in partnership with internet service providers will apply for funds with the goal of deploying universal coverage solutions in the localities involved. 

As approved by the Department of Treasury, VATI’s plan is designed, upon project completion, to deliver reliable internet service that meets or exceeds symmetrical download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), speeds that are needed for a household with multiple users to simultaneously access the internet to telework and access education and health monitoring. In accordance with Treasury’s guidance, each state’s plan requires all service providers to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more by providing a discount of up to $30 per month.  The FCC estimates that about 48 million families are eligible for the program—nearly 40 percent of households. 

The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. A key priority of the program is to make funding available for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure and other digital connectivity technology projects.

As Senator, and during his tenure as the 69th Governor of Virginia, Sen. Warner has been a staunch advocate for expanded access to broadband. With more Virginia families forced to rely on the internet for telework and telehealth as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Sen. Warner secured $65 billion in funding within the bipartisan infrastructure law to help deploy broadband, increase access, and decrease costs associated with connecting to the internet.

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 WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded  President Biden’s announcement of new efforts to lower high-speed internet costs for Virginians and all Americans, including commitments from 20 internet providers to either increase speeds or cut prices to no more than $30/month for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)-eligible households. Warner and Kaine helped create the ACP, which was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Warner negotiated and they both voted to pass. 1,908,000 or 23% of people in Virginia will be eligible for the ACP.  

“We’ve made great progress in expanding broadband in Virginia, but too many Virginians still face challenges in accessing internet due to high costs. These steps to lower internet costs for families are critical to address that gap. We’re glad the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help more families stay connected with friends and loved ones, access telehealth services, and find job and educational opportunities online,” Sens. Warner and Kaine said.

Specifically, the ACP program provides a $30 per month discount, or $75 per month for households on tribal lands, for low-income families to use toward any internet service of their choosing. Today’s commitments from the 20 internet providers will mean tens of millions of ACP-eligible households will receive high-speed internet at no cost. Households can also receive a one-time $100 discount for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Eligible households must have an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or have a family member that meets at least one of these criteria outlined by the Federal Communications Commission. Virginians can go to GetInternet.gov to sign up for the ACP and find participating providers in their area.

As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have long supported expanding broadband access in Virginia. During the pandemic, they secured significant funding for broadband through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the December 2020 government funding bill, which included COVID relief, and the  American Rescue Plan. They also introduced legislation to help students access the internet at home. The Fiscal Yeay 2022 government funding bill supported by Warner and Kaine included $550 million to expand access to broadband and $450 million for the ReConnect program to help rural communities access the internet.

 

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement on the President’s budget proposal:

“I’m glad to see that President Biden’s proposed budget doubles down on the administration’s efforts to strengthen relationships with our allies and continue to support Ukraine. This budget would also help bolster our economy and ensure that hardworking Americans are able to get ahead through strong investments in education, child care, health care, broadband, and clean energy.

“I’m pleased that the President has continued to prioritize increased funding for community-based lenders who work with underserved communities, including Community Development Financial Institutions. The President’s Budget included $331 million for the CDFI Fund to continue promoting entrepreneurship and economic mobility among our most vulnerable communities. I was also glad to see funding to implement the Ashanti Alert Communications Network, and to help combat hate crimes, as authorized by the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act.

“I’m also pleased that this budget builds on gains made through the bipartisan infrastructure law by requesting robust federal dollars for transportation, including $150 million for WMATA. For a stronger military, this budget requests funding for two Virginia-class submarines, five military construction projects in the Commonwealth, and a new VA outpatient clinic in Hampton Roads. It also requests the largest pay raise in 20 years for our servicemembers and civilian personnel. Additionally, I’m thrilled to see that this budget proposal includes key funding to continue tackling the deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks, as required by my Great American Outdoors Act.”

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine issued the following statement to mark the one-year anniversary of President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan (ARP)—COVID-19 relief legislation they helped pass into law:

“Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’re on our way toward a comeback after COVID-19. Virginians in every community experienced firsthand the benefits of this legislation, from direct payments for families and easier vaccine access, to support for schools and child care centers. We wouldn’t be where we are today without these investments, and we’re going to keep working to build on the progress we’ve made over the last year.”

ARP was first introduced in the Senate in March 2021, and was ultimately passed by 50 Democratic Senators and a tiebreaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. The legislation funneled critical resources to communities throughout Virginia to help the economy recover after the pandemic. When ARP passed, the unemployment rate was 6 percent. Since then, it has dropped to 3.8 percent.

Investments the legislation made in Virginia priorities include:

Assistance for Virginia households:

  • The bill provided advanced expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments – tax cuts for parents – that benefited 1.6 million Virginia children, including more than 200,000 children living below the poverty line. The vast majority of families in Virginia received $3,000 per child ages 6-17 years old and $3,600 per child under 6 as a result of the increased 2021 Child Tax Credit.
  • Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) payments for childless workers boosted earnings for more than 400,000 Virginia workers. The ARP nearly tripled the EITC to roughly $1,500 for workers without children.
  • The legislation also included additional funding for emergency rent and utility relief—which has now provided over $500 million to help keep Virginia families in their homes and keep utilities from being shut off during the pandemic.

Child care: Virginia received $488 million to help child care providers stay open and ensure families have access to affordable child care options so they can return to work. The expanded Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit has provided working Virginia parents with relief from the high cost of child care. Virginia families with incomes below $125,000 will get back up to half of what they spent on child care in 2021 while working or studying—saving up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children under age 13. Families earning up to $438,000 will get a partial credit. 

 

State, local, and tribal aid: The legislation provided $7.2 billion for state and local aid for Virginia. This funding helped Virginia continue to take public health measures and address the negative economic effects of COVID while also including more flexibility to help local Virginia governments experiencing revenue shortfalls prevent budget cuts. Some examples of how Virginia communities are putting this funding to use include:

  • $250 million for ventilation improvements in public school facilities to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission and support safe schools across Virginia.
  • $700 million for broadband deployment across Virginia, which will result in universal broadband coverage in the Commonwealth by 2024, four years earlier than predicted.
  • $8.6 million to help Frederick County participate in a regional project to develop fiber-to-the-home broadband service. This put broadband within reach for roughly 42,700 previously unserved locations in the region.
  • $3.7 million for Virginia Beach to provide 65 emergency rental vouchers to help households at high risk of housing instability afford rent. The program will expand on the 35 vouchers previously awarded to the city through federal programs.
  • $1 million for Prince William County to support the costs associated with the COVID-19 emergency response program, including community vaccination efforts.
  • $600,000 for Albemarle County to provide emergency shelter and permanent supportive housing to individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • $570,000 for Danville to provide utility assistance to 1,300 households that were financially impacted by the pandemic. This assistance aims to prevent residents from being displaced due to unpaid utility costs.
  • $560,000 for Alexandria to use for workforce development programs. These programs incorporated work-based learning, vocation-based English for Speakers of Other Languages (V-ESOL) training, digital literacy and equity for employment, and included access to supportive services. Participants will earn as they learn, and hosting companies will receive support and a chance to assess a good fit before making a hiring decision on a prospective employee.

