WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $10,575,962 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help fund projects at 7 airports across the Commonwealth. The funding was awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program (AIP), which supports infrastructure improvement projects at airports across the nation. A portion of the funding also comes from the American Rescue Plan supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.
“With the COVID-19 crisis almost in the rearview mirror and families beginning to plan their summer getaways, we’re pleased to see these funds go towards safety improvements at airports across the Commonwealth,” said the Senators.
- Tazewell County Airport will receive $750,000 in federal funds to rehabilitate runway lights.
- Danville Regional Airport will receive $172,222 to rehabilitate an apron.
- Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport will receive $1,189,592 in federal funds for lighting system repairs in order to ensure safe airfield operations during low visibility conditions. In addition, it will receive another $489,000 in funds for runway rehabilitation.
- Lynchburg Regional Airport will receive $2,082,588 in federal funds to construct an apron.
- Hampton Roads Executive Airport will receive $665,445 in federal funds to rehabilitate a taxiway.
- Norfolk International Airport will receive $5,143,782 in federal funds to rehabilitate a taxiway.
- Accomack County Airport will receive $83,333 in federal funds to construct a taxiway.
The American Rescue Plan provided additional funds to help airports weather the effects of COVID-19. To further assist with much-needed infrastructure updates at airports, Sen. Warner introduced bicameral, bipartisan legislation, which would set up a funding stream to help strengthen Virginia’s infrastructure and create jobs.
U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.1 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Support Trail Improvements and Promote Tourism in Covington, Virginia
May 13 2021
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 – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to increase cooperation between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and veterans legal clinics, such as the Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic housed at the College of William and Mary and the Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS) at George Mason University. The Veterans Legal Support Act of 2021 would allow the VA to provide funding to law school legal clinics that provide pro bono legal services to veterans.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that too many of our nation’s veterans encounter bureaucratic obstacles in accessing the assistance or benefits they’ve rightfully earned. In order to help address these challenges, veterans legal clinics have stepped in to provide free quality legal services to help veterans cut through the red tape,” said Sen. Warner. “Given the extraordinary sacrifices our veterans have made for our country, I’m proud to be introducing this bill to help our veterans get the timely assistance they need.”
“Veterans legal clinics do tremendous work serving our most vulnerable veterans, allowing them to access essential, high-quality legal services. With many veterans facing bureaucratic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – on issues like foreclosure, accessing public benefits and processing disability claims – ensuring they have access to legal assistance has never been more important,” said Sen. Shaheen. “My bill with Senator Warner allows the VA to work more closely with law school legal clinics to provide critical assistance to the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for our nation.”
Legal clinics and their student volunteers have helped address disability claims backlogs and veterans homelessness in communities across the country. Under attorney supervision, students provide a range of pro bono legal services, including assistance with disability claims, foreclosures, bankruptcies, divorce, child custody and some minor criminal cases. By assisting veterans with complicated benefits claims, legal clinics are turning the VA’s most time-consuming cases into organized applications that are significantly easier to process. In addition, preventative services like expedited claims assistance and legal counsel offer veterans an opportunity to address challenges before they deteriorate, often resulting in significant long-term savings to the government.
“The Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic of the William & Mary Law School has been at the forefront of efforts to assist veterans while educating future lawyers who are imbued with a deeply held public service ethos. Since its establishment in 2008, the efforts of William & Mary Veterans Benefits Clinic students and staff have resulted in the awarding of over $54 million in projected lifetime benefits to veterans. The Veterans Legal Support Act of 2021 would help the Puller Clinic expand efforts to meet the pressing unmet needs of veterans in Virginia and would greatly assist in establishing a more stable foundation for the Clinic’s continued operation,” said Michael Dick, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) and Co-Director, the Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic.
“The Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (“M-VETS”) strongly supports the legislation introduced by Senator Warner and Senator Shaheen, the Veterans Legal Support Act of 2021. As a pro bono law school legal clinic, this legislation is extremely important and would provide critical funding for law school pro bono veterans clinics across the country in their pursuit of securing vital Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and entitlement claims. This type of financial assistance would enable M-VETS to grow its staff, expand its scope of services, and ensure more veterans have quicker access to justice and receive the benefits they earned from their military service. Established in 2004 as the first law school veterans legal clinic in the country, M-VETS provides free legal representation to veterans, active duty service members, and their families while allowing law students to gain practical legal experience under the supervision of practicing attorneys. M-VETS provides representation in a variety of matters, including Virginia civil litigation matters, uncontested divorces, consumer protection matters, wills and powers of attorney, as well as assisting with matters before the Department of Veterans Affairs and various administrative boards, including discharge upgrades, record corrections, military pay and entitlement matters, medical and physical evaluation boards, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims,” said Timothy M. MacArthur, Director & Clinical Professor, Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS).
Sen. Warner has been a longtime supporter of legal clinics dedicated to serving our nation’s veterans. In April 2013, he sent letters to then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and President Obama urging them to partner with the Puller Clinic to help veterans cut through red tape and reduce the VA claims backlog. Sen. Warner also sent a letter to each of his Senate colleagues promoting the Puller Clinic model, and met with Secretary Shinseki to advocate for the Puller Clinic program as a national model to help the VA solve its backlog challenges. He also worked to secure the Puller Clinic’s certification as a national “best practice” program, making it the first law school clinic in the nation to receive the VA designation.
A copy of the bill text can be found here.
May 12 2021
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, requesting that the Committee favorably report the Air America Act of 2021 (S. 407) to the full Senate as soon as possible. Senators Warner and Rubio reintroduced the legislation on February 24, 2021.
Air America, a government-owned corporation, employed several hundred U.S. citizens, mainly flight crew members, until 1976. During its existence, approximately 286 Air Americans were killed in the line of duty while conducting covert operations in designated war zones. In 1975, the last helicopter mission that rescued personnel from the rooftops in Saigon was planned and executed by Air America and the United States Marine Corps. This legislation would ensure that these individuals receive the benefits they are owed under the Civil Service Retirement System.
“The fight to ensure Air America employees receive the benefits they have earned is not a partisan issue, nor is it a new issue,” wrote the Senators. “It is time for Congress to act.”
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Chairman Peters and Ranking Member Portman:
We respectfully request that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs consider and report S. 407, the Air America Act of 2021, to the full Senate as soon as possible.
The bill, which was first introduced last Congress, would ensure the brave employees of Air America receive the retirement benefits they have earned. As you may be aware, Air America was a government-owned corporation that conducted covert operations during the Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War and operated under the direct policy control of the White House, Department of Defense, and the Department of State while under the management of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The fight to ensure Air America employees receive the benefits they have earned is not a partisan issue, nor is it a new issue. Legislation to provide benefits to Air America employees was first introduced by then Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in 2005. The bill currently has 29 bipartisan cosponsors, including five members of your committee from both sides of the aisle. Over the last 16 years, the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence have all concluded that Congressional action is required. It is time for Congress to act.
For these reasons, we respectfully urge you to consider and report to the full Senate this important bill as soon as possible.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on President Biden’s executive order on cybersecurity:
“The recent Colonial, SolarWinds, and Hafnium attacks have highlighted what has become increasingly obvious in recent years—that the United States is simply not prepared to fend off state-sponsored or even criminal hackers intent on compromising our systems for profit or espionage. This executive order is a good first step, but executive orders can only go so far. Congress is going to have to step up and do more to address our cyber vulnerabilities, and I look forward to working with the Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to close those gaps.”
WASHINGTON – Over the last 24 hours, here’s just some of what Virginians have been reading about the $7.2 billion in relief funds that are headed to the state and local governments thanks to the American Rescue Plan:
Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia cities to get double boost from American Rescue Plan as money starts to flow
Virginia will receive $4.3 billion, or $500 million more than previously expected, under the American Rescue Plan Act, while Richmond and other cities will get a double financial benefit because of their status as independent cities under guidance released by the U.S. Treasury Department on Monday.
Richmond, for example, will receive $110 million as a city and almost $45 million as a county under the act, which President Joe Biden signed into law on March 11 as the first signature legislative achievement of his presidency to jump-start an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many localities lost substantial amounts of revenue from taxes on meals, lodging and admissions during the pandemic and state restrictions imposed on businesses, especially in areas dependent on tourism, such as Williamsburg and the rest of the Historic Triangle.
“They’re slowly coming back as the economy slowly reopens,” said Neal Menkes, a fiscal consultant to the Virginia Municipal League.
Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Va., drove the needs home in a letter with the state’s seven Democratic congressional representatives to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in mid-April that argued for funding as both city and county: “The treatment of independent cities under the Treasury Department guidance for allocating local relief funds will have a profound impact on our constituents,” they wrote.
Virginia cities would have lost almost $500 million in funding if counted only as cities or towns, and almost $800 million if designated only as counties, the Democrats said.
The American Rescue Plan will pump more than $790 million of pandemic relief funds into the Hampton Roads economy through funding to local governments and area colleges and universities.
