Press Releases

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BROADCAST-QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY, AUDIO, AND VIDEO FROM SEN. WARNER'S TREE DECORATION  

SANTA’S WORKSHOP (WASHINGTON) – Christmas cheer has spread to the Senate! Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) welcomed students from Dumfries Elementary School to his Capitol Hill office to kick off the holiday season with carols, milk and cookies, and decoration of the office Christmas tree. This year’s tree, a 12-foot Fraser fir, is from Mt. Rogers Tree Farm in Grayson County, Va.

The fifth-graders helped Sen. Warner decorate his tree with homemade ornaments before serenading members of his staff with classic carols such as “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

This holiday tradition has been held annually, and Sen. Warner was thrilled to once again host students following a two-year pandemic pause. 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (all D-VA)  and Reps. Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly issued the following statement on the release of U.S. citizen and Virginia resident Asim Ghafoor from detention in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he had been since July 14, 2022.

“Thanks to the courageous work of many, Asim Ghafoor is now home with his family. Since he was arrested on July 14, we have been outspoken advocates for Asim’s fair treatment and due process during his imprisonment and worked closely with his loved ones to raise awareness of his ordeal. Asim has clearly touched the lives of many, and we are relieved that he is free and back in Northern Virginia with his family.”

Asim Ghafoor is a board member for the nonprofit organization Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) which advocates for democratic reforms in the Middle East and a beloved and active member of the local Muslim community in the Northern Virginia region. He also represented Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered by Saudi officials in 2018. Asim Ghafoor was detained by UAE authorities on July 14 while transiting Dubai International Airport. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to three years in prison without being provided any notification regarding his charges. His prison sentence was overturned by an Emirati court earlier this week, permitting him to return home to his family.

###

WASHINGTON –U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $2,900,000 in federal funding from Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration for the Culpeper Regional Airport. This funding – made available thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act negotiated by Warner and strongly supported by Kaine last year and will go towards the final phase of a project that will remove a road obstruction on the runway.

“This investment will provide Culpeper Regional Airport with the final batch of funds needed to complete this project, bringing Runway 22 up to Federal Aviation Administration standards,” the senators said.  “The Culpeper airport hosts 23,000 passengers a year who rely on the airport for convenient, accessible travel. We are pleased that these funds will support this necessary construction.”

In November of last year, Sens. Warner and Kaine announced nearly $400 million in funding for airports in the Commonwealth thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law.  

###

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (Both D-VA) and Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-MD) issued the following joint statement in response to the announcement that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Board of Directors has selected Randy Clarke as its new General Manager and CEO. Clarke currently serves as President and CEO of Capital Metro in Austin, Texas.

 “Safe and reliable Metrobus and Metrorail service is essential for our constituents in the National Capital Region, for millions of visitors each year and for the employees who make the federal government function every day. For this reason, we are encouraged that the WMATA Board of Directors has selected a new General Manager and CEO who brings experience in safety oversight.

“As stalwart advocates for supporting and improving transit in the National Capital Region and continuing Metro’s strong federal partnership, we look forward to meeting with Mr. Clarke as soon as possible to learn more about his experience managing transit in major and rapidly-growing cities, and to discuss Metro’s urgent needs and our shared priorities for the future. We are ready to work with Mr. Clarke as he takes on the challenges Metro faces as our region moves forward from the pandemic.”

###

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after Boeing announced that its Arlington, Virginia campus just outside Washington, D.C. will serve as the company's global headquarters:

“For well over a year, I’ve been making my case to Boeing senior leadership that Virginia would be a great place for its headquarters, and late last year, I was happy to learn that my efforts were successful. As the former Governor of Virginia, I was proud to secure Virginia’s standing as the best state for business and the best-managed state, among other honors, and I’ve been proud to work in my role as Senator to help continue to cultivate the kind of pro-business environment that world-class companies like Boeing need to grow and thrive.”

###

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Representative Don Beyer (D-VA), joined by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), and House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging that the U.S. Department of Justice reconsider the case of two U.S. Park Police officers who shot and killed Northern Virginian Bijan Ghaisar in 2017. Their request followed the recent decision by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares to drop an appeal in the case.

 

They wrote:

“We write today regarding the 2017 fatal shooting of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by two United States Park Police (USPP) officers. Nearly five years after the fatal shooting of Bijan, it remains unclear to the Ghaisar family, to us, and to the broader community of the National Capital Region, how a traffic stop escalated to a fatal shooting. While the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to pursue federal charges under the previous administration, we believe another look is warranted. Therefore, we respectfully request that DOJ reopen its investigation, pursue a vigorous analysis of the facts and law, and determine whether federal charges are merited.”

“As you know, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated this shooting in detail, interviewing more than 150 individuals (including law enforcement, civilian, and medical witnesses), analyzing evidence at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, and amassing an investigative file of some 10,000 documents. The focus of the Department’s investigation was to determine whether the officers had violated federal laws, in particular federal criminal civil rights statute 18 U.S.C. § 242. There is precedent for charges in a case like this, as DOJ’s Civil Rights Division pursued similar charges in the George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery cases.