Health care provider mental health: The bill included over $100 million, including over $5 million for Virginia, to boost mental health support for front line health workers. This funding was modeled after the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, legislation Kaine sponsored in honor of a physician from Charlottesville, Virginia, who died by suicide after working on the frontlines of the pandemic in New York. The Breen Act subsequently passed the Senate in February 2022.

Higher education: Virginia received over $948 million for 120 colleges and universities, including $297 million for community colleges due to the American Rescue Plan—much of which will provide financial relief to students. For a more in depth breakdown of Virginia higher education funding, including funding for community colleges, HBCUs, and MSIs, click here.

Expanding health care access: The legislation included a two-year authorization of provisions from Kaine’s Medicare-X Choice Act to help low- and middle-income Americans pay their health care premiums by providing a larger tax premium subsidy for Americans living below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and expanding tax credit eligibility to families above 400% of the FPL. Kaine continues to advocate for the passage of his legislation to make those changes permanent. In Virginia, over 307,000 people are now seeing reduced health care costs through the Health Insurance Marketplace, a 18% increase since the American Rescue Plan passed.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today voted for the passage of the $1.5 trillion government spending bill. This package funds the federal government through Fiscal Year 2022, delivers $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, provides critical legal and funding authorities to the intelligence community, allows for full implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law, reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act, and delivers countless wins for families in Virginia and across the country.

“Today the Senate voted to pass a full-year spending bill. While this deal took too long to come together, and concessions were made on both sides, I am proud that we have a bipartisan package that will deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid and military assistance to the people of Ukraine, avert a costly government shutdown, and deliver on key funding for projects that will boost our economy and invest in communities across the country and throughout the Commonwealth. This package will also deliver on key priorities I have been fighting for, including supporting military families, expanding access to rural broadband, addressing the IRS backlog that has delayed returns across the country, and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act for the first time since 2013,” said Sen. Warner. “Also in this spending package are the Intelligence Authorization Act and our bipartisan cyber incident reporting bill, key pieces of legislation that will enhance congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community – a critical move as we face some of the gravest global security threats of the past century. It will also improve transparency between private entities and the government in the event of broader cyber attacks. I am glad that we in Congress finally worked in a bipartisan way to get this done and start delivering for the American people.”

“This legislation is monumental for both our efforts here at home and on the international stage, by providing support for critical Virginia priorities and Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs following Russia’s unjustified invasion,” said Sen. Kaine. “I’m also thrilled that I was able to include legislation I’ve been fighting for to ensure children of Gold Star families have access to the maximum Iraq and Afghanistan Service awards, as well as money specifically for projects addressing issues across Virginia, from mental health and teacher shortages to our infrastructure needs. America is at its best on days like this, when we face our challenges head on and provide needed leadership.”

The following list includes many of the provisions Warner and Kaine advocated for on behalf of Virginia that were included in the omnibus bill:

  • Support for Ukraine: To support the people of Ukraine as they continue fighting Putin’s brutal and unprovoked assault, this bill includes $13.6 billion in funding to:
    • Bolster the defensive capabilities of both the Ukrainian military and those of NATO Eastern flank countriesProvide urgently-needed humanitarian aid including migration and refugee assistance, and emergency food assistance, health care, and urgent support for vulnerable populations and communities
    • Expand diplomatic programs to maintain American Citizen Services, support operations that were forced to vacate Ukraine, and increase State Department capabilities to target Russian oligarch assets
    • Aid DOJ Ukraine Task Force efforts to address cybercrime and ransomware threats, trace and seize proceeds of crime, prosecute sanctions violators, and address export control, sanctions and cyber cases.   

 

  • Cyber Defenses: Includes $2.6 billion in funding for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to bolster the nation’s cyber-defenses. It also includes Warner-sponsored legislation to require companies responsible for U.S. critical infrastructure to report cybersecurity incidents to the government.

  • Military Pay Increase: Supports a pay increase of 2.7 percent for servicemembers and Department of Defense civilian personnel, and funds a $15 minimum wage for DoD personnel, in support of President Biden’s Executive Order.

 

  • Military Families: Provides $1.4 billion in funding to improve and maintain housing, and address challenges related to privatized military housing impacting servicemembers and their families. It also provides $278.1 million in housing assistance and $119.6 million for food assistance efforts for servicemembers and their families. For years, Sens. Warner and Kaine have fought to improve housing conditions. Sen. Warner has also been focused on improving food access for servicemembers and their families.

 

  • Medical Care for Veterans: Provides $97.5 billion for medical care at the VA – an 8.7 percent increase over last year – to address the health care needs of our nation’s veterans, both ongoing and deferred care due to the pandemic. This includes $840 million in gender-specific healthcare for women. 

 

  • Benefits Boost: Provides $3.5 billion to provide compensation benefits to veterans and their survivors, which will aid the VA in decreasing the claims backlog, and supporting new toxic exposure claims.

 

  • Veterans’ Mental Health: Provides $13.2 billion in funding, which includes $598 million for suicide prevention outreach.

 

  • Veterans’ Rural Health: Provides $2.4 billion for telehealth services to reach veterans, and $327 million to support improved access to care in rural areas.

 

  • Veterans’ Homelessness: Provides $2.2 billion for efforts to reduce homelessness among veterans and their families.

 

  • IT Modernization: Includes $5.5 billion in funding for IT modernization efforts at the VA.

 

  • Shipbuilding: Provides more than $26 billion in funding for critical Navy shipbuilding priorities, many of which have a direct connection to Virginia and the Hampton Roads region, to include: Ford-class Aircraft Carrier Construction ($2.34 billion), Aircraft Carrier Overhaul ($2.48 billion), and Virginia- ($6.33 billion) and Columbia-class ($4.77 billion) Submarine construction.

 

  • Virginia military construction: Provides more than $361 million in funding for 11 military construction projects across the Commonwealth, including in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Quantico, Ft. Belvoir, Sandston, Troutville, and at the Pentagon. 

 

  • School Construction: Includes more than $500 million in funding for public schools on military installations nationwide, to fund construction, expansion, renovation, and repairs.

 

  • Climate Resilience: Provides $100 million for the Department of Defense to address resilience issues at installations stemming from climate change.

 

  • Intelligence Authorization Act: Includes the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community – a priority for Sen. Warner as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

 

  • Havana Syndrome: Provides additional funding to support personnel who have been impacted by anomalous health incidents. Chairman Warner and Sen. Kaine have been outspoken on the need to support afflicted personnel. 

