Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $6,914,080 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help support health centers across the Commonwealth as they combat the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We are glad to see this funding go towards helping support these health centers as they continue to work around the clock to provide crucial care for members of the community during this pandemic,” said the Senators.  

The funding for health centers was awarded as follows:

  • $1,021,822 for Portsmouth Community Health Center
  • $1,205,773 for Eastern Shore Rural Health System
  • $2,573,599 for Central Virginia Health Services
  • $1,026,353 for Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems
  • $1,086,533 for Piedmont Access to Health Services (PATHS)

This funding was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Health Center Program, which provides funds to community-based health care providers that provide primary care services in underserved areas. These health centers must meet a stringent set of requirements, including providing care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay and operating under a governing board that includes patients.

Additionally, $2,648,079 was awarded to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association for COVID-19 preparedness and response activities. This funding was awarded through HHS’ Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), which seeks to promote a consistent national focus to improve patient outcomes during emergencies and disasters and enable rapid recovery.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded $32,236,074 in federal funding for public transportation in Richmond. The funding, for the Greater Richmond Transit Company, was authorized by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“Amid this public health crisis, we’re glad to know that these federal dollars will be used to keep public transportation in Richmond safe and operational for the individuals who rely on these systems every day, including essential workers and those who depend on these systems to get to the grocery store or pharmacy,” said the Senators.

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

The funds will provide assistance to maintain existing services in order to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes expenses needed to operate, maintain, and manage the public transportation system, including driver salaries, fuel, and items having a useful life of less than one year, including personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined Senator Maggie Hassan and 14 of their colleagues in calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to address the declining rate of routine child immunizations for measles and other dangerous viruses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The administration of routine pediatric immunizations remains critical throughout the duration of this public health emergency,” wrote the Senators. “The decline in immunizations is largely attributable to efforts by families to adhere to social distancing guidelines to reduce both their exposure to, and the spread of COVID-19. But if this trend ofdecreased immunization rates among children continues, the United States could face yet another public health crisis: increased risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

The Senators continued, “Such outbreaks would put lives at risk, and place additional stress on our health care system and public health infrastructure at a time when these systems are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Senators called for CDC to develop and execute a comprehensive plan to address the decline in immunization rates, including measures such as increased public outreach and education and best practices for parents and families to visit doctors while limiting their risk of contracting COVID-19. The Senators also asked for details on what CDC is doing to ensure sufficient supply of immunization doses and medical devices to administer them.

In addition to Senators Warner, Kaine, and Hassan, the letter was signed by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Doug Jones (D-AL).

Read the Senators’ full letter here or below. 

 

Dear Dr. Redfield,

We write to express significant concern regarding the recent decline in routine childhood immunization rates in the United States during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and urge you to take immediate action to encourage and support routine pediatric immunizations through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to recent data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a decline in provider orders for non-influenza childhood vaccines, and measles-containing vaccines including the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, began one week after President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [1] In May, the Michigan Care Improvement Registry found a drastic decrease in vaccination rates among children across nearly every age group. The percentage of children five months and younger who remain up-to-date on recommended vaccines declined from 67.9 percent in 2019, to 49.7 percent in May 2020.[2] The New York City health department reported a 63 percent drop in the number of vaccine doses administered to children between March 23 and May 9, including a 91 percent drop for children ages 2 and above.[3]

The administration of routine pediatric immunizations remains critical throughout the duration of this public health emergency. The decline in immunizations is largely attributable to efforts by families to adhere to social distancing guidelines to reduce both their exposure to, and the spread of COVID-19. But if this trend of decreased immunization rates among children continues, the United States could face yet another public health crisis: increased risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Such outbreaks would put lives at risk, and place additional stress on our health care system and public health infrastructure at a time when these systems are struggling to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To avoid this potential crisis, we urge the CDC to immediately develop an action plan that incorporates targeted public outreach and education efforts on addressing vaccine hesitancy and emphasizing the importance of pediatric immunizations; resources for communities that have seen reductions in their immunization rates since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; and guidance for parents and families on how to safely access pediatric immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, including best practices regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) use and other precautions to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in health care settings; and necessary efforts to ensure rapid catch-up for children who are not up to date on critical pediatric vaccines.

In addition to developing the plans described above, we request that you respond to the following questions no later than July 1, 2020 to help us better understand how the federal government is working to address the alarming drop in pediatric immunization rates:

  1. What specific steps is CDC taking to reverse the dramatic drop in vaccinations since mid-March?
    1. How does CDC plan to capture accurate real-time data on pediatric immunization rates and identify potential solutions, particularly in vulnerable communities?
  1. What outreach and education efforts are underway at CDC to address fears among parents and families related to bringing children into health care settings during the COVID-19 crisis? 
    1. Is CDC planning a public information campaign to address vaccine hesitancy, and if so, how will CDC ensure that the necessary communication on the importance of routine immunizations is reaching parents and families?
    1. How will CDC ensure that families receive guidance on safe access to care for children during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the appropriate use of PPE?
    1. How will CDC communicate with health care workers, and provide the necessary tools to inform communities about the importance of receiving pediatric immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic? 
    1. What guidance is CDC providing to pediatricians and other health care workers on procedures to ensure that they can safely provide and promote routine pediatric immunizations?
    1. Given the significant increase in unemployment due to COVID-19, many families are finding themselves uninsured. How will CDC raise awareness of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program to ensure that families know their children can still access routine immunizations, and how does CDC plan to support participating VFC providers as they work to catch up VFC-eligible children on missed vaccinations, while also preparing for the upcoming flu season?
  1. How will CDC monitor the ongoing availability and ordering of pediatric immunizations, including doses and other essential medical devices, PPE, and other supplies needed to store, transport and administer vaccines, and what plans are in place to address any supply chain disruptions?
    1. Is CDC taking steps now to ensure that the availability of pediatric immunizations, and necessary medical devices and supplies, is not impacted when production and domestic distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is underway?
  1. Has CDC developed or reviewed modeling or projections that predict the potential impact on future vaccine-preventable outbreaks if the current pediatric immunization rate continues throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic? 
  1. Does CDC require additional resources from Congress in order to support efforts to reverse the decline in pediatric immunizations? If so, what level of funding would be sufficient?