“What’s more, we understand that Bijan Ghaisar’s family, through counsel, has requested that the Civil Rights Division revisit its decision declining to prosecute the officers who shot and killed him. We further understand that the Department is now in possession of sworn deposition testimony taken from briefs submitted in a civil action, which includes testimony from a senior U.S. Park Police officer and a Fairfax County Police officer that may cast new light on the events of that tragic evening.

“The decision to escalate to deadly force must be explained – it is unconscionable to think such a low-level offense could justify being shot to death by police. Bijan’s family, and the public, are entitled to due process and an explanation of why their son is dead that reflects full scrutiny of this situation at all levels of the justice system. We hope you will use all resources and personnel at your disposal to give this case a fair, honest look and decide what the proper form of justice for this tragedy should be.”

 

Text of their letter follows below.

Dear Attorney General Garland:

We write today regarding the 2017 fatal shooting of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by two United States Park Police (USPP) officers. Nearly five years after the fatal shooting of Bijan, it remains unclear to the Ghaisar family, to us, and to the broader community of the National Capital Region, how a traffic stop escalated to a fatal shooting. While the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to pursue federal charges under the previous administration, we believe another look is warranted. Therefore, we respectfully request that DOJ reopen its investigation, pursue a vigorous analysis of the facts and law, and determine whether federal charges are merited.

In November 2019, DOJ’s Civil Rights Division informed the Ghaisar family that the Department would not pursue a federal indictment against the officers under 18 U.S.C. § 242. In October 2020, a grand jury convened in the Fairfax County Circuit Court returned criminal indictments against the USPP officers on state charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a firearm. The officers’ attorneys asked for a change of venue from the Fairfax County Circuit Court to the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia. The request was granted by a federal district judge, and then, in October 2021, the same judge granted a motion to dismiss the case. The dismissal was made on the grounds of Supremacy Clause immunity, meaning the district court did not engage in fact finding or an analysis of whether Bijan’s rights under the U.S. Constitution were violated. Then-Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano appealed the decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, Virginia’s new Attorney General has chosen to drop the Commonwealth’s appeal, leaving this question unsettled.

As Attorney General, you have rescinded memos that hampered the ability of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to investigate police departments accused of misconduct, and, where appropriate, hold them accountable. You have worked to restore public trust after reports of political interference with investigations during the previous administration, which reportedly included cases under investigation by the Civil Rights Division. You authorized Justice Department and FBI personnel to cooperate with the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney investigation, which returned state criminal indictments against the USPP officers, after such cooperation was denied by the previous administration. These actions are commendable, and we hope you will extend this improved oversight to the Ghaisar case.

To summarize, the following major decisions were made without sufficient explanation: DOJ declining to file federal charges in 2019; DOJ declining to share physical evidence or the conclusions of its personnel with local attorneys; the federal district court’s dismissal of the case; and the Virginia Attorney General’s withdrawal from the appeal of the dismissal. Taken together, these decisions mean that Ghaisar’s family cannot be confident that the circumstances of Bijan’s death have received the rigorous legal scrutiny they deserve.

As you know, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated this shooting in detail, interviewing more than 150 individuals (including law enforcement, civilian, and medical witnesses), analyzing evidence at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, and amassing an investigative file of some 10,000 documents. The focus of the Department’s investigation was to determine whether the officers had violated federal laws, in particular federal criminal civil rights statute 18 U.S.C. § 242. There is precedent for charges in a case like this, as DOJ’s Civil Rights Division pursued similar charges in the George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery cases.

What’s more, we understand that Bijan Ghaisar’s family, through counsel, has requested that the Civil Rights Division revisit its decision declining to prosecute the officers who shot and killed him. We further understand that the Department is now in possession of sworn deposition testimony taken from briefs submitted in a civil action, which includes testimony from a senior U.S. Park Police officer and a Fairfax County Police officer that may cast new light on the events of that tragic evening.

We want to be clear that we do not seek to pressure you to arrive at a decision that the evidence does not support. Rather, we simply seek an impartial review of the facts, including the newly adduced evidence from the civil proceeding. This case was only dismissed at the district level because of Supremacy Clause immunity, an issue that does not apply if the case is brought by the federal government. Supremacy Clause immunity would also not apply in other cases involving state, not federal, officers, which makes this case unique and not a pathway to reopen every case the DOJ may have declined to consider under prior administrations. 

The decision to escalate to deadly force must be explained – it is unconscionable to think such a low-level offense could justify being shot to death by police. Bijan’s family, and the public, are entitled to due process and an explanation of why their son is dead that reflects full scrutiny of this situation at all levels of the justice system. We hope you will use all resources and personnel at your disposal to give this case a fair, honest look and decide what the proper form of justice for this tragedy should be.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

 

 

###

 WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $1,530,000 in federal funding awarded to school districts across the Commonwealth. The funds were administered through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of two programs: the 2021 American Rescue Plan Electric School Bus Rebates and the annual 2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates. The funds will go towards the replacement of old diesel school buses with new electric, propane, compressed natural gas, diesel or gasoline buses that will reduce harmful emissions in the environment.

