Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Tim Scott (R-SC), with the support of Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen, in announcing their intent to re-introduce the FEMA Empowering Essential Deliveries (FEED) Act in the 117th Congress.  

The FEED Act allows the Federal government to pay 100 percent of the cost to states and localities so that they can partner with restaurants and nonprofits to prepare nutritious meals for vulnerable populations, such as seniors and underprivileged children. These partnerships will support businesses and small farmers as the coronavirus pandemic continues. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the hunger crisis in America, resulting in millions more Americans becoming food insecure. To address the skyrocketing food insecurity in our communities, we must look for innovative ways to ensure families in Virginia have dependable access to nutritious meals,” said Sen. Warner. “That’s why we introduced this bipartisan legislation that would provide maximum flexibility to states and localities to help address this crisis while also supporting producers, restaurants, and local food systems in the process.” 

“COVID-19 has made millions of Americans food insecure and pushed restaurants to the brink of bankruptcy through no fault of their own,” said Sen. Murphy. “It’s up to Congress and President Biden to get them the assistance they need to get out of this hell. That’s why I’m teaming up with my colleague Senator Scott to introduce the FEED Act, which provides funding for restaurants and nonprofits to feed Americans struggling as a result of the pandemic. No one should be food insecure in this country and helping families get back on their feet should be a top priority in the coming months.”

“The FEED Act is an all-encompassing win for our most vulnerable populations, workers, restaurants, and small farms doing their best to stay afloat during the pandemic,” said Sen. Scott.“ By opening up a pathway for food producers, restaurants, and non-profits to easily partner with their state and local governments, the FEED Act is proof that good work happens when the private and public sector work together. Many thanks to Chef José Andrés and our bipartisan coalition for coming together to work on commonsense life-changing legislation.”

“Today, we have in front of us a major opportunity to meet head-on two crises that have been going on throughout the pandemic, mostly out of sight: a serious increase in the number of hungry Americans, and the loss of hundreds of thousands of restaurants and millions of restaurant jobs,” said Chef José Andrés with the World Central Kitchen. “With the FEED Act we have a win-win solution: the federal government will start working hand-in-hand with cities and states to keep restaurants working and communities fed. We know that this model works – we’ve seen it work in Charleston, in New Haven, and hundreds of other cities around the country – and can take it nationwide with the support of Senators Scott, Murphy, and their colleagues in the Senate.”

Specifically, the bill waives section 403(b) and 503(a) of the Stafford Act, which allows for FEMA to cover the cost of emergency and disaster related expenses. Under this legislation, the federal government would cover 100 percent of the cost of disaster-related expenses, instead of the typical 75 percent. This would eliminate any state costs during the COVID-19 crisis and allow more states to take a proactive approach to distributing meals and providing more financial relief to restaurants. A copy of the bill text can be found here

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

The legislation is also cosponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Boozman (R-AR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Earlier this month, companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) , Jim McGovern (D-MA), and Rodney Davis (R-IL).

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after the Senate confirmed Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence:

“Given the critical importance of the role of the Director of National Intelligence to our country’s security, it is appropriate that Avril Haines has now become the first member of the new administration to be confirmed by the Senate in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. After being deliberately undermined for four years, the Intelligence Community deserves a strong, Senate-confirmed leader to lead and reinvigorate it. I am confident Ms. Haines will serve capably and honorably in the role and I look forward to working with her.”

Prior to the vote, Sen. Warner spoke on the floor, urging senators to support Ms. Haines’ nomination. Broadcast-quality video and audio of that speech is available for download here 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:

“In today’s open and classified sessions, Ms. Haines demonstrated professionalism, commitment to the men and women of the Intelligence Community, and a keen grasp of the challenges facing our national security. The Intelligence Community needs a strong, Senate-confirmed leader and Ms. Haines will be that leader. The Committee will work to schedule a vote on her nomination as soon as possible, and I urge the Senate to confirm her without any unnecessary delay.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released a statement regarding the nomination of Janet Yellen to be Secretary of the Treasury. Due to a conflict with the confirmation hearing for the Director of National Intelligence-designate in the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner was unable to attend the nomination hearing for Yellen earlier today in the Finance Committee.  

