Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine criticized President Trump for escalating the trade war with China by placing an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, which the Chinese government has recently matched with $60 billion in tariffs on American goods. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned that this move will threaten an additional $899 million in Virginia exports. Warner and Kaine have long supported tougher trade negotiations, especially with countries like China that violate U.S. laws, but do not believe a trade war where Virginia farmers, manufacturers, and families pay the highest price is a responsible approach. 

“Global trade wars threaten everything from Virginia’s emerging craft brewery industry to soybean farmers and now the coal fields. We have pushed President Trump for months to stop his foolish antics, form a coalition with like-minded allies he is currently alienating like Canada and Europe, and jointly confront China with a coordinated strategy to find an acceptable deal. This escalating trade war is going to cost many Virginians their jobs at a time when they will see rising prices for the goods they buy every day. While we agree that we should be targeting the theft of U.S. intellectual property by China, imposing across-the-board tariffs that stick hardworking American consumers with the costs is the wrong approach. Once again, we call on this Administration to stop using as collateral some of our most vital local industries in order to pursue a reckless and dangerous trade policy,” the Senators said.  

According to the Chamber, Virginia’s hardest hit products from the new retaliatory Tariffs are: 

  1. Soybeans - $361 million of soybeans are exported annually to China. For a comprehensive list of Va.  soybean production, click here.
  2. Bituminous Coal (Not Agglomerated) - $105 million are exported annually to China
  3. Corrugated Paper Waste (Scrap unbleached) - $50 million exported annually to China

 For months, Warner and Kaine have spoken out against President Trump’s escalating trade war and encouraged substantive negotiations. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed that China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods and suggested President Trump’s tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees. President Trump has tweeted that “trade wars are good.”

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) led a letter signed by seven members of the Virginia Delegation to United States International Trade Commission Chairman Johanson expressing serious concerns about tariffs that are impacting Virginia newspapers. This letter was signed by Senators Kaine and Warner as well as Representatives Beyer, Comstock, Connolly, Goodlatte, and Scott:

“We support efforts to fight illegal trade practices and guarantee a level playing field for American companies. However, we are concerned the tariffs on uncoated groundwood paper from Canada will cause long-term harm to domestic newsprint manufacturers and consumers. There are nearly 200 daily and weekly newspapers in Virginia. An increase of up to 35 percent in costs due to these tariffs cannot be absorbed by newspapers and printers; current tariffs are already reducing the frequency and size of publication for many newspapers. This leads to higher prices for readers, businesses and advertisers and is already causing a loss of jobs in the printing and publishing industry at the local level. If these tariffs become permanent, these harmful trends will become ever more pronounced,” wrote the Members of Congress. “Local newsgathering is also jeopardized by these tariffs, which is where so many small Virginia communities will be affected: they rely heavily on their local papers for coverage, and those papers are already struggling to operate on razor-thin margins. Our democracy cannot function unless citizens are informed and engaged; without strong community newspapers, that kind of engagement would be vastly more difficult.”

 

###

WASHINGTON – In response to President Trump’s abuse of Section 232 to unilaterally impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from our closest allies, the Senate today voted 88-11 to re-assert Congress’ constitutional role in U.S. trade policy. U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), who is a leading sponsor of bipartisan legislation requiring the White House to seek Congressional approval before issuing tariffs designated in the interest of national security, applauded today’s move.

“President Trump’s ill-considered steel and aluminum tariffs will make it more expensive for Virginians to buy something as big as a new car or as small as a can of beer. They’re also causing unnecessary pain and uncertainty for Virginia’s ag producers as our allies impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports of soybeans, pork, and more,” said Sen. Warner. “I believe that we should hold China accountable for unfair trade practices, and I support strong trade enforcement rules that protect American workers. But the President should not be relying on a law intended to uphold national security in order to impose tariffs on our strongest allies.” 

Added Senator Warner, “A majority of Senators from both parties have sent a message to President Trump that using ‘national security’ as a pretext to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from our closest allies is unacceptable. While today’s vote was non-binding, it’s a good first step in re-asserting Congress’ constitutional responsibility on trade policy. We must act in order to make sure that Americans can keep buying affordable products and selling our goods abroad.”

Today’s vote was a procedural motion on what’s known as a “motion to instruct,” directing Senators working to reconcile differences between separate funding packages passed by the House and the Senate to push for the inclusion of language that would give Congress a say in the White House’s national security tariffs. One way lawmakers could comply with the motion to instruct would be to adopt language closely mirroring legislation introduced by Sen. Warner along with Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would require the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. President Trump has used this provision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs that target imports from some of the United States’ closest allies like Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. As a result, businesses that make products containing these materials, such as Virginia craft beer producers, expect to see increased production costs that will likely mean higher prices for Virginia consumers. 

In addition, several countries have announced they plan to impose retaliatory tariffs on key Virginia agricultural exports in response to the Administration’s trade policy. Just last week, as retaliation for the President’s trade moves, Beijing slapped a 25 percent tariff increase on imports of several U.S. products, including soybeans and pork. Given that the Chinese are the world’s leading consumers of pork, and the country purchases nearly one-third of all U.S. soybean production, the maneuver is expected to further hurt pork producers and soybean growers in Virginia who were already reeling as a result of President Trump’s trade policies.

The bill, which has 16 bipartisan Senate co-sponsors, has been endorsed by more than 270 business and agricultural groups, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. A longer list of organizations supporting the bill is available here. 

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement on President Trump’s trade war, which has resulted in China imposing tariffs today on Virginia goods: 

“China engages in unfair trade actions that must be addressed, but today, President Trump’s mishandling of the trade situation caused China to officially retaliate against the U.S. by placing tariffs on $34 billion worth of American goods. And who will be hit the hardest? Virginia farmers, manufacturers, and consumers. The trade war that President Trump created moves us further away from a solution, punishes American workers, and raises prices on the products families rely on. President Trump needs to resolve this irresponsible dispute quickly before he does irreparable damage to Virginia’s agricultural industry and economy.”

Despite clear warnings from China that they would retaliate with high tariffs on soybeans, Virginia’s number one agricultural export, President Trump placed tariffs on China at 12:01 am on Friday, July 6. China quickly responded today with tariffs on $34 billion of American goods, including soybeans, beef, cotton, and dairy. Soybean production in Virginia accounts for roughly $187 million in economic output, which helps supports thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed that China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods and suggested President Trump’s tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees.  China is also imposing tariffs on more than 500 other American goods exported to the country. President Trump has tweeted that “trade wars are good.”

Warner and Kaine spoke out for months asking President Trump to avoid the tariffs that China imposed today.

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid concerns surrounding the accelerating pace of stock buybacks in U.S. capital markets, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are leading their colleagues to call on U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton to open a public comment period to review the SEC’s current rules around stock buybacks, which haven’t been updated in over a decade.

In 1982, the SEC finalized rule 10b-18 which, for the first time, allowed public companies to buy back their stock without fear of being charged with stock market manipulation. Since that time, there has been a 40,000% increase in stock buybacks. The Republican tax bill has only fueled this trend. So far this year, corporations have announced more than $480 billion in stock buybacks, overwhelmingly benefiting top executives and wealthy shareholders, and leaving middle class workers behind.

In the letter to Chairman Clayton, the Senators stated, “We write with concerns about the accelerating pace of stock buybacks in U.S. capital markets. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “the Commission”) last updated Rule 10b-18, which governs stock buybacks, in 2003.  Since that time, there have been significant changes in executive compensation practices, shareholder activism, and investing technology. Therefore, we respectfully request that the Commission begin a process to review how companies are conducting buybacks under Rule 10b-18 and whether corporate insiders are exploiting buybacks to sell shares received as executive pay at inflated prices.”