 

  • IRS Backlog: Provides $12.6 billion for IRS funding. This funding will help continue to eliminate the 2020 tax return backlog, more efficiently process 2021 tax returns, and improve customer service. Sens. Warner and Kaine have consistently supported sufficient funding to allow the IRS to meet the needs of taxpayers. 

 

  • Small Businesses: Provides $1 billion to the Small Business Administration to support investments in programs to help underserved entrepreneurs access capital and contracting opportunities. 

 

  • Funding for Community Development Financial Institutions: Provides $295 million for the CDFI Fund, including $173 million for financial and technical assistance grants and $35 million for the Bank Enterprise Award Program. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Warner has successfully pushed for increased funding for CDFIs to support and advance access to capital for underserved communities in Virginia.

 

  • Fighting Violence Against Women: Reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act, marking the first time in nearly a decade that VAWA has been reauthorized. The bill also provides $575 million, the highest level ever, in funding provided for multiple competitive and formula grant programs that support training for police officers and prosecutors, state coalitions to respond to domestic violence and sexual assault, rape prevention programs, lethality assessment and homicide reduction initiatives, domestic violence hotlines, and women’s shelters and transitional housing support services.

 

  • Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act: Includes $5 million to assist state and local governments with entering data into the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which will improve how hate crimes are collected by the FBI, establish hate crime reporting hotlines, and develop and adopt policies on identifying, investigating, and reporting hate crimes. Sens. Warner and Kaine first introduced the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act legislation in 2019. It is partially named after Heather Heyer, a Virginia constituent who was killed in the 2017 white supremacy protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

 

  • Ashanti Alert: Includes $1 million to help with the nationwide implementation of the Ashanti Alert system. In 2018, Sen. Warner secured unanimous Senate passage of the Ashanti Alert Act, legislation that will create a new federal alert system for missing or endangered adults between the ages of 18-64.  The bill was signed into law on December 31, 2018. 

 

  • Pell Grant: The omnibus provides a $400 boost to the maximum Pell Grant in the 2022-23 school year to raise the maximum award to $6,895. This is the largest increase to the Pell Grant since the 2009-2010 school year. Over 137,500 Virginia students receive the Pell Grant each year.  The omnibus also included the technical fix based on Sen. Kaine’s Protecting Our Gold Star Families’ Education Act to exclude the Iraq And Afghanistan Service Grant from sequestration and ensure that recipients of this grant have access to the maximum Pell Grant award. 

 

  • Rural Broadband: Provides more than $550 million for expansion of broadband service, including an additional $450 million for the ReConnect program to expand rural broadband access. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been longtime champions for increased access to broadband. As part of the American Rescue Plan, they secured $10 billion to help states, territories and tribal governments expand access to broadband.

 

  • Rural Health Care: Provides more than $366 million for HHS rural health care programs, an increase of $36,593,000.

 

  • Miners: Provides more than $11.8 million for clinics that provide critical health care for coal workers with job-related lung diseases. The bill also directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prioritize maintenance of its Black Lung health screening mobile unit and urges the CDC to consider purchasing an additional unit, noting that early screening and detection of black lung can improve health outcomes and reduce mortality.

 

  • Infrastructure Investments: The omnibus will finally fully fund the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, specifically programs funded by the Highway Trust Fund. Without a full-year funding bill, Virginia could have lost out on $364 million in highway funding and $53 million in transit funding just this fiscal year. This also enables the new Carbon Reduction Program and PROTECT grants to get started.

 

  • Shipyard Infrastructure: Includes $564 million to make significant and much-needed investments in our nation’s public shipyards, in support of the Navy’s Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP).

 

  • Norfolk Harbor and Channels Deepening Project: Provides an additional $83.7 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation and expand capacity by deepening and widening the harbor’s shipping channels. This will enable safer access for larger commercial and naval vessels and provide significant new economic opportunities to the region. This funding is in addition to the more than $69.3 million the Senators announced in January as a result of the IIJA.

 

  • Colonial National Historical Park: Provides $128.7 million to help rehabilitate sections of the Colonial Parkway. This funding was included in the President’s FY22 budget request and was made available by the Great American Outdoors Act negotiated by Sen. Warner.

 

  • Appalachian Regional Commission: Includes $195 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an increase of $15 million from FY21. This is in addition to the $1 billion provided to ARC through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act over five years.

 

  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Includes $32.8 million to help rehabilitate sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This funding was included in the President’s FY22 budget request and was made available by the Great American Outdoors Act negotiated by Sen. Warner.

 

  • Chesapeake Bay Program: Includes $88 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. This funding is in addition to the $238 million provided to the Chesapeake Bay Program over five years through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

 

  • Telehealth: Extends core telehealth flexibilities for 151 days past the expiration date of the Public Health Emergency (PHE).

 

  • Synthetic Nicotine: Provides a legislative fix to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate products containing synthetic nicotine as tobacco products. Nicotine that can be chemically synthesized in a laboratory—rather than derived from tobacco—currently falls outside of FDA’s statutory definition of a tobacco product, which contributed to the explosion of youth use of e-cigarettes. Sen. Kaine worked with a bipartisan group of colleagues to successfully secure this language, aimed at reducing the number of children and teens addicted to harmful e-cigarettes.

 

  • Maternal Vaccination: Includes provisions calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider the importance of vaccination awareness in carrying out public awareness campaigns. Specifically, the Secretary is asked to take into consideration the importance of increasing awareness and knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to prevent disease in pregnant and postpartum women and infants, and the need to improve vaccination rates in such communities. This provision stems from Sen. Kaine’s bill, S.345, the Maternal Vaccinations Act.

 

  • HBCU funding: Virginia’s five HBCUs, Hampton University, Norfolk State University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, and Virginia University of Lynchburg will receive additional support in Fiscal Year 2022 as HBCU’s nationwide will see a $35 million (8.0%) increase in funding.

 

  • Head Start: Head Start received an increase of $289 million (2.7%) over last year’s funding level which will mean more than a $4 million increase in Virginia, a critical boost to Virginia’s 393 Head Start centers across the Commonwealth that provide early childhood education and care to nearly 15,000 young Virginians.

 

  • CCDBG: The Child Care and Development Block Grant will receive over $250 million more (4.3% increase) than last year. Support for CCDBG is critical in helping low-income families access affordable child care. This funding increase comes in addition to $580 million in supplemental CCDBG funding for Virginia through the COVID-19 relief bills, and the nearly $488 million provided by the American Rescue Plan to child care providers to enable them to stay open.