We appreciate your timely response and look forward to working with you on this critical issue.

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WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and 6 of their Senate colleagues in a letter requesting additional information on the Borrower Protection Program that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced in April. The agencies’ announcement stated that the CFPB and FHFA would share data under the program but did not say how that data would be used to protect borrowers. The Senators asked the agencies what information they would share and how each agency would use this new program to avoid unnecessary borrower defaults and foreclosures, as well as misinformation, unequal treatment of borrowers, or otherwise address servicers not complying with the law.   

“It is critical that the CFPB and FHFA act quickly to ensure homeowners across the country can access the relief they need during this national emergency. Any delay could result in unnecessary delinquencies and foreclosures that will set consumers back, rather than helping them recover,” wrote the lawmakers.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Brown, the letter was signed by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D- NV), and Tina Smith (D-MN).

A copy of the letter appears here and below:

 

We are writing regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) joint announcement of the Borrower Protection Program. The announcement states that the CFPB will share consumer complaint data and analytics with FHFA, and FHFA will provide the CFPB with its internal data on mortgage forbearances, modifications, and other loss mitigation.

Sharing information between your agencies is an important first step to ensure that homeowners are getting the help they need. The CFPB’s supervisory, research, and market monitoring tools and consumer-oriented perspective coupled with FHFA’s loan-level data could provide unique insights into borrowers’ experiences.

But information sharing alone will not protect borrowers. Once information is shared, the CFPB and FHFA must also have plans to use their respective tools and authorities to immediately address trends that indicate borrowers are receiving inaccurate information or unequal treatment, or that servicers are not complying with the law. Timeliness of the CFPB and FHFA’s oversight is critical to avoid unnecessary borrower defaults and foreclosures. Just a few weeks of delay could have disastrous outcomes for consumers who may lose the ability to access an affordable modification after just two months or face foreclosure after four months.

To help us better understand what steps your agencies will take to protect homeowners through the Borrower Protection Program, please respond to the following questions:

1.      It has been more than nine weeks since the COVID-19 national emergency declaration, and borrowers may already have experienced weeks of financial hardship.

a.      When will the CFPB and FHFA first share data under the Borrower Protection Program?  

b.      What specific actions will the CFPB and FHFA take, respectively, if either agency identifies noncompliance or consumer harm both to get consumers accurate information and to address noncompliance? Please list all tools that could be used by each agency.  

2.      Consumer complaint data is an important source of information, but it is not the CFPB’s only tool to monitor consumer harm. In addition to consumer complaint data, what other information will the FHFA receive from the CFPB?

3.      The CFPB has regulatory and supervisory authority over many of the largest mortgage servicers, including depositories with more than $10 billion in assets and nonbank mortgage servicers.

a.      Will the information examined under the Borrower Protection Program show data by loan servicer? If so, how will the CFPB use any servicer-specific data to inform its supervisory activities?

b.      Will any servicer-specific data distinguish between loans in forbearance and delinquent loans? If so, how will the CFPB or FHFA monitor and address disparities in delinquency rates amongst servicers to ensure that those borrowers who are facing a financial hardship and eligible for forbearance can receive it?

c.      To the extent that the CFPB or FHFA receives information or identifies trends among mortgage servicers that do not fall within the CFPB’s supervisory authority, will the CFPB or FHFA communicate those findings to the appropriate regulator to ensure compliance with servicing laws and policies? If not, why not?

4.      Will information provided to the CFPB include borrower demographic information when available, including race, ethnicity, English proficiency, age, or other protected classes under the Fair Housing Act to facilitate fair lending oversight?   

a.      How will the CFPB use any available information to ensure that mortgage servicing policies and practices result in equal treatment for all borrowers? Will the CFPB monitor forbearance rates, delinquency rates, loan modifications, non-retention loss mitigation options, and foreclosures by protected class? 

b.      What tools will the CFPB and FHFA use to address any disparate outcomes?

5.      Will any information provided to either agency include a borrower’s servicemember status, when available, to monitor compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)? If possible violations of the SCRA are identified, which agency will address those violations? 

6.      Many mortgage servicers service not just Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans, but also FHA, VA, USDA, and HUD Section 184 loans, as well as loans in private-label securities. 

a.      Will the CFPB enter into agreements with the other federal agencies, which collectively insure or guarantee more than 25 percent of loans, to share data and inform those agencies’ supervision of their servicers? If not, why not?

b.      Borrowers whose loans are not guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured or guaranteed through a federal program are not assured to receive forbearance or other relief if they face a hardship, and information about outcomes for these borrowers will be limited. How will the Borrower Protection Program protect borrowers whose loans are not guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac or insured or guaranteed through a federal program? 

7.      Will the CFPB and FHFA publish regular, public updates on the Borrower Protection Program to share findings and actions? If not, why not?

It is critical that the CFPB and FHFA act quickly to ensure homeowners across the country can access the relief they need during this national emergency. Any delay could result in unnecessary delinquencies and foreclosures that will set consumers back, rather than helping them recover. Thank you for your prompt attention to this request. 