“While we are troubled by the magnitude of stock buybacks and the consequences for employees and communities, we are even more disturbed by the dramatic increase in stock sales by corporate insiders following the announcement of a buyback. This phenomena means it is imperative that the SEC revisit the evolution of Rule 10b-18 to ensure that corporate executives are not using the rule inappropriately to enable advantageous sales of their own stock while ignoring the needs of their companies’ workers,” the Senators continued. 

U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Warner (D-VA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Angus King (I-ME), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) also signed the letter.

The full letter is available here.

An online version of this release is available here.

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment, released a statement after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today voted to adopt amendments to eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) requirements for operating companies and funds: 

“This is a long-overdue move that will improve the quality and accessibility of XBRL data, lowering costs for filers and investors. This is just one of several steps that the SEC should take to modernize existing reporting requirements.” 

In July 2015, Sen. Warner and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) sent a letter calling on the SEC to implement in-line XBRL.

Sen. Warner has been a longtime advocate for improving data access and transparency. The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, bipartisan federal financial management and transparency legislation authored by Sen. Warner, was signed into law in May 2014, requiring the development of government-wide financial data standards to make it easier to compare federal spending across federal agencies.

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Banking and Finance committees, issued the below statement regarding the Trump Administration’s  announcement that it will impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese technology imports in response to China’s theft of intellectual property, the forced transfer of American technology, and cyber attacks:

“I share the President’s concerns about China. For years, Chinese companies pushed and enabled by the Chinese government have cheated American workers and stolen valuable intellectual property from U.S businesses with few repercussions. While we simply cannot let China’s unfair trade practices go unchecked, this President’s erratic approach to resolving this issue gives me pause. His Administration’s friendliness toward ZTE, in spite of warnings from his own top intelligence officials that the telecom company poses a national security threat, is particularly concerning. Instead of taking steps that antagonize our allies and threaten the well-being of Virginia’s agricultural community, the President should focus on building international support to apply greater pressure on Beijing and end these unfair trade practices once and for all.”

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Banking and Finance Committees, released the following statement regarding the Commerce Department’s agreement with ZTE:

“It is the unanimous conclusion of our nation’s intelligence community that ZTE poses a significant threat to our national security. These concerns aren’t new; back in 2012, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report on the serious counterintelligence concerns associated with ZTE equipment. 

“It’s not only that ZTE was busted for evading sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and then lied about it; It’s that ZTE is a state-controlled telecommunications company that poses significant espionage risks, which this agreement appears to do little to address.” 

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Banking and Finance Committees, along with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the White House to seek Congressional approval before issuing tariffs designated in the interest of national security. This authority was originally granted to the President by Congress under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and is a tool that has only rarely been used to restrict foreign imports. 

President Trump has used this provision to impose steel and aluminum tariffs that target imports from some of the United States’ closest allies like Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. As a result, businesses that make products containing these materials, such as Virginia craft beer producers, expect to see increased production costs that will likely mean higher prices for Virginia consumers. In addition, some of these countries have announced they plan to impose retaliatory tariffs on key Virginia agricultural exports. This week, Mexico announced it will be placing a 20 percent tariff on pork imports, a step that will directly hurt Virginia farmers who exported roughly $68 million in pork to that country last year.  

“While I believe that we should hold China accountable for unfair trade practices and I support strong trade enforcement rules that protect American workers, the President should not be relying on an obscure provision of a trade law intended to uphold national security in order to impose tariffs on our allies. Instead, he should focus on building international coalitions to hold bad actors accountable and protect American workers,” said Sen. Warner.

“While we all agree on the need to ensure the international trade system is fair for American workers, companies and consumers, unfortunately, the administration is abusing the Section 232 authority delegated to the president by Congress,” said Sen. Corker. “Making claims regarding national security to justify what is inherently an economic question not only harms the very people we all want to help and impairs relations with our allies but also could invite our competitors to retaliate. If the president truly believes invoking Section 232 is necessary to protect the United States from a genuine threat, he should make the case to Congress and to the American people and do the hard work necessary to secure congressional approval.”

The bill requires the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232. For a 60-day period following submission, legislation to approve the proposal will qualify for expedited consideration, guaranteeing the opportunity for debate and a vote. The requirement would apply to all Section 232 actions moving forward, as well as those taken within the past two years.

Sen. Warner, along with Sen. Kaine, has previously raised concerns about how President Trump’s trade war could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, listing the set of products grown and made in Virginia that have been targeted by the Chinese for duties. Both Senators also wrote to the Administration warning that withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—another significant source of agricultural exports for Virginia—would negatively impact Virginia’s agricultural industry.

A copy of the legislation can be found here.

 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after several countries announced retaliatory tariffs in response to President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on key U.S. allies: 

“President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on some of our closest allies is threatening the livelihood of Virginia farmers. The European Union, Canada, and Mexico are now starting to retaliate by imposing steep tariffs of their own on many products produced in Virginia, like pork, apples, corn, and grapes. Over the last few months, we have met with Virginia farmers who have stressed the importance of stability. Instead, the President is starting a trade war that will make it harder for them to export their products overseas, and make food, beverages, and other everyday products more expensive here at home. When Virginians go to the store to buy beer or groceries this summer, they’ll likely pay higher prices because of Trump’s actions. We urge the President to reverse course, make it clear to our allies and trade partners that we are honest brokers, and give some peace of mind back to farmers and families in Virginia.”  

 

###

 

 

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Co-Chairs of the Senate Aerospace Caucus, introduced the Aeronautics Innovation Act to help boost innovation, research and development in the aeronautics industry. The bill would provide a five-year funding commitment to advance innovation and supplement research in the field.

In 2016, the U.S. aerospace and defense industry produced more than 2.4 million jobs and generated more than $872 billion in revenue. However, without the proper strategy and investment, the U.S. risks falling behind other industrialized nations in developing and advancing the next generation of aircraft. Forecasts estimate that the world’s demand for passenger aircraft fleet above 100 seats will double over the next 20 years, generating new plane orders between 35,000 and 40,000 worth more than $5 trillion by 2035. 

“In order for the U.S. to boost its competitive edge in aeronautics, Congress must enact policies that invest in long-term research and development,” said Sen. Warner. “With countries across the globe looking to profit from record demand in the coming years for commercial aircraft, competition is fierce to lead the way in developing next-generation technology. This bill lays out a blueprint for how the U.S. can lead the world in a new age of manufacturing, where we can build the safest, quietest, most-fuel efficient and environmentally friendly planes available. Virginia is home to a thriving aerospace industry with leading federal facilities such as NASA Langley, and this bill will continue to support the nation’s next-generation capabilities in this important industry.”

“The future of our aerospace industry depends on our investment in research, testing and manufacturing,” said Sen. Moran. “Kansas has demonstrated the significant impact a commitment to forward-thinking can have, and continues to play a prominent role in the national aerospace industry. Across the country, the industry is poised to make groundbreaking discoveries, perfect new technology and build better and more efficient aircraft. The investment that can be made by passing this legislation will make certain that our successes can continue into the next generation.”

 

“We applaud Senators Warner and Moran, the Senate Aerospace Caucus Co-Chairs, for championing the Aeronautics Innovation Act, which will provide continuity and budget stability for aeronautics research. American industry partners are the leaders of innovation and need to maintain our competitive edge. If enacted, this legislation will boost our economy and protect our national security, ensuring American technological superiority in air and space,” said Eric Fanning, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerospace Industries Association.

“The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) is excited to support this important legislative initiative, which will ensure continued U.S. leadership in aeronautics amid increased worldwide competition and investments by other governments.  Aeronautics is a critical industry for our economy and national defense and represents a significant portion of our nation’s exports. The Aeronautics Innovation Act will not only increase our investments in aeronautics research but will also re-focus them on critical innovative growth areas such as: unmanned aerial systems, autonomy, urban air mobility, composite materials, as well as flight test vehicles to demonstrate these technologies so U.S. companies can then take advantage of them,” said Dr. Douglas O. Stanley, President and Executive Director, National Institute of Aerospace.