 

  • Southeast Crescent Regional Commission: The bill provides $5 million, an increase of $4 million above the fiscal year 2021 level and $2.5 million above the President’s request. This funding targets the economic development needs of distressed portions of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. In July, Kaine and Representative McEachin were joined by Warner in sending a delegation letter to President Biden advocating for this historic funding and the appointment of a federal co-chair.

As part of FY2022 appropriations, the Senate also revived a process that allows members of Congress to make Congressionally Directed Spending requests, otherwise known as earmarks, in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. This process allows Congress to dedicate federal funding for specific projects. Through strong advocacy, Sens. Warner and Kaine were able to secure dedicated funding for Virginia communities totaling more than $85 million dollars. 

More information regarding specific projects in Virginia that will receive Congressionally Directed Spending is available below:

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the following statement applauding today’s House passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 spending package, which will fund the federal government, deliver crucial aid to Ukraine, and finally release hundreds of millions of dollars in funding available through the bipartisan infrastructure law:

“We are pleased to see the House of Representatives vote to pass a full-year spending package, which will prevent a costly shutdown and provide key federal funding for some of Virginia’s top priorities. This bill will also deliver crucial humanitarian aid and military assistance to the people of Ukraine as they continue to fight against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion. Once signed by the President, this bill will also allow historic infrastructure investments to proceed full steam ahead by finally funding new programs authorized under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law last year. We stand ready to work with our Senate colleagues to pass this bill quickly and send it to the President’s desk.” 

As part of FY2022 appropriations, the Senate revived a process that allows members of Congress to make Congressionally Directed Spending requests, otherwise known as earmarks, in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. This process allows Congress to dedicate federal funding for specific projects. Through strong advocacy, Sens. Warner and Kaine were able to secure dedicated funding for Virginia communities totaling more than $85 million dollars. 

More information regarding specific projects in Virginia that will receive Congressionally Directed Spending is available below:

This bill also includes major funding for a number of Warner and Kaine priorities:  

  • Shipbuilding: The bill provides more than $26 billion in funding for critical Navy shipbuilding priorities, many of which have a direct connection to Virginia and the Hampton Roads region, to include: Ford-class Aircraft Carrier Construction ($2.34 billion), Aircraft Carrier Overhaul ($2.48 billion), and Virginia- ($6.33 billion) and Columbia-class ($4.77 billion) Submarine construction.
  • Virginia military construction: Provides more than $361 million in funding for 11 military construction projects across the Commonwealth, including in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Quantico, Ft. Belvoir, Sandston, Troutville, and at the Pentagon.
  • IRS backlog: Provides $12.6 billion for IRS funding. This funding will help continue to eliminate the 2020 tax return backlog, more efficiently process 2021 tax returns, and improve customer service. Sens. Warner and Kaine have consistently supported sufficient funding to allow the IRS to meet the needs of taxpayers. 
  • Fighting Violence Against Women: Reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act, marking the first time in nearly a decade that VAWA has been reauthorized. The bill also provides $575 million, the highest level ever, in funding provided for multiple competitive and formula grant programs that support training for police officers and prosecutors, state coalitions to respond to domestic violence and sexual assault, rape prevention programs, lethality assessment and homicide reduction initiatives, domestic violence hotlines, and women’s shelters and transitional housing support services.
  • Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act: Includes $5 million to assist state and local governments with entering data into the National Incident-Based Reporting System, which will improve how hate crimes are collected by the FBI, establish hate crime reporting hotlines, and develop and adopt policies on identifying, investigating, and reporting hate crimes. Sens. Warner and Kaine first introduced the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act legislation in 2019. It is partially named after Heather Heyer, a Virginia constituent who was killed in the 2017 white supremacy protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. 
  • Ashanti Alert: Includes $1 million to help with the nationwide implementation of the Ashanti Alert system. In 2018, Sen. Warner secured unanimous Senate passage of the Ashanti Alert Act, legislation that will create a new federal alert system for missing or endangered adults between the ages of 18-64.  The bill was signed into law on December 31, 2018. 
  • Funding for Community Development Financial Institutions: Provides $295 million for the CDFI Fund, including $173 million for financial and technical assistance grants and $35 million for the Bank Enterprise Award Program. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. Warner has successfully pushed for increased funding for CDFIs to support and advance access to capital for underserved communities in Virginia.
  • Military Families: Provides $1.4 billion in funding to improve and maintain housing, and to address challenges related to privatized military housing impacting servicemembers and their families. It also provides $278.1 million in housing assistance and $119.6 million for food assistance efforts for servicemembers and their families. For years, Sens. Warner and Kaine have fought to improve housing conditions. Sen. Warner has also been focused on improving food access for servicemembers and their families.
  • Pell Grant: The omnibus provides a $400 boost to the maximum Pell Grant in the 2022-23 school year to raise the maximum award to $6,895. This is the largest increase to the Pell Grant since the 2009-2010 school year. The omnibus also included the technical fix based on Sen. Kaine’s Protecting Our Gold Star Families’ Education Act to exclude the Iraq And Afghanistan Service Grant from sequestration and ensure that recipients of this grant have access to the maximum Pell Grant award. Over 137,500 Virginia students receive the Pell Grant each year.
  • Intelligence Authorization Act: Includes the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community – a priority for Sen. Warner as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • Cyber Incident Reporting: Includes Warner-sponsored legislation to require companies responsible for U.S. critical infrastructure to report cybersecurity incidents to the government.
  • Havana Syndrome: Provides additional funding to support personnel who have been impacted by anomalous health incidents. Chairman Warner and Sen. Kaine have been outspoken on the need to support afflicted personnel. 
  • Rural Broadband: Provides more than $550 million for expansion of broadband service, including an additional $450 million for the ReConnect program to expand rural broadband access. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been longtime champions for increased access to broadband. As part of the American Rescue Plan, they secured $10 billion to help states, territories and tribal governments expand access to broadband.
  • Miners: Provides more than $11.8 million for clinics that provide critical health care for coal workers with job-related lung diseases. The bill also directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prioritize maintenance of its Black Lung health screening mobile unit and urges the CDC to consider purchasing an additional unit, noting that early screening and detection of black lung can improve health outcomes and reduce mortality.
  • Colonial National Historical Park: Provides $128.7 million to help rehabilitate sections of the Colonial Parkway. This funding was included in the President’s FY22 budget request and was made available by the Great American Outdoors Act negotiated by Sen. Warner.
  • Appalachian Regional Commission: Includes $195 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), an increase of $15 million from FY21. This is in addition to the $1 billion provided to ARC through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act over five years.
  • Synthetic Nicotine: Provides a legislative fix to clarify the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate products containing synthetic nicotine as tobacco products. Nicotine that can be chemically synthesized in a laboratory—rather than derived from tobacco—currently falls outside of FDA’s statutory definition of a tobacco product, which contributed to the explosion of youth use of e-cigarettes. Sen. Kaine worked with a bipartisan group of colleagues to successfully secure this language, aimed at reducing the number of children and teens addicted to harmful e-cigarettes.
  • Maternal Vaccination: Includes provisions calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider the importance of vaccination awareness in carrying out public awareness campaigns. Specifically, the Secretary is asked to take into consideration the importance of increasing awareness and knowledge of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines to prevent disease in pregnant and postpartum women and infants, and the need to improve vaccination rates in such communities. This provision stems from Sen. Kaine’s bill, S.345, the Maternal Vaccinations Act.
  • Norfolk Harbor and Channels Deepening Project: Provides an additional $83.7 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation and expand capacity by deepening and widening the harbor’s shipping channels. This will enable safer access for larger commercial and naval vessels and provide significant new economic opportunities to the region. This funding is in addition to the more than $69.3 million the Senators announced in January as a result of the IIJA.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Includes $32.8 million to help rehabilitate sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This funding was included in the President’s FY22 budget request and was made available by the Great American Outdoors Act negotiated by Sen. Warner.
  • Chesapeake Bay Program: Includes $88 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. This funding is in addition to the $238 million provided to the Chesapeake Bay Program over five years through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