“We are glad to see so many Virginia school districts receive funding to invest in electric school buses and cleaner vehicles,” the Senators said. “This investment will significantly benefit our communities by reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. We look forward to helping Virginia school districts compete for additional funding through the $5 billion clean and electric school bus grant program in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”  

The funds will be broken down as follows:

  • $900,000 for three school buses for Petersburg City Public Schools as part of the 2021 American Rescue Plan Electric School Bus Rebates.

This new program provides funds to replace old diesel school buses with new, zero-emission electric school buses. The funds are reserved exclusively for school districts in underserved communities, Tribal schools, and private fleets serving those schools.

  • $250,000 for 10 buses for Newport News Public Schools as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates.
  • $200,000 for 10 buses for Loudoun County Public Schools as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates.
  • $100,000 for five buses for Carroll County Public Schools as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates.
  • $80,000 for four buses for Culpeper County Public Schools as part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) School Bus Rebates.

This program funds the replacement of old diesel school buses with new electric, diesel, gasoline, propane, or compressed natural gas school buses meeting current emission standards.

###

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $9,595,563 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help fund projects at two airports in the Commonwealth. The funding does not require the standard 10 percent local match, thanks to the American Rescue Plan supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“Investment in our Commonwealth’s infrastructure makes life easier for every Virginian. We are excited to see this funding go towards making improvements to our airports as travel restrictions begin to ease following the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Senators.

The funding will be distributed as follows:

These funds come after Sens. Warner and Kaine helped to secure an additional $15 billion for Airport Improvement Grants in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which passed the U.S. Senate on August 10th and awaits consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $13,715,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded to four airports across the Commonwealth to fund infrastructure improvements to the airports’ runways. 

“We are pleased to see these federal dollars awarded to the Commonwealth to go toward updating four of Virginia’s airport runways,” said the Senators. “This funding will enable our airports to better support travelers and economic opportunities for the surrounding areas.”

A breakdown of the funding is below:

  • Virginia Highlands Airport Commission will receive a grant of $3,216,000 to go toward a runway extension at the Virginia Highlands Airport in Abingdon. 
  • Stafford Regional Airport Authority will receive a grant of $5,499,000 to go toward a runway extension at the Stafford Regional Airport in Stafford.
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will receive a grant of $3,300,000 to go toward a runway reconstruction at the Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles.
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will receive a grant of $1,700,000 to go toward a runway reconstruction at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington.

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today applauded $21,649,505 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury to support and advance business ownership among minority entrepreneurs in Virginia. The funding was awarded through the CDFI Rapid Response Program (RRP) – a program established and funded by a record $12 billion investment in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) that Sen. Warner authored and successfully fought to include in the December COVID-19 relief legislation. 

“As a former entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I know that the kind of opportunities that once allowed me to succeed are often out of reach for Black and brown folks, who due to historic and systemic inequities often lack the credit history or banking relationships needed to access capital. To make matters worse, these inequalities have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had disproportionate effects on minority and low-income communities,” said Sen. Warner. “This funding will provide critical resources to Virginia’s CDFIs, which specialize in supporting underserved communities. I’m thrilled to know that these dollars are now headed directly to Virginia to support key priorities including small businesses, affordable housing, and access to consumer financial services. This funding marks a successful first step towards ensuring the recovery is felt by all communities.”

As negotiated by Sen. Warner, the $12 billion investment in CDFIs and MDIs includes $3 billion in grants to be delivered through the CDFI Fund. The nearly $22 million awarded today is part of the first $1.25 billion tranche of that $3 billion in grant funding. These federal dollars will be distributed among 18 Virginia CDFIs – the financial institutions most connected to the Commonwealth’s minority communities – and will ultimately go towards supporting affordable access to credit for Virginians in Black, Latino and low-income communities. 

The funding will be distributed as follows:

Appalachian Community Capital Corporation

Christiansburg

 $1,826,265

ARN CAPITAL, LLC

Fredericksburg

 $200,000

Business Seed Capital, Inc.

Roanoke

 $200,000

Capital Impact Partners

Arlington

 $1,826,265

Community Business Partnership

Springfield

 $997,000

Community Investment Collaborative

Charlottesville

 $360,000

Democracy FCU

Alexandria

 $1,826,265

DuPont Community Credit Union

Waynesboro

 $1,826,265

ECDC Enterprise Development Group

Arlington

 $1,278,385

Freedom First Federal Credit Union

Roanoke

 $1,826,265

People Incorporated Financial Services

Abingdon

 $1,400,000

Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union

Petersburg

 $1,826,265

Piedmont Housing Alliance

Charlottesville

 $279,000

RVA Financial Federal Credit Union

Richmond

 $1,826,265

Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc.

Roanoke

 $375,000

Virginia Community Capital, Inc.