“The Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance (HRMFFA) writes in strong support of the Aeronautics Innovation Act.  We encourage your colleagues to co-sponsor this necessary legislation to help increase economic growth, sustain national security and maintain America’s leadership in science and technology,” said Craig R. Quigley, Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.), Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance

“Through our involvement in NASA’s Unmanned Traffic Management and UAS in the National Airspace System research programs, we’ve seen firsthand the value of NASA’s leadership in enabling the burgeoning UAS industry to move from innovation towards successful integration, and the tremendous dividends of strong public-private partnerships in this field. This bill helps ensure the continuation of the many NASA-led efforts that are rapidly advancing UAS integration––fueling growth in the UAS industry and supporting U.S. leadership in this critical and expanding sector,” said Mark Blanks, Director, Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership.

“I fully support The Aeronautics Innovation Act being introduced by Senators Warner and Moran, including the aeronautics funding augmentation it proposes. The future challenges posed by demonstrating sustained hypersonic flight, developing a viable commercial supersonic transport system and achieving routine autonomous aerial systems operations will benefit greatly from the knowledge base and technology developed by NASA Aeronautics. An increased NASA Aeronautics funding stream will sustain NASA technology development and assure that NASA expertise and facilities will be available to the  industry and military for future national systems development programs,” said Delma C. Freeman, Jr., Chairman, NASA Aerospace Support Team, Retired Director NASA Langley Research Center.

“As a key element of our overall mission in advocating for aerospace advancement within the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia AeroSpace Business Association (VASBA) is in full support of NASA’s New Aviation Horizons (NAH) Initiative which includes developing new X-planes that will be cleaner, faster and quieter.  NASA has successfully demonstrated the value of X-planes in advancing flight technologies and aerospace engineering, and we strongly believe the NAH initiative will place Virginia at the forefront of the next generation of aircraft and air traffic management systems using advanced technologies and configurations.  We believe that the NAH initiative and complementary investments efforts such as Senator Warner’s Aeronautics Innovation Act will offer tremendous opportunities to industry and universities throughout Virginia,” said Robert P. Fleishauer, Ph.D, PMP, President, Virginia Aerospace Business Association. 

The Senate bill is also endorsed by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Small UAV Coalition, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Unmanned Systems Association of Virginia (USAV), and the National Institute for Aviation Research.

Key provisions of the Aeronautics Innovation Act include:

  • Authorizing robust funding levels for NASA’s Aeronautics directorate over the next five years: $790 million in FY 2019, $930 million in FY 2020, $974 million in FY 2021, $996 million in FY 2022, and $1.03 billion in FY 2023.
  • Ensuring sustained Congressional support for the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s (ARMD) Strategic Implementation Plan, a forward looking strategy that supports the future needs of aviation communities.
  • Affirming NASA’s key role in the long-term research in transformative aeronautics technologies.
  • Establishing a national policy for aeronautics research that will maintain U.S. superiority in air capabilities and aviation industrial leadership.
  • Establishing a new series of experimental plane, or “X-Plane,” programs rooted in ARMD’s strategic plan that will restore NASA’s capacity to see legacy priority initiatives through to completion and achieve national economic and security objectives.
  • Directing NASA’s continuing support of unmanned aircraft system development, particularly unmanned traffic management and on-demand mobility technologies.
  • Creating the 21st Century Aeronautics Research Capabilities Initiative, a program designed to modernize NASA’s aeronautics facilities, such as wind tunnels and modeling & simulation capabilities.

This is the companion bill to bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Steve Knight (R-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Bobby Scott (D-VA) and others in the House of Representatives. 

The full text of the Senate bill can be found here.

###

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) voted in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to undo the Trump Administration’s repeal of net neutrality rules. In February 2018, Sens. Warner and Kaine joined a group of Senate and House Democrats in introducing the CRA to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) partisan vote to repeal open internet rules. The resolution passed the Senate this afternoon 52-47 and it now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

“The FCC last year repealed rules codifying longstanding open internet principles through a strictly partisan and hurried rulemaking, marked by troubling irregularities in its public comment system.  Removing these rules of the road amounted to a greenlight for potential anti-competitive practices by Internet Service Providers, harming Internet users in Virginia and across the country. I urge the House to pass this bill and protect the integrity of the nation’s most crucial information network,” said Sen. Warner

“Over the past year, there have been very few issues that have generated as much contact from my constituents as concerns over the repeal of net neutrality protections. The Obama Administration put these rules in place to protect consumers and the Trump Administration took them away to protect big internet service providers. It’s as simple as that. This is particularly important for students and families in rural communities that have limited options in internet providers. We fought hard for this vote, and now that our resolution has passed, we need the House to swiftly take it up so we can reverse the Trump Administration’s gutting of net neutrality protections. This is a fundamental issue of providing consumers with more choice and control,” Sen. Kaine said.

In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which the D.C. Circuit Court had upheld in 2016. The Open Internet Order prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. Repealing the net neutrality rules could lead to higher prices for consumers, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites. A recent poll showed that 83 percentof Americans do not approve of the FCC action to repeal net neutrality rules. 

A simple majority of 51 votes is needed to pass a CRA resolution in the Senate.

 

###

WASHINGTON – During a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today to consider the nomination of Bill Evanina to serve as the nation’s top counterintelligence official, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), the Committee’s Vice Chairman, voiced concern that rolling back trade restrictions on Chinese telecom company ZTE would pose significant national security risks to the United States.

In recent days, President Trump has publicity expressed his desire to reverse trade restrictions placed on the company for violating sanctions on Iran and North Korea. 

“On the question of counterintelligence with China, a number of members of this committee have raised concerns about certain Chinese telecom companies and their penetration into the American market. I was actually pleased that the President acted on one of those companies, ZTE. Now it appears that that is simply a bargaining chip in negotiations with China. I don’t think that is the appropriate way,” said Sen. Warner during the nomination hearing. 

“If this is a security threat, then it is a security threat and needs to be dealt with as such — not as a bargaining chip in greater trade negotiations,” added Sen. Warner.

On Sunday, May 13 Trump tweeted, “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” The next day, Trump followed with another tweet: “ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi.”

Earlier today, Sen. Warner joined a group of 34 Senators urging President Trump not to reverse trade restrictions on ZTE.

 

###

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) expressed increased concern over how President Trump’s trade war would hurt Virginia’s soybean production, which is the Commonwealth’s number one cash crop. China’s Ministry of Commerce has recently announced they will begin proactively taxing Chinese companies that import some American agricultural products at 178.6% to discourage imports. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) has confirmed that China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods and suggestedPresident Trump’s tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees. Soybean production in Virginia accounts for roughly $187 million in economic output, which helps supports thousands of jobs in the Commonwealth. Amid escalating rhetoric by the Trump Administration, China announced that it is considering raising tariffs on soybeans, beef, and other critical agriculture commodities produced in Virginia.  

“Virginia’s soybean producers should not be held hostage to the uncertainty of President Trump’s trade games,” said Sen. Warner. “While China should be held accountable for its unfair trade practices, this should not be done at the expense of the hardworking soybean farmers in this country. President Trump needs to work with us to find the best way to resolve these disputes and avoid threatening an industry that creates thousands of new jobs and brings millions of dollars to rural communities in Virginia.”

“Clearly China is not taking President Trump’s threats lightly and we’re going to start feeling the pain of his rash actions. Our farmers deserve better than this,” said Sen. Kaine. “President Trump says he wants to create jobs and stimulate the economy yet his actions will have the opposite effect. His inflammatory, bullying tactics are going to hurt Virginians.”