This legislation now heads to the Senate, which will need to pass it before sending it off to the President’s desk for approval.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after attending the White House bill signing ceremony for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act:

“It’s with great pride that we applaud President Biden’s signing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – a historic law that will bring critically-overdue funding into our communities and create a new generation of good-paying American jobs. The investments made possible by this law will bring Virginia’s infrastructure into the twenty-first century by fixing crumbling roadways, bolstering public transit systems, bridging the broadband gap, and strengthening our coastal resiliency. As former governors of Virginia, we know that getting a bill signed into law is only the beginning, and we’ll be working with folks on the ground to ensure this bill is implemented quickly and efficiently.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a comprehensive infrastructure package that delivers wins to communities across the Commonwealth and the nation to maintain our roads, bridges, rail systems, and other critical infrastructure needs, including:

Roads, Bridges, and Major Projects: 

  • $110 billion to repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on equity, safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians, and first of its kind attention to climate change mitigation and resilience. This includes:
    • $40 billion for bridge repair, replacement, and rehabilitation, which is the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system. 
    • $7 billion for Virginia highways and $537 million for Virginia bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
    • In Virginia, there are 577 bridges and over 2,124 miles of highway in poor condition.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and Public Transit:

  • Renews the federal funding commitment for WMATA through fiscal year 2030 at current annual levels. The federal government’s commitment to WMATA funding is based on legislation previously introduced by Senators Warner and Kaine. 
  • An estimated $1.2 billion over five years to improve public transportation in Virginia.
  • Over $39 billion over five years for public transit systems across the nation. 

Rail: 

  • $66 billion for passenger and freight rail to upgrade speed, accessibility, efficiency, and resilience, including $22 billion in grants to Amtrak, $24 billion as federal-state partnership grants for Northeast Corridor modernization, $12 billion for partnership grants for intercity rail service including high-speed rail, $5 billion for rail improvement and safety grants, and $3 billion for grade crossing safety improvements.
  • These dollars will help Virginia fund current projects announced with CSX, Norfolk Southern, Amtrak, and VRE — such as the $1.9 billion Long Bridge project that both Senators Warner and Kaine supported by successfully passing their Long Bridge Act of 2020 as part of the FY21 Omnibus. The legislation allowed for the construction of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac River to double the capacity of rail crossing between Virginia and DC, but still required federal funding to move forward.          
    • This funding will improve reliability and travel options not just in Virginia, but along the East Coast.

Airports, Ports, and Waterways:

  • $25 billion to improve our nation’s airports including runways, gates, terminals, and concessions.
  • $16.6 billion for port infrastructure to fund waterway and coastal infrastructure, inland waterway improvements, and land ports of entry.

Army Corps of Engineers:  

  • $9.55 billion for Army Corps of Engineers infrastructure priorities like harbor dredging, coastal resiliency, and repairing damages to Corps Projects caused by natural disasters. 

Broadband: 

  • $65 billion for broadband deployment to increase access and decrease costs associated with connecting to the internet.
  • Virginia will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to expand broadband across the Commonwealth, including providing access to the at least 473,000 Virginians who currently lack it. 
  • 1,908,000 or 23% of people in Virginia will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access.

Resilience: 

  • $47 billion for climate resilience measures that will help our communities weather increasingly severe storms, droughts, floods, fires, heat waves, and sea level rise, including funding for FEMA flood mitigation grants, making infrastructure investments to increase coastal resilience, and improving mapping and data so that households and businesses can better protect themselves from future flood events.
  • $238 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program for ecosystem resiliency and restoration.

Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging: 

  • $7.5 billion to build electric vehicle charging stations across the country along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. 
  • $2.5 billion for electric, zero-emission school buses.
  • An estimated $106 million for Virginia over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the Commonwealth. Virginia will also have the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to EV charging in the bill.

Support for Minority Businesses:

  • The legislation includes a provision based on Senator Kaine and Senator Wicker’s Reaching America’s Rural Minority Businesses Act, introduced in May 2021. 
  • The provision will enable the Minority Business Development Agency to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to establish business centers to support minority-owned small businesses in rural areas to provide education, training, and technical assistance to help them grow and thrive.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner and Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded $49,943,399.02 in federal funding to date from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The funding is committed for schools and libraries across the Commonwealth to help expand access to internet connectivity for learning, and close the Homework Gap for students who currently lack internet access. Earlier this year, Congress authorized the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $49 million in funding has been issued in three waves since late September – with the latest wave being issued this week. 

“We’re proud to see these federal dollars go toward keeping Virginia’s communities connected. This investment will help close the digital divide, while improving access to job opportunities and educational resources for Virginians as we continue to recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said the Senators.

A detailed breakdown of the funding can be found here.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long been strong supporters of expanding broadband access in Virginia. In August, they voted to pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a comprehensive infrastructure package that delivers wins to communities across the Commonwealth, including at least $100 million to expand broadband across the Commonwealth. Under the bill, 1,908,000 or 23% of people in Virginia will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access. Last year, Warner and Kaine introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act, legislation to help ensure adequate home internet connectivity for K-12 students during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $1,558,976 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand access to high-speed internet, health care, and educational services in rural Virginia. 

“Teleservices are essential in today’s world, especially in rural areas where folks have to travel long distances to access resources. These investments will help close the digital divide across our Commonwealth and extend valuable educational and health opportunities to many Virginians,” the Senators said.