The plan, enacted earlier this year, is giving $618 million to Hampton Roads cities and counties, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced. The state government will get nearly $4.3 billion — the combined total of funds for the state and its cities and counties comes to $7.2 billion, the senators said.
They said they were pleased the Biden administration listened to their calls to give state and local governments flexibility in using the money. It should help the state and its cities and counties recover from the impact of lost revenue, as well as boosting public health efforts and broadband expansion, the senators said.
Colleges and universities in Hampton Roads will receive more than $162 million in emergency funding under the American Rescue Plan, Reps. Robert C. “Bobby Scott, D-Newport News, and Elaine Luria, D-Norfolk, reported.
The funding will help the schools cope with the financial impact of the pandemic, said Scott, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
At least half the funding each institution is getting will be distributed as emergency cash assistance grants to students who are facing hunger, homelessness or other hardships, he said.
The Treasury Department released much-awaited figures regarding aid from the American Rescue Plan Act Monday evening. In total Virginia’s set to receive $7.2 billion. $4.3 billion will go to the state, and $2.9 billion directly to localities.
Virginia’s cities organize themselves in a way that’s unlike almost all other states. That created worries that cities would miss out on their share of funds from the America Rescue Plan Act. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with Virginia’s House Democrats, wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to give independent cities money for both cities and counties.
County allocations are generally based on population, where as metro city allocations were based on a set of variables from the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, wrote Rob Bullington of the Virginia Municipal League in an email. Independent cities don't fall into either of these categories.
“I think the Virginia delegation did a great job in making the case that this was the legislative intent of ARPA that these funds be provided as was shown in the first traunch,” said Bob Lazaro, the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.
The Winchester Star: Warner, Kaine praise Treasury's launch of state, local COVID relief funds
Bristol Herald Courier: Local cities, counties divide $70M in coronavirus relief funds
Culpeper Star-Exponent: Culpeper area counties to receive more than $35 million from American Rescue Plan
The Northern Virginia Daily: Warner, Kaine praise Treasury's launch of state, local COVID relief funds
Chatham Star-Tribune: Over $40 million in COVID relief coming to Pittsylvania County, Danville
The Southwest Times: County to get $6.6M in relief funds
Henrico Citizen: Henrico to receive $64.2M in American Rescue Plan funds
Local leaders across Virginia have praised the passage of the American Rescue Plan, noting that state and local governments have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 response since last year.
Warner & Kaine Announce more than $1 Million in Federal Funds to Support AmeriCorps Projects in Virginia
May 12 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,037,043 in federal funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support seven AmeriCorps VISTA projects across Virginia. The AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program is a national service program that supports organizations dedicated to reducing poverty and increasing economic opportunities in the United States.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, local organizations have played a vital role in supporting communities in need,” said the Senators. “We’re pleased that this funding will ensure that seven organizations across the Commonwealth have the resources to continue serving their communities as we recover from the devastating health and economic effects of the past year.”
The funding will be distributed as follows:
- In Alexandria, United Way Worldwide will receive $351,540 to increase access to economic opportunities by improving job readiness and increasing financial literacy.
- In Bristol, the Appalachian Sustainable Development will receive $105,462 to develop programming on sustainable food production and distribution of agricultural products for local farmers. Volunteers will also support efforts to increase access to affordable, healthy food in rural communities.
- In Lynchburg, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg will receive $35,154 to increase access to mentorship programs and services for low-income youth. The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg provides educational opportunities to youth in an effort to reduce high school drop-out rates.
- In Norfolk, the Hampton Roads Workforce Foundation will receive $105,462 to expand access to job opportunities through career and workforce development.
- In Richmond, the Virginia Housing Alliance will receive $246,078 to support statewide and local homelessness response systems and increase access to affordable housing in the area.
- In Washington County, the Bristol Redevelopment and Housing Authority will receive $105,462 to assist with capacity building projects and the creation of a service delivery model across the Commonwealth.
- In Washington County, the Friends of Southwest Virginia will receive $87,885 to expand access to workforce development and improve job readiness.
The AmeriCorps VISTA program partners with non-profit organizations, schools, and local government agencies to reduce poverty through capacity building. AmeriCorps VISTA members focus on reducing homelessness and food insecurity, supporting community projects, and improving students’ academic performance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have also been assisting local COVID-19 testing efforts and vaccine distribution.
Warner, King, Manchin & Hassan Applaud Treasury Guidance on Implementations of Emergency Broadband Funds
May 11 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) praised new guidance by the Biden administration regarding the implementation of the $10 billion Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CCPF) that the senators successfully worked to include within the American Rescue Plan. This new guidance follows strong advocacy by the four senators, who previously urged the Treasury Department to ensure that CCPF funds can be used to support increased broadband adoption and access, in addition to supporting new broadband deployment.
“As your guidance accurately reflects, this provision was drafted in recognition of and with the intent to address the urgent connectivity gaps and challenges that hamper too many Americans, undermining telework, online education, and telehealth efforts – and more recently, undermining vaccination efforts that depend upon access to the internet for public health announcements and registration activities,” wrote the Senators in a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “Your guidance emphasizes the critical fact that effective utilization of capital investments associated with providing and improving broadband connectivity requires financial support for devices, digital inclusion and skills training, broadband affordability and related ancillary initiatives.”
They continued, “In the weeks and months since the American Rescue Plan was enacted, we have each heard from state and local leaders who have expressed great enthusiasm about the prospect of the Capital Projects Fund to enable broadband access for their constituents. While a larger effort to close the broadband gap is necessary – as the Biden Infrastructure Plan makes clear – we are confident that the Capital Projects Fund can address critical connectivity gaps that continue to prevent Americans from fully participating in telework, telehealth, and online education during the pandemic.”
Created through the American Rescue Plan, the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CCPF) seeks to address many challenges laid bare by the pandemic, especially in rural America and low- and moderate-income communities, helping to ensure that all communities have access to the high-quality, modern infrastructure needed to thrive, including internet access.
The guidance by the Department of the Treasury specifies that eligible projects include those that seek to expand access to broadband through connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment. The guidance states:
“Capital projects include investments in depreciable assets and the ancillary costs needed to put the capital assets in use. Under the American Rescue Plan, these projects must be critical in nature, providing connectivity for those who lack it. The Capital Projects Fund thus allows for investment in high-quality broadband as well as other connectivity infrastructure, devices, and equipment. In addition to supporting broadband, it also provides flexibility for each state, territory, and Tribal government to make other investments in critical community hubs or other capital assets that provide access jointly to work, education, and health monitoring. All projects must demonstrate that they meet the critical connectivity needs highlighted and amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible applicants will be required to provide a plan describing how they intend to use allocated funds under the Capital Projects Fund consistent with the American Rescue Plan and guidance to be issued by Treasury.”
A copy of the letter is available here and below.
Dear Secretary Yellen,
We write you to applaud the recent guidance released by the Treasury Department, announcing next steps to implement the Capital Projects Fund that we successfully included in the American Rescue Plan. As your guidance accurately reflects, this provision was drafted in recognition of and with the intent to address the urgent connectivity gaps and challenges that hamper too many Americans, undermining telework, online education, and telehealth efforts – and more recently, undermining vaccination efforts that depend upon access to the internet for public health announcements and registration activities. Your guidance emphasizes the critical fact that effective utilization of capital investments associated with providing and improving broadband connectivity requires financial support for devices, digital inclusion and skills training, broadband affordability and related ancillary initiatives.
In the weeks and months since the American Rescue Plan was enacted, we have each heard from state and local leaders who have expressed great enthusiasm about the prospect of the Capital Projects Fund to enable broadband access for their constituents. While a larger effort to close the broadband gap is necessary – as the Biden Infrastructure Plan makes clear – we are confident that the Capital Projects Fund can address critical connectivity gaps that continue to prevent Americans from fully participating in telework, telehealth, and online education during the pandemic. We believe that the Capital Projects Fund can serve as a bridge towards this larger initiative, particularly in the wake of successful state-led broadband projects deployed in the last year using CARES Act funding and the flexibility to use the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for broadband. These efforts will need coordination to ensure the best use of funds, but we feel strongly that the Capital Projects Fund will enable states, territories, and Tribes to build on these early efforts.
We look forward to the Treasury Department’s future guidance on how states, territories and Tribes may access these critical funds for connectivity investments and the implementation of the Capital Projects Fund. Thank you for your leadership and attention to this important issue.
As Whiskey Tariff Set to Double In June, Warner, Kaine, Young Urge Administration To Work To Remove Retaliatory Tariffs On Spirits & Wine
May 11 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Todd Young (R-IN) in sending a letter to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai and U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. The letter calls the agencies to address the harmful retaliatory tariffs that inhibit trade of whiskey, other spirits, and wine between the United States and European Union (E.U.) and United Kingdom (U.K.). The letter comes as the European Union tariff on American whiskey is scheduled to double to 50 percent in June.