“Exports are a vital source of income for Virginia’s farmers and here in the Commonwealth we have worked hard to open new markets around the world for our agriculture and forestry exporters. However, these efforts are jeopardized by threats of tariffs and trade wars at the national level,” said Bettina Ring, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “I hope that our trade negotiators will keep our hardworking farmers and agribusinesses front of mind when working with their Chinese counterparts to solve this trade dispute.”

“The Virginia Soybean Association is concerned with the potential of trade wars within the global marketplace, including China. International trade is vital for the economic viability of the soybean industry,” said Nick Moody, President of the Virginia Soybean Association. “Uncertainty in trade agreements directly affect the stability of markets and price, which is a major concern for producers in a business that is already largely dependent on weather. Our hope is for the administration to work with leaders in international markets to create solid solutions to these trade disputes, which will not continue to disrupt soybean markets.”

According to VDACS, agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, with an economic impact of $70 billion annually that provides more than 334,000 jobs.The agriculture and forestry industries combined have a total economic impact of over $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. Production agriculture alone employs 54,000 Virginians and accounts for more than $3.8 billion in economic output. Almost 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is directly tied to agriculture and forestry.

Sens. Warner and Kaine previously raised concerns about how President Trump’s trade war with China could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, listing the set of products grown and made in Virginia that have been targeted by the Chinese for duties. They also wrote to the Administration last week warning that withdrawing from the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—another significant source of agricultural exports for Virginia—would negatively impact Virginia’s agricultural industry.

 

Below is a detailed list of soybean producing areas in Virginia as of 2017. A comprehensive list can be found here

 

COUNTY

PRODUCTION (Bushels)

NORTHERN VA/VALLEY

 

Culpeper

524,000

Fauquier

642,000

Frederick

68,500

Loudoun

301,000

Madison

384,000

Page

25,400

Rockingham

405,000

Shenandoah

259,000

Other NOVA counties

314,100

 

 

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

 

Amelia

429,000

Bedford

20,300

Campbell

162,000

Caroline

1,056,000

Chesterfield

66,000

Cumberland

134,000

Goochland

183,000

Louisa

224,000

Orange

380,000

Prince Edward

48,400

Spotsylvania

180,000

Other Central Counties

1,413,300

 

 

EASTERN SHORE

 

Accomack

1,577,000

Charles City

434,000

Essex

971,000

Gloucester

284,000

King and Queen

718,000

King George

222,000

King William

740,000

Northampton

937,000

Northumberland

767,000

Richmond

779,000

Westmoreland

895,000

Other Eastern Counties

1,041,000

 

 

SOUTHSIDE

 

Charlotte

240,000

Halifax

299,000

Lunenburg

148,000

Nottoway

128,000

Pittsylvania

193,000

Other Southside Counties

253,000

 

 

HAMPTON ROADS

 

Brunswick

364,000

Dinwiddie

553,000

Greensville

353,000

Isle of Wight

728,000

Prince George

437,000

Southampton

992,000

Surry

592,000

Chesapeake

887,000

Suffolk City

898,000

Virginia Beach

454,000

Other HRVA Counties

1,459,000

 

 

TOTAL

25,960,000

###

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) urged the Trump Administration to protect Virginia’s agriculture producers and the national agricultural economy as negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) enter a critical stage. Last week, President Trump threatened to stop the free trade agreement as a way to pressure Mexico on border security.

“Throughout the negotiation process, we have been concerned by President Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA, along with other protectionist trade policies being pursued by the Administration. Withdrawal from the agreement would have devastating consequences for the U.S. economy that would affect each state and nearly every job sector,” Sens. Warner and Kaine wrote in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, with an economic impact of $70 billion annually that provides more than 334,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. The agriculture and forestry industries combined have a total economic impact of over $91 billion and provide more than 442,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. Every job in agriculture and forestry supports 1.7 jobs elsewhere in Virginia’s economy. Production agriculture alone employs 54,000 Virginians and accounts for more than $3.8 billion in economic output. Almost 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is directly tied to agriculture and forestry.

“In Virginia alone, 46,000 to 96,000 jobs could be at risk if the U.S. exited the agreement. Thousands of these job losses would include farmers and workers in other agriculture and forestry-related industries across the country…actual withdrawal from NAFTA would seriously destabilize the integrated supply chains that have taken decades to establish and imperil the livelihoods of thousands of Virginians and millions more across the U.S.,” added the Senators.

“The Virginia Cattlemen's Association appreciates the support Senators Warner and Kaine are offering for continued negotiation of NAFTA, an important facilitator of continued trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico that has greatly benefited the vast majority of Virginia and US agricultural commodities,” said Jason H. Carter, Executive Director of the Virginia Cattlemen's Association & Virginia Beef Industry Council.

“The NAFTA markets are important to Virginia’s poultry industry, and it is critical that the current renegotiation not only preserve, but actually expand access to these markets,” said Hobey Bauhan, President of the Virginia Poultry Federation.

Sens. Warner and Kaine also pushed the Administration to negotiate greater access of U.S. poultry exports to Canadian markets. According to the Virginia Poultry Federation, Virginia’s poultry industry employs as many as 17,637 people across the Commonwealth and generates an additional 32,983 jobs in supplier and ancillary industries. As of 2016, Virginia ranks 10th nationally in broiler chicken production and 6th in turkey production.

Last week, Sens. Warner and Kaine similarly raised concerns about how President Trump’s trade war with China could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, listing the set of products grown and made in Virginia that have been targeted by the Chinese for duties.

A PDF of the letter can be found here. The full letter text is below.

The Honorable Robert Lighthizer

U.S. Trade Representative

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

600 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20508

 

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:

As negotiations over the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) enter a critical stage, we write to you today to highlight the importance of a do-no-harm approach for Virginia’s agriculture producers and the national agricultural economy. In the face of an increasingly volatile global trade environment, we believe it is necessary to reiterate the importance of maintaining the core components of NAFTA for our agricultural community.

In Virginia, agriculture and forestry remain the largest private industries, accounting for a combined economic impact of $91 billion annually and providing more than 442,000 jobs. Each job in the agriculture and forestry sector in Virginia supports nearly two additional jobs elsewhere in the economy. Production agriculture alone employs 54,000 Virginians and accounts for more than $3.8 billion in economic output for the Commonwealth. Almost 10 percent of Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is directly tied to agriculture and forestry.

The continued success of Virginia’s agriculture economy is in part due to the expansion of the global marketplace over the last several decades. Since the implementation of NAFTA, Virginia agriculture producers have witnessed tremendous growth in the number of exports to both Canada and Mexico. From 1996 to 2016, Virginia’s agriculture and forestry exports to Canada grew by 400 percent, from $58.4 million to $296.5 million. Exports to Mexico grew even faster during this time period, from $7.9 million to $113.6 million – an increase of over 1,300 percent. Today, Canada and Mexico represent Virginia’s first and third largest export markets, respectively.

While NAFTA has benefitted American agriculture producers, there are areas in which it can be improved. For example, under NAFTA, U.S. poultry exports have faced significant barriers in gaining access to the Canadian marketplace. Strict quotas and high tariffs implemented by the Canadian government have prevented American poultry producers from fully reaching this lucrative market. I am pleased this issue of market access was included in USTR’s negotiating objectives for NAFTA, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to expand opportunities for our agriculture community.

Throughout the negotiation process, we have been concerned by President Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw the U.S. from NAFTA, along with other protectionist trade policies being pursued by the Administration. Withdrawal from the agreement would have devastating consequences for the U.S. economy that would affect each state and nearly every job sector. A recent study predicted that if the U.S. left NAFTA, 1.8 million to 3.6 million jobs would be lost in the following years. In Virginia alone, 46,000 to 96,000 jobs could be at risk if the U.S. exited the agreement. Thousands of these job losses would include farmers and workers in other agriculture and forestry-related industries across the country. We are supportive of efforts to modernize NAFTA, including updating labor protections to reflect the May 10 Agreement and improving environmental protections. However, actual withdrawal from NAFTA would seriously destabilize the integrated supply chains that have taken decades to establish and imperil the livelihoods of thousands of Virginians and millions more across the U.S.