Richmond

 $1,826,265

Virginia Community Development Fund, Inc.,

Richmond

 $1,750,000

The Virginia Foodshed Capital

Charlottesville

 $200,000

 

Total:

 

 

$21,649,505

The COVID-19 crisis has only served to exacerbate the existing economic challenges faced by Black and brown Americans. Throughout this crisis, thousands of minority-owned small businesses have closed for good, in part due to difficulty securing bank loans and accessing assistance such as the Paycheck Protection Program. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that while overall small business ownership in the U.S. dropped 22 percent between February and April 2020, Black and Latino ownership dropped by 41 percent and 32 percent, respectively. Unemployment rates for Black and brown Americans have also been consistently higher than that of White Americans.

To combat the hemorrhaging of jobs and economic opportunities during the pandemic, Sen. Warner in July teamed up with then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act in order to strengthen the financial institutions that serve communities of color and increase lending to minority-owned businesses and lower-income borrowers. The effort secured endorsements from the Black Economic Alliance, the NAACP, the National Bankers Association, the National Urban League, the Center for Responsible Lending and a host of other advocacy organizations and civil rights groups. Sen. Warner was later able to secure provisions from the bill in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, providing an unprecedented $12 billion in funding for lenders that predominantly operate in underserved communities.

###

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that Loudoun County will receive a reimbursement of $1,882,828.45 in federal funding in response to COVID-19 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding will cover costs associated with the purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, fire and rescue, health services including nursing and healthcare, and mental health, substance abuse and development services.

“We’re glad to see these federal dollars go towards protecting our first responders from the COVID-19 virus,” said the Senators. “We remain committed to ensuring that our first responders have the necessary equipment to protect themselves from COVID-19.”

###

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that two emergency projects across Northern Virginia will receive a combined reimbursement of $20,902,666.81 in federal funding in response to COVID-19 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding will cover costs associated with the communication of COVID-19 warnings and guidance to Virginians, as well as medical supplies and equipment to combat the virus.

“We’re pleased to see these federal dollars go towards managing, controlling, and reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Northern Virginia,” said the Senators. “It’s important for folks to have the necessary tools and procedures to tackle this health crisis.”

The funding was awarded as follows:

  • Valley Health will receive $3,786,140.24.
  • Fairfax County will receive $17,116,526.57.

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner joined U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo in announcing that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.1 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the County of Alleghany, Covington, Virginia, for trail improvements along the Jackson River and to bolster the local tourism economy. This EDA grant, to be matched with $600,000 in state funding, is expected to create more than 30 jobs.

“Virginia’s abundance of outdoor recreation activities such as hiking and fishing are at the heart of the Commonwealth’s tourism industry,” said Senator Mark Warner. “With the weather getting warmer and more families taking trips to visit the Commonwealth’s scenic views, I’m pleased to announce these funds to make necessary improvements that will help create jobs and attract more tourism dollars to our communities.” 

“President Biden is committed to getting our tourism sector back up to speed and Americans back to work,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment in the County of Alleghany will aid in the reopening of the local tourism economy and will retain critical tourism, hospitality, and manufacturing jobs in the state.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This EDA investment will allow for completion of the Jackson River Scenic Trail and the addition of outdoor amenities, which will bolster tourism in Virginia, providing new jobs and economic opportunities.”

“Virginia is home to some of the nation's most beautiful parks, trails, and rivers,” said Governor Ralph Northam. “I’m grateful for this investment in Alleghany County, which will support tourism in the region and boost our quickly-recovering economy.” 

“I am pleased to see this CARES Act funding go toward improvements along the Jackson River,” said Senator Tim Kaine. “This vital investment will help tourism rebound and spur economic activity in Alleghany County.”

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 to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that Fairfax County will receive $3,309,299.18 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The federal funds will be used to purchase, preposition, and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as: coveralls, eye and face shields, gloves, gowns, masks, N95 masks, respirators, shoe covers, lab coats, ponchos, hair nets, test kits, protective sleeves, tents, bags, door openers, and tables for essential workers as they deliver vital services to the community.  

“We’re glad to see these federal dollars go towards managing, controlling, and reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said the Senators. “As Virginians continue to wear a mask, social distance, and get tested and vaccinated, we remain committed to ensuring that the Commonwealth has the necessary tools to continue to combat this health crisis.”

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded the Biden administration for increasing the amount of federal dollars that Virginia will receive for five emergency projects across the Commonwealth. By adjusting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s federal cost share from 75 percent to 100 percent, the Biden administration will help deliver an additional $22,915,050 in federal funding to cover the cost of communicating COVID-19 warnings and guidance to Virginians and procuring and utilizing medical supplies and equipment to combat the virus.

“COVID-19 created an immediate threat to the health and safety of our country requiring emergency response and protective measures. We thank the Biden administration for recently adjusting the federal cost share to help the Commonwealth manage, control, and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said the Senators. “As Virginians continue to wear a mask, social distance, and get tested and vaccinated, we remain committed to ensuring that the Commonwealth has the necessary tools and procedures to continue to tackle this health crisis.”