Twenty five percent retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey were imposed by the E.U. and the U.K. in 2018 in response to the Trump Administration’s Section 232 tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
In their letter, the Senators stressed the negative impact that an increase in these tariffs would have on local businesses, as many are still struggling to stay afloat due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These tariffs have negatively impacted the U.S. beverage alcohol sector and placed American producers at a severe competitive disadvantage in what had been a growing export market for them,” the Senators wrote.
“Securing an agreement to permanently lift these tariffs on wine and spirits will help restaurants, bars, and craft distilleries across the country as they recover from the pandemic,” the Senators continued.
Along with Senators Warner, Kaine, and Young, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN).
Full text of the letter can be found here and below:
The Honorable Katherine Tai
United States Trade Representative
Executive Office of the President
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20508
The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo
U.S. Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Ambassador Tai and Secretary Raimondo,
We write today to emphasize the importance of working to remove harmful retaliatory tariffs on distilled spirits and wine to promote free and fair trade between the United States, European Union and United Kingdom. These tariffs have negatively impacted the U.S. beverage alcohol sector and placed American producers at a severe competitive disadvantage in what had been a growing export market for them.
American craft spirits production has grown substantially in recent decades, and in 2020 more than 2,000 distillers operated in the United States, employing tens of thousands of workers spread across all 50 states. With this growth came overseas opportunities. American Whiskey in particular saw a significant rise in exports, with exports to the EU growing by 40 percent from 2008 to 2018. The implementation of retaliatory tariffs, though, have inhibited this growth. Since June 2018, American Whiskey has faced a 25 percent tariff in the EU and UK. Whiskey exports to the EU have dropped by 37 percent since then and exports to the UK have been cut in half. This tariff is currently scheduled to increase to 50 percent in the EU on June 1, 2021.
Like other small businesses involved in the food and drink industry, American craft distillers have struggled during the pandemic, as on-site sales and sales to restaurants and bars declined substantially. Nearly a third of craft distillers’ employees have been furloughed since the start of the pandemic. These employers are just now starting the road to recovery and the continuation, and potential increase, of these tariffs will inhibit this recovery.
The recent suspension of tariffs related to the WTO large civil aircraft subsidy dispute, including on U.S. rum, brandy, and vodka, has provided critical relief for many in the hospitality and beverage alcohol sector at a critical time. Securing an agreement to permanently lift these tariffs on wine and spirits will help restaurants, bars, and craft distilleries across the country as they recover from the pandemic.
As the Biden administration works to address trade disputes with our allies in Europe, we urge the administration to work to secure the immediate suspension of tariffs on American Whiskey and, ultimately, the permanent removal of all retaliatory tariffs on American, EU, and UK spirits and wine.
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.
Warner, Bennet Urge Biden Administration to Review Relocation of U.S. Space Command Effect on Intelligence Community
May 11 2021
WASHINGTON– Today, Virginia U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, urged President Joe Biden to fully consider how the Trump Administration’s decision to relocate U.S. Space Command may affect Intelligence Community (IC) dependencies and missions and the country’s ability to maintain superiority in space
On January 13, 2021, the Administration announced that Huntsville, Alabama would be the permanent headquarters of U.S. Space Command. Following this announcement, reports surfaced that President Donald Trump politicized the process, choosing to relocate U.S. Space Command from its provisional headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In a letter to President Biden, Bennet and Warner, members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cite the collaboration and interoperability between the IC and Department of Defense, and urged the administration to review the process by which this decision was made and to ensure intelligence community missions and capabilities are fully considered.
“The Committee has encouraged collaboration in the space domain between the IC and the Department of Defense (DoD) in order to increase the unity of effort and effectiveness in space operations. In Colorado, important investments have been made in recent years to enhance this collaboration and interoperability, in particular at the National Space Defense Center (NSDC),” wrote the senators. “It is critical that any decision to move Space Command from its current location take into account the potential effects of such a move on the operational integration between the IC and DoD space communities at NSDC and at other joint sites in Colorado.”
The senators also noted the importance of spending resources in a manner that effectively meets the accelerating pace of threats to U.S. space capabilities. Colorado is already home to many specialized defense and intelligence civilian employees and contractors. The cost of relocating personnel, as well as the high costs for constructing a new Space Command headquarters, should be considerations for permanently keeping it in Colorado Springs.
“Furthermore, we are keenly aware of the threats in space and the criticality of maintaining U.S. superiority in the face of an evolving threat landscape,” the Senators continued. “According to a 2019 estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, construction costs for the new command headquarters could be as high as $1.1 billion. Workforce disruption is another key consideration, given the many defense and intelligence civilian employees and contractors working on space programs in Colorado at the highest levels of classification. Space is a critical national security issue, and we cannot squander time, talent, or money on unnecessary expenditures or delays.”
The text of the letter is available HERE and below.
Dear President Biden:
We write concerning the Trump administration’s decision to move United States Space Command from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Huntsville, Alabama. As members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we are concerned this decision did not take into account how such a move may affect Intelligence Community (IC) dependencies and missions. We therefore request you review the process by which this decision was made, and to ensure IC equities are fully considered.
The Committee has encouraged collaboration in the space domain between the IC and the Department of Defense (DoD) in order to increase the unity of effort and effectiveness in space operations. In Colorado, important investments have been made in recent years to enhance this collaboration and interoperability, in particular at the National Space Defense Center (NSDC). It is critical that any decision to move Space Command from its current location take into account the potential effects of such a move on the operational integration between the IC and DoD space communities at NSDC and at other joint sites in Colorado.
Furthermore, we are keenly aware of the threats in space and the criticality of maintaining U.S. superiority in the face of an evolving threat landscape. We have consistently made this a priority in recent years, with careful oversight of dollars spent and an eye toward the allocation of scarce resources among national security priorities. According to a 2019 estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, construction costs for the new command headquarters could be as high as $1.1 billion. Workforce disruption is another key consideration, given the many defense and intelligence civilian employees and contractors working on space programs in Colorado at the highest levels of classification. Space is a critical national security issue, and we cannot squander time, talent, or money on unnecessary expenditures or delays.
We therefore ask you to review the parameters and method by which this decision was evaluated, to ensure we are appropriately valuing existing collaboration and interdependencies between the IC and DoD space communities in Colorado, taking advantage of the current co-location of these communities and pools of expertise, and spending resources in a manner that effectively meets the accelerating pace of threats to our overhead space capabilities.
We appreciate your attention to this matter.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded the Treasury Department’s launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, established by the American Rescue Plan Act.
“We welcome the $7.2 billion in relief for Virginia and are pleased the Biden Administration has listened to our calls to give states, localities, and tribes significant flexibility in determining how best to use these emergency funds,” said the Senators. “These funds will allow the Commonwealth and localities to recover from the economic harm of COVID, promote public health, invest in broadband, make up for lost revenue, and address many of the other impacts of the pandemic. We will keep working with the Commonwealth and local governments to ensure Virginians receive this much-needed relief.”