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • Bristol Virginia Public Schools will receive $993,840 in federal funds to purchase interactive video conferencing equipment to deliver distance learning and telehealth services to 21 schools in eight rural Virginia communities.
  • University of Virginia will receive $267,036 in federal funds to purchase telemedicine equipment to serve a Tribal Nation, a Critical Access Hospital, a new Opioid Use Disorder and Substance Use Disorder clinic, and two federally qualified health centers serving the Appalachian region of Virginia. This equipment will help address urgent health needs, including those related to COVID-19, severe respiratory disease, the opioid crisis, and Type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that over 3,000 patients will receive treatment from this project.  
  • Mountain States Health Alliance will receive $298,100 in federal funds to expand virtual access to behavioral health, urgent care, and specialty care in Rural Appalachia. An estimated 33,000 patients will benefit from the telemedical care available facilitated by this project.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today applauded an announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department that Virginia is eligible to receive $219,812,354 from the American Rescue Plan to support broadband expansion in the Commonwealth. The funding is the result of a $10 billion investment Sen. Warner secured in the American Rescue Plan that will help states, territories and tribal governments carry out critical capital projects to enable telework, online education, and tele-health in connection with COVID-19. State governments will also be permitted to use funds to increase broadband efficiency and reduce the costs of providing broadband services.

“Broadband is to the 21st century what electrification was to the 20th. The COVID-19 crisis exposed that far too many Americans are being left behind without access to high-speed internet for work, school or telehealth. That’s why I fought to secure a record $10 billion in federal funding to expand broadband access and affordability as part of the American Rescue Plan,” said Sen. Warner. “Today the Treasury Department announced that Virginia will be eligible to receive at least $220 million of this funding in order to expand broadband to households across the Commonwealth.” 

More information from the Treasury announcement today is available here

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $14,123,917 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide broadband service to people in central Virginia through the ReConnect Program. The funding will be awarded to Central Virginia Services Inc. in Arrington, VA to install a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network that will connect 13,886 people, 4,139 households, 193 businesses, and 65 farms spread over 65 square miles in the surrounding area to high-speed broadband internet. The funding will also benefit 37 educational facilities, three health care facilities, and 14 essential community facilities.

“Broadband isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity, but many Virginians still don’t have reliable access to internet,” said the Senators. “That’s why we’re glad to see these federal dollars go toward connecting people across Virginia, which will improve access to job opportunities and educational resources and help small businesses grow.”

Senators Warner and Kaine have been strong supporters of expanding broadband access in Virginia. Earlier this week, they voted to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a comprehensive infrastructure package that delivers wins to communities across the Commonwealth, including at least $100 million to expand broadband across the Commonwealth. Under the bill, 1,908,000 or 23% of people in Virginia will be eligible for the Affordability Connectivity Benefit, which will help low-income families afford internet access and lower their bills. The legislation also provides over $44 billion in funding for broadband expansion across the nation, including an additional $2 billion to the ReConnect program and $42.45 billion in state grants. The legislation now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration. Last year, Warner and Kaine introduced legislation to help ensure adequate home internet connectivity for K-12 students during the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2018, both Warner and Kaine worked to secure funding to establish the ReConnect Program and other federal programs that are critical to improving broadband access across the Commonwealth. 

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ABINGDON— U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner and Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia plans to invest $700 million in American Rescue Plan funding to expedite the deployment of last-mile broadband infrastructure to unserved areas and close the digital divide within the next three years. This proposal will accelerate the Governor’s 10-year goal for achieving universal internet access from 2028 to 2024, with the majority of connections obligated within the next 18 months. In May, Governor Northam and General Assembly leaders released a joint statement outlining shared priorities for allocating the $4.3 billion in federal funds available to the Commonwealth from the American Rescue Plan.

The Governor made the announcement at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon and was joined by U.S. Senator Mark Warner, State Senator Janet Howell and Delegate Luke Torian, who chair the General Assembly’s money committees, and State Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Roslyn Tyler, who lead Virginia’s Broadband Advisory Council. Governor Northam also reported that the Commonwealth has successfully bridged half of the digital divide, with an estimated 233,500 unserved locations remaining. 

“With telehealth and telework becoming permanent staples across the nation, access to broadband is more critical than ever,” said U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner. “Earlier this year, I was proud to help deliver more than $3.7 billion dollars in direct fiscal relief for the Commonwealth through the American Rescue Plan, including hundreds of millions of dollars for broadband. I’m hopeful that my friends in the General Assembly will use $700 million of that funding to expand access to broadband, thereby creating economic opportunity and ensuring that every Virginian can meaningfully participate in our 21st century economy.”

“It’s time to close the digital divide in our Commonwealth and treat internet service like the 21st century necessity that it is—not just a luxury for some, but an essential utility for all,” said Governor Northam. “The pandemic has reinforced how important high-quality broadband is for the health, education, and economic opportunity, and we cannot afford to leave any community behind. With this historic $700 million investment, universal broadband is now within our reach. I am grateful to Senator Warner for fighting to include this funding in the American Rescue Plan, which will be key to the success of local connectivity efforts and to ensuring every Virginian has affordable, reliable, and equitable access to high-speed internet.”

Since 2018, the Commonwealth has awarded approximately $124 million in broadband grants and connected over 140,000 homes, businesses, and community anchors. Governor Northam and the General Assembly made historic investments—$50 million in 2020 and an additional $50 million in 2021—in the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), a public-private partnership that provides targeted financial assistance to extend broadband service to areas currently unserved by a provider. With this $700 million allocation of federal dollars and continued state investment, the Commonwealth has the necessary resources to meet the tremendous demand from localities and broadband providers and close the digital divide in Virginia.

“Localities and broadband providers have stepped up over the past three years and helped the Commonwealth connect thousands of unserved Virginians,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “With today’s announcement, large regional projects that achieve universal service can be funded across the Commonwealth without delay.” 

Because Governor Northam prioritized broadband expansion well before the pandemic, Virginia is on track to be one of the first states in the country to achieve universal broadband service. In 2019, the Governor worked with the General Assembly to establish a pilot program that promotes collaboration between localities, electric utilities, and internet service providers to connect unserved areas to high-speed internet. In just two years of the pilot program, Virginia’s utility companies have helped connect more than 13,000 homes and businesses across the Commonwealth. Earlier this year, Governor Northam signed bipartisan legislation that makes the pilot program permanent.

“The Commonwealth continues to prioritize funding for universal broadband access and I’m encouraged to see these investments coming ahead of schedule,” said Senator Janet Howell, Chair of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee. “This appropriation of federal dollars will go a long way towards supporting the investments that the Commonwealth has already made to bridge the digital divide.” 

“Funding for broadband is more critical now than ever,” said Delegate Luke Torian, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “We must continue to ensure that all citizens of the Commonwealth have access to quality internet access.”

