Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine issued the following statement today after the Senate successfully passed a stopgap funding bill to keep the federal government funded through mid-December:

“We’re relieved that this legislation will keep the government operating; allow the Food and Drug Administration to continue its review of innovative drugs and medical devices; deliver critical disaster relief funding to Puerto Rico; and send a strong message that the U.S. continues to stand with Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty against the brutal dictatorship of Vladimir Putin. It’s going to take some more time for Congress to finalize the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, and we are going to keep fighting to keep intact the nearly $135 million we secured for Virginia in that budget as the process continues.”

More information regarding the funding Warner and Kaine are working to secure in the final Fiscal Year 2023 budget legislation for Virginia is available here.

The stopgap funding legislation that the Senate passed today will soon be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives before heading to President Biden’s desk for signature.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after voting to move forward on debate on legislation that would keep the government funded through December 16:

“Government shutdowns are pointless and painful and should be avoided whenever possible. I’m glad that the Senate was able to move forward tonight on legislation to keep the government up and running. My complaints have fallen on deaf ears over the years, but it’s still worth pointing out that the process by which Congress decides whether or not to keep the government functional is, in fact, pretty dysfunctional. We can and should do better than continuing resolution after continuing resolution.

“While the permitting reform proposal from Senator Manchin was dropped from this bill, I agree that we still need to take sensible steps to reduce European dependence on Russian energy while maintaining an affordable and resilient supply here at home. I look forward to working with my colleagues to enact reforms to our existing permitting process that protect our national and economic security, but also respect concerns voiced by those communities most impacted by these projects.”

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued a statement regarding recently released legislative text for the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022:

“Russia’s ongoing illegal war in Ukraine has resulted in extreme shocks to the global energy market. We need increased pipeline capacity in order to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and maintain a strong and resilient domestic energy supply here at home. So protecting our national and economic security is going to require increased pipeline capacity and reforms to our existing permitting process, which is currently too slow and too expensive. That said, I think the process around the Mountain Valley Pipeline stinks. In the coming days, I’m going to work with my colleagues to see if we can’t make some reasonable fixes while we work to keep the government up and running.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement after a court released a redacted version of the affidavit that prompted federal law enforcement to search Mar-a-Lago.

“It appears, based on the affidavit unsealed this morning, that among the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago were some of our most sensitive intelligence – which is one reason the Senate Intelligence Committee has requested, on a bipartisan basis, a damage assessment of any national security threat posed by the mishandling of this information.

“The Department of Justice investigation must be allowed to proceed without interference.”

According to the affidavit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation found 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 25 documents marked as TOP SECRET, and documents bearing labels that indicated they contained information on clandestine human sources.

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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.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement after President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law:

“The Chips and Science Act will lower costs for families, strengthen our national security, and create good-paying manufacturing jobs here in the United States, and I’m proud to have shepherded it into law.”

Nearly everything that has an “on” switch – from cars to phones to washing machines to ATMs to electric toothbrushes – contains a semiconductor, but just 12 percent of these ‘chips’ are currently made in America. The CHIPS and Science Act includes $52 billion in funding championed by Sen. Warner to manufacture chips here on American soil – a move that will increase economic and national security and help America compete against countries like China for the technology of the future.

Sen. Warner, co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus and former technology entrepreneur, has long sounded the alarm about the importance of investing in domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Sen. Warner first introduced the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act in June 2020 along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine voted in the Senate to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, historic legislation to reduce inflation, lower costs, and fight climate change:

“This bill will lower the price of prescription drugs and healthcare, reduce the deficit, and invest in American energy to both address climate change and bring down energy bills. And in another big win for Virginia, it will help ensure that miners suffering from black lung and their families get the help they need,” said the senators. “While we will continue to look for ways to support the health and well-being of our communities, decrease inflation, and lower costs for Virginians, we’re proud that today we took a major step forward in addressing those challenges.”

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will fight inflation, reduce the deficit, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030, according to multiple independent assessments. Another survey found that the bill will save the average household hundreds of dollars annually on their energy costs. The Inflation Reduction Act will also lower health care bills by finally allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extend the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years, through 2025. Additionally, the Inflation Reduction Act will permanently extend the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund excise tax at a higher rate, providing certainty for miners, miner retirees, and their families who rely on the fund to access benefits.

The legislation will also take steps to make sure that the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes, without increasing taxes on small businesses or families making less than $400,000 a year. According to a recent analysis, the clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act are expected to create nearly 1 million jobs per year.