Sincerely,  

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) in a bipartisan group of 125 Members of Congress in a letter to President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor calling on the Administration to ensure National Guard personnel who are serving on the front lines of the coronavirus response efforts across the nation receive the federal benefits they have earned.

“Thousands of National Guard servicemembers have been providing invaluable support for testing civilians and Guard personnel, logistics and warehouse distribution, planning for Emergency Operations Centers, homelessness outreach, and much more,” wrote the members of Congress. “…National Guard servicemembers have been supporting state efforts in high threat and high risk areas, namely, medical support to prisons; frontline testing at hot spots and critical infrastructure locations; supporting tracing operations; and providing direct care to COVID-19 positive citizens, including at care facilities like Veterans Living Centers and homeless populations.”

In the letter, the members of Congress proposed recommendations for addressing concerns related to the National Guard’s federal status, leave, health care, and GI Bill and retirement benefits. Addressing reports that National Guard’s federal status may be stopped at 89 days, preventing them from receiving full benefits, the members “encourage [the administration] to be inclusive of pandemic response affiliated military service to ensure that National Guard personnel are not being inappropriately prevented from accessing the benefits earned by their service.”

They continued, “…it is critical to ensure that all National Guard personnel are taken care of during this crisis and after, recognizing that the threat of COVID-19 will not immediately go away and the National Guard is likely to be called on again in the future... We are proud of [their] incredible contributions.”   

The text of the letter is available HERE and below. 

 

Dear Mr. President, Secretary Esper, and Administrator Gaynor: 

We write today to raise a number of issues impacting the National Guard personnel deployed in support of the fight against Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The National Guard has been critical in executing the nation’s pandemic response efforts. Thousands of National Guard servicemembers have been providing invaluable support for testing civilians and Guard personnel, logistics and warehouse distribution, planning for Emergency Operations Centers, homelessness outreach, and much more. We also recognize that National Guard servicemembers have been supporting state efforts in high threat and high risk areas, namely, medical support to prisons; frontline testing at hot spots and critical infrastructure locations; supporting tracing operations; and providing direct care to COVID-19 positive citizens, including at care facilities like Veterans Living Centers and homeless populations.

Our national success in flattening the curve will not be possible without the contributions of the National Guard. We believe it is critical to ensure that all National Guard personnel are taken care of during this crisis and after, recognizing that the threat of COVID-19 will not immediately go away and the National Guard is likely to be called on again in the future.

Therefore, we urge you to consider our recommendations for addressing the following concerns immediately.

  • Federal Status: We ask that you consider keeping all National Guard servicemembers supporting the COVID-19 mission on 502(f)(2) status rather than transitioning to State Active Duty (SAD) orders regardless of future FEMA reimbursement. This will ensure healthcare commensurate with the work they are performing is available. This will also ensure they are able to continue support to the nation’s effort without uncertainty of status. If orders are to be extended on a month-to-month basis, we ask that all orders are 31 days or longer in duration and that the announcement of extensions be made early in the month in order to allow for preparation by each state’s leadership teams.
  • Leave: We are encouraged by the recent change that will allow National Guard members to sell back unused leave without penalty or roll over accrued leave to another activated status. We ask that you continue to provide National Guard members with flexibility in how they may utilize leave accrued during the COVID-19 response, and ensure necessary federal funding to support the different leave usage options.
  • Healthcare: We ask that you ensure the National Guard members activated in support of COVID-19 are provided Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP) benefits for 180 days after coming off orders, similar to their Reserve counterparts.
  • GI Bill and Retirement Benefits: We believe that the service of National Guard members during this unprecedented emergency is deserving of the recognition intended by educational and retirement benefit programs in the spirit in which they were created. We encourage you to be inclusive of pandemic response affiliated military service to ensure that National Guard personnel are not being inappropriately prevented from accessing the benefits earned by their service.

We are proud of the incredible contributions of the National Guard. They have been a critical team member in the nation’s fight against COVID-19. We welcome your support in ensuring they are kept safe, healthy, and receive the benefits they deserve. 

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Patty Murray (D-WA) in releasing a Senate Democratic plan to expand health care coverage and affordability during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a white paper, the senators outline a series of common sense legislative priorities that the Senate should take up immediately, including expanding premium support through subsidies and tax credits, incentivizing Medicaid expansion in hold-out states, and a special open enrollment period. Their proposal also calls for all COVID-19 treatment costs to be covered, including for the uninsured.

“Access to health care has never been more important,” said Senator Shaheen. “As our country faces the worst public health crisis in a century, millions are facing furloughs and job losses that make affordable health care coverage an even greater struggle. Americans are sick and tired of the partisan excuses for why health care can’t be more affordable and accessible. There is absolutely no reason why Republicans can’t join Democrats to get this done. This crisis demands bipartisan cooperation – the American people will accept nothing less.” 

“We need to rise to the challenge of solving America’s health care coverage and affordability problems, which have only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Senator Smith. “This plan will help more people access comprehensive health care coverage, and at a more affordable cost. We need to move this plan forward because these investments are critical—especially at a time when millions of Americans are on furlough or have lost their jobs."

“Families across the nation are struggling with the economic consequences of the pandemic, and that includes disruption to their health care access,” Senator Wyden said. “The last thing Americans need right now is to face questions about where they will get health care if they get sick. This proposal outlines practical steps that Congress could pass immediately and give families peace of mind during the pandemic.”