“The Broadband Advisory Council has long prioritized funding to reduce the cost of broadband access and connect unserved Virginians,” said Senator Jennifer Boysko, Chair of the Broadband Advisory Council. “With this investment of American Rescue Plan dollars, we will greatly accelerate our progress.” 

“I have lived in a rural area my entire life and I know that the Commonwealth benefits as a whole when we lift up all communities,” said Delegate Roslyn Tyler, Vice Chair of the Broadband Advisory Council. “This investment will have a tremendous impact on countless Virginians and allow our communities to prosper and grow.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) praised new guidance by the Biden administration regarding the implementation of the $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CCPF) that the senators successfully worked to include within the American Rescue Plan. This new guidance follows strong advocacy by the four senators, who previously urged the Treasury Department to ensure that CCPF funds can be used to support increased broadband adoption and access, in addition to supporting new broadband deployment. 

“As your guidance accurately reflects, this provision was drafted in recognition of and with the intent to address the urgent connectivity gaps and challenges that hamper too many Americans, undermining telework, online education, and telehealth efforts – and more recently, undermining vaccination efforts that depend upon access to the internet for public health announcements and registration activities,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “Your guidance emphasizes the critical fact that effective utilization of capital investments associated with providing and improving broadband connectivity requires financial support for devices, digital inclusion and skills training, broadband affordability and related ancillary initiatives.”

They continued, “In the weeks and months since the American Rescue Plan was enacted, we have each heard from state and local leaders who have expressed great enthusiasm about the prospect of the Capital Projects Fund to enable broadband access for their constituents. While a larger effort to close the broadband gap is necessary – as the Biden Infrastructure Plan makes clear – we are confident that the Capital Projects Fund can address critical connectivity gaps that continue to prevent Americans from fully participating in telework, telehealth, and online education during the pandemic.”

Created through the American Rescue Plan, the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CCPF) seeks to address many challenges laid bare by the pandemic, especially in rural America and low- and moderate-income communities, helping to ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality, modern infrastructure needed to thrive, including internet access.

The guidance by the Department of the Treasury specifies that eligible projects include those that seek to expand access to broadband through connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment. The guidance states:

“Capital projects include investments in depreciable assets and the ancillary costs needed to put the capital assets in use. Under the American Rescue Plan, these projects must be critical in nature, providing connectivity for those who lack it. The Capital Projects Fund thus allows for investment in high-quality broadband as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment. In addition to supporting broadband, it also provides flexibility for each state, territory, and Tribal government to make other investments in critical community hubs or other capital assets that provide access jointly to work, education, and health monitoring. All projects must demonstrate that they meet the critical connectivity needs highlighted and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants will be required to provide a plan describing how they intend to use allocated funds under the Capital Projects Fund consistent with the American Rescue Plan and guidance to be issued by Treasury.”

A copy of the letter is available here and below. 

Dear Secretary Yellen, 

We write you to applaud the recent guidance released by the Treasury Department, announcing next steps to implement the Capital Projects Fund that we successfully included in the American Rescue Plan. As your guidance accurately reflects, this provision was drafted in recognition of and with the intent to address the urgent connectivity gaps and challenges that hamper too many Americans, undermining telework, online education, and telehealth efforts – and more recently, undermining vaccination efforts that depend upon access to the internet for public health announcements and registration activities. Your guidance emphasizes the critical fact that effective utilization of capital investments associated with providing and improving broadband connectivity requires financial support for devices, digital inclusion and skills training, broadband affordability and related ancillary initiatives. 

In the weeks and months since the American Rescue Plan was enacted, we have each heard from state and local leaders who have expressed great enthusiasm about the prospect of the Capital Projects Fund to enable broadband access for their constituents. While a larger effort to close the broadband gap is necessary – as the Biden Infrastructure Plan makes clear – we are confident that the Capital Projects Fund can address critical connectivity gaps that continue to prevent Americans from fully participating in telework, telehealth, and online education during the pandemic.  We believe that the Capital Projects Fund can serve as a bridge towards this larger initiative, particularly in the wake of successful state-led broadband projects deployed in the last year using CARES Act funding and the flexibility to use the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for broadband. These efforts will need coordination to ensure the best use of funds, but we feel strongly that the Capital Projects Fund will enable states, territories, and Tribes to build on these early efforts. 

We look forward to the Treasury Department’s future guidance on how states, territories and Tribes may access these critical funds for connectivity investments and the implementation of the Capital Projects Fund. Thank you for your leadership and attention to this important issue.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding an $800,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation, South Boston, Virginia, to increase broadband capacity in southern and central Virginia and bolster the region’s ability to withstand future economic disruptions. This EDA grant will be matched with $200,000 in local investment.

“The Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative has been the Commonwealth’s core pillar for broadband expansion since its creation during my time as Governor,” said Senator Mark Warner. “With the COVID-19 crisis underscoring the importance of broadband for telework, telehealth, and remote learning, the cooperative’s work is more important than ever to bridge the digital divide. I’m pleased to announce this critical federal funding that will assist with expanding infrastructure to get more families connected to broadband.”

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to helping communities across the nation implement strategies to mitigate economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development“This EDA investment will allow for greater business growth and economic development in the region by supporting the engineering and design of a new 206-mile route of fiber infrastructure that will span 14 counties.”

“Access to reliable high-speed internet continues to be one of the key issues facing rural communities across our Commonwealth and country,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “Working with our federal partners to enhance and expand broadband service is one of my highest priorities, and this funding will go a long way in connecting unserved homes and businesses in southern and central regions of our Commonwealth so they can compete and thrive in our digital world.”  

“This EDA funding will help better connect people across the Commonwealth, as many Virginians still do not have reliable access to broadband internet amid the pandemic,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “This investment is an important step in expanding access to broadband in rural areas across the state while also providing opportunities for economic development for years to come.”   

The EDA investment will address rural Virginia’s economic need for consistent broadband service by enabling the expansion of an existing fiber-optic infrastructure network to alleviate the lack of reliable broadband access while strengthening the region's overall economic competitiveness. Additionally, the new infrastructure will provide fiber connections not only to healthcare facilities, medical research centers, and existing businesses but also to industrial and technology parks representing more than 4,500 acres available for commercial development. 

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, provides a wide range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) mission is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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WASHINGTON –  U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined his Senate colleagues in introducing the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act and the Hotspots and Online Technology and Services Procurement for our Tribes and States (HOTSPOTS) Act – two pieces of legislation to increase access to broadband internet in Virginia and across the nation.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that broadband is a necessity – not a luxury. For too many Americans, lack of access to affordable high-speed internet is the barrier to being able to connect with health care providers online, participate in distance learning, or work safely from home,” said Sen. Warner. “In the Commonwealth alone, more than 700,000 Virginians lack access to broadband. That’s why I’m proud to introduce these two bills to invest in broadband infrastructure and make it easier for states, tribes, and territories to quickly expand internet connectivity in rural and underserved communities.” 