The House of Representatives is now expected to take up the legislation next week before sending it to President Biden’s desk for signature.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after the Senate voted 95-1 to approve adding Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO):

“The NATO alliance has formed the foundation of the peace in Europe since the end of the second World War. With Vladimir Putin’s brazen and illegal invasion of Ukraine, strengthening NATO is more important than ever and today’s vote in the Senate sends a strong message that democracies across the globe will continue to stand up to Russian aggression.

“Three-quarters of NATO allies have now ratified Finland and Sweden’s applications, and it is essential that all remaining countries do so expeditiously to ensure that Finland and Sweden become full NATO members as soon as possible.”

In June, Chairman Warner led a bipartisan congressional delegation from the Senate Intelligence Committee on official visits to Finland and Turkey, where the senators met with intelligence and security officials in both countries and discussed Finland’s bid to join NATO. Following those meetings, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped his country’s public opposition to Finland and Sweden joining the alliance.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine celebrated Senate passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 following obstruction efforts by Senate Republicans last week. This legislation will expand health care and benefits for toxic-exposed veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and authorize a new community-based outpatient clinic in Hampton Roads:

“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed so much while serving in the Armed Forces, and we must honor that sacrifice by ensuring they have access to the benefits they’ve earned and deserve. We’re glad the Senate has finally done the right thing by passing this bipartisan legislation to expand much-needed health care benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins and burn pits while serving our country,” the senators said.

Sens. Warner and Kaine voted to pass the Honoring Our PACT Act on June 16 and again on July 27.

The bill is named in honor of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, who died in 2020 from toxic exposure as a result of his military service in Kosovo and Iraq with the Ohio National Guard.

 Specifically, the Honoring Our PACT Act will:

  • Expand VA health care to more than 3.5 million toxic-exposed post-9/11 combat veterans;
  • Authorize 31 major medical facility leases and allocate $5.5 billion to fund those facilities—including a new outpatient clinic in Hampton Roads;
  • Improve VA’s resources and training for toxic-exposed veterans;
  • Create a framework for the establishment of future presumptions of service connection related to toxic exposure;
  • Add 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions, including hypertension;
  • Expand presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure and include Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure;
  • Strengthen federal research on toxic exposure; and
  • Set VA and veterans up for success by investing in VA claims processing, the VA’s workforce, and VA health care facilities.

The bill will now head to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Virginia is home to more than 700,000 veterans. Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported expanding health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxins and burn pits during their service. The Fiscal Year 2021 National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA), which Sens. Warner and Kaine voted to pass, included provisions to expand the VA’s list of medical conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure. Warner and Kaine also cosponsored legislation that was signed into law in 2019 to extend VA coverage to veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while stationed off the coast of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The bill also extended these benefits to servicemembers exposed to herbicides while serving in the Korean Demilitarized Zone and to children of servicemembers stationed in Thailand who were born with spina bifida.

In 2015, confronted with wait times in Hampton Roads that were three times the national average, Sen. Warner successfully urged the VA to send down a team of experts to address the problem. He also succeeded in getting the Northern Virginia Technology Council to issue a free report detailing how to reduce wait times. Most recently, in October 2020, Warner successfully saw through the signing of his legislation to expand veterans’ access to mental health services and reduce the alarming rate of veteran suicide. He’s also previously met with senior leadership at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center and Hampton VA Medical Center to discuss wait time reduction at their facilities and suicide prevention efforts. 

As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), Kaine has introduced the bipartisan Vet Support Act to provide better identification, intervention, and care to veterans coping with mental health issues in underserved areas. He also cosponsored legislation to allow doctors at the VA to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans in states like Virginia that have established medical marijuana programs.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Hanes to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA):

“After recommending Judge Hanes for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, we are pleased that the Senate voted to confirm her today. With her previous experience and commitment to public service, we know she will serve our Commonwealth and country with great distinction.”

Last year, Sens. Warner and Kaine sent a letter to President Biden recommending Judge Hanes for the position following Judge John A. Gibney, Jr.’s decision to take senior status. President Biden announced her nomination on April 27, 2022. Judge Hanes has served as a Federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District since 2020.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after the death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri:

“Al-Qaeda has been responsible for brutal attacks in not only the U.S., but Asia, Africa, and Europe. I commend the efforts of our intelligence officers and servicemembers for finally – 21 years after the horrific 9/11 attacks – bringing one of its last remaining leaders to justice.

“I applaud the tireless work of the intelligence community and the bravery of our military personnel in continuing to counter terrorism abroad. In my capacity as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will keep working to support the IC’s counterterrorism efforts and keep Americans safe.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement after the House of Representatives voted 243-187-1 to approve the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, a historic bill to incentivize domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and improve U.S. technological competitiveness:

“I first began sounding the alarm about the need to reduce our reliance on other nations and safeguard our national security by bringing semiconductor production back to the U.S. more than two years ago. Since then, we’ve seen the consequences of semiconductor shortages all the way up the supply chain and down to consumers, who have faced rising costs on a variety of goods both large and small.