The following projects will receive funding as listed below:

Recipient

Location

FEMA Share Previously 

 

Cost Share Adjustment

Fairfax County

Fairfax

$5,147,564.33

$1,715,854.77

City of Alexandria

Alexandria

$3,675,732.45

$1,225,244.15

Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Richmond

$50,773,516.83

$16,924,505.61

Centra Health

Lynchburg

$4,285,914.02

$1,428,638.00

Virginia Department of Emergency Management

Richmond

$4,862,422.42

$1,620,807.47

Total: 

 

$68,745,150.05

$22,915,050

###

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that Virginia will receive $79,907,625 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support 26 community health centers across the Commonwealth. The funding – which was made possible through the American Rescue Plan – will be awarded beginning in April by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

“For the past year, our community health centers have been on the front lines of providing care to our most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 crisis,” said the Senators. “Thanks to the congressional passage and eventual signing of the American Rescue Plan, we are now able to provide these critical federal dollars so that our community health centers can continue to provide lifesaving care to the folks who need it the most.”

The funding for the 26 community health centers will be awarded as follows:

Recipient

City/Town

Award Amount

Neighborhood Health

Alexandria

$7,893,875

Blue Ridge Medical Center Inc.

Arrington

$1,861,750

Bland County Medical Clinic Inc. 

Bastian

$1,595,375

Free Clinic of the New River Valley, Inc. 

Christiansburg

$1,492,000

Piedmont Access to Health Services Inc. 

Danville

$3,666,625

Clinch River Health Services Inc. 

Dungannon

$950,375

Harrisonburg Community Health Center, Inc. 

Harrisonburg 

$3,441,625

St. Charles Health Council Inc. 

Jonesville

$3,021,125

Tri-Area Community Health 

Laurel Fork

$1,990,750

Loudoun Community Health Center

Leesburg

$3,976,500

Rockbridge Area Free Clinic 

Lexington

$1,629,000

Johnson Health Center 

Lynchburg

$4,305,625

Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness 

Martinsville

$1,435,875

Highland Medical Center 

Monterey

$822,750

Central Virginia Health Services, Inc. 

New Canton

$8,864,625

Peninsula Institute for Community Health, Inc. 

Newport News

$4,659,500

Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Incorporated 

Onancock

$5,704,750

Portsmouth Community Health Center, Inc. 

Portsmouth

$2,767,125

Daily Planet Inc. 

Richmond

$2,259,375

Richmond, City of 

Richmond

$2,991,625

Kuumba Community Health & Wellness Center, Inc. 

Roanoke

$2,461,625

Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Inc. 

Saltville

$3,039,750

Stony Creek Community Health Center 

Stony Creek

$889,500

Southern Dominion Health Systems, Inc.

Victoria

$2,379,875

Horizon Health Services, Inc. 

Waverly

$1,159,250

Greater Prince William Area Community Health Center, Inc. 

Woodbridge

$4,647,375

Health centers will be able to use these funds to support and expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment for vulnerable populations; deliver needed preventive and primary health care services to those at higher risk for COVID-19; and expand health centers’ operational capacity during the pandemic and beyond, including modifying and improving physical infrastructure and adding mobile units. 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today applauded an announcement by the new Chief of the U.S. Park Police (USPP) Pamela A. Smith that she will, as one of her first actions as chief, implement a nationwide body-worn camera program for USPP  by the end of the year. 

“It’s been more than three years since Bijan Ghaisar was shot and killed by U.S. Park Police and his family is still searching for answers to understand what happened to their son and brother that day,” said Sen. Warner. “While nothing will bring Bijan back, I am glad to see the new leadership of the Park Police taking steps that could help avert more needless tragedies. I have long supported federal funding for law enforcement body cameras because I think they help instill trust between officers and the public they serve. I congratulate Chief Smith on her historic appointment and look forward to working with her to increase safety and accountability on our federal lands.” 

Today Smith was named as the new Chief of United States Park Police. Smith is the first African American woman to lead the USPP, the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency.

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will award $10 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia to fund the construction of a water storage reservoir in Loudoun County. 

“All Virginians deserve reliable access to healthy drinking water,” said the Senators. “We are glad to announce this $10 million grant to support a safe and dependable water supply in Loudoun County.”

The $10 million grant will help fund the conversion of a retired Luck Stone quarry to a water storage reservoir with a capacity over 1 billion gallons. The project includes a new pumping station with four submersible vertical turbine pumps, and water transmission mains will be installed to fill and discharge water from the reservoir. When completed, the new reservoir will provide additional water storage for the Washington, D.C. metro area so that water supply can be supplemented in the event of a drought. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

###

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), joined by Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), introduced the Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act. The legislation aims to expand access to affordable and nutritious food in areas designated as “food deserts” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).                                                                                       

“Today, too many Americans lack access to fresh nutritious and healthy foods. Unfortunately, that reality has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, which has made it even more difficult for working families to seek out and afford healthy foods,” said Sen. Warner. “That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will serve as an important tool to combat food insecurity in our communities.”