“Dr. Yellen is exactly the type of leader we need at the Treasury to see our economy through these challenging times.  Her deep understanding of our economy and financial markets will allow her to hit the ground running as we work to rebuild and recover from COVID-19,” said Sen. Warner. “She should be swiftly confirmed.”

“I look forward to working with Secretary Yellen to advance our shared priorities, including expanding investments into minority and underserved communities, reforming our tax code, preparing American workers to compete in a 21st century economy, and implementing key reforms to our anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership laws, among other urgent challenges facing our fragile economy,” Sen. Warner added.

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

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

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

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Washington, D.C. — Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Acting Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) requested information from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe regarding how the Intelligence Community is preparing for the inauguration on January 20, 2021.

The full text of the letter is below.

 

Dear Director Ratcliffe:

In light of the recent violence at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, we request that you provide the Committee with a detailed description of how the Intelligence Community (IC) is supporting relevant customers in the Congress, Executive Branch, and state and local law enforcement in preparation for the inauguration on January 20, 2021. 

Specifically:

  • Please update the Committee on all intelligence related to efforts by foreign actors to disrupt the inauguration. Please describe the process by which this reporting will be shared with federal, state, and local stakeholders.

  • What products and briefings do you intend to issue to provide indications and warning of any potential unrest, whether foreign or domestic in origin, before and during the inauguration?

  • To what extent is the IC working with and/or supporting law enforcement agencies in tracking any threats to the inauguration, and what is the IC’s current assessment of such threats?

  • What scenario planning are you conducting in advance of inauguration day?

  • What capabilities do the Intelligence Community plan on deploying during inauguration day? 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. 

Sincerely, 

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Washington, D.C. — Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Acting Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released the following joint statement after the Committee postponed the nomination hearing for Ms. Avril Haines, the expected nominee to be Director of National Intelligence:

“Despite the unusual circumstances on Capitol Hill, the committee is working in good faith to move this nominee as fast as possible and ensure the committee's members have an opportunity to question the nominee in both open and closed settings. The Director of National Intelligence plays a crucial role in overseeing the 18 agencies that make up our nation’s Intelligence Community, and the committee looks forward to holding a hearing next week with Ms. Haines.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today announced the promotion of Lauren Marshall to Legislative Director in his Capitol Hill office.

“I am proud to announce that Lauren Marshall will now serve as Legislative Director,” said Sen. Warner. “Lauren’s experience, leadership, and dedication will undoubtedly serve her in guiding the legislative office in the 117th Congress and beyond, as we work with the incoming Biden Administration to enact policies that address the COVID-19 crisis and help rebuild our economy.”

In 2014, Marshall joined Sen. Warner’s Senate office as a legislative correspondent, before taking on the roles of legislative aide in 2016, legislative assistant in 2017, and senior policy advisor in 2019. Marshall, 29, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. A native Virginian, she is also a graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., the Emerging Leaders Program at the Sorensen Institute for Political leadership, and the Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders Program at the Stennis Center for Political Leadership.

With her promotion, Marshall becomes one of three current Black legislative directors in the U.S. Senate.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined their Senate colleagues in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding the Trump Administration take immediate action to fix the significant failures of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution as coronavirus cases continue to climb. In the letter, the senators call out the Administration’s failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan despite having months to do so. 

“Despite months to plan, the Trump Administration has failed to meet these needs or deliver promised doses to jurisdictions, and as a result of this lack of planning, only 36 percent of distributed vaccines have been administered,” wrote the Senators. “Federal responsibility does not end with delivery of vaccines to states, as you have suggested. Vaccine administration must be a close partnership between the federal government and state, Tribal, and local governments, with the federal government stepping up to ensure that all needs are met. A vaccine allocated on a spreadsheet, or even a vaccine distributed and sitting on a shelf, is not enough to protect anyone.”