“This bipartisan bill will lower costs for families, strengthen our national security, and create good-paying manufacturing jobs here in the United States. I am glad that after years of unnecessary delay, it is finally being sent to the President’s desk.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Warner spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate, urging his colleagues to pass the chips bill. Video of that speech is available for download here.

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WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner released the following statement applauding the Senate passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022, which includes key provisions to deepen and widen channels in and around Norfolk Harbor, improve Virginia’s coastal resiliency, and strengthen Virginia’s wastewater treatment infrastructure:

“High-quality water infrastructure—from easy access to clean drinking water to protection from rising sea levels—plays a vital role in the health, well-being, and future of Virginia communities. That’s why we always fight to include funding and support for the Commonwealth in the annual bipartisan water infrastructure bill, and this year was no exception. Today’s legislation will help us plan for much-needed dredging in the Norfolk Harbor, protect drinking water, and safeguard communities from rising sea levels. We’re going to keep working to get it signed into law as quickly as possible.”

The legislation will help repair aging drinking water, wastewater, and irrigation systems across America, and Warner and Kaine successfully fought to include the following priorities for Virginia:

  • An increase in the authorization of the Western Lee County Sewer Project from $20 million to $52 million. This project—which will create new opportunities for economic growth—is needed to serve residents of Western Lee County who currently do not have access to a public wastewater collection or treatment system, which poses a threat to public health and the area’s surface water and groundwater quality. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act included $281,295 to complete design of the Western Lee County Sewer Project and $2.2 million to initiate construction of this project. Increasing this authorization will allow the Army Corps to fully budget and carry out this project—pending Congressional appropriations.
  • A study to support needed modifications to Anchorage F of the Norfolk Harbor and Channels Deepening and Widening project for improved safety and navigation; and
  • A change in policy to give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flexibility to incorporate federal installations of other federal agencies as part of a flood or Coastal Storm Risk Management (CSRM) project sponsored by the Army Corps. This addresses longstanding challenges encountered during the Norfolk CSRM study phase, where Naval Station Norfolk and the NOAA Maritime Operations Center were excluded from the plan. Hampton Roads is home to at least 7 federal agencies and 17 installations that could benefit from this provision. The change comes after the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which resulted in $399.3 million in construction funding for Norfolk’s CSRM, and $1.5 million for Virginia Beach’s CSRM to cover the costs of a planning study. Senators Warner and Kaine have requested funding for a similar study for the City of Hampton and the surrounding area as a Congressional Directed Spending request to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2023 spending bill.

The next step for the legislation is a conference committee between the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, before returning to each body for final votes.

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WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement regarding the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, legislation that is expected to pass through the Senate’s budget reconciliation process next week:

“Lowering costs, expanding access to high-quality health care, and addressing climate change are priorities we’ve heard about from Virginians in every region of the Commonwealth. We look forward to voting on the Inflation Reduction Act so we can take meaningful steps toward those goals. We will continue to look for other opportunities to lower costs, like child care expenses, for Virginia families.”

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will fight inflation, reduce the deficit, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030. The bill will lower health care costs by finally allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extend the expanded Affordable Care Act program for three years, through 2025. The legislation will require the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes. There are no new taxes in this bill on families making $400,000 or less and no new taxes on small businesses.

A summary of the legislation is available here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after the Senate voted 64-33 to approve legislation to increase domestic semiconductor manufacturing and boost U.S. innovation and scientific investment:

“It’s been more than two years since I first began sounding the alarm about the need to reduce our reliance on other nations and safeguard our national security by bringing semiconductor production back to the U.S. Since then, we’ve seen the consequences of semiconductor shortages all the way up the supply chain and down to consumers, who have faced rising costs across goods – from vehicles to electronics. While we still have a lot of work to do to boost U.S. competitiveness with China, the Senate passage of this legislation represents an important step in bringing back American manufacturing, shoring up U.S. innovation, and reducing costs for families. I urge my House colleagues to act like our economy and national security depends on it, and send this bill to the President’s desk without delay.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined by Reps. Elaine Luria (D-VA-02) and Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) issued the following statement in response to the release of a Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General report detailing failures at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Hampton, VA that led to a delayed cancer diagnosis during the period of 2019 to 2021:

“We are appalled and disheartened to learn that a series of failures at the Hampton VA Medical Center led to a veteran’s delayed cancer diagnosis. Veterans and their families must be able to trust that they are receiving high-quality, comprehensive, and timely health care whenever they turn to the VA — and it is the VA’s responsibility to provide that level of care to its patients. The findings outlined in the Inspector General report suggest a dangerous series of care coordination and communication failings, both at the individual and systemic level. We commit to engaging directly with the senior leadership at Hampton and pursuing appropriate accountability. We are also committed to conducting close oversight as the Hampton VAMC works to implement the Inspector General’s recommendations, and put in place processes to guard against future failings as happened here.”