“Over the past year, we have seen unprecedented need at food banks as Kansans line-up seeking access to nutritional food,” said Sen. Moran. “Even while living in the breadbasket of our nation, food insecurity affects far too many Kansans, a need that has only increased during COVID-19. This bipartisan legislation, which would incentivize food providers to establish and renovate grocery stores, food banks and farmers markets in communities that traditionally lack affordable, healthy and convenient food options, is now more important than ever during this pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made routine tasks like going to the grocery store difficult for millions of Americans—especially for families who live in a food dessert and have to travel an extended distance to access healthy foods.” said Senator Casey. “No one in America should be burdened by a simple trip to the grocery store. The bipartisan Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act would provide critical support to expand access to healthy food in underserved communities,” said Sen. Casey.

“Many Americans living in rural communities—including those in West Virginia—have difficulty accessing fresh and nutritious foods. I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation, which will go a long way in helping to improve access to groceries and healthy foods across West Virginia and make it easier for businesses and non-profit organizations to serve our rural communities,” said Sen. Capito.

According to recent data from USDA, nearly 40 million Americans live in food deserts, areas defined to be without grocery stores within one or more miles in urban regions, and ten or more miles in rural regions. In Virginia alone, there are more than one million individuals living in food deserts. Studies have shown that Americans who live in communities with low-access to healthy food options are at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, according to USDA’s own study, people of color are more likely to reside in a food desert.

In an effort to eliminate food deserts in the U.S., the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act would provide incentives to food providers to expand access to healthy foods in these underserved communities and reduce the number of food deserts nationwide.

Specifically, the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act, which defines a grocery market as a retail sales store with at least 35 percent of its selection (or forecasted selection) dedicated to selling fresh produce, poultry, dairy, and deli items – would spark investment in food deserts across the country that have a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher, or a median family income of less than 80 percent of the median for the state or metro area. It would grant tax credits or grants to food providers who service low-access communities and attain a “Special Access Food Provider” (SAFP) certification through the Treasury Department. Incentives would be awarded based on the following structure:

  • New Store Construction – Companies that construct new grocery stores in a food desert will receive a onetime 15 percent tax credit after receiving certification.
  • Retrofitting Existing Structures – Companies that make retrofits to an existing store’s healthy food sections can receive a onetime 10 percent tax credit after the repairs certify the store as an SAFP.
  • Food Banks – Certified food banks that build new (permanent) structures in food deserts will be eligible to receive a onetime grant for 15 percent of their construction costs.
  • Temporary Access Merchants – Certified temporary access merchants (i.e. mobile markets, farmers markets, and some food banks) that are 501(c)(3)s will receive grants for 10 percent of their annual operating costs.

The Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act boasts the support of numerous organizations, including Feeding America, the National Grocers Association, Share Our Strength, and Bread for the World.

“Feeding America commends Senator Warner for confronting the unfortunate fact that the burdens faced by the 40 million Americans living with hunger are even worse for those who live in food deserts. Our network of 200 member food banks understands that areas without affordable, healthy food options have higher rates of food insecurity exacerbated by the lack access to adequate transportation to the nearest food pantry or grocery market. Feeding America supports the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act and believes it is a critical step to give nonprofits and retailers support to increase food access in underserved areas,” said Kate Leone, Chief Government Relations Officer at Feeding America. 

“The National Grocers Association embraces Senator Warner’s efforts to remove the obstacles faced by grocers looking to expand access to nutritious food for rural and urban communities without a supermarket,” said Molly Pfaffenroth, Senior Director of Government Relations at National Grocers Association. “Independent community grocers are the heartbeat of the areas they serve and historically are leaders in reaching out to those most in need of better food options. Communities are stronger both physically and economically when they have better access to healthy food, so we look forward to working with Congress on this important bipartisan legislation.”

“To end childhood hunger in America, we must ensure that low-income families, have equitable access to healthy, affordable food options no matter their zip code or circumstances. Ending food deserts will help more families put food on the table and help children get the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong. Share Our Strength supports The Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act and thanks Sens. Warner, Moran, Casey, and Capito for their leadership on this issue,” said Billy Shore, Founder and Executive Chair of Share Our Strength. 

“Bread for the World is once again excited to see a bipartisan effort to address food deserts and improve access to nutritious food in low-income areas across America.  With 1 in 6 Americans and 1 in 4 children experiencing food insecurity during this pandemic, this legislation is desperately needed. Bread for the World thanks Senators Warner, Moran, Casey and Capito for introducing this bill to reduce hunger in communities and improve health across the country,” said Heather Valentine, Director of Government Relations of Bread for the World. 

Companion legislation will soon be introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and A. Donald McEachin (D-VA).

Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate of expanded access to food assistance for families in the Commonwealth amid the COVID-19 crisis. He has put pressure on the USDA to formally authorize Virginia’s request to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Online Purchasing Pilot Program, successfully pushed USDA to waive a requirement that made it more difficult for families to receive USDA-reimbursable meals, and secured a USDA designation that allows food banks to distribute food directly to Virginia families in need while limiting interactions between food bank staff, volunteers, and recipients. In August, Sen. Warner also successfully pushed for USDA to extend critical food waivers to help make sure students have access to nutritious meals while school districts participate in distance learning. The COVID-19 relief package signed into law in December provides $13 billion in nutrition assistance, including a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits. Last month, Sen. Warner introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation that allows federal government to pay all costs to states to partner with restaurants and provide food to vulnerable populations.