For months, Senate Democrats have been imploring the Trump Administration to work and communicate with state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, vaccine and PPE manufacturers, public health experts, and health care providers to develop a plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. These groups have been pleading for clear guidance and financial resources.

In the letter, the Senators call for a plan that includes guidance and best practices on taking the vaccine from distribution to administration, provide all necessary resources to state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and other jurisdictions, account for the significant challenges jurisdictions face in scaling up their workforces, and act to ensure vaccine distribution efforts also combat health inequities. The Administration must also launch a massive public facing campaign to promote vaccine confidence and help people understand where, when and how to get vaccinated. In the coming weeks, the senators emphasize that the Trump Administration must engage with states to proactively identify and address challenges to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably distributed and administered across the country. 

In December, Warner & Kaine successfully pushed to pass COVID relief legislation, which allocated over $19 billion for vaccines and therapeutics, and an additional $8.75 billion to support vaccine distribution, particularly for states and localities, to slow the spread of the pandemic and take a step towards successful COVID-19 management. 

The letter was led by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Patty Murray (D-WA), and was also signed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

Full text of the letter here and below. 

  

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write to you with concerns about significant challenges in COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration across the country and to outline key actions the Trump Administration should have taken—and must now take—to address these challenges. With our health system and economy in crisis, and millions of lives at stake, we cannot afford for this vaccination campaign to continue to be hindered by the lack of planning, communication, and leadership we have seen so far. 

President Trump tweeted on January 3rd that “the vaccines are being delivered to the states by the Federal Government far faster than they can be administered!”  That should have been an indicator of a failed vaccine roll out, not a point of pride.  It is the federal government’s role to ensure states, Tribes, localities, and the public are receiving the resources and support they need, rather than requiring every jurisdiction to manage on their own without the benefit of the national resources and perspective that only the federal government can provide.

Since July, we have been calling on the Trump Administration to work with states, Tribes, and localities, vaccine and PPE manufacturers, public health experts, congregate care settings, and other health care providers to develop a comprehensive, national plan for vaccines. Since September, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed (OWS) first published their playbook and strategy for vaccine distribution, state, Tribal, and local health departments have said that they need clear communication, transparent decision-making, evidence-based guidance, and financial resources to effectively implement vaccine administration plans. Despite months to plan, the Trump Administration has failed to meet these needs or deliver promised doses to jurisdictions, and as a result of this lack of planning, only 36 percent of distributed vaccines have been administered. We hope the recently announced efforts to scale up vaccinations in pharmacies will help to turn this tide but it is clear much more is needed. States, Tribes, and localities, providers, and the public are being left without federal support or clear, complete information about what to expect in the future as nearly 300,000 Americans fall ill daily from this virus. 

In order to avoid these failures, the Trump Administration should have issued and implemented a comprehensive national vaccines plan, including detailed guidance and an infusion of resources to support states. Federal responsibility does not end with delivery of vaccines to states, as you have suggested. Vaccine administration must be a close partnership between the federal government and state, Tribal, and local governments, with the federal government stepping up to ensure that all needs are met. A vaccine allocated on a spreadsheet, or even a vaccine distributed and sitting on a shelf, is not enough to protect anyone. The metric that matters, and where we are clearly moving too slowly, is vaccines in arms. A comprehensive national plan should:

  • include robust guidance for states, Tribes, localities and health care providers including on personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, vaccine administration prioritization, and best practices for taking the vaccine from distribution to administration;
  • specify how the Federal government will support these entities with funding, supplies, information, and personnel—which thus far the Trump Administration has failed to do; and
  • account for the significant challenges jurisdictions face in scaling up their workforces while continuing other lifesaving public health work, which may include providing increased support for mass vaccination clinics and mobile testing units, as well as supplementing the vaccination workforce including vaccinators, logistical support, and more.  