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WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, important legislation to reduce gun violence, into law:

“Gun violence has scarred too many communities in Virginia and across the country. But today, for the first time in decades, meaningful legislation to curb gun violence has been signed into law. However, our fight to make our communities safer is not over. Success begets success, and today’s victory lays the foundation for more progress.”

The bipartisan proposal includes similar provisions to those proposed by Sens. Warner and Kaine in their Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence—a bill they introduced last year based on a series of commonsense measures adopted by Virginia. These provisions include improving background checks, strengthening safeguards for victims of domestic violence, and incentivizing states to implement their own Extreme Risk Protection Orders to remove firearms from individuals who pose a high risk of harming themselves or others.

Full text of the bill is available here.  A summary of the bill is available here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the federal constitutional right to abortion in America:

“This decision jeopardizes the health and autonomy of millions of American women and turns back the clock on nearly 50 years of settled and reaffirmed law – reflecting a Court that has increasingly issued politicized rulings that undermine the fundamental rights of Americans. This decision will take control over personal health care decisions away from individuals and give it to politicians in state legislatures across the country. I am heartbroken for the generations of women who now have fewer rights than when they were born, many of whom will be forced into life-threatening or prohibitively expensive circumstances to access health care as a result of this radical decision. For them and for all Virginians and Americans, I will continue working to protect needed access to safe, legal abortion.”

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's freedom to choose to have an abortion. The Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade means that after nearly 50 years, this freedom is no longer guaranteed nationwide, and more than half of states are expected to ban or harshly limit access to abortion following today’s ruling. In several states, there will be no exceptions for women who become pregnant through rape or incest or in cases where abortion is necessary to protect the health of the woman.

Overturning Roe v. Wade also opens the door for states to attempt to restrict or ban common birth control methods such as Plan B or intrauterine devices.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after the Senate voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – landmark legislation to curb gun violence in the wake of horrific mass shootings in Uvalde, Buffalo, and cities across the nation:

“Virginians know all too well the pain of gun violence—pain no one should have to experience. While nothing can bring back a life lost to gun violence, we are hopeful that the reasonable measures advanced through this bill will help curb the plague of shootings that continue to haunt American communities. We will continue to work to build on today’s milestone by advocating for additional measures to protect our neighborhoods from further senseless attacks. In the meantime, we urge our colleagues in the House to move quickly so that this bill can start saving lives.”

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes similar provisions to those proposed by Sens. Warner and Kaine in their Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence—a bill they introduced last year based on a series of commonsense measures adopted by Virginia. These provisions include improving background checks, strengthening safeguards for victims of domestic violence, and incentivizing states to implement their own Extreme Risk Protection Orders to remove firearms from individuals who pose a high risk of harming themselves or others.

Full text of the bill is available here.  A summary of the bill is available here.

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WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, who served as Virginia’s Governor during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, released the following statement after the release of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act text—based on a framework to reduce gun violence that was announced on June 12 and applauded by Warner and Kaine:  

“Congress can no longer stand by as the scourge of gun violence tears apart communities. Following tragedy after tragedy, action to make our communities safer couldn’t be more urgent. We support this bipartisan legislation that will improve background checks for buyers under 21, strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence, and make significant investments in community-based mental health services. There is more that can—and must—be done to address gun violence, but we welcome this meaningful progress and look forward to voting for this bill soon.”

A summary of the bill is available here.

The bipartisan proposal includes similar provisions to those proposed by Warner and Kaine’s Virginia Plan to Reduce Gun Violence, such as improving background checks, strengthening safeguards for victims of domestic violence, and incentivizing states to implement their own Extreme Risk Protection Orders to remove firearms from individuals who pose a high risk of harming themselves or others.

Full text of the bill is available here

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WASHINGTON Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) released a statement following a briefing from the General Services Administration (GSA) on the future location of a new headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):

“This morning, the Virginia congressional delegation received a briefing from the General Services Administration on the future location of a consolidated headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We are pleased the Biden Administration agrees that Springfield, Virginia is a viable and competitive location for the new FBI headquarters. This is an important milestone in the site selection process, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to bring an FBI headquarters that best supports the mission of the FBI, to Northern Virginia.” 