The Virginia state government will receive nearly $4.3 billion from these funds. An additional amount of approximately $2.9 billion will be allocated to municipalities the following way:
- Accomack County: $6,277,004
- Albemarle County: $21,236,071
- Alexandria: $59,633,833
- Alleghany County: $2,886,381
- Amelia County: $2,553,262
- Amherst County: $6,138,901
- Appomattox County: $3,090,525
- Arlington County: $46,003,782
- Augusta County: $14,676,256
- Bath County: $805,506
- Bedford County: $15,344,241
- Blacksburg: $13,364,987
- Bland County: $1,219,816
- Botetourt County: $6,491,249
- Bristol: $10,027,374
- Brunswick County: $3,152,681
- Buchanan County: $4,079,781
- Buckingham County: $3,330,798
- Buena Vista: $1,258,276
- Campbell County: $10,660,768
- Caroline County: $5,967,971
- Carroll County: $5,786,553
- Charles City County: $1,352,481
- Charlotte County: $2,307,551
- Charlottesville: $19,609,709
- Chesapeake: $76,025,897
- Chesterfield County: $68,527,653
- Christiansburg: $3,115,411
- Clarke County: $2,839,569
- Colonial Heights: $6,010,090
- Covington: $1,075,692
- Craig County: $996,637
- Culpeper County: $10,217,905
- Cumberland County: $1,929,175
- Danville: $29,142,851
- Dickenson County: $2,781,104
- Dinwiddie County: $5,544,337
- Emporia: $1,038,398
- Essex County: $2,127,492
- Fairfax County: $222,894,638
- Fairfax City: $4,665,409
- Falls Church: $2,839,181
- Fauquier County: $13,834,039
- Floyd County: $3,059,059
- Fluvanna County: $5,296,878
- Franklin County: $10,885,502
- Franklin City: $1,547,496
- Frederick County: $17,348,003
- Fredericksburg: $10,782,747
- Galax: $1,232,830
- Giles County: $3,247,664
- Gloucester County: $7,254,411
- Goochland County: $4,613,742
- Grayson County: $3,020,405
- Greene County: $3,849,608
- Greensville County: $2,201,885
- Halifax County: $6,586,814
- Hampton: $48,660,418
- Hanover County: $20,932,282
- Harrisonburg: $23,834,094
- Henrico County: $64,257,518
- Henry County: $9,820,105
- Highland County: $425,382
- Hopewell: $9,998,813
- Isle of Wight County: $7,207,988
- James City County: $14,863,696
- King George County: $5,212,578
- King William County: $3,330,798
- King and Queen County: $1,364,524
- Lancaster County: $2,059,508
- Lee County: $4,549,643
- Leesburg: $5,927,673
- Lexington: $1,446,298
- Loudoun County: $80,324,909
- Louisa County: $7,301,611
- Lunenburg County: $2,368,930
- Lynchburg: $33,328,529
- Madison County: $2,575,794
- Manassas Park: $3,394,897
- Manassas: $7,980,280
- Martinsville: $2,438,467
- Mathews County: $1,715,901
- Mecklenburg County: $5,941,166
- Middlesex County: $2,055,429
- Montgomery County: $19,139,269
- Nelson County: $2,899,977
- New Kent County: $4,485,156
- Newport News: $66,794,246
- Norfolk: $154,141,050
- Northampton County: $2,274,530
- Northumberland County: $2,349,312
- Norton: $773,263
- Nottoway County: $2,958,637
- Orange County: $7,196,722
- Page County: $4,642,683
- Patrick County: $3,420,148
- Petersburg: $20,961,839
- Pittsylvania County: $11,723,057
- Poquoson: $2,383,498
- Portsmouth: $56,842,564
- Powhatan County: $5,759,553
- Prince Edward County: $4,429,021
- Prince George County: $7,449,621
- Prince William County: $91,357,060
- Pulaski County: $6,609,346
- Radford: $8,228,392
- Rappahannock County: $1,431,536
- Richmond County: $1,752,612
- Richmond City: $154,879,828
- Roanoke County: $18,294,526
- Roanoke City: $64,576,671
- Rockbridge County: $4,384,541
- Rockingham County: $15,917,438
- Russell County: $5,164,019
- Salem: $4,914,423
- Scott County: $4,188,943
- Shenandoah County: $8,471,897
- Smyth County: $5,847,349
- Southampton County: $3,424,615
- Spotsylvania County: $26,458,167
- Stafford County: $29,695,536
- Staunton: $12,955,826
- Suffolk: $30,065,296
- Surry County: $1,247,398
- Sussex County: $2,167,505
- Tazewell County: $7,885,103
- Virginia Beach: $136,429,703
- Warren County: $7,801,386
- Washington County: $10,438,365
- Waynesboro: $9,046,603
- Westmoreland County: $3,499,203
- Williamsburg: $2,904,639
- Winchester: $12,337,682
- Wise County: $7,261,210
- Wythe County: $5,571,531
- York County: $13,262,590
- Non-entitlement funds: approximately $633,000,000
Allocations for non-entitlement local governments will soon be released and will provide an additional $633 million in relief to Virginia cities and towns. Tribal governments will receive their allocation amounts after submitting their requests for funding to the Treasury.
Eligible state, metropolitan city, and county governments may now request their allocation through the Treasury Submission Portal.
May 05 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after Facebook’s advisory panel upheld the company’s decision to remove the account of former President Donald Trump:
“For years, we saw former President Donald Trump – along with a number of foreign leaders – successfully utilize Facebook and other large social media platforms to sow misinformation, bully opponents, and spread anti-democratic vitriol. While this is a welcome step by Facebook, the reality is that bad actors still have the ability to exploit and weaponize the platform. Policymakers ultimately must address the root of these issues, which includes pushing for oversight and effective moderation mechanisms to hold platforms accountable for a business model that spreads real-world harm.”
Warner, Portman, Cornyn Urge Biden Administration to Take Additional Steps to Help India Combat Recent COVID-19 Surge
May 05 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressing their concerns in regards to the ongoing coronavirus surge in India and asking the administration to take further steps to combat the crisis. The country is currently averaging more than 300,000 new infections every day and its health care system and infrastructure are struggling to keep up with the surge.
In their letter the senators commended the administration for recent actions to help India address the crisis, including transferring to India lifesaving equipment and raw materials for the production of vaccines. They also urged the Biden administration to take further steps to help India by continuing its robust contribution to the World Health Organization’s COVAX plan and preparing a detailed strategy on how the U.S. can distribute its surplus of vaccines. Finally, they also warned of disinformation campaigns surrounding the vaccines by countries such as China and Russia and urged the administration to do everything it can to combat these campaigns.
“As you know, India’s healthcare system and infrastructure are struggling to meet the challenges posed by the current and largely unchecked surge, with the country averaging more than 300,000 new infections every day,” said the senators. “We urge you to work with the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies, as well as with our international partners and private sector partners to transfer more lifesaving equipment, vaccines and other support to India as quickly as possible. The United States must work with the Indian government on their response, as well as continue to lead the international efforts to stop the spread of variants and to deliver the assistance needed to the Indian people.”
For ways that others can get involved, visit https://www.usaid.gov/.
Text of the letter is below and can be found here.
Dear Secretary Blinken:
We are writing to express our deep concern with the ongoing coronavirus surge and human toll in India and to encourage the Administration to continue to take actions to address the crisis. We commend the recent transfer of lifesaving equipment, including N95 masks and other personal protective equipment, oxygen cylinders, rapid diagnostic tests, and raw materials for the production of vaccines. These deliveries will save lives and demonstrates our commitment to our ally India, the world’s largest democracy. However, we also believe there is more we can do, both to mitigate the tragedy unfolding in India and to ensure that the explosion of cases in India does not undercut global progress to combat this virus.
As you know, India’s healthcare system and infrastructure are struggling to meet the challenges posed by the current and largely unchecked surge, with the country averaging more than 300,000 new infections every day. We urge you to work with the Department of Defense and other U.S. government agencies, as well as with our international partners and private sector partners to transfer more lifesaving equipment, vaccines and other support to India as quickly as possible. The United States must work with the Indian government on their response, as well as continue to lead the international efforts to stop the spread of variants and to deliver the assistance needed to the Indian people
The United States should also continue its robust contribution to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX)’s plan for the global acquisition and distribution of vaccines to low and medium-income countries. In addition, in the coming months, the United States will have a surplus of vaccines that can be made available for distribution around the world. A detailed public strategy on how the Department of State plans to distribute these excess vaccines would clarify the ambiguity surrounding future US policy and provide needed certainty to India.
Lastly, we urge the Global Engagement Center to combat the numerous disinformation messages from Russia, China and others regarding the coronavirus pandemic, including the US global health response. Specifically in India, disinformation has undermined the public health response, heightened already-tense religious tensions, and muddied the waters surrounding our support as they face an unprecedented surge in coronavirus infections. As entities continue to manipulate narratives at the expense of US national security, regional security, and global health security, we urge you to place a greater emphasis on combatting these disinformation and misinformation campaigns integrating that effort into America's global health response to this pandemic.
We look forward to working with you and the Administration to continue our work to ensure that we stand with our ally and partner, India, as it battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 04 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after the Biden administration increased flexibility of the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF). A move Sen. Warner and his colleagues pushed for in a letter to the Biden administration encouraging it to be flexible in its administration of the $1 billion in IT modernization funding provided by the American Rescue Plan.
“Our Federal IT systems are long overdue for significant upgrades – we’ve known that to be true for years, but this reality has been further underlined by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through various pandemic relief packages, we’ve seen too many examples of individuals not being able to access timely or accurate benefits for which they’re eligible, and outdated IT systems have played a role in that.
“I’m glad to see that the administration is addressing feedback related to this TMF funding, and is committed to taking steps to ensure it can quickly and effectively help agencies address issues with security and the delivery of services to the American people. I encourage the administration to be as forward-leaning as possible in working with agencies to identify and address their needs, and am looking forward to working with them as they continue these efforts.”
May 03 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today urged the Biden administration to finalize regulations long-delayed by prior administrations allowing doctors to prescribe controlled substances through telehealth.
“I am very concerned that – despite repeated outreach from myself and others in Congress – the previous Administration did not take long-term action to address this issue,” wrote Sen. Warner in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Chris Evans. “I also recognize that much of this delay has been the result of previous Administrations and I hope to work with you all on a new approach that best serves patients.”
In January 2020, Warner similarly urged the Trump administration to finalize the long-awaited rules to expand the use of telehealth services, but never received a response.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the importance of increased access to telehealth services and providers across the country continue to be frustrated there is no long-term solution for them to provide adequate care to their patients,” wrote Sen. Warner. “The DEA’s failure to promulgate the rule has meant that – despite Congress’ best efforts – millions of patients could be left without access to long-term treatment via telehealth.”