“For families in need, access to quality, affordable health care isn’t a partisan issue—it’s a life and death one. It shouldn’t take a historic global pandemic for Republicans to understand that, but for them to continue ignoring the health care needs of families in the middle of this crisis would be truly inexcusable,” said Senator Murray. “The absolute least we can do in the middle of an unprecedented public health crisis is help people get the health care they need—and Republicans have no excuse to continue playing politics or dragging their feet on getting these common-sense steps done. We need to act now.”

A brief overview of the policies included in the proposal:

·       Cover all costs for COVID-19 treatment, including for the uninsured;

·       Deliver subsidies for the cost of COBRA premiums for the newly unemployed;

·       Expand and increase access to premium tax credits that help families afford monthly premiums;

·       Incentivize Medicaid expansion in remaining states that have not yet expanded;

·       Establish a federal special enrollment period;

·       Ban the sale of junk plans;  

·       Restore funding for marketplace outreach and enrollment support;

In addition to Sen. Warner, the proposal is also supported by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Coons (D-DE), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

The proposal can be read in full here. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in introducing legislation to ensure that all National Guard troops activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic receive full benefits. The National Guard COVID-19 Response Stability Act would extend Title 32 authority for all troops activated in response to the crisis through the end of the public health emergency – a move that would ensure that the federal government continues covering 100 percent of the costs of this activation. Currently, states have to continue requesting support to avoid a lapse in authorities or federal funding for the troops on the frontline of this crisis. While the Trump Administration gave an extension, it cynically chose a peculiar date that was later revealed to result in a hard deployment stop at 89 days for thousands of National Guard members – one day short of the 90-day threshold to receive additional federal benefits, like access to Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

“Our nation is lucky to be able to count on the men and women of the National Guard who are stepping up during this public health crisis,” said Sen. Warner. “While we may not be able to repay them for their selflessness and courage, the very least we can do is make sure they have access to full benefits as they work to fight this deadly pandemic.”

“The Trump Administration’s repeated attempts to nickel and dime members of the National Guard would be wrong under any circumstance, but it is particularly offensive when these troops are responding to a deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed more than 90,000 Americans,” said Sen. Duckworth. “This legislation would ensure that all National Guard troops activated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic are provided with the full benefits they’ve earned and will give states much-needed certainty during these uncertain times.”

Specifically, this legislation would amend federal law to authorize state governors to order members of the National Guard to active duty in connection with COVID-19 response with full federal benefits. This enhanced authority would be in place through the end of the Trump Administration’s declared public health emergency, plus an additional 30 days to allow the Guard to shift away from Title 32 operations. Most recently, the public health emergency declaration was renewed on April 26, 2020 for a period of 90 days.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Duckworth, the legislation was co-sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Gary Peters (D-MI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate for National Guard troops during this crisis. In March, he wrote a letter urging the President to approve Governor Northam’s request to deploy the National Guard to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Virginia.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today introduced the Paycheck Security Act to cover the wages and benefits of employees of affected businesses and non-profits until the economic and public health crisis is resolved. 

“Without aggressive action to help workers keep their jobs and businesses stay open, we risk an economic disaster that could take decades to repair,” said Sen. Warner. “Right now nearly 39 million Americans are out of work due to the coronavirus. This is hitting working class folks particularly hard, with 40 percent of all workers making under $40,000 out of work right now. We need to be thinking big and helping people who have lost their jobs. Our proposal will create a national paycheck security program for American workers and help businesses keep their lights on during the darkest days of this crisis. Paycheck security means the federal government would help cover the payroll expenses for rank-and-file workers who have been furloughed or laid off because of the coronavirus, so that families can avert financial calamity and workers can stay connected to employers and health benefits while we get through this crisis.” 

“This unprecedented crisis demands an unprecedented legislative response,” said Sen. Sanders. “We cannot continue to allow tens of millions of Americans to lose their jobs, income, and health insurance during this horrific pandemic.  In order to avoid another Great Depression, Congress must act boldly and aggressively to ensure that every American worker receives their paycheck and health insurance until this crisis is over.  The Paycheck Security Act we are introducing today will provide the urgent financial assistance that working families and small businesses desperately need to pay their bills and make ends meet.”

“As Americans continue to struggle through the health and economic crisis we’re facing, Congress needs to continue to provide relief to workers and small businesses – the lifeblood of our economy. The Paycheck Security Act would direct economic relief to American workers who are suffering by helping employers maintain their payroll,” Sen. Jones said. “Our legislation is exactly the type of big, bold approach that we need to take, given the scale of this crisis. If we can provide the resources that businesses need to tide them over until it is safe to re-open, we can keep more folks safe and help keep workers on the payroll and receiving vital benefits like health insurance. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to include this in the next relief package, so that we can continue to help the people in Alabama and throughout our country who need it most.” 

“Instead of allowing businesses to go into free fall and trying to pick up the pieces later, we’re proposing a guardrail at the edge of the precipice. Our plan gives workers the steady comfort of a consistent paycheck from an employer they can go back to when the crisis abates. And we’re offering business the ability to hold onto those workers, so they can start up again as easily as possible. If we fail to take aggressive relief measures now, we’ll kneecap our future recovery,” said Sen. Blumenthal.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, nearly 39 million workers have filed for unemployment. More than 20 million people lost their jobs in the month of April alone, the most in a single month on record. An estimated 27 million people have already lost their employer-provided health insurance coverage, and millions more could lose coverage before this crisis is over. The unemployment rate is likely close to 20 percent, and could exceed the depths of the Great Depression in the coming months. 

The pandemic has also devastated small businesses and sole proprietors. A recent study found that more than 100,000 small businesses have already closed permanently as a result of the health and economic crisis.  Another recent surveyshowed that 52 percent of small businesses expect to go out of business within the next six months.  Allowing millions of small and independent businesses to fail will have a devastating impact on the economy and will make the road to recovery longer and harder.