Along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Warner introduced the bicameral Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act – a bill that would put $94 billion towards building high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities. This legislation would encourage universal broadband access, ensure internet affordability and promote internet adoption in communities.

Specifically, it would:

  • Authorize $80 billion to deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure nationwide;
  • Allocate $5 billion over five years for low-interest financing of broadband deployment through a new secured loan program;
  • Authorize $6 billion for the recently established Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund, which provides a $50 monthly discount on the internet plans for low-income Americans anywhere in the country, or $75 for consumers on tribal lands; 
  • Provide over $1 billion to establish grant programs for states to close gaps in broadband adoption, as well as digital inclusion projects for organizations and local communities to implement;
  • Include $2 billion to enable students without internet at home to participate in remote learning;
  • Authorize funding for Wi-Fi on school buses so students can stay connected, especially in rural areas where longer bus rides are common;
  • Require an affordable option for internet service plans offered on the newly-built infrastructure funded by the legislation;
  • Establish a new office within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to ensure efficient use of federal money;
  • Direct the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to collect and publicize data on prices charged for broadband service throughout the country;

Along with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Warner introduced the bipartisan Hotspots and Online Technology and Services Procurement for our Tribes and States (HOTSPOTS) Act – legislation that would help libraries across rural America provide broadband hotspots to their communities and ensure Americans have access to the reliable broadband they need to work and learn from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This legislation would create a 2-year, $200 million hotspot pilot program with a minimum allotment of $2 million per state to allow states, tribes, and territories to purchase and distribute Internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas. 

Under this legislation, hotspots and other devices would be treated no differently than other items in a library’s inventory, allowing users to check them out and libraries to track who has the devices and for how long, maintaining accountability and good governance while bringing connectivity to homes that otherwise would be lacking.

Bill text is available here. A summary is available here.

As a former governor and now in the Senate, Sen. Warner has long fought for increased access to broadband in the Commonwealth. In the American Rescue Plan that was recently signed into law, Sen. Warner successfully secured a record $17 billion in funding to increase affordability and access to broadband. In December, Sen. Warner negotiated and passed COVID-19 relief legislation that included $7 billion towards broadband, including $3.2 billion for an Emergency Broadband Benefit to help low-income families maintain their internet connections, $285 million to support broadband access in minority communities, and $300 million in broadband grants modeled on bipartisan provisions Sen. Warner drafted with his colleagues.

Sen. Warner has also previously introduced bipartisan legislation with Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (R-SC) to establish a $10 billion Broadband Development Fund to prioritize funding for areas that currently lack service, support the deployment of advanced technologies in areas where there is the greatest need, and encourage projects that can quickly provide internet service.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), about 21 million Americans do not have access to 25/3 mbps internet – the FCC’s standard for high speed broadband. Of that 21 million, 16 million live in rural areas, while 5 million live in urban areas. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement today after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law: 

“By signing the American Rescue Plan into law, President Biden has taken an enormous step in defeating the COVID-19 pandemic and setting our nation on a clear path forward to rebuild from this crisis. Soon, this bold legislation will start delivering urgent relief for Virginians and funding for the Commonwealth’s top priorities.

“The American Rescue Plan will help our nation heal by getting vaccines into arms, expanding COVID-19 testing and tracing, and providing schools with the resources they need to reopen safely. It will also tackle the vast economic challenges related to COVID-19 by putting checks in Americans’ hands, helping small businesses keep their doors open, increasing nutrition benefits for families, assisting struggling renters and homeowners, cutting the child poverty rate in half, and providing funding for state, local, and tribal governments facing drastic budget shortfalls. This bill also includes a record $17 billion in funding to increase affordability and access to broadband – a priority I was proud to secure for the 700,000 Virginians who are still unable to access high-speed internet a year into a pandemic that has further pushed our world online.

“Like any ambitious piece of legislation, the American Rescue Plan is not perfect. I will be the first to acknowledge that the price tag is a significant one. However, this moment is too pivotal to risk doing too little and the future of our country is well worth the investment. I look forward to working to ensure that funding is distributed appropriately, programs are implemented quickly, and Virginians get the help they deserve.”

Through the American Rescue Plan, the Commonwealth of Virginia will receive, among other funding, more than $6,875,000,000 in state and local government funding; $451,000,000 in emergency rental assistance; $2,999,000,000 in education funding; $1,348,000,000 in rural transit funding; and $1,517,221,000 in urban transit funding. Additionally, more than 3,611,000 households in Virginia will benefit from individual stimulus checks. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after voting for the American Rescue Plan, legislation to provide emergency relief to the American people and defeat the COVID-19 pandemic: 

“This legislation will help our country defeat COVID-19 and get back to normal. It includes desperately needed resources to get vaccines into arms; help schools reopen safely; and provide much-needed lifelines to the communities hardest-hit by this virus. 

“I will be the first to acknowledge that this bill is not perfect. I am glad that as the Senate considered this legislation, we made some important changes to target aid where it is most badly needed as millions of Americans remain out of work, state and local governments continue to lay off workers, and small businesses struggle to keep their doors open.

“I’m especially proud that I was able to work with President Biden and my colleagues to add funding to expand access to high-speed internet, which is a necessity, not a luxury, during COVID-19. The $17 billion we secured to help expand broadband infrastructure and affordability represents the largest-ever federal investment of its kind and will be a significant boost to our economy as we work to rebuild and recover from COVID-19.”

According to current estimates, there are approximately 700,000 Virginians who still lack access to high-speed internet, which has become increasingly essential for telecommuting, distance learning, telemedicine, and more amid the COVID-19 crisis. As a former governor and now in the Senate, Sen. Warner has long fought for increased access to broadband in the Commonwealth. In December, Sen. Warner negotiated and passed COVID-19 relief legislation that included $7 billion towards broadband, including $3.2 billion for an Emergency Broadband Benefit to help low-income families maintain their internet connections, $285 million to support broadband access in minority communities, and $300 million in broadband grants modeled on bipartisan provisions Sen. Warner drafted with his colleagues. Sen. Warner has also introduced comprehensive broadband infrastructure legislation to expand access to affordable high-speed internet by investing $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities, and has also introduced bipartisan legislation with Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott (R-SC) to establish a $10 billion Broadband Development Fund to prioritize funding for areas that currently lack service, support the deployment of advanced technologies in areas where there is the greatest need, and encourage projects that can quickly provide internet service.

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), about 21 million Americans do not have access to 25/3 mbps internet, which is the FCC’s standard for high speed broadband. Of that 21 million, 16 million live in rural areas, while 5 million live in urban areas.

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