In the absence of this long-overdue national plan, it is all the more important that the Trump Administration actively engage with state planning efforts in the coming days, identify challenges across distribution and administration, and proactively address problems that arise in partnership with jurisdictions. 

In order to support the efforts outlined in a comprehensive, national plan, the Trump Administration must also quickly provide robust vaccine distribution funding to States, Tribes, and localities. In advance of vaccine distribution efforts commencing, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had provided just $617 million in funding to states for vaccine efforts—this amount was woefully inadequate. In fact, the Trump Administration falsely stated as recently as November that States did not need funding for vaccine distribution.  Ultimately, Congress provided $8.75 billion for vaccine distribution efforts in the recently enacted COVID relief bill which will meaningfully help states execute their vaccine administration plans. The bill requires a portion of this funding to be sent to states within 21 days, and President Trump’s delay in signing this legislation should not further delay the distribution of these funds. We recognize that the CDC announced the availability of $3 billion for states for vaccination activities, but we cannot afford a repeat performance of this Administration’s decision to sit on billions of dollars in testing funds when states urgently needed them. The Trump Administration must ensure strong support reaches jurisdictions as soon as possible to support their critical work. The challenges we are seeing in vaccine distribution also underscore the need for robust and permanent investments in public health infrastructure to get us out of this cycle of crisis and response.

The Trump Administration must act to correct the lack of transparency and communication from the federal government around COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. Over the first two weeks of vaccine distribution, more than a dozen states found their actual vaccine allocations fell significantly below initial OWS allocation forecasts.[1] For several days, OWS denied these discrepancies, before ultimately admitting officials had provided states with flawed numbers.[2] Even now, states are given just one week of advanced notice about the number of doses they will receive and have been given no information about distribution projections after February.[3] Local health departments are largely excluded from planning calls with OWS and CDC, even though they often ultimately receive and administer vaccines. There is no federal plan to publicly release sufficient data on vaccinations in long-term care settings, where more than 133,350 residents have died, accounting for 37 percent of all deaths from COVID-19.[4] The federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, which states expected to rely on to support vaccination of these particularly vulnerable populations, has administered only 17 percent of the vaccines distributed to these facilities to date.[5] 

Jurisdictions and health care providers are not the only ones in the dark; members of the public do not know when, where, or how they will be able to be vaccinated.[6] CDC already supports a national portal to provide information to the public on where they can receive flu vaccines and other vaccines; the public needs this and more information when it comes COVID-19 vaccines, which should be broadly publicized.[7]  Furthermore, while some states are taking steps to educate providers and the public to improve communication and build trust, the Trump Administration has failed to meaningfully address vaccine confidence, after spending months directly undermining such confidence by casting doubt on our nation’s world-class scientists and scientific agencies. The Trump Administration should launch a long-overdue, large-scale public awareness campaign and work with leaders in communities across the country to provide science-based information to promote high vaccination rates. The federal government must play a proactive role in improving transparency and communication with public health departments and the American people.

Finally, the Trump Administration must also act to ensure vaccine distribution efforts combat rather than exacerbate the health inequities that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. A failure to plan strategically and proactively for vaccine distribution means communities of color, residents of congregate care facilities, rural communities, and other populations disproportionately at-risk will remain neglected in our pandemic response. This is especially true for the millions of health care workers of color who provide the daily care and support for residents of congregate care settings and who provide home health care. We have seen the toll this pandemic has taken on vulnerable communities, and the egregious health disparities that have resulted from this pandemic, and we must act to combat these inequities.  

Since FDA granted the first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine, only 2 percent of Americans have been vaccinated. In that same time, the United States passed 20 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and saw a new record in daily deaths from COVID-19 when over 4,085 Americans died on January 7. Of the 20 million doses promised by the end of 2020, only 4 million doses were administered before the end of the year. In light of this failed vaccine rollout amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, we urge you to finally take the steps necessary to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably distributed and administered across the country. 

Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Bill Burns as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): 

“For decades, Bill has faithfully served our nation with honor and dignity. As a career diplomat under Democratic and Republican presidents, he has established himself as a smart and tested public servant who is free from political interference. Now more than ever, our intelligence and defense communities deserve leaders who will notpoliticize our national security institutions.”

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced new sanctions against seven individuals and four entities involved in a Russia-linked foreign influence network:

“Even as our attention turns to the real-world impacts of domestic-led disinformation campaigns, we cannot forget that our foreign adversaries have relied upon many of the same tactics. Moreover, much of the false information spread about President-elect Biden during and since the campaign had its roots in the entities being sanctioned today, as we saw Russian entities seed or amplify dangerous narratives that gained significant traction in far-right media. We must redouble efforts to build public confidence in our democratic process and work to develop reforms that make our information ecosystem more resilient to disinformation and wider exploitation efforts.”

Sen. Warner, as Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, helped lead the only congressional committee to conduct a successful bipartisan investigation into Russia’s unprecedented interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), former telecommunications entrepreneur and incoming Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today urged mobile carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon and technology companies Apple, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Signal, Telegram, and Twitter to immediately preserve content and associated meta-data connected to Wednesday’s insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol.
 
In all eleven letters to the companies’ CEOs, Sen. Warner emphasized how the rioters took the time to document the event “later posting them to their social media accounts or sharing them via text or mobile messaging platforms to celebrate their disdain for our democratic process.” 

"The U.S. Capitol is now a crime scene," wrote Sen. Warner in his letters to AT&TT-MobileVerizonAppleFacebookGabGoogleParlerSignalTelegram, and Twitter. “The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the events of that day, and trying to piece together what happened and the perpetrators involved. The prospect of litigation on behalf of the victims of the mayhem also is highly likely. Messaging data to and from your subscribers that may have participated in, or assisted, those engaged in this insurrection – and associated subscriber information – are critical evidence in helping to bring these rioters to justice.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), former telecommunications entrepreneur and incoming Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, today urged mobile carriers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon and social media companies Apple, Facebook, Gab, Google, Parler, Signal, Telegram, and Twitter to immediately preserve content and associated meta-data connected to Wednesday’s insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol. 

In all eleven letters to the companies’ CEOs, Sen. Warner emphasized how the rioters took the time to document the event “later posting them to their social media accounts or sharing them via text or mobile messaging platforms to celebrate their disdain for our democratic process.”

“The United States Capitol is now a crime scene,” wrote Sen. Warner in his letters to AT&TT-MobileVerizonAppleFacebookGabGoogleParlerSignalTelegram, and Twitter. “The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are currently investigating the events of that day, and trying to piece together what happened and the perpetrators involved. The prospect of litigation on behalf of the victims of the mayhem also is highly likely. Messaging data to and from your subscribers that may have participated in, or assisted, those engaged in this insurrection – and associated subscriber information – are critical evidence in helping to bring these rioters to justice.”

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), incoming Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement after Facebook announced an indefinite suspension of President Trump from the platform: 

“While I’m pleased to see social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube take long-belated steps to address the President’s sustained misuse of their platforms to sow discord and violence, these isolated actions are both too late and not nearly enough. Disinformation and extremism researchers have for years pointed to broader network-based exploitation of these platforms. As I have continually said, these platforms have served as core organizing infrastructure for violent, far right groups and militia movements for several years now – helping them to recruit, organize, coordinate and in many cases (particularly with respect to YouTube) generate profits from their violent, extremist content.” 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement:

“The Georgia Senate results are good news for Americans tired of Washington dysfunction; a Democratic majority will undoubtedly make it easier for President Biden to govern.

“In the coming Congress, I’ll remain committed – as I always have – to working with anyone from any party who wants to put forth innovative ideas that expand opportunity for American families and help our nation emerge from this crisis stronger than ever before. Virginians can also trust that I will do everything in my power to ensure that that the slim margins we now face are cause for more bipartisan solutions, not the same old Washington gridlock.”