Other countries have avoided the massive job losses seen in the United States primarily because their governments have adopted programs to keep workers on payroll and attached to their employers until this crisis is over. ThePaycheck Security Act would avert mass layoffs, stem catastrophic unemployment levels and prevent irreversible business losses with a refundable tax credit big enough ($90,000 annually per employee) to rehire and pay laid off and furloughed workers and restore their health care benefits. It will also provide small and mid-sized businesses with the funds they need to pay for rent, mortgages, utilities and other operating costs until they can reopen safely and sales begin to recover.

“I am supportive of this strong proposal which builds upon the Paycheck Protection Program and Employee Retention Tax Credit,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

“Our country is facing a once-in-a-lifetime economic crisis with nearly 1 in 5 Americans unemployed. The response must meet the moment. In addition to significantly expanding payroll support, we must support small businesses that are being crushed and need cash to cover bills and replace inventory when they reopen. Without additional help many small businesses will not survive this crisis and it will take far longer to climb out of this economic ditch. This legislation would keep more employees on payroll and deliver critical help to the smallest, most vulnerable businesses,” said Finance Committee Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

A more extensive summary of the bill is available here. Bill text can be found here

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine cosponsored legislation to increase the ability for Americans struggling with food insecurity to receive restaurant meals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the COVID-19 Anti-Hunger Restaurant Relief for You Act of 2020—or the SNAP CARRY Act—expands eligibility for the SNAP Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) and waives program requirements to make it easier for states and restaurants to participate in the program during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic. The RMP prevents hunger in some of the most vulnerable communities by allowing people who may not have the ability or a place to prepare their own food to purchase discounted prepared meals at participating restaurants with their SNAP benefits. 

“We are proud to support this effort to expand the use of SNAP benefits to participating restaurants,” said the Senators. “This legislation is a win-win for increasing food security and supporting local restaurants – two critical issues amid this pandemic.”

During emergencies like COVID-19 when there are often unforeseen challenges around food access, the RMP could serve to ensure those struggling with hunger can easily and safely access food. In addition, as the restaurant industry struggles with closures due to COVID-19, the RMP would help prevent job loss among restaurant employees. However, statutory limits to the program present barriers to its use. 

The SNAP CARRY Act

1.     Allows all SNAP-eligible individuals to utilize the RMP during a nationally declared disaster or public health emergency

2.     Eases regulatory barriers on states participating in the program

3.     Gives the Secretary of Agriculture broad authority to authorize additional food retailers to participate in SNAP and the SNAP RMP

4.     Establishes an option and process for participating restaurants in the RMP to end their participation after COVID-19

The legislation is sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy. Click here for a one-pager. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) joined Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and 24 of his Senate colleagues in writing a letter announcing that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) will conduct a review of U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) efforts to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in its facilities.

Following reports that ICE detention facilities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 were operating without processes to protect both staff and detainees such as providing protective gear, ensuring detainees have access to hygiene products, and practicing social distancing, Udall led a group of 26 Democratic senators in calling for the DHS IG to conduct a full assessment of ICE detention facilities nationwide to evaluate whether the facilities’ operations, management, standards, and conditions have adapted to address the threat of COVID-19 to both the staff and detainees.

“There is a long history of disease outbreaks in detention facilities and this is the first step toward ensuring that sufficient policies and practices are in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in ICE detention,” said Udall. “I am urging the DHS IG to be fully transparent and thorough in its review of the agency’s disease control procedures at detention facilities. And we expect the final report to include meaningful, unbiased recommendations that protect the health and safety of detainees, of the individuals who work at these facilities every day, and of the surrounding communities.”

In addition to Sens. Warner and Udall, the letter to DHS was joined by U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

The full text of the letter from the DHS IG can be found here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) urged the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require that human capital management information is made publicly available in a timely and accurate manner to help determine whether a company will be successfully able to weather risks following the COVID-19 crisis – a critical issue for investors and the overall economy. In their letter to the SEC, the members of Congress stressed the importance of standardizing the human capital management policies that companies disclose to the public, particularly policies regarding employee engagement and sick leave, investment in training, and administrative controls like cleaning practices, varying work schedules, and protective equipment for workers.

“During these deeply uncertain times, companies and workers face a rapidly evolving set of economic, health, and workforce challenges unimaginable only a few months ago. Now, more than ever, investors and the public should have access to comprehensive, timely, and comparable information related to companies’ human capital management practices,” wrote the lawmakers. “Over the past several months, companies across the country have taken extreme actions to adapt and respond to the evolving workforce challenges presented by COVID-19.  Facing extraordinary operational and financial challenges, different industries and businesses are attempting to weather the crisis in unique ways.”

“Through different responses to their workforce, from layoffs to workplace safety to paid leave, COVID-19 is exposing the myriad ways that company human capital management practices pose operational and reputational risks for short and long-term performance.” they continued. “To standardize what companies disclose to the public, we urge you to provide the guidance necessary to ensure timely and accurate delivery of critical human capital management information to investors.”

In their letter, the lawmakers requested that the SEC finalize and implement proposed modernizations to Regulation S-K and its updates to human capital management reporting requirements, urging that these requirements include quantitative disclosure items with a high value across industries, like total number employees, total wages, turnover rates, spending on employee training opportunities, and whether workers have full-time or contractor status.

Sen. Warner and Rep. Axne have long called for better disclosure practices of human capital management information. They have introduced bicameral legislation to require public companies to disclose basic human capital metrics, including workforce turnover rates, skills and development training, workforce health and safety, and compensation statistics. Sen. Warner has repeatedly urged the SEC to revise and modernize Regulation S-K to require public reporting companies to disclose more qualitative and quantitative information regarding human capital. 