Bill text for the Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act can be found here. A summary of the bill can be found here.

 

Population of Virginians by city or county living in food deserts as defined in this bill*

Accomack: 4401

Albemarle: 3765

Amherst: 10217

Augusta: 11919

Bath: 4731

Bland: 3901

Botetourt: 7792

Brunswick: 8041

Buckingham: 8400

Campbell: 8756

Caroline: 3278

Carroll: 4767

Charlotte: 12586

Chesterfield: 38638

Culpeper: 18511

Cumberland: 10052

Dinwiddie: 12196

Essex: 8026

Fairfax: 11213

Floyd: 9102

Franklin: 25439

Grayson: 5277

Halifax: 27851

Hanover: 4243

Henrico: 39618

Henry: 22130

Highland: 2321

James City: 4014

King and Queen: 3881

Loudoun: 3869

Mecklenburg: 17632

Montgomery: 32249

Nelson: 5696

Nottoway: 9783

Orange: 4934

Patrick: 11262

Pittsylvania: 23119

Prince Edward: 10624

Prince George: 8543

Prince William: 55128

Rappahannock: 7373

Rockbridge: 15873

Rockingham: 11530

Scott: 7959

Shenandoah: 9068

Smyth: 3913

Southampton: 7958

Spotsylvania: 21803

Stafford: 12818

Sussex: 6377

Tazewell: 12740

Warren: 14335

Wise: 9566

Wythe: 6773

Bristol: 13982

Buena Vista: 6650

Charlottesville: 6616

Chesapeake: 33605

Covington: 3098

Danville: 15545

Franklin City: 8582

Fredericksburg: 8988

Hampton: 38928

Harrisonburg: 9016

Hopewell: 12120

Lexington: 7042

Lynchburg: 29886

Manassas: 7678

Manassas Park: 6248

Martinsville: 6166

Newport News: 38292

Norfolk: 62583

Petersburg: 22639

Portsmouth: 11862

Radford: 12260

Richmond City: 62381

Roanoke City: 39950

Salem: 10424

Suffolk: 9752

Virginia Beach: 27205

Waynesboro: 5240

Williamsburg: 4138

Total: 1,186,877

*The most recent year for which data is available is 2017.

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $1,022,77 in federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Loudoun County. Specifically, the funding will be used to support efforts to store, handle, transport, distribute and administer the vaccine against COVID-19.

“We are glad to announce that these federal dollars will go towards getting vaccines out to more folks in Loudoun County,” said the Senators. “We remain committed to tackling this crisis and doing everything in our power to help boost vaccination rates across the Commonwealth.”

The most recent COVID-19 relief package negotiated by Sen. Warner and supported by both senators included more than $19 billion for vaccines and therapeutics and an additional $8.75 billion to support vaccine distribution at the local and state level.

Under Governor Northam’s Major Disaster Declaration to help Virginia respond to COVID-19, localities can apply for funding to support vaccine distribution from FEMA. Loudoun County is the second of the Commonwealth’s localities to apply for – and receive – the funding, following a funding announcement for Arlington County last week. 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $2,283,147.93 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide support for the distribution COVID-19 vaccines in Arlington County. These funds will go toward supplies to ensure proper storage of the vaccine, transportation support, staffing needs, PPE for staff, and the necessary equipment to ensure facilities are in line with CDC guidance.

“We’re glad to see these federal dollars go toward helping Arlington County effectively administer the COVID-19 vaccine,” said the Senators. “We will keep working to ensure the Commonwealth has the resources it needs to best respond to this pandemic.” 

Under Governor Northam’s Major Disaster Declaration to help Virginia respond to COVID-19, localities can apply for funding to support vaccine distribution from FEMA. Arlington County is the first of the Commonwealth’s localities to apply for – and receive – the funding.

The latest COVID relief package, supported by Senators Warner and Kaine, included over $19 billion for vaccines and therapeutics and an additional $8.75 billion to support vaccine distribution, particularly for states and localities, to slow the spread of the pandemic. 

In March 2020, Kaine joined his colleagues in a letter urging President Trump to immediately consider any disaster declaration requests so states can utilize FEMA’s Public Assistance program in their efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health. Public Assistance is funded through the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), to which Congress provided an additional $45 billion in the CARES Act.

###

WASHINGTON – Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, and Jennifer Wexton (all D-VA) today issued the following statement on the agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States Secret Service (USSS) authorizing the use of Virginia State Police assets, resources, and personnel, to assist with the closure of bridges spanning the Potomac River during the 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony:  

“The 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony will see the strongest Capital-area security response in history. We worked together to push for a response that balances protecting public safety in a manner commensurate with available intelligence about threats without going too far. It is very important now that the U.S. Secret Service and its partner agencies communicate road and bridge closures swiftly and clearly in order to keep disruptions to a minimum. All of us want the transfer of power to be as peaceful as possible, and we thank all of the men and women in uniform helping to make this historic occasion safe.”