With Democrats in the Senate majority, Sen. Warner is expected to take the gavel as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), incoming Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, took to the Senate floor this evening just hours after a mob of Trump supporters breached and stormed the U.S. Capitol in an act of insurrection. 

In remarks delivered after Congress resumed its count of electoral college votes, Sen. Warner warned his Senate colleagues about the national security implications of calling into question the validity of one of the most secure elections in the modern history.

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Warner said, “What I was going to talk about was the work that I'm most proud of since I've been here, with my good friend Richard Burr and all the members of the Intelligence Committee, about a multi-year report we did into foreign interference in our elections. Probably our top recommendation of that five-volume bipartisan report was that any official or candidate should use restraint and caution when questioning results of our elections. Because when you do so, you often carry out the goals of our foreign adversaries.”

Use caution, because whether knowingly or unknowingly, and whether that adversary is in Russia or China or Iran, their goals are pretty simple. They want to make it appear to Americans, to folks around the world, to their own people, that there's nothing special about American democracy,” he continued. “You can pull up photos from any newspaper or any television feed anywhere across the world. And what is this photo of? It's of thugs. Thugs in the halls of this Capitol. Diminishing everything we say, we believe in, in this democracy. And when you look at those images, you realize those images are priceless for our adversaries.”

Concluded Sen. Warner, “God willing tonight, in an overwhelming way, we're going to take a small step in a bipartisan way to start restoring that trust of our people and hopefully billions of people around the world who believe in that notion of American democracy.”

 

The full text of Sen. Warner’s remarks appears below:

Mr. President, I think like most of us, I'm still pretty reeling from what happened today. 

What I was going to talk about was the work that I'm most proud of since I've been here, with my good friend Richard Burr and all the members of the Intelligence Committee, about a multi-year report we did into foreign interference in our elections. 

Probably our top recommendation of that five-volume bipartisan report was that any official or candidate should use restraint and caution when questioning results of our elections. Because when you do so, you often carry out the goals of our foreign adversaries. 

Use caution, because whether knowingly or unknowingly, and whether that adversary is in Russia or China or Iran, their goals are pretty simple. They want to make it appear to Americans, to folks around the world, to their own people, that there's nothing special about American democracy. 

I was going to try in a feeble way to maybe reach some of the rhetorical heights of Ben Sasse and I knew I couldn't do that. So instead – I know I'm violating rules here, today is the day for violating rules [holds up cell phone image] – this is a photo that appeared today on one of the most prominent German newspapers. 

You don't need to – you can pull up photos from any newspaper or any television feed anywhere across the world. And what is this photo of? It's of thugs. Thugs in the halls of this Capitol. Diminishing everything we say, we believe in, in this democracy. And when you look at those images, you realize those images are priceless for our adversaries. 

God willing tonight, in an overwhelming way, we're going to take a small step in a bipartisan way to start restoring that trust of our people and hopefully billions of people around the world who believe in that notion of American democracy. But remember, these images will still endure. I yield back.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Co-Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, issued the statement below after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and the National Security Agency (NSA) released a joint statement attributing the SolarWinds hack to Russia:

“It’s unfortunate that it has taken over three weeks after the revelation of an intrusion this significant for this Administration to finally issue a tentative attribution. I would hope that we will begin to see something more definitive, along with a more public pronouncement of U.S. policy towards indiscriminate supply chain infiltrations of this sort in the future. We need to make clear to Russia that any misuse of compromised networks to produce destructive or harmful effects is unacceptable and will prompt an appropriately strong response.”

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) issued the following joint statement on the deal to give European Union businesses a preferential investment environment in China:

“America’s go-it-alone approach to trade over the past four years has harmed American workers, consumers, and businesses, all of whom have paid the cost of various punitive tariff campaigns. It also diminished domestic economic growth, alienated longstanding allies, and undermined America’s global standing.