Additionally, Sen. Warner has been an outspoken advocate of investing in workers and ensuring they are adequately equipped to participate in the 21st century labor force. Last year, the SEC announced a proposed Regulation S-K rule following advocacy by Sen. Warner, who previously urged the Commission to heed the calls of investors and utilize its rulemaking authority to require companies across the board to provide further details relating to human capital management. Most recently, he sent a letter requesting that the SEC require companies to disclose specific metrics in addition to human capital resources, measures, and objectives.

Text of the letter is available here and below. 

 

The Honorable Jay Clayton 

Chairman

Securities & Exchange Commission

100 F Street, N.E.

Washington, D.C. 20549

Dear Chairman Clayton,

We appreciate the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) efforts to help stabilize markets and protect investors in the face of the extraordinary economic disruption caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  During these deeply uncertain times, companies and workers face a rapidly evolving set of economic, health, and workforce challenges unimaginable only a few months ago.  Now, more than ever, investors and the public should have access to comprehensive, timely, and comparable information related to companies’ human capital management practices.  Indeed, the current COVID-19 pandemic is a vivid example of why human capital management reporting is so critical to carrying out the SEC’s mission to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation.

Over the past several months, companies across the country have taken extreme actions to adapt and respond to the evolving workforce challenges presented by COVID-19.  Facing extraordinary operational and financial challenges, different industries and businesses are attempting to weather the crisis in unique ways.  JUST Capital, for example, has been tracking the responses of the S&P’s 100 largest public companies to their workers and finds wide variation in the policies implemented as well as their disclosure.   Through different responses to their workforce, from layoffs to workplace safety to paid leave, COVID-19 is exposing the myriad ways that company human capital management practices pose operational and reputational risks for short and long-term performance.

To standardize what companies disclose to the public, we urge you to provide the guidance necessary to ensure timely and accurate delivery of critical human capital management information to investors.  This includes, among other things: remuneration across the workforce; employee engagement and sick leave information; investment in training, especially with regard to health and safety preparedness; identification of workforce safety hazards and levels of risk; administrative controls; such as cleaning practices, varying work schedules; and protective equipment for workers, such as masks and gloves.  These issues will be important in determining if companies will be able to open and remain open, a critical issue for investors as well as for the economy as a whole. 

We also urge you to quickly move forward with finalizing the proposed modernizations to Regulation S-K’s human capital management reporting requirements with the following improvements.  Investors and the public should have much-needed, fundamental human capital information to assess a company’s ongoing performance now and in the future.  Finalized metrics should include quantitative disclosure items with a high value across industries, such as total employees, total wages, whether workers are full-time or contractors, turnover and promotion rates, violations of workplace safety regulations, and spending on employee training opportunities.  Disclosure of these critical workforce metrics will better enable investors to assess the impact of future health or economic crises on the company’s workforce, which are material to company performance, investment and voting decisions.

In fact, disclosure of human capital management policies should be part of a whole-of-government economic recovery strategy.  You have noted in the past on calls with SEC Investor Advisory Committee members that “human capital and intellectual property often represent an essential resource and driver of performance for many companies.”   We agree.  Using asset management industry measurement standards such as risk-adjusted returns and means excess returns, researchers find that the S&P 500 firms disclosing their human capital costs are disproportionately the highest performing firms.   This same research finds that intensity of human capital reporting is correlated with greater firm financial performance, a focus on long-term value creation, and a higher return on investment from talent.   The estimated overarching benefits to the economy would vastly outweigh the costs of disclosure.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that investors and the public are well served by a robust human capital management disclosure regime.  As the founder of the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism recently noted in the Financial Times, U.S. financial markets had no form of standardized financial accounting before 1929.   Just as GAAP was urgently adopted after the Great Depression, we strongly believe standardized, comparable metrics of human capital disclosure requirements in the context of this pandemic are critical for investors to accurately measure company performance both now and in the future, which furthers the SEC’s mission to “protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” 

Thank you for your continued work during these challenging times.  We look forward to working with you on this critical matter. 

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) joined Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and nine of their colleagues on a bipartisan letter to Senate Leadership encouraging additional support for first responders in the next COVID-19 relief package. 

In addition to Sens. Warner, Coons and Collins, the letter was joined by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). 

The lawmakers detailed the following priorities for first responders:

  • Bolster Assistance to Firefighter Grant, Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Department of Justice grant funding, including for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, so that state and local police, fire, and EMS departments can access resources to purchase and be reimbursed for PPE and other COVID-19 related expenses, recruit and retain employees and volunteers, and cover overtime, backfill costs, authorized hazard pay, and COVID-19-related paid sick leave during the crisis.
  • Require that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security waive the cost share and maintenance of expenditure requirements for Assistance to Firefighter Grants for reimbursement of COVID-19-related expenses through FY21. 
  • Require that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security grant waivers to SAFER grant recipients for employee retention to aid staffing shortages through FY21.  In addition, any legislation should retroactively require that the Secretary grant such waivers for FY19 and FY20 SAFER funds. 
  • Waive the prohibition on hazard pay for federal firefighters under 5 U.S.C. §?5545b(d)(1) for purposes of COVID-19 response, provide funding to federal agencies sufficient to cover hazard pay to frontline federal firefighters and law enforcement officers when appropriate, extend overtime pay to U.S. Probation Officers, and waive the federal firefighter and law enforcement officer overtime cap under 5 U.S.C. §?5547.
  • Address the gap in paid sick leave coverage for first responders by requiring that the employing agency, not the employee, provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave should these departments order the employee to self-quarantine in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines due to potential COVID-19 exposure.
  • Create a presumption in the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program that a public safety officer’s infection of COVID-19 resulted from their employment to clearly establish eligibility for benefits due to the pandemic.
  • Prevent the taxation of state and local incentives for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel beyond 2020 in order to help departments continue to recruit and retain volunteer personnel.