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WASHINGTON - U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) today issued the following statement on the announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice that it would not reopen an investigation into the case of two U.S. Park Police officers who shot and killed Northern Virginian Bijan Ghaisar in 2017:

“We are deeply disappointed in the Justice Department’s decision not to reopen the investigation into the killing of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police. Nearly five years after he was killed, Bijan’s family, friends, and community still are no closer to an understanding of how the events of that night could justify his being shot to death by police. We are thinking of the Ghaisar family today, and will continue to stand with them in their pursuit of justice.”

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the statement below, celebrating the rescue of hundreds of dogs in acute distress from the Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland, Virginia. According to a joint motion filed by Envigo and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Envigo has relinquished 446 beagles following their seizure by federal agents. The joint motion also extends the Temporary Restraining Order against Envigo for 14 days to prevent the breeding, sale, or otherwise dealing of beagles at the Cumberland facility until Envigo demonstrates compliance with the Animal Welfare Act.

“We’re thrilled to report that nearly 450 innocent dogs are finally free from abuse and neglect after being seized by federal officials and surrendered by Envigo. We’ve spent months pressing the Department of Agriculture to take action against Envigo following its persistent and egregious abuses of animal welfare laws, and are glad to see enforcement efforts come to fruition. We will continue to follow this case closely and do everything in our power to prevent Envigo from causing further harm to innocent animals.”

In March, Sens. Warner and Kaine expressed horror and demanded immediate and aggressive action by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) following more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland. In a letter to APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea, the Senators urged APHIS to immediately suspend Envigo’s Cumberland facility license, condemning “persistent and egregious” abuses that led to distress, injury, and death in dogs and puppies.

Sen. Warner, a dog owner, has been an advocate for dogs in Virginia and throughout the country, earning a 100% on the Humane Society of the United States’ Humane Scorecard for 2021. In March, Sen. Warner secured the passage of new language requiring the Department of State to report on the status of dogs in the Explosive Detection Canine Program (EDCP). This program came under scrutiny in 2019 after an Inspector General (IG) report found that the Department failed to conduct proper follow-up after sending highly-trained dogs to foreign partner nations, resulting in the death of at least ten dogs from largely preventable illnesses.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been consistent cosponsors of the Puppy Protection Act, which would amend the Animal Welfare Act to include additional care and safety standards for dog breeders like Envigo. Under the bill, breeders would be required to house dogs in appropriately sized enclosures with solid ground and keep them on a regular diet and exercise routine. As Governor of Virginia, Kaine signed a law that imposed stricter legal penalties for dogfighting offenses.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement regarding the Naming Commission’s recommendations to rename three Virginia bases that were previously named after Confederates. Kaine co-sponsored an amendment in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that initiated the process to rename these bases and all other DOD facilities named after Confederates.

“If we as a country hope to overcome the racial injustices that continue to surround us today, we simply cannot continue to honor those who fought against the United States to deprive African Americans of their equality. While much work remains ahead to deliver on America’s promise of liberty and justice for all, days like today are proof that progress is possible, and we’re going to keep fighting to build on it.”

Now that the Commission has shared these name recommendations with Congress, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will consider the Commission’s recommendations before reaching a decision with President Biden regarding whether to adopt them.

The Naming Commission’s recommendations are to rename Fort A.P. Hill as Fort Walker, in honor of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker; Fort Lee as Fort Gregg-Adams, in honor of Arthur Gregg and Charity Adams; and Fort Pickett as Fort Barfoot, in honor of Van T. Barfoot. More information regarding Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Arthur Gregg, Charity Adams, and Van T. Barfoot are available here, here, and here.

Warner is a cosponsor of the Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would remove statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. He has also spoken publicly about the need to remove public symbols honoring the Confederacy as part of broader efforts to advance racial justice.

 

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner issued the following statement after the Senate failed to advance the Small Business COVID Relief Act – legislation that would have provided additional COVID-19 relief for small businesses still dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic:

“Today, Congress failed to fulfill its promise to small business owners still reeling from the pandemic. When we established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund through the American Rescue Plan, business owners took us up on it for good reason. Many businesses were struggling to stay afloat and many of them knew that if they went out of business, they wouldn’t be able to bounce back. Unfortunately, demand surpassed available dollars. This bill would have helped Congress keep its promise and deliver aid to Virginia businesses who did everything right and applied on time. I’m disappointed that so many of my colleagues chose not to stand on the side of small businesses today, but I’m committed to continue working to get this done.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Sen. Warner has pushed to provide small businesses and nonprofit organizations the support and relief they need. This includes fighting for the successful passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the 2020 emergency relief bill, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

     

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