While the Ryan Haight Act of 2008 prohibited the delivery, distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance by means of the internet, the law also required the DEA to establish rules allowing certain providers to prescribe and treat their patients without an in-person visit. Despite that requirement, and the passage of several subsequent bipartisan laws reiterating that directive, more than ten years later, the DEA has still not finalized the regulations allowing for prescriptions to be issued following a telehealth appointment.
Sen. Warner noted in today’s letter, “In practice, the DEA’s failure to address this issue means that a vast majority of health care providers that use telehealth to prescribe controlled substances to and otherwise treat their patients have been deterred in getting them the quality care they need. These restrictions have been temporarily waived during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and I welcome that, but patients and providers need a more permanent and long-term solution to this long-delayed rulemaking.”
Sen. Warner has been a longtime advocate for increased access to health care through telehealth. Last week, he reintroduced legislation to expand coverage of telehealth services through Medicare, make permanent COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities, improve health outcomes, and make it easier for patients to safely connect with their doctors. Last year, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Sen. Warner sent a letter to Senate leadership calling for the permanent expansion of access to telehealth services. In 2018, Sen. Warner successfully included a provision to expand telehealth services for substance abuse treatment in the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. In 2003, then-Gov. Warner expanded Medicaid coverage for telemedicine statewide, including evaluation and management visits, a range of individual psychotherapies, the full range of consultations, and some clinical services, including in cardiology and obstetrics. Coverage was also expanded to include non-physician providers. Among other benefits, the telehealth expansion allowed individuals in medically underserved and remote areas of Virginia to access quality specialty care that isn’t always available at home.
Full text of the letter is here and below.
Dear Attorney General Garland and Acting Administrator Evans:
I am writing to follow up on my January 2020 letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) regarding implementation of critical provisions in the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (Ryan Haight Act) (Public Law 91-513) that ensure patients can successfully access medical treatment via telehealth. I am very concerned that – despite repeated outreach from myself and others in Congress – the previous Administration did not take long-term action to address this issue. I also recognize that much of this delay has been the result of previous Administrations and I hope to work with you all on a new approach that best serves patients.
As you may know – the Ryan Haight Act prohibits the sale of controlled substances without at least one in-person examination by a health care provider, but also directs the DEA to draft rules exempting certain health care providers from this prohibition. The spirit and clear intent of this law is to prevent the illicit use and sale of dangerous controlled substances online while maintaining the ability for legitimate healthcare providers to treat patients in need.
In 2018, I worked with my colleagues in Congress to further clarify this intent by passing the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (SUPPORT Act) (Public Law 115-271). That legislation includes a provision I authored to enable Medicare-eligible individuals suffering from substance use disorder to be diagnosed and treated via telehealth. However, providers treating many of these patients via telehealth are often handicapped by the DEA’s delayed rulemaking and unable to use telehealth to prescribe them the medications they need.
It has now been more than 10 years since the Ryan Haight Act mandated the DEA establish a rule ensuring health care providers can successfully prescribe controlled substances via telehealth, but the DEA still has not acted. The SUPPORT Act again mandated the DEA issue rulemaking by October 2019 and more recently the Fiscal Year 2021 final appropriations report requested DEA establish these rules.
In practice, the DEA’s failure to address this issue means that a vast majority of health care providers that use telehealth to prescribe controlled substances to and otherwise treat their patients have been deterred in getting them the quality care they need. These restrictions have been temporarily waived during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and I welcome that, but patients and providers need a more permanent and long-term solution to this long-delayed rulemaking.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the importance of increased access to telehealth services and providers across the country continue to be frustrated there is no long-term solution for them to provide adequate care to their patients. The DEA’s failure to promulgate the rule has meant that – despite Congress’ best efforts – millions of patients could be left without access to long-term treatment via telehealth.
I am requesting that DEA act as soon as possible to promulgate rulemaking on this issue. I am also requesting that, in the interim, DEA provide my office with an update on its plan and timeline to promulgate such rules. Thank you in advance for your attention to this request and I look forward to hearing back from you.
Statement of Senate Intel Chair Warner & Vice Chair Rubio On Investigation Into Attacks On U.S. Personnel
Apr 30 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released a statement regarding the investigation into attacks on U.S. personnel in Havana and elsewhere:
“For nearly five years, we have been aware of reports of mysterious attacks on United States Government personnel in Havana, Cuba and around the world. This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this. We have already held fact finding hearings on these debilitating attacks, many of which result in medically confirmed cases of Traumatic Brain Injury, and will do more.
“As the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we welcome CIA Director Burns’ renewed focus on these attacks. Our committee will continue to work with him, and the rest of the Intelligence Community, to better understand the technology behind the weapon responsible for these attacks. We will focus on ensuring we protect our personnel and provide the medical and financial support the victims deserve. Ultimately we will identify those responsible for these attacks on American personnel and will hold them accountable.”
Virginia, Maryland Senators Urge President Biden to Resume Selection of a New, Secure and Consolidated FBI Headquarters
Apr 30 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (Both D-Va.) and Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-Md.) are urging President Joe Biden to resume the process of selecting a new home for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that meets the stringent security and logistical needs for our nation’s premier law enforcement agency. In a letter to the president Friday, the lawmakers press for the General Services Administration and FBI to pick up where they left off before the Trump administration upended the national security project. In 2014, after an exhaustive process, GSA narrowed down the list of potential locations to two sites in Prince George’s County, Md., and one site in Springfield, Va.
“For more than a decade, the condition and security of the FBI’s existing headquarters in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. have been serious concerns of Congress, which has provided authorizations and appropriations for a new consolidated headquarters at one of three previously identified sites. Unfortunately, the previous administration undermined this project, requiring your urgent attention to put it back on track,” the Senators wrote.
“We urge you to address the need for a new consolidated FBI headquarters. While we recognize that the previous administration’s actions were a setback for the project, we request that GSA and FBI finalize the plan as soon as possible, focusing the renewed effort on the sites previously identified as the top candidates and making use of the completed Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the fullest extent possible,” they added.
In 2011, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a resolution which provided the GSA with official guidance on the framework for the project. Drafted to reflect the FBI’s needs and priorities, the Senate resolution outlined requirements for proximity to the Metro System and Washington Beltway, minimum acreage for the site, and a financing strategy which directed GSA to enter into a private sector lease with a private firm to build a 2.1 million square foot, secure facility on federally owned land that would be leased to the FBI and ownership of which would revert to the Federal government at the end of the lease at no additional cost.
The full letter follows and can be found at this link.
Dear President Biden:
We write today to request that you provide clear direction to the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Justice to move forward expeditiously on the process of constructing a new consolidated headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). For more than a decade, the condition and security of the FBI’s existing headquarters in the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. have been serious concerns of Congress, which has provided authorizations and appropriations for a new consolidated headquarters at one of three previously identified sites. Unfortunately, the previous administration undermined this project, requiring your urgent attention to put it back on track.
Since 2011, Congress has repeatedly called for action to address the FBI’s outdated and inadequate facilities at the J. Edgar Hoover Building, through the approval of GSA resolutions and the inclusion of funding in various appropriations bills. After the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a GSA resolution that set forth guidelines for the site selection process in 2011, GSA issued its Phase I Request for Proposals (RFP) and announced eligible sites for the new headquarters in 2014. In 2015, GSA identified a short list of offerors to proceed to Phase II of the RFP, and the Office of Management and Budget announced that the FBI would reduce its footprint in the Washington, DC region, consolidating both the Hoover Building and multiple leased buildings into one location, and narrowed the list to three sites. In January 2016, GSA issued the Phase II RFP to these qualified offerors.
The Trump Administration’s move in 2017 to cancel the project ignored the intent of Congress and scrapped years’ worth of planning, organizing, and resources devoted to the project. Inquiries by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate into the White House’s role in canceling the project were met with obfuscation by agency officials. In a last-ditch effort to ensure the FBI remained on Pennsylvania Avenue, the former President advocated for funding for renovating the existing FBI headquarters in a COVID-19 relief package, which Congress rejected.
We urge you to address the need for a new consolidated FBI headquarters. While we recognize that the previous administration’s actions were a setback for the project, we request that GSA and FBI finalize the plan as soon as possible, focusing the renewed effort on the sites previously identified as the top candidates and making use of the completed Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the fullest extent possible. Congress has appropriated close to a billion dollars for this endeavor, between direct appropriations and transfer authorities, available until expended, and, according to the enacted FY21 Omnibus Appropriations bill, required GSA to submit a plan to the committees of jurisdiction consistent with a typical prospectus request by March 27, 2021. As of this date, a plan has not been submitted and although GSA continues to coordinate with FBI, it is unclear when the required report will be submitted to Congress.