The lawmakers’ effort is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Organizations, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Volunteer Fire Council, and the Congressional Fire Services Institute.

The full text of the letter is available here and below. 

 

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer: 

We appreciate your work to provide support for our nation’s police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.  However, additional assistance is needed during this crisis.  As Congress considers further legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to include additional support for our nation’s first responders who work in some of the highest risk occupations for COVID-19 exposure.[i]  First responders are routinely in physical contact with potentially infected persons and are facing unprecedented volumes of dispatch calls in severely impacted areas.[ii]

A short supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders to guard against disease exposure has left many police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel exposed to the dangers of this crisis.  This has resulted in too many first responders across our nation contracting COVID-19 and being forced to self-quarantine, which has led to staffing shortages.[iii]  As of April 1, more than 1,400 New York City Police Department employees have contracted COVID-19, with 6,100 in total in quarantine, and 282 New York City Fire Department employees have contracted COVID-19, with 950 in total in quarantine.[iv]  While New York City is the current epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, many other cities and states with developing outbreaks such as New Jersey, Florida, Detroit, Seattle, Washington D.C., and several additional states and cities across the nation[v] have reported a significant number of first responders contracting COVID-19 or requiring self-quarantine.

As this outbreak continues, many more first responders will undoubtedly contract COVID-19 or be forced to self-quarantine.  To support our nation’s police officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel serving on the front lines of this pandemic, we urge action on the below items.  

  • Bolster Assistance to Firefighter Grant, Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), and Department of Justice grant funding, including for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, so that state and local police, fire, and EMS departments can access resources to purchase and be reimbursed for PPE and other COVID-19 related expenses, recruit and retain employees and volunteers, and cover overtime, backfill costs, authorized hazard pay, and COVID-19-related paid sick leave during the crisis.
  • Require that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security waive the cost share and maintenance of expenditure requirements for Assistance to Firefighter Grants for reimbursement of COVID-19-related expenses through FY21. 
  • Require that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security grant waivers to SAFER grant recipients for employee retention to aid staffing shortages through FY21.  In addition, any legislation should retroactively require that the Secretary grant such waivers for FY19 and FY20 SAFER funds. 
  • Waive the prohibition on hazard pay for federal firefighters under 5 U.S.C. §?5545b(d)(1) for purposes of COVID-19 response, provide funding to federal agencies sufficient to cover hazard pay to frontline federal firefighters and law enforcement officers when appropriate, extend overtime pay to U.S. Probation Officers, and waive the federal firefighter and law enforcement officer overtime cap under 5 U.S.C. §?5547.
  • Address the gap in paid sick leave coverage for first responders by requiring that the employing agency, not the employee, provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave should these departments order the employee to self-quarantine in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines due to potential COVID-19 exposure.
  • Create a presumption in the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Program that a public safety officer’s infection of COVID-19 resulted from their employment to clearly establish eligibility for benefits due to the pandemic.
  • Prevent the taxation of state and local incentives for volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel beyond 2020 in order to help departments continue to recruit and retain volunteer personnel. 

During a time of crisis, communities rely on local first responders as the first line of defense for protection and emergency response.  As you continue to develop further legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to include the above items so that our nation’s first responders can operate at full capacity as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) today announced that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will receive $876,806,108 in federal transit funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We were proud to fight for this additional support for Metro and other local transit systems as part of the CARES Act. Public transit is a critical service that must continue during this pandemic,” said the Senators today. “With overall ridership down significantly, we need to make sure that WMATA has the resources it needs to purchase personal protective equipment to protect WMATA’s workforce, as well as maintain safety and reliability, especially for essential workers who continue to depend on Metro every day.”  

Through the CARES Act, Congress provided $25 billion for transit agencies to help prevent, prepare, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. WMATA will use the grant funds, awarded through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), to fund the continuation of critical transit services. The funds can also be used to cover expenditures such as personnel wages and benefits, cleaning and sanitizing, fuel, maintenance and other expenses related to responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) participated in a virtual Senate Banking Committee hearing on the coronavirus economic response with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. In his questioning of Chairman Powell, Warner highlighted the dire economic conditions facing many Americans and pressed the Fed Chairman on whether Congress and the Fed were doing enough to help everyday Americans and prevent an economic depression. 

In his remarks at the beginning of the questioning period, Warner said, “I point to the survey that the Fed put out last week that literally said 40 percent of our fellow Americans who make less than $40,000 – 40 percent of those folks – had their jobs disappear between February and March. We all know as well that 36 million Americans were unemployed. We’re at depression levels of unemployment and I think statistics have always shown that particularly losing your job during a recession could actually incur long-time income losses, up to 19 percent over the coming decade, according to some of the statistics that I’ve seen.”

In response to Sen. Warner’s question about what would happen if Congress fails to take appropriate action, Chairman Powell said, “…There is clear evidence that when you have a situation where people are unemployed for long periods of time, that can permanently weigh on both, their careers and their ability to go back to work, and also weigh on the economy for years – equally so with small and medium-sized businesses, which are the jobs machine of our great economy. If we allow unnecessary, avoidable insolvencies because of, effectively, a natural disaster, that too will destroy the work of many families and generations but it will also weigh on the economy.”