As NAFTA negotiations progress, we ask that you pursue a do-no-harm approach to modernizing free trade agreements and supporting the agriculture economy in Virginia and throughout our country. We look forward to working with you to ensure that our farmers have access to the global marketplace.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Sincerely, 

###

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine raised concerns after Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services confirmed that proposed tariffs could hurt Virginia businesses and employees, as China is the Commonwealth’s biggest export market for agricultural goods. Yesterday China announced that it is considering raising tariffs on soybeans, beef, and other critical agriculture commodities produced in Virginia in response to President Trump’s proposed tariffs. President Trump recently tweeted that “trade wars are good.” 

“President Trump should be making it easier for Virginia farmers and families to get ahead, not driving us head-first into a harmful trade war,” the Senators said. “The President’s reckless actions aren’t ‘good’ for the farmers and local businesses whose products would face huge taxes from China. And President Trump causing massive volatility in the stock market sure isn’t ‘good’ for our economy or Virginia families’ retirement savings. We wish the President would think about hardworking Virginians before making rash decisions with serious implications for our communities.”

China announced tariffs on 106 U.S. products yesterday, including items produced in rural communities in Central, Southern, and Southwest Virginia, as well as the Valley, the Eastern Shore, and the Northern Neck. Below is the full list of products that are set to be subject to duties, many grown in Virginia: 

1. Yellow soybean

2. Black soybean

3. Corn

4. Cornflour

5. Uncombed cotton

6. Cotton linters

7. Sorghum

8. Brewing or distilling dregs and waste

9. Other durum wheat

10.  Other wheat and mixed wheat

11.  Whole and half head fresh and cold beef

12.  Fresh and cold beef with bones

13.  Fresh and cold boneless beef

14.  Frozen beef with bones

15.  Frozen boneless beef

16.  Frozen boneless meat

17.  Other frozen beef chops

18.  Dried cranberries

19.  Frozen orange juice

20.  Non-frozen orange juice

21.  Whiskies

22.  Unstemmed flue-cured tobacco

23.  Other unstemmed tobacco

24.  Flue-cured tobacco partially or totally removed

25.  Partially or totally deterred tobacco stems

26.  Tobacco waste

27.  Tobacco cigars

28.  Tobacco cigarettes

29.  Cigars and cigarettes, tobacco substitutes

30.  Hookah tobacco

31.  Other tobacco for smoking

32.  Reconstituted tobacco

33.  Other tobacco and tobacco substitute products

34.  SUVs with discharge capacity of 2.5L to 3L

35.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 2500ml, but not exceeding 3000ml for SUVs (4 wheel drive)

36.  Vehicles with discharge capacity of 1.5L to 2L

37.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 1000ml, but not exceeding 1500ml for SUVs (4 wheel drive)

38.  Passenger cars with discharge capacity 1.5L to 2L, 9 seats or less

39.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 1000ml, but not exceeding 1500ml for 9 passenger cars and below

40.  Passenger cars with discharge capacity of 3L to 4L, 9 seats or less

41.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 3000ml, but not exceeding 4000ml for 9 passenger cars and below

42.  Off-road vehicles with discharge capacity of 2L to 2.5L

43.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 2000ml, but not exceeding 2500ml for off-road vehicles

44.  Passenger cars with discharge capacity of 2L to 2.5L, 9 seats or less

45.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 2000ml, but not exceeding 2500ml for 9 passenger cars and below

46.  Off-road vehicles with discharge capacity of 3L to 4L

47.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 3000ml, but not exceeding 4000ml for off-road vehicles

48.  Diesel-powered off-road vehicles with discharge capacity of 2.5L to 3L

49.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 2500ml, but not exceeding 3000ml for diesel-powered off-road vehicles

50.  Passenger cars with discharge capacity of 2.5L to 3L, 9 seats or less

51.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement exceeding 2500ml, but not exceeding 3000ml for 9 passenger cars and below

52.  Off-road vehicles with discharge capacity of less than 4L

53.  Other vehicles equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source. Cylinder capacity displacement not exceeding 4000ml for off-road vehicles

54.  Other vehicles which are equipped with an ignited reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor and can be charged by plugging in an external power source

55.  Other vehicles that are equipped with a compression ignition type internal combustion engine (diesel or semi-diesel) and a drive motor, other than vehicles that can be charged by plugging in an external power source

56.  Other vehicles which are equipped with an ignition reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor and can be charged by plugging in an external power source

57.  Other vehicles that are equipped with a compression-ignition reciprocating piston internal combustion engine and a drive motor that can be charged by plugging in an external power source

58.  Other vehicles that only drive the motor

59.  Other vehicles

60.  Other gasoline trucks of less than 5 tons

61.  Transmissions and parts for motor vehicles not classified

62.  Liquefied Propane

63.  Primary Shaped Polycarbonate

64.  Supported catalysts with noble metals and their compounds as actives

65.  Diagnostic or experimental reagents attached to backings, except for goods of tariff lines 32.02, 32.06

66.  Chemical products and preparations for the chemical industry and related industries, not elsewhere specified

67.  Products containing PFOS and its salts, perfluorooctanyl sulfonamide or perfluorooctane sulfonyl chloride in note 3 of this chapter

68.  Items listed in note 3 of this chapter containing four, five, six, seven or octabromodiphenyl ethers

69.  Contains 1,2,3,4,5,6-HCH (6,6,6) (ISO), including lindane (ISO, INN)

70.  Primarily made of dimethyl (5-ethyl-2-methyl-2oxo-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorin-5-yl)methylphosphonate and double [(5-b Mixtures and products of 2-methyl-2-oxo-1,3,2-dioxaphosphorin-5-yl)methyl] methylphosphonate (FRC-1)

71.  38248600a articles listed in note 3 to this chapter containing PeCB (ISO) or Hexachlorobenzene (ISO)

72.  Containing aldrin (ISO), toxaphene (ISO), chlordane (ISO), chlordecone (ISO), DDT (ISO) [Diptrix (INN), 1,1,1-trichloro-2 ,2-Bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethane], Dieldrin (ISO, INN), Endosulfan (ISO), Endrin (ISO), Heptachlor (ISO) or Mirex (ISO). The goods listed in note 3 of this chapter

73.  Other carrier catalysts

74.  Other polyesters

75.  Reaction initiators, accelerators not elsewhere specified

76.  Polyethylene with a primary shape specific gravity of less than 0.94

77.  Acrylonitrile

78.  Lubricants (without petroleum or oil extracted from bituminous minerals)

79.  Diagnostic or experimental formulation reagents, whether or not attached to backings, other than those of heading 32.02, 32.06

80.  Lubricant additives for oils not containing petroleum or extracted from bituminous minerals

81.  Primary Shaped Epoxy Resin

82.  Polyethylene Terephthalate Plate Film Foil Strips

83.  Other self-adhesive plastic plates, sheets, films and other materials

84.  Other plastic non-foam plastic sheets

85.  Other plastic products

86.  Other primary vinyl polymers

87.  Other ethylene-α-olefin copolymers, specific gravity less than 0.94

88.  Other primary shapes of acrylic polymers

89.  Other primary shapes of pure polyvinyl chloride

90.  Polysiloxane in primary shape

91.  Other primary polysulphides, polysulfones and other tariff numbers as set forth in note 3 to chapter 39 are not listed.