The FBI’s current headquarters facility – the J. Edgar Hoover Building – has significantly deteriorated over the past 45 years. The building has crumbling facades, aging infrastructure, and security limitations that are severely impeding the FBI’s ability to meet its critical law enforcement and national security missions.
Further delay on a new FBI headquarters creates added risks, costs, and missed opportunities. Despite the political obstacles of recent years, we hope you will consider our request and provide the direction needed for this crucial project to move forward expeditiously.
Apr 30 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), along with Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SD), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) reintroduced the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act of 2021. The CONNECT for Health Act will expand coverage of telehealth services through Medicare, make permanent COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities, improve health outcomes, and make it easier for patients to safely connect with their doctors.
“If we’ve learned anything in the past 14 months, it’s that people are better off when they’re able to see a doctor quickly, easily, and from the comfort of home. This is particularly the case for folks in rural or medically underserved communities, who may otherwise have to travel long distances to get basic medical services,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which will enable Virginians to make the most of telehealth capabilities and access the quality and affordable health care they need as soon as they need it.”
“Over the last year, telehealth has been crucial to safely delivering care to underserved communities,” said Sen. Kaine. “As we begin to recover and rebuild our nation, we should be making it easier for Americans to access quality health care. The permanent expansion of telehealth coverage would do just that, so I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan effort.”
Several provisions from the CONNECT for Health Act were included in COVID-19 relief legislation to expand access to telehealth during the pandemic and fund its implementation. As a result, telehealth has seen a sharp rise in use since the start of pandemic as patients seek to avoid traveling to hospitals and other health care settings and instead receive care at home. Data shows that the number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth services increased by about 13,000 percent in just a month and a half during the pandemic.
The CONNECT for Health Act was first introduced in 2016 and is considered the most comprehensive legislation on telehealth in Congress. Since 2016, several provisions of the bill were enacted into law or adopted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, including provisions to remove restrictions on telehealth services for mental health, stroke care, and home dialysis.
The updated version of the CONNECT for Health Act builds on that progress and includes new and revised provisions that will help more people access telehealth services. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Permanently remove all geographic restrictions on telehealth services and expand originating sites to include the home and other sites;
- Allow health centers and rural health clinics to provide telehealth services, a provision currently in place due to the pandemic but on a temporary basis;
- Provide the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the permanent authority to waive telehealth restrictions, a provision currently in place due to the pandemic but on a temporary basis;
- Allow for the waiver of telehealth restrictions during public health emergencies; and
- Require a study to learn more about how telehealth has been used during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), David Schweikert (R-AZ), Peter Welch (D-VT), Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Doris Matsui (D-CA).
The CONNECT for Health Act has the support of more than 150 organizations including AARP, America’s Essential Hospitals, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American Medical Group Association, American Nurses Association, American Telemedicine Association, Children’s National Hospital, eHealth Initiative, Federation of American Hospitals, Health Innovation Alliance, HIMSS, National Alliance on Mental Illness, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Association of Rural Health Clinics, National Rural Health Association, Personal Connected Health Alliance, and Teladoc Health.
“To build on the important actions taken during the COVID-19 public health emergency, to prepare us for any future public health emergency and to ensure that providers and patients do not lose access to telehealth supported care when the COVID-19 emergency concludes, Congress must act to advance telehealth payment reform, particularly through Medicare. I am grateful that the CONNECT for Health Act of 2021 does just that,” said Dr. Karen Rheuban, Director of the UVA Center for Telehealth.
Sen. Warner, an original cosponsor of the 2016 CONNECT for Health Act, and Sen. Kaine have been longtime advocates for increased access to health care through telehealth. Last year, during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the Senators sent a letter to Senate leadership calling for the permanent expansion of access to telehealth services. In 2018, Sen. Warner successfully included a provision to expand telehealth services for substance abuse treatment in the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018. In 2003, then-Gov. Warner expanded Medicaid coverage for telemedicine statewide, including evaluation and management visits, a range of individual psychotherapies, the full range of consultations, and some clinical services, including in cardiology and obstetrics. Coverage was also expanded to include non-physician providers. Among other benefits, the telehealth expansion allowed individuals in medically underserved and remote areas of Virginia to access quality specialty care that isn’t always available at home.
Apr 29 2021
WASHINGTON — Prior to Infrastructure Week 2021, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance and Banking Committees, alongside Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Chris Coons (D-DE) today reintroduced the Reinventing Economic Partnerships and Infrastructure Redevelopment (REPAIR) Actto help close America’s widening infrastructure gap, create jobs, and ensure America’s global competitiveness in the 21st century by establishing an Infrastructure Financing Authority to provide loans and loan guarantees, complement existing funding mechanisms and expand overall infrastructure investment. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH).
Currently, the U.S. faces a $2.59 trillion shortfall in infrastructure needs, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Furthermore, to close the nearly $2.6 trillion 10-year investment gap, meet future needs, and restore the U.S. global competitive advantage, ASCE estimates that all levels of government and the private sector must increase investment to 3.5% from 2.5% of U.S. gross domestic product by 2025. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, the U.S. lags behind twelve other nations in overall infrastructure. For years, the federal government has struggled to come up with the funding necessary to close the widening infrastructure gap, which is why the REPAIR Act will leverage public dollars to incentivize private sector infrastructure investment.
The REPAIR Act would establish a fiscally responsible Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA) to complement existing infrastructure funding through loans and loan guarantees. Designed to become self-sustaining over time, this IFA would be independent of any federal agency and instead, would be run by an appointed Chief Executive Officer and a Board of Directors, while still being subjected to strong congressional and federal oversight. The IFA would only fund economically viable projects of at least $50 million, or $10 million for projects in rural areas, for which five percent of IFA funding would be reserved. In order to be considered for funding, proposed projects would undergo rigorous analysis, and must show clear public benefit, meet economic, technical and environmental standards, and be backed by a dedicated revenue stream.
“The time has come to put sizeable, long-term, tangible capital investment into our nation's infrastructure. From bumpy roads to worn down bridges to dilapidated airports to overwhelmed water and sewage systems, commuters, homeowners, travelers, and our overall economy have become too familiar with our nation's crumbling infrastructure, which costs us tens of billions of dollars every year," said Sen. Warner. “We must enact bold legislation to modernize our infrastructure, and the REPAIR Act will need to be a part of that equation.”
“Missouri is a national transportation hub and location is our top competitive advantage,” said Sen. Blunt. “To keep that advantage, we need to invest in improving the safety and reliability of our roads, bridges, rail networks, and waterways. I’m proud to join Senator Warner in introducing this bipartisan bill to help states and localities leverage public-private partnerships to advance their infrastructure priorities.”
“We need a twenty-first-century infrastructure network that meets the demands of our twenty-first-century economy—from safe bridges and modern highways, to improved rail, port, and water infrastructure,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “The REPAIR Act will take advantage of public-private partnerships to improve our infrastructure, all while creating jobs and supporting communities.”
“Fixing our crumbling roads and bridges is not only a matter of convenience for those who use them, it also impacts our economy and our competitive advantage on the global stage,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation would boost investment in infrastructure and get the private sector involved to help create jobs and improve Texans’ quality of life.”
“This bipartisan bill will help fix our roads, bridges, and highways—long neglected and decades behind other nations. Through a mix of private and public funding in a dedicated infrastructure bank, we will be able to modernize and prepare for the future to create millions of high quality jobs and a more equitable, sustainable economy,” said Sen. Blumenthal.
“Now more than ever we need to identify a long-term funding solution for our infrastructure needs,” said Sen. Graham. “The REPAIR Act is a common sense proposal that would bring together private sector investments and public sector resources to finance important infrastructure projects. Our proposal would ensure taxpayer dollars are used responsibly, and help create jobs.”
“We've agreed in Congress for a long time that we need to invest in American infrastructure. Now we are finally on the cusp of meaningful action,” said Sen. Coons. “It would be a lost opportunity not to harness capital from the private sector to help finance this historic investment in modernizing our roads, bridges, rail, tunnels, broadband, electrical, and water systems. That is why I am glad to stand with colleagues from both sides of the aisle today in reintroducing the REPAIR Act. This bipartisan bill would create a dedicated infrastructure financing mechanism to leverage public dollars and incentivize private sector investment to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.”
“San Diego knows that functioning infrastructure goes hand in hand with economic growth and competitiveness. To build back better, America’s crumbling roads, bridges, railways, transmission lines, water, and broadband systems need significant, long-term investments that go beyond just maintenance,” said Rep. Peters. “By establishing an infrastructure bank that connects federal funds with private capital to cover the cost of critical projects, the REPAIR Act will bring our infrastructure systems up to speed while keeping fiscal sustainability in mind.”
“If we are going to truly rebuild our nation’s infrastructure it’s going to take a broad mix of both private and public dollars,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “The REPAIR Act will equip the United States with a new financing tool to better leverage private dollars. This will allow for further investments into local infrastructure needs that will help create jobs and strengthen our communities.”