As a result of the Virginia-USSS agreement, Virginia State Police will facilitate the closure of bridges and pedestrian thoroughfares including Theodore Roosevelt Bridge, Arlington Memorial Bridge, Interstate 395 Bridge, and 14th Street Bridge, beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 19, and ending at 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 21, at 6:00 a.m. 

###

 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,879,967 in federal funding to help Virginians in 19 localities reduce their dependency on federal assistance and rental subsidies. The funding, awarded through the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will help connect Virginia families to public and private resources that help them increase their earned income and transition to more stable housing.

“These funds will empower Virginia families by providing educational opportunities, job training, and counseling to help them make lasting progress towards economic independence,” said the Senators. “We applaud the Department of Housing and Urban Development for taking this approach to give Virginians the tools they need to increase their income and move up the economic ladder.”

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $78,659;
  • Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $49,627;
  • Chesapeake Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $167,400;
  • City of Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $151,470;
  • City of Virginia Beach Department of Housing: $56,347;
  • Loudoun County: $74,080;
  • Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $24,818;
  • Fairfax County Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $152,078;
  • Franklin Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $60,000;
  • Hampton Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $60,152;
  • Harrisonburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $35,103;
  • Hopewell Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $72,000;
  • James City County Office of Housing & Community Development: $28,500;
  • Newport News Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $112,031;
  • Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $360,000;
  • Portsmouth Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $226,656;
  • Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $72,000;
  • Suffolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $52,368;
  • Waynesboro Redevelopment & Housing Authority: $48,638.

The FSS program helps HUD-assisted families increase their earned income and reduce their dependency on federal assistance and rental subsidies. Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) work in collaboration with a Program Coordinating Committee (PCC) to secure commitments of public and private resources for the operation of the FSS program, to develop the PHA’s FSS Action Plan (the FSS policy framework), and to implement the program.

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today celebrated the reopening of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. The rehabilitation project, whose funding was personally championed by Sen. Warner in the Senate in 2016, will help provide a smoother and safer commute for Virginia and D.C. area residents after years of repairs, lane closures and weight restrictions. The nearly 90-year old Arlington Memorial Bridge, which is one of several transportation infrastructures operated by the National Park Service (NPS), had not undergone a major overhaul since first opening in 1932.  

“In 2015, we were warned that Memorial Bridge – a critical artery between Virginia and the nation’s capital – was literally falling apart,” said Sen. Warner. “Today’s reopening is a testament to years of work by the region’s congressional delegation, our local partners, and the National Park Service. Commuters can now rest easy knowing that this nearly 90-year-old landmark will carry them safely over the Potomac for years to come.”

In 2016, Sen. Warner first spearheaded a years-long effort to secure funding to rehabilitate Arlington Memorial Bridge after NPS revealed that without a $250 million rehabilitation, the bridge would not be safe for traffic by 2021.

In April 2016, Sen. Warner led several of his National Region Congressional colleagues in pushing for regional collaboration to submit a FASTLANE grant application for the Arlington Memorial Bridge Rehabilitation Project. The FASTLANE program was established as part of the bipartisan transportation bill passed by Congress in 2015, which included grant funding specifically set aside for “nationally significant freight and highway projects,” such as the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Sen. Warner successfully led a Virginia and D.C. delegation effort, with the support of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, to submit a FASTLANE grant application, along with NPS, that would support repairs for Arlington Memorial Bridge.

Then, in December 2017, the National Park Service announced it had secured full funding for the $227 million project of rehabilitating Arlington Memorial Bridge, including a $90 million FASTLANE grant attained by Sen. Warner. Additionally, Sen. Warner fought on the Senate floor to secure inclusion of an additional $30 million in the FY2017 appropriations bill for the project. The additional $30 million helped condense the project from two phases into one, saving taxpayers $35 million and shaving 18 months off construction time.

Sen. Warner’s legislation to tackle the $12 billion nationwide backlog of deferred NPS maintenance projects, The Great American Outdoors Act, was signed into law by President Trump earlier this year. In Virginia alone, NPS sites currently have $1.1 billion in deferred maintenance needs.

###

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that Prince William County will be awarded $94,489,915 in federal funding for public transit. The funding was authorized by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine, and will support operating, administrative, capital, and preventive maintenance costs for Virginia Railway Express (VRE), Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), and Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED).

“We’re pleased to announce this funding to ensure Virginians can continue to rely on safe and reliable public transportation during this ongoing health and economic crisis,” said the Senators. “And as we’ve seen COVID-19 cases gradually increase across the country and in the Commonwealth, these funds will help ensure that our essential workers can continue to get to and from work as safely as possible.”

Through the CARES Act, Congress provided $25 billion for transit agencies to help prevent, prepare, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prince William County received its funding under the FTA’s Urbanized Area Formula Program, which makes federal resources available to urbanized areas and to governors for transit capital and operating assistance in urbanized areas and for transportation-related planning.

###