92.  Plastic plates, sheets, films, foils and strips, not elsewhere specified

93.  1,2-Dichloroethane (ISO)

94.  Halogenated butyl rubber sheets, strips

95.  Other heterocyclic compounds

96.  Adhesives based on other rubber or plastics

97.  Polyamide-6,6 slices

98.  Other primary-shaped polyethers

99.  Primary Shaped, Unplasticized Cellulose Acetate

100. Aromatic polyamides and their copolymers

101. Semi-aromatic polyamides and their copolymers

102. Other polyamides of primary shape

103. Other vinyl polymer plates, sheets, strips

104. Non-ionic organic surfactants

105. Lubricants (containing oil or oil extracted from bituminous minerals and less than 70% by weight)

106. Aircraft and other aircraft with an empty weight of more than 15,000kg but not exceeding 45,000kg

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Banking Committee, issued a statement after the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on five Russian entities and 19 individuals for interference in the 2016 election:         

“This is a welcome, if long-overdue, step by the Trump Administration to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. Our nation’s top intelligence officials have testified that Russia continues to interfere in our democracy, with no intention to stop. Yet these sanctions do not go far enough. Nearly all of the entities and individuals who were sanctioned today were either previously under sanction during the Obama Administration, or had already been charged with federal crimes by the Special Counsel. With the midterm elections fast approaching, the Administration needs to step it up, now, if we have any hope of deterring Russian meddling in 2018.”

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – On Net Neutrality National Day of Action, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a group of Senate and House Democrats in introducing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) partisan decision on net neutrality. The Senate CRA resolution of disapproval stands at 50 supporters, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). The House resolution currently has 150 co-sponsors.

The FCC’s Open Internet Order prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. Repealing these net neutrality rules could lead to higher prices for consumers, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites. A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality rules.

“From the start, the FCC’s process to determine whether to keep previously established rules that guarantee a free and open internet was marred by partisan fights and troubling irregularities in the public comment system,” said the Senators. “By repealing these open internet principles, we believe the agency greenlighted potential anti-competitive practices that could negatively impact consumers. We will continue urging our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to stand together to protect the integrity of our nation’s most crucial information network.”

Last week, the FCC’s rule repealing net neutrality was published in the Federal Register, leaving 60 legislative days to seek a vote on the Senate floor on the CRA resolutions. In order to force a vote on the Senate resolution, the Senators will submit a discharge petition, which requires a minimum of 30 Senators’ signatures. Once the discharge petition is filed, Senate Democrats will demand a vote on the resolution. A simple majority of 51 votes is needed to pass a CRA resolution in the Senate. 

A copy of the CRA resolution can be found here.

 

###

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) met with Tim Thomas, President Trump’s nominee to be the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. During the meeting, Senator Warner and Thomas discussed their shared priorities for Appalachia, including workforce development and combatting the opioid crisis.

“While I remain concerned about the Trump Administration’s proposal to defund the Appalachian Regional Commission, I was encouraged to hear Mr. Thomas lay out his priorities for an active ARC that carries out its mission of fostering economic development in Appalachia,” said Sen. Warner. “When it comes to jumpstarting the region’s economy, we need to take off our Republican and Democratic hats and work together. I encourage my colleagues from both parties to give fair consideration to Mr. Thomas’ nomination for this important post.”

The Appalachian Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership that has invested in 25,000 projects across Appalachia’s 420 counties. For more than fifty years, ARC has provided funding and support for job-creating community projects across the 13 Appalachian states, producing an average of $204 million in annual earnings for a region often challenged by economic underdevelopment. Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated over 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans living in Appalachia.

In his FY2018 budget, President Trump proposed eliminating funding for the ARC entirely. In response, Senator Warner and a bipartisan coalition of Senators who represent Appalachian states called on President Trump to reverse his proposal to zero out funding for this important federal-state partnership. In 2017 alone, Senator Warner announced over $7 million in ARC grant funding for projects in Virginia’s Appalachian counties, including:

  • Falls Mills Senior Center Project (Tazewell County) - $500,000. This grant to the Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens, Inc., in partnership with the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors, will help build a community service and senior facility at the Falls Mills Elementary School site.
  • Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone (Covington, Va.) - $100,000. This grant will be matched with $100,000 in local funds to complete a feasibility study and design, marketing, and business plan for the new “Alleghany Highlands Drone Zone,” a business accelerator program and facility to support local enterprises in this emerging industry. It is anticipated that space for 12 businesses will be available in a city owned building that has been identified for renovation, and the project is expected to support the creation of three to five new businesses a year, according to ARC.
  • Floyd Regional Commerce Center (Floyd County) - $1,081,958. This grant leverages $30 million in private investment—will fund approximately 0.21 miles of access road, an industrial cul-de-sac, as well as pedestrian and bike path to facilitate Floyd County’s development of the Floyd Regional Commerce Center. The Floyd County Economic Development Authority estimates that completion of the Commerce Center would promote economic development with the potential to support more than 100 new jobs in the region.
  • William King Museum of Art (Abingdon, Va.) - $500,000. This grant will help the William King Museum of Art will help fund Phase 1 of a larger cultural campus expansion project. The funds will go towards access improvements, additional parking and renovating a currently vacant facility that will become the new Center for Studio Art and Education. With the improvements at the campus, 10 artisans will take up residency at the facility, 2 jobs will be created and 2,500 new visitors are anticipated. In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $657,000, bringing the total project funding to $1,157,000. 
  • Southwest Virginia Early Childhood Workforce Development (Abington, Va.) - $99,933. This grant will help United Way of Southwest Virginia assist 70 workers obtain child care credentials and improve child development services for 20 existing businesses in a 13-county area. In addition, the grantee will provide training and other assistance to individuals who wish to establish their own childcare programs in underserved areas, resulting in 10 new enterprises capable of serving 120 children. In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $61,783 in matching funds. 
  • Project Discovery Program (Abingdon, Va.) - $75,844. This grant will help People Incorporated of Virginia expand its academic advancement and college attendance program to serve more low-income, first-generation college-bound high school students. The project will provide assistance to 60 students with college readiness skills and financial opportunities. The project will serve Dickenson, Buchanan, Russell, and Washington Counties. In additional to ARC funds, local sources will provide $39,391, bringing the total project funding to $113,235.
  • Frog Level Phase II Water Project (Lee County) - $500,000. This grant will help provide reliable public water supply to Lee County as well as support economic development for the newly-established school of veterinary medicine. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $948,680, and local sources will provide $108,652, bringing the total project funding to $1,557,332.
  • Cool & Connected Pennington Gap Project (Pennington Gap, Va.) - $7,500. This grant will help the city of Pennington Gap fund the renovation of space and the creation of a community computer center at the basement of the Lee Theatre, purchase computer equipment, and provide Wi-Fi access in Leeman’s field. In addition to ARC funds, Sunset Digital Communications will provide $4,000, bringing the total project funding to $11,500.
  • Cool & Connected Jonesville Project (Jonesville, Va.) - $7,500. This grant will help fund the renovation of a community computer center in Jonesville, Virginia at an existing town-owned building located in the town’s Cumberland Bowl Park. The minor renovations will include computer equipment and Wi-Fi access at the park. In addition to ARC funds, Sunset Digital Communications will provide $4,000, bringing the total project funding to $11,500.
  • Tacoma Sewer Project (Wise County) - $500,000. The grant will help the Wise County Public Service Authority begin a project that will provide public sewer collection to a previously unserved community of 48 households and two businesses, and eliminate public and environmental health concerns related to improperly disposed raw sewage. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $750,000, and local sources will provide $155,901, bringing the total project funding to $1,405,901.
  • Lyric Theater Project (St. Paul, Va.) - $300,000. This grant will help the Town of St. Paul renovate and stabilize the interior and exterior of the Lyric Theater to stabilize the building. The renovation will equip the building to hold conferences, events and performing arts for visitor and tourists. The facility will be affiliated with The Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail. In addition to ARC funds, local sources will provide $135,000, bringing the total project funding to $435,000.
  • Spearhead Trails in SW Virginia Project (Coeburn, Va.) - $92,300. This grant will help the Southwest Regional Recreation Authority (SRRA) to fund a study that will examine existing and potential economic benefits of the Spearhead Trails on the surrounding region, identify priorities for future development, and help SRRA develop a sustainable organizational model. SRRA was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2008 to support outdoor recreation and tourism investment in the Coalfields of Southwest Virginia. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $30,000 and local sources will provide $7,700, bringing the total project funding to $130,000.
  • Donnkenny, Breaks and Tivis Pump Stations Replacement Project (Dickenson County) - $441,740. This grant will help replace three deteriorating below-ground pump stations with above-ground facilities that meet current design standards. The new pump stations will provide water to 571 households and 10 businesses in distressed communities, as well as to nine tourism-related businesses in the Breaks Interstate Park, and will ensure that reliable infrastructure is in place to support future economic development, particularly that which is related to tourism. In addition to ARC funds, state sources will provide $150,000, and local sources will provide an additional $102,260, bringing the total project funding to $694,000.