With coronavirus-related job losses now exceeding 36 million, Sen. Warner has been outspoken on the need for Congress to take bold, large-scale action to assist struggling American workers and prevent further economic devastation. Last week, he took to the Senate floor to call on his colleagues to pass legislation that would provide paychecks to laid-off and furloughed workers.

In April, Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released a proposal to establish a ‘Paycheck Security’ program to cover the wages and benefits of employees of affected businesses and non-profits until the economic and public health crisis is resolved. The Senators’ proposed plan would cover the full payroll and benefits of workers at distressed businesses and non-profits, up to $90,000 per employee, for at least six months. The Paycheck Security plan would also provide funds to cover fixed operating costs such as rent, utilities, and insurance costs to help employers weather the economic crisis. The Senators released an extensive white paper detailing eligibility, verification, and other contours of their proposal, which is available here.

The full exchange between Sen. Warner and Chairman Powell is transcribed below:

Sen. Mark R. Warner: Thank you gentlemen. I want to start, Chairman Powell, with some of the comments I think you’ve made and I want to reinforce them. I think we all realize and understand that losing a job at any point if your lifetime is an enormous challenge. Losing your job in the midst of a recession or depression could be devastating. I point to the survey that the Fed put out last week that literally said 40 percent of our fellow Americans who make less than $40,000 – 40 percent of those folks – had their jobs disappear between February and March. We all know as well that 36 million Americans were unemployed. We’re at depression levels of unemployment and I think statistics have always shown that particularly losing your job during a recession could actually incur long-time income losses, up to 19 percent over the coming decade, according to some of the statistics that I’ve seen. So again, I would like you to take a moment to say – we have to measure overdoing versus underdoing – but with this type of devastation, with this type of pain disproportionately hitting low and moderate-income Americans, can you speak to us of the results and the long-term scars this would present if we don't take aggressive action?

Chairman Jerome Powell: Thank you. I'd be glad to. So, there is clear evidence that when you have a situation where people are unemployed for long periods of time, that can permanently weigh on both, their careers and their ability to go back to work, and also weigh on the economy for years – equally so with small and medium-sized businesses, which are the jobs machine of our great economy. If we allow unnecessary, avoidable insolvencies because of, effectively, a natural disaster, that too will destroy the work of many families and generations but it will also weigh on the economy. So that those are things to keep in mind. As I said earlier, this is the biggest response by Congress ever, and the fastest, and the biggest from us, and still, this is the biggest shock we’ve in living memory and the question looms in the air of ‘is it enough?’

Sen. Warner: And I would argue that historically, whether it's our country or other nations, that governments tend to undershoot during these periods, and we now have 36 million Americans without work and 40 percent of the folks under $40,000 a year losing their work, and this scar could be deep and wide.

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WASHINGTON - As tech companies and public health agencies deploy contact tracing apps and digital monitoring tools to fight the spread of COVID-19, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act to set strong and enforceable privacy and data security rights for health information.

After decades of data misuse, breaches, and privacy intrusions, Americans are reluctant to trust tech firms to protect their sensitive health information – according to a recent poll, more than half of Americans would not use a contact tracing app and similar tools from Google and Apple over privacy concerns. The bicameral Public Health Emergency Privacy Act would protect Americans who use this kind of technology during the pandemic and safeguard civil liberties. Strengthened public trust will empower health authorities and medical experts to leverage new health data and apps to fight COVID-19.

“This measure sets strict and straightforward privacy protections and promises: Your information will be used to stop the spread of this disease, and no more,” Blumenthal said. “Legal safeguards protecting consumer privacy failed to keep pace with technology, and that lapse is costing us in the fight against COVID-19. Americans are rightly skeptical that their sensitive health data will be kept safe and secure, and as a result, they’re reluctant to participate in contact tracing programs essential to halt the spread of this disease. The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act’s commitment to civil liberties is an investment in our public health.”

“Communications technology has obviously played an enormously important role for Americans in coping with and navigating the new reality of COVID-19 and new technology will certainly play an important role in helping to track and combat the spread of this virus. Unfortunately, our health privacy laws have not kept pace with the privacy expectations Americans have come to expect for their sensitive health data,” Warner said. “Absent a clear commitment from policymakers to improving our health privacy laws, as this important legislation seeks to accomplish, I fear that creeping privacy violations could become the new status quo in health care and public health. The credibility – and indeed efficacy – of these technologies depends on public trust.” 

“I’m thankful that our country is blessed with the world’s best innovators and technologists, many of whom I represent in the House, and that they have joined the effort to combat the coronavirus by using technology to control the spread of the virus,” said Eshoo. “As we consider new technologies that collect vast amounts of sensitive personal data, we must not lose site of the civil liberties that define who we are as a nation. I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act, strong and necessary legislation that protects the privacy of every American while ensuring that innovation can aid important public health efforts.”

“As we continue to respond to the devastating suffering caused by COVID-19, our country’s first and foremost public health response must be testing, testing, testing, AND manual contact tracing. Digital contact tracing can and should complement these efforts, but it is just that – complimentary. However, if we do pursue digital contact tracing, consumers need clearly-defined privacy rights and strong enforcement to safeguard these rights. I am proud to introduce this bill with my friend and fellow Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Chairwoman Eshoo, along with Senators Blumenthal and Warner,” said Schakowsky. “It’s our shared belief that swift passage of this legislation would go a long way towards establishing the trust American consumers need – and which Big Tech has squandered, time and again –  for digital contact tracing to be a worthwhile auxiliary to widespread testing and manual contact tracing.”

“We must use every tool available to us to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Contract tracing, along with testing, are the cornerstones of a science-based approach to addressing this historic crisis. We can protect our public health response and personal data privacy,” said DelBene. “I have been calling