“It is encouraging that President-elect Biden would like the European Union to wait until he takes office to finalize an investment deal with China. A multilateral approach is necessary to confront China on issues like its abusive labor conditions, unfair and opaque subsidies, forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft, and more.

“The United States has a long history of working with our allies to break down barriers to expanding trade and promoting a rules-based system founded on transparency, reciprocity, and fairness. Another such opportunity exists right now. We strongly encourage our friends in the European Union to delay any agreement with China so that the next Congress and president can work alongside them in ending China’s illegal and unfair trade practices and threats to global supply chain integrity.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) was sworn in to office for his third term in a socially distant ceremony by Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday the first day of the 117th Congress. Sen. Warner, a former Virginia Governor, was first elected to the United States Senate in 2008; he was re-elected in 2014 and 2020. He is ranked 32nd in seniority in the 100-member legislative body. 

A successful business leader and co-founder of the cellular giant Nextel, Sen. Warner, will continue to serve on the Senate's Banking, Budget, Finance, Rules and Intelligence committees. 

“I am honored that Virginians decided to send me back to work for them in the Senate. In the 117th Congress, I will keep working to expand economic opportunity, lower healthcare costs, and combat the ongoing health and economic crisis plaguing our country,” said Sen. Warner. “As a business leader, governor, and during my two terms in the U.S. Senate, I have always been willing to work across the aisle to improve the lives of Virginians and Americans. We have more work to do, and I am prepared to get to it.” 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement:

“Multiple courts and state legislatures have found that there is no evidence to support allegations of substantial fraud in the 2020 election. Continued efforts on the part of so many Republican senators to enable the undemocratic temper tantrum of a decisively defeated president only serve to undermine faith in the security and sanctity of our elections and represent everything our country’s Founders warned against. I urge my colleagues in the strongest possible terms to reconsider the likely consequences of their actions, for I fear they will do damage to our democracy and our global credibility that cannot be easily repaired.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after the Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“Today, I voted to override the President’s veto of the NDAA. This annual defense bill is critical to U.S. national security. Failure to pass it would jeopardize our country’s military readiness and national defense, cybersecurity, the well-being of our U.S. service members and their families, and more. The stakes are just too high to risk further delay.

The FY21 NDAA, which passed through the Senate earlier this month, contains a number of Warner-led provisions, including ones to combat illicit finance, prioritize U.S. innovation and technology development in 5G and semiconductors, protect military families, create a more diverse Pentagon workforce, enable greater SCIF flexibility, fund the procurement of a second Virginia-class submarine, and expand the list of service-connected presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. 

Earlier this week, the House voted 322-87 to override President Trump’s veto of the NDAA. Following today’s Senate vote, the bill will become law. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the passing of Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts:

“B.J. Roberts served the people of Hampton faithfully for many decades. He was a trailblazer who was deeply committed to improving relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“He was also my friend for close to 30 years, and even nominated me when I first ran for Senate in 1996.

“My thoughts are with the Roberts family and the deputies and staff of the Hampton Sheriff’s Office during this time.”  

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after President Trump vetoed the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over a provision requiring the military to rename bases named for Confederate military leaders and over the lack of language repealing Section 230.

“It’s unconscionable that the President would choose to throw a wrench into the passage of a bill as critical as our nation’s annual defense bill. 

“The President’s decision to veto this bipartisan legislation on his way out the door poses a serious threat to U.S. national security. It jeopardizes mission readiness and the well-being of our U.S. servicemembers and their families, as well as military construction projects, investments in innovation and technology, and other critical defense priorities. It also threatens the economy in Virginia, which houses the Pentagon, major headquarters for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as Naval Station Norfolk – the largest naval base in the world.

“I look forward to overriding the President’s fruitless and ridiculous attempt to undermine our national security over his shifting rationale for his decision to veto, including a provision to rename bases honoring Confederate military leaders – a provision that many in the President’s own party have supported.” 