Senator Warner serves as a co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Appalachia Initiative, which has laid out a roadmap for bipartisan legislation to jumpstart economic growth in the region.

Mr. Thomas currently serves on the state staff of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a field representative based in the senator’s Bowling Green office. A native Kentuckian, Thomas previously served in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher as a special assistant to the secretary of the Kentucky Environmental Cabinet, handling matters including legislative initiatives for the agency, according to the ARC.

###

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced today the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act to hold large credit reporting agencies (CRAs)—including Equifax—accountable for data breaches involving consumer data. The bill would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more direct supervisory authority over data security at CRAs, impose mandatory penalties on CRAs to incentivize adequate protection of consumer data, and provide robust compensation to consumers for stolen data.

In September 2017, Equifax announced that hackers had stolen sensitive personal information – including Social Security Numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and passport numbers – of over 145 million Americans. The attack highlighted that CRAs hold vast amounts of data on millions of Americans but lack adequate safeguards against hackers. Since 2013, Equifax has disclosed at least four separate hacks in which sensitive personal data was compromised.

“In today’s information economy, data is an enormous asset. But if companies like Equifax can’t properly safeguard the enormous amounts of highly sensitive data they are collecting and centralizing, then they shouldn’t be collecting it in the first place,” said Sen. Warner. “This bill will ensure that companies like Equifax – which gather vast amounts of information on American consumers, often without their knowledge – are taking appropriate steps to secure data that’s central to Americans’ identity management and access to credit.”

“The financial incentives here are all out of whack – Equifax allowed personal data on more than half the adults in the country to get stolen, and its legal liability is so limited that it may end up making money off the breach,” said Sen. Warren. “Our bill imposes massive and mandatory penalties for data breaches at companies like Equifax – and provides robust compensation for affected consumers – which will put money back into peoples’ pockets and help stop these kinds of breaches from happening again.”

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act would establish an Office of Cybersecurity at the FTC tasked with annual inspections and supervision of cybersecurity at CRAs. It would impose mandatory, strict liability penalties for breaches of consumer data beginning with a base penalty of $100 for each consumer who had one piece of personal identifying information (PII) compromised and another $50 for each additional PII compromised per consumer. To ensure robust recovery for affected consumers, the bill would also require the FTC to use 50% of its penalty to compensate consumers and would increase penalties in cases of woefully inadequate cybersecurity or if a CRA fails to timely notify the FTC of a breach.

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act is supported by cybersecurity experts and consumer groups:

“U.S. PIRG commends Senators Warren and Warner for the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act. It will ensure that credit bureaus protect your information as if you actually mattered to them and it will both punish them and compensate you when they fail to do so,” said U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director, Ed Mierzwinski.

"This bill establishes much-needed protections for data security for the credit bureaus. It also imposes real and meaningful penalties when credit bureaus, entrusted with our most sensitive financial information, break that trust," said National Consumer Law Center staff attorney, Chi Chi Wu. 

"Senator Warner and Senator Warren have proposed a concrete response to a serious problem facing American consumers,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center President, Marc Rotenberg.

"This bill creates greater incentive for these companies to handle our data with care and gives the Federal Trade Commission the tools that it needs to hold them accountable,” said Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at Consumer Federation of America, Susan Grant.

Sen. Warner has been a leader in calling for better consumer protections from data theft. Following the Equifax data breach, Sen. Warner asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine whether credit reporting agencies such as Equifax have adequate cybersecurity safeguards in place for “the enormous amounts of sensitive data they gather and commercialize.” He slammed the credit bureau for its cybersecurity failures and weak response at a Banking Committee hearing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton last year. Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2013 Target breach that exposed the debit and credit card information of 40 million customers, Sen. Warner chaired the first congressional hearing on protecting consumer data from the threat posed by hackers targeting retailers’ online systems. Sen. Warner has also partnered with the National Retail Federation to establish an information sharing platform that allows the industry to better protect consumer financial information from data breaches.Warner, Warren Introduce Legislation to Hold Credit Reporting Agencies like Equifax Accountable for Data Breaches 

To view a fact sheet about the legislation, click here. The bill text can be found here.  

 

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) urged Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to delay a planned December 14th vote to roll back net neutrality rules until an investigation can be completed into reports that internet “bots” – automated computer programs designed to pose as people – filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking process.

“A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding,” the Senators wrote in a letter to Chairman Pai. “In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.”

“Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC cannot conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public’s views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote on December 14, 2017,” the Senators continued.

“The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding,” the Senators concluded.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the letter was signed by Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Al Franken (D-MN), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). 

The full text of the letter appears below. A copy of the letter is available here.

 

December 4, 2017

 

The Honorable Ajit Pai

Chairman

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street Southwest

Washington, DC 20554

 

Dear Chairman Pai:

 

We are deeply concerned by your recently released proposal to roll back critical consumer protections by dismantling the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) current net neutrality rules. A free and open Internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field online, and we believe that your proposed action may be based on an incomplete understanding of the public record in this proceeding. In fact, there is good reason to believe that the record may be replete with fake or fraudulent comments, suggesting that your proposal is fundamentally flawed.

 

To this end, we request a thorough investigation by the FCC into reports that bots may have interfered with this proceeding by filing hundreds of thousands of comments. Furthermore, an additional 50,000 consumer complaints seem to have been excluded from the public record in this proceeding, according to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by the National Hispanic Media Coalition.  Without additional information about the alleged anomalies surrounding the public record, the FCC cannot conduct a thorough and fair evaluation of the public’s views on this topic, and should not move forward with a vote on December 14, 2017. 

 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has spent the past six months conducting an investigation into the fraudulent comments, and found that “hundreds of thousands” of comments may have impersonated New York residents, a violation of state law. He further asserts that the FCC has not cooperated with requests for additional data and information. Data scientist Jeff Kao has also run an analysis of the public record, and estimates that over a million comments filed in support of repealing net neutrality may have been fake. These reports raise serious concerns as to whether the record the FCC is currently relying on has been tampered with and merits the full attention of, and investigation by, the FCC before votes on this item are cast. 

 

A transparent and open process is vitally important to how the FCC functions. The FCC must invest its time and resources into obtaining a more accurate picture of the record as understanding that record is essential to reaching a defensible resolution to this proceeding.  As a result, we are requesting that you delay your planned vote on this item until you can conduct a thorough review of the state of the record and provide Congress with greater assurance of its accuracy and completeness.  

 

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

###

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the below statement on the Federal Communications Commission's plan to repeal net neutrality rules:

“The FCC Chairman has decided to move forward to repeal net neutrality rules without any plan in place to uphold longstanding open internet principles supported by both Democratic and Republican Administrations. I am deeply concerned that the FCC’s current plan would amount to a green light for potential anti-competitive practices by certain internet service providers, with the Chairman signaling the Commission’s unwillingness to protect consumers and small businesses from potential abuse.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, today joined Republicans and Democrats, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), to introduce the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to reduce regulatory burdens on community banks and credit unions and provide new protections to consumers.