Full text of the bill is available here.
Apr 29 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0. This legislation would provide a new source of funding for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program (Kids First) by redirecting penalties collected from pharmaceutical, cosmetic, supplement, and medical device companies that break the law to pediatric and childhood cancer research. In 2014, Warner and Kaine championed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which established the Ten-Year Pediatric Research Initiative at the NIH and authorized $12.6 million per fiscal year through FY23 for pediatric disease research. Since President Barack Obama signed the original bill in 2014, $88.2 million has been directed to pediatric cancer research at the NIH through the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research program. Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) introduced a version of the legislation in the House of Representatives in January.
The bill is named in honor of Gabriella Miller, a Leesburg, Virginia resident who died from a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 10. Miller was an activist and worked to raise support for research into childhood diseases like cancer until her death in October of 2013.
“We owe it to Gabriella, her family, and all the children who’ve lost their lives too soon to find a cure for these rare pediatric diseases,” said Warner. “I’m proud to be joining my colleagues on this bill that would provide an additional funding stream for critical research that could save lives.”
“Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children, and we must better understand this horrific disease,” said Moran. “This legislation, named in honor of Gabriella Miller, will direct additional resources to the NIH to research cures and treatments for cancer in children.”
“There’s nothing more heartbreaking than treating a suffering child. It’s critical that we fund more research to find new, innovative treatments,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This bill does just that while honoring Gabriella Miller’s memory.”
"I applaud the continued leadership of Senator Kaine and thank him for introducing the Gabriella Miller Kids First 2.0 Act, a bill to fund research for childhood cancer and other childhood illnesses," said Ellyn Miller, President of Smashing Walnuts Foundation. "In 2013, my 10-year old daughter died from the same terminal brain cancer that Neil Armstrong's daughter, Karen, died from in 1962. The fact that we can get astronauts to the moon and back but cannot cure something just a few inches under our skin is heartbreaking to me. Senator Kaine's championship of the Gabriella Miller Kids First 2.0 Act is that one giant leap towards better therapies for seriously ill children."
While cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children past infancy, childhood cancer and other rare pediatric diseases remain poorly understood. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 15,590 children and adolescents under the age of 19 will be diagnosed with cancer, and 1,780 will die of the disease in the United States in 2021. Only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s $6.56 billion budget is specifically allocated to the development of treatments and cures for childhood cancer and other rare diseases.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Program has supported critical research into pediatric cancer and structural birth defects and has focused on building a pediatric data resource combining genetic sequencing data with clinical data from multiple pediatric cohorts. The Gabriella Miller Kids First Data Resource Center is helping to advance scientific understanding and discoveries around pediatric cancer and structural birth defects and has sequenced nearly 20,000 samples thus far. While Congress has appropriated $12.6 million for the Kids First Program annually since Fiscal Year 2015, this legislation would make additional funding available to appropriators to further support pediatric and childhood cancer research.
The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
You can view the full bill text here.
Apr 29 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement after joining as an original cosponsor of the Military Justice Improvement and Prevention Act, legislation that would take much-needed steps to tackle sexual assault in the military:
“Today, too many service members are raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in the military. This remains a heartbreaking reality despite the millions of dollars appropriated by Congress and more than 100 reform provisions implemented by Congress over the past two decades. Frankly, none of those measures have been enough to reduce sexual assault in the military, to protect victims, or to increase accountability for perpetrators. With too many of these measures falling short, today I am announcing my cosponsorship of the Military Justice Improvement and Prevention Act. We now need fundamental change to tackle this epidemic, especially after the brutal murder of U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen. Senator Gillibrand’s bill takes significant steps to change how the military prosecutes serious crimes such as rape and provides new tools to help stem the tide of sexual assault within the ranks. While this bill is not a cure-all solution, we must take bold steps to establish justice and accountability for victims of sexual assault.”
Apr 29 2021
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) participated in a virtual Senate Finance Committee
As part of his opening remarks, Sen. Warner highlighted the struggles of one Virginia mom, who reached out to the Senator’s office because she needed to request a copy of her son’s social security card in order to file her taxes, but was unable to do so, due to the severe limitations on in-person appointments.
“I'm getting inundated with constituents who’ve got really heartbreaking stories. I had a constituent named Marie, who had a young son – literally a one-year-old son – who had his social security number stolen. She didn't know his social security number… so she was told she had to send in all this paperwork, including the original copy of her driver's license, which is just baffling to me, because if she knew that if she sent her driver's license in and she had to still drive to work… she was going to get fined,” said Sen. Warner. “When she finally got a response, she was told, ‘well, you can file an extension on your taxes.’ This is causing some real consternation and I really do hope you will be working within OMB restrictions to get more of these in-person appointments scheduled.”
In the hearing, Sen. Warner acknowledged the restrictions placed on SSA by an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance that can limit
Sen. Warner concluded his remarks by emphasizing that SSA must conduct outreach to vulnerable populations to ensure they are made aware of the benefits they qualify for – especially given the past year’s steep decline in applications for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Warner Introduces Bicameral, Bipartisan Legislation to Boost Workforce Training as Part of COVID-19 Economic Recovery Efforts
Apr 28 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance and Banking Committees, along with Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Bob Casey (D-PA) reintroduced legislation to promote workers’ long-term economic success and support U.S. economic recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Investing in American Workers Act of 2021 prioritizes workers in U.S. recovery efforts by creating a tax credit to incentivize employers to invest in training tied to recognized postsecondary credentials for lower- and moderate-income workers
Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA), Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“As too many families know, the COVID-19 crisis has taken a major toll on the American workforce, pushing millions of workers into unemployment and decimating jobs that, frankly, may never come back. That’s why we need companies – especially those that employ a lot of low-wage workers – to be equal partners in the recovery effort by stepping in and offering training opportunities that grow workers’ skills for years to come,” said Sen. Warner. “We’re introducing a bill that builds upon the success of the R&D tax credit model and gives companies an incentive to invest in people, like they do R&D, to give more workers a chance to succeed during and after COVID-19.”
“In Michigan, our workers are the best in the world and investing in them is the right thing to do. Our bipartisan bill does just that by supporting employers who offer training opportunities that grow workers’ skills for years to come,” said Sen. Stabenow.
“Today’s fast-paced economy demands regular training for our workforce to keep our economy competitive, yet the percentage of American workers receiving employer-sponsored and on-the-job training has decreased dramatically in recent decades,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “The Investing In American Workers Act will ensure our workers are able to develop the in-demand skills they need to build rewarding careers while helping American companies grow and thrive.”
“The success of our nation’s economic recovery depends on the success of our workforce. But in Central Virginia and across the country, many working families continue to experience significant hardships due to the COVID-19 crisis — and many workers cannot independently afford the skills and training they need to access new opportunities, secure better-paying jobs, and gain peace of mind. In this climate, we need to celebrate and reward companies that make an effort to take care of their employees,” said Rep. Spanberger. “By providing tax incentives for American companies to invest in American workers, the Investing in American Workers Act is commonsense, bipartisan legislation that would recognize in-house workforce training as a key component of our country’s rebound. I’d like to thank my fellow Virginian Senator Warner for his leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to move this legislation forward.”
“Business owners know their employees’ success is their success and they are committed to helping their employees improve their skills to advance and grow in their career. The Investing in American Workers Act helps employers invest in job training, apprenticeships, and continuing education by providing a tax credit for training expenses driving more investment to close the skills gap, advance careers, and ultimately grow the small businesses that drive our economy,” said Rep. Meuser.
“A four-year college degree isn’t the only pathway to prosperity, nor is it the only way to acquire the skills needed to be successful. When a company invests in high-quality skills and workforce training programs for their employees, both the company and the worker succeed,” said Rep. Axne. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Investing in American Workers Act to encourage companies to get their workers the skills they need to thrive in the modern economy.”
“Now is the time to invest in our workforce and incentivize job training, especially for lower and middle-income workers, ” said Rep. Wild. “The Investing in American Workers Act of 2021 does just that and builds off a proven model of success to create the dynamic workforce our modern economy requires while bringing in valuable industry partners along the way. The pandemic and subsequent economic crisis has devastated families across Pennsylvania, and I’m proud to support this effort to get more Americans back to work in the good-paying jobs of the future.”
“A four-year college degree should not, and cannot, be the only path to a successful career or financial security. This bipartisan legislation will promote apprenticeships and build a stronger American workforce. Although our nation continues to face a skills-gap, on-the-job educational and technical training opportunities will help us bridge the divide while giving Americans opportunities to advance their careers. I am proud to join Rep. Krishnamoorthi in this effort to ensure Americans have access to good-paying jobs when they need it more than ever,” said Rep. Emmer.
Right now, many companies have almost no direct financial incentive to invest in their workers. In fact, the current U.S. tax code offers a Research and Development (R&D) tax credit for employers that make long-term investments in innovation – such as computers, buildings, and machines – but not workers. In order to ensure the nation’s workforce is better prepared for a post-pandemic 21st century economy, tax and accounting systems need to be updated to promote these same kinds of investments in workforce training.