The FY21 NDAA, which passed through the Senate earlier this month, contains a number of Warner-led provisions, including ones to combat illicit finance, prioritize U.S. innovation and technology development in 5G and semiconductors, protect military families, create a more diverse pentagon workforce, enable greater SCIF flexibility, fund the procurement of a second Virginia-class submarine, and expand the list of service-connected presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure. 

Sen. Warner is a cosponsor of the Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would remove statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. He has also spoken publicly about the need to remove public symbols—including military post names—honoring the Confederacy as part of broader efforts to advance racial justice. He has spoken out about the need to have a thoughtful conversation about Section 230 and the ways in which it has enabled platforms to turn a blind eye to misuse.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after President Trump vetoed the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) over a provision requiring the military to rename bases named for Confederate military leaders and over the lack of language repealing Section 230.

“It’s unconscionable that the President would choose to throw a wrench into the passage of a bill as critical as our nation’s annual defense bill.

“The President’s decision to veto this bipartisan legislation on his way out the door poses a serious threat to U.S. national security. It jeopardizes mission readiness and the well-being of our U.S. servicemembers and their families, as well as military construction projects, investments in innovation and technology, and other critical defense priorities. It also threatens the economy in Virginia, which houses the Pentagon, major headquarters for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as Naval Station Norfolk – the largest naval base in the world. 

“I look forward to overriding the President’s fruitless and ridiculous attempt to undermine our national security over his shifting rationale for his decision to veto, including a provision to rename bases honoring Confederate military leaders – a provision that many in the President’s own party have supported.”

The FY21 NDAA, which passed through the Senate earlier this month, contains a number of Warner-led provisions, including ones to combat illicit finance, prioritize U.S. innovation and technology development in 5G and semiconductors, protect military families, create a more diverse pentagon workforce, enable greater SCIF flexibility, fund the procurement of a second Virginia-class submarine, and expand the list of service-connected presumptive conditions related to Agent Orange exposure.

Sen. Warner is a cosponsor of the Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would remove statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. He has also spoken publicly about the need to remove public symbols—including military post names—honoring the Confederacy as part of broader efforts to advance racial justice. He has spoken out about the need to have a thoughtful conversation about Section 230 and the ways in which it has enabled platforms to turn a blind eye to misuse.

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) applauded Congressional passage of legislation they authored to make the largest single investment into minority-owned and community-based lending institutions in the nation’s history. Provisions of the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act passed as part of yesterday’s COVID-19 relief bill after Sen. Warner fought to include them in the legislative blueprint that served as the foundation for the final relief deal.

“With Black and Brown unemployment rates more than twice as high as they were at this time last year, we need to be doing everything we can to invest in our most vulnerable communities,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to have fought for these provisions during bipartisan relief negotiations and I trust that they will help put the brakes on the hemorrhaging of jobs and shuttering of minority-owned businesses caused by this crisis. I urge the President to promptly sign this historic legislation into law so that that minority communities start seeing the relief they desperately need.”

“As we work to confront and recover from this public health and economic crisis, we need to be doing everything we can to invest in the communities that have been hardest hit by this pandemic and continue to bear the burden of longstanding structural inequities and systemic racism. The Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act will expand critically needed access to capital for communities of color and will help to empower minority owned businesses to play an important role in our long-term economic recovery,” said Sen. Booker.  

“To help every American get through this crisis, we need to start by helping those who need it most—whether in distributing the vaccine or investing in communities. Our bill will do just that, by providing much-needed capital to communities of color and low-income communities across the country. I’m proud that it will soon become law. Moving forward, we must always remember that relief isn’t relief unless it reaches those who’ve been hardest hit,” said Sen. Harris.

Once signed into law, this legislation will provide $12 billion to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs) to open the flow of emergency capital to countless small businesses located in minority and low- and moderate-income communities, which have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19.

Joining Sens. Warner, Booker and Harris in introducing this legislation were Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Doug Jones (D-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Boozman (R-AR), John Kennedy (R-LA), Tim Scott (R-SC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tina Smith (D-MN), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).

A summary of the original Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act is available here. Text of the bill is available here.

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