The legislation is the result of bipartisan negotiations among Warner, Crapo, and Banking Committee members Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

“This bipartisan bill is the result of years of tough negotiations among Democrats and Republicans,” said Sen. Warner. “The goal is simple: to help Main Street by rolling back unnecessary and burdensome regulations on credit unions and small community banks while ensuring that larger banks remain subject to the rules I helped put in place after the financial crisis to prevent another meltdown on Wall Street. This proposal makes targeted, commonsense fixes that will provide tangible relief to the community banks that are lifelines for smaller and rural communities. It also strengthens protections for veterans, the elderly and other consumers, and encourages community-based lending to boost economic growth and create jobs.”

“A strong and vibrant economy is important for American consumers, businesses, and the stability of the financial sector,” said Chairman Crapo. “The bipartisan proposals on which we have agreed will significantly improve our financial regulatory framework and foster economic growth by right-sizing regulation, particularly for smaller financial institutions and community banks.”

Following the 2008 financial meltdown, Sen. Warner helped write and pass into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and he continues to support the important reforms included in the law. The legislation introduced today is carefully written to provide needed regulatory relief to main street—community banks and credit unions—which were inadvertently burdened by rules and regulations intended to hold Wall Street accountable. This bill will promote economic growth by making commonsense reforms to increase consumer lending, while protecting consumers.

Among provisions in the regulatory relief package are several proposals to protect and deliver relief to Virginia consumers:

  • Community Banks and Credit Unions: This package includes a number of provisions related to community banks and credit unions that would increase their ability to extend credit to Virginia small businesses and families, while maintaining important consumer protections.
  • Free Annual Credit Freeze for Consumers: This provision would require credit bureaus to include one free credit freeze and a free credit unfreeze per year, which would help protect consumers after the massive Equifax data breach that may have compromised the personal information of approximately 145 million Americans.
  • Protecting Veterans Credit: This provision would protect the credit ratings of veterans wrongly penalized by medical bill payment delays by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This measure would prohibit medical debt from services received through the Choice Program and other VA community care programs from being reported to credit reporting agencies for one year. In addition it would establish a dispute process for veterans seeking to remove adverse actions already on their reports.

Full bill text is available here. A section-by-section can be accessed here.

“I thank Virginia's Congressional Delegation for their support of this legislation. Virginia's more than 725,000 veterans have served and sacrificed for our Nation and our Commonwealth. This service can sometimes lead to wounds and injuries that require ongoing care - which is not always fully covered by their veterans benefits. When they must incur out of pocket expenses for themselves and their families’ medical care, we must ensure that this does not also come with a bad credit score that could affect them for years to come. This bill will help our veterans in addressing credit issues or preventing a small credit problem from escalating,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins.

Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) President and CEO Bruce Whitehurst stated, “This package represents an important first step toward better tailoring of regulation to allow banks to serve their customers and communities more effectively and efficiently, much to their benefit. This bipartisan compromise also underscores the fact that the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010 took the regulatory pendulum too far and created unintended consequences for borrowers. It is great to see movement toward a more balanced approach to financial regulation and we appreciate the leadership of Senators Warner and Kaine.”

“This is a major step forward. Our community bankers are eager to do more to build their local economies, but over-regulation holds them back. The best provisions in this bill make getting a mortgage less complicated and more possible, and other good provisions simplify rules and reports, freeing bankers to do more good work with their customers and their communities,” said Virginia Association of Community Banks (VACB) President Steve Yeakel. “In particular, we want to acknowledge the leadership of both Senator Warner, who helped to forge the compromise, and Senator Kaine, whose early support gives the bill a strong foundation and a real chance at success on the Senate floor.”

“ICBA strongly supports the bipartisan regulatory relief package announced today and thanks Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo and Sens. Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester and Mark Warner for driving this agreement,” Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “Community bank regulatory relief is needed to improve lending and strengthen economic growth at the local level. We are pleased to see many provisions of ICBA’s Plan for Prosperity included in the agreement and thank all senators from both sides of the aisle who have contributed to this important initiative.”

“NAFCU thanks Chairman Crapo and his Democratic partners in the Senate for including provisions in this package that would lead to regulatory relief for credit unions,” said National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) President and CEO Dan Berger. “We look forward to working with members of the Senate Banking Committee, their staff and other senators as this package moves through the legislative process. This bill is a step in the right direction, and we will continue to push for more relief for the industry and its 110 million member-owners.”

“This bill includes credit union-specific provisions that provide meaningful regulatory relief, a sign that policymakers are paying close attention to the needs of credit union members,” Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Jim Nussle said. “We thank Sen. Crapo and his colleagues for working across party lines to advance regulatory relief legislation, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them as the bill moves through the legislative process.”

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the bill was introduced by Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Jon Tester (D-MT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). Republican sponsors of the bill are Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Corker (R-TN), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Mike Rounds (R-SD), David Perdue (R-GA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Kennedy (R-LA), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jim Risch (R-ID). The bipartisan bill was also sponsored by Sen. Angus King (I-ME).

###

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R.  Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined a bipartisan coalition of 16 Senators to introduce the Sugar Policy Modernization Act, which will make commonsense reforms to the federal sugar support program that will save money for a variety of manufacturers that support jobs in Virginia and across the nation. 

The Sugar Policy Modernization Act would repeal domestic supply restrictions, reduce market distortions caused by sugar import quotas, and ensure taxpayers don’t foot the bill for bailouts of the sugar industry. The Sugar Policy Modernization Act has a broad coalition of support from consumer, business and environmental groups. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Virginia is home to the U.S. headquarters of both Mars and Nestle and has manufacturing and distribution facilities across the state – such as the McKee Foods plant in Stuarts Draft, Nestle packaging plant in Danville, Purina pet food plant in King William County, Frito-Lay plant in Lynchburg, Gatorade bottling facility in Wytheville, Sabra plant in Colonial Heights, and others – comprising thousands of jobs in industries whose growth is determined in part by sugar prices.

“This bill would make reasonable, commonsense reforms to federal sugar policies that artificially raise costs for consumers and American taxpayers,” said Sen. Warner. “These changes will save taxpayers money and protect thousands of manufacturing jobs in Virginia.”

“Senators from the right, left, and everywhere in between support this bill because it’s good for the economy,” said Sen. Kaine. “Manufacturing is driven by a variety of input costs, and this is an opportunity to reduce one of those costs, which is not only good policy generally but will also make Virginia even more competitive in attracting these manufacturing plants and the jobs that go with them.”

Sugar is the only commodity whose federal support program was not reformed by the most recent five-year reauthorization of agricultural programs in 2014.

The Sugar Policy Modernization Act would repeal U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sugar marketing allotments, which restrict the amount of sugar each domestic processing company can sell. No other U.S. commodity is under similar government supply controls. The bill would also repeal a program that requires the government to buy surplus sugar and sell it to ethanol companies at a loss.

The legislation would also direct the Secretary of Agriculture to manage the nation’s sugar program to ensure sugar is distributed in adequate amounts and reasonable prices, and it would repeal laws that arbitrarily restrict USDA’s authority to administer import quotas during certain times of the year. This bill would also express that it is the sense of Congress that U.S. trade policy goals should include elimination of sugar subsidies and pursuit of trade agreements that liberalize sugar trade. 

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the bill is sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dean Heller (R-NV), Ed Markey (D-MA), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). 

###

“The SEC’s disclosure, which comes not even two weeks after Equifax revealed that it had been hacked, shows that government and businesses need to step up their efforts to protect our most sensitive personal and commercial information. Information has become one of our country’s most valuable resources, and control of that information comes with significant responsibility. The SEC should not retreat from its important market oversight role in order to limit its exposure to sensitive information.”