The Investing in American Workers Act of 2021 would make it easier for companies to invest in training their workers by:
· Establishing a tax credit for employers who increase their spending on worker training:
o Employers who spend more on training their workers in a given year than they have on average in the previous three years are eligible to receive a tax credit based on their increase in spending.
o The amount of the credit is equal to 20 percent of the increased spending. The spending eligible for the credit must be used to provide qualified training to employees earning $82,000 or less per year.
o For employers who are new to spending on qualified training or have a gap in any of the past three taxable years, the credit is calculated as 10 percent of the qualified training expenditures for the current year, multiplied by a cost-of-living adjustment factor. Requires collecting and reporting of racial, ethnic, and gender demographics.
· Incentivizing high-quality training by detailing allowable providers and programs:
o Qualified training may be provided through a nationally or state-recognized registered apprenticeship program; a WIOA-certified training program; a program conducted by an area career and technical education school, community college, or labor organization; or a program sponsored or administered by an employer, industry trade association, industry or sector partnership, or labor organization.
o Qualified training must result in the completion of a recognized postsecondary credential, including an industry-recognized certificate or certification, a certificate of completion of an apprenticeship, a license recognized by the State or Federal Government, or an associate or bachelor’s degree.
· Pursuing clarity on the statutory definition of recognized postsecondary credential:
o Requires the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to issue regulations or guidance on the definition of “recognized postsecondary credential” within one year.
· Encouraging small businesses to upskill their workers by providing a simplified filing process and allowing them to apply the credit against payroll and alternative minimum taxes:
o Qualified small businesses making less than $5,000,000 for at least six years in a row, as well as qualified tax-exempt entities, can elect to apply up to $250,000 of the credit against payroll taxes.
“The world of work is changing at a rapid pace and Workday believes a focus on skills is essential to providing workers and employers the agility they need to navigate these changes. We appreciate the reintroduction of the Investing in American Workers Act, helping support the workers who need it most with access to reskilling and providing employers with even more incentive to invest in their most valuable asset: their people,” said Rich Sauer, Workday Chief Legal Officer and Head of Corporate Affairs.
“U.S. businesses – including small and medium sized employers – are investing every day in the skills of their workforce, helping their employees advance their careers and creating new job opportunities in our communities. But today’s tax code doesn’t adequately reward those companies that are willing to make these critical investments, making it harder for businesses to compete in a global economy,” said Katie Spiker, Director of Government Affairs for the National Skills Coalition. “Sen. Warner’s and Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s legislation is an important step in the right direction, and will help expand high quality training that leads to better results for companies and workers alike. We look forward to working with Senator Warner and Rep. Krishnamoorthi to advance this legislation and we applaud his leadership and vision on this vital issue.”
Sen. Warner has been an outspoken advocate of investing in workers and ensuring they are adequately equipped to participate in the 21st century labor force. Earlier this year, Sen. Warner released the first two parts of his 3-part white paper series on the future of American capitalism, which focuses on what the U.S. will need to do to address the chronic under-investment in workers and create an inclusive 21st century economy that does not leave workers behind. Part one of the white paper is available here. Part two is available here.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine sent a letter to President Biden recommending Patricia Tolliver Giles and U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff for the vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division.
“We are pleased to recommend Ms. Patricia Tolliver Giles and U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff for the vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division following Judge Liam O’ Grady’s decision to take senior status in May 2020,” said the Senators. “Both Ms. Giles and Judge Nachmanoff possess the requisite fairness, temperament, and integrity to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, and have our highest recommendation.”
Warner and Kaine recommend these individuals based on their distinguished records and the assessments of an independent panel of attorneys from across the Commonwealth as well as feedback from numerous bar associations in Virginia. President Biden will now nominate one individual for the position to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the full Senate.
Full text of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division letter is available here and below.
Dear Mr. President:
We are pleased to recommend Ms. Patricia Tolliver Giles and U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff for the vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division following Judge Liam O’ Grady’s decision to take senior status in May 2020. Both Ms. Giles and Judge Nachmanoff possess the requisite fairness, temperament, and integrity to serve as a U.S. District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, and have our highest recommendation.
Ms. Giles was raised in Hampton, Virginia, the daughter of a career military family. Ms. Giles has spent her entire professional career in the Eastern District of Virginia, beginning when she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Bruce Lee. Ms. Giles has a distinguished record of service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District, which includes prosecuting the capital murder trial of MS-13 gang members. We believe that practitioners would respect Ms. Giles’s rulings and that litigants would have reassurance of receiving a fair trial.
Judge Nachmanoff has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District since 2015. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Nachmanoff served for 13 years in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia. As EDVA’s Chief Federal Public Defender, Judge Nachmanoff Supervised 60 attorneys and staff, who represented more than 2,500 clients each year on federal violations ranging from petty offenses and misdemeanors on federal enclaves to capital murder. Judge Nachmanoff’s esteemed record demonstrates that he would be an excellent District Court Judge.
Ultimately, we believe either of these individuals would win confirmation from the Senate and serve capably on the bench. We are honored to recommend them to you.
WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators and Co-Chairs of the Senate India Caucus Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to President Biden urging him to ramp up efforts to support hard-hit countries like India by providing them with medical supplies and surplus vaccinations as they manage the recent surge in coronavirus infections.
They wrote, “We write to urge you to accelerate U.S. efforts to support other countries as they work to combat the COVID-19 virus. As the United States strengthens its capacity to fight this virus, with vastly expanded testing and widespread vaccinations for Americans, we must ramp up our support to countries that are being particularly hard hit, such as India, through the provision of medical supplies and surplus vaccinations.”
“As co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, we are watching with growing alarm the unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, which has overwhelmed hospitals and the overall health system in India.”
“This pandemic has devastated populations and nations across the globe, making very clear that the virus knows no borders. In order to control its spread globally, saving lives abroad and here at home, we must do our part to attack the virus where it is most devastating and active.”
The full text of the letter is here and below.
Dear President Biden:
We write to urge you to accelerate U.S. efforts to support other countries as they work to combat the COVID-19 virus. As the United States strengthens its capacity to fight this virus, with vastly expanded testing and widespread vaccinations for Americans, we must ramp up our support to countries that are being particularly hard hit, such as India, through the provision of medical supplies and surplus vaccinations. U.S. government agencies – both civilian and military – should be mobilized to lead an international response to the pandemic that both protects the American people from the virus and supports other countries’ efforts.
Numerous countries are facing record-breaking surges and a devastating number of deaths daily. India is a case in point. As co-chairs of the Senate India Caucus, we are watching with growing alarm the unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, which has overwhelmed hospitals and the overall health system in India. India is the now the epicenter of this crisis and faces a severe shortage of testing kits, vaccines, oxygen equipment, personal protective equipment, and medical facilities. India is also in great need of treatments and medicines, including oxygen, monoclonal antibodies, Remdesivir, and high quality dexamethasone to combat the virus.
As is the case in this global crisis, this unmitigated surge in COVID-19 not only threatens India and its people, but it threatens the entire world as variants emerge, and nations continue to struggle to limit the virus’ spread. We urge you to find ways to increase support to the most impacted countries, including India, with surplus vaccines, supplies, and field hospitals, as they battle to reduce the number of deaths and new cases.
The United States has demonstrated real ingenuity and a capacity to scale up its COVID-19 testing and vaccination regimes during the pandemic. We have conducted more than 300 million tests. Now, as the United States averages 2.82 million vaccine doses per day, new cases and deaths have dropped significantly. Even accounting for current and anticipated need domestically, there is now a surplus supply of testing kits that can have the greatest impact abroad, along with personal protective equipment that so many countries desperately need. In addition, with millions of unused AstraZeneca vaccine doses on hand, the U.S. has the ability to send many abroad without a detrimental impact to our own vaccination efforts at this crucial time. We applaud and encourage your efforts to share AstraZeneca doses with India and other countries in need as they come available.
Finally, we congratulate you for taking specific actions to remove obstacles that would get in the way of sending excess vaccines to India. While India has significant capacity to vaccinate, its per capita vaccination rates are insufficient to cover such a large population. Further, we urge you to remove the export embargo on raw materials to India used in vaccine production, which would allow The Serum Institute of India to ramp up production of vaccines that it already produces domestically. We ask that you also assess similar barriers that prohibit the sharing of excess vaccines with other nations.
As you design your strategy to provide assistance to India and other nations, we ask that you consider the needs outlined above. This pandemic has devastated populations and nations across the globe, making very clear that the virus knows no borders. In order to control its spread globally, saving lives abroad and here at home, we must do our part to attack the virus where it is most devastating and active. We appreciate your commitment to helping our global partners in our shared efforts to combat this disease, and we thank you for your attention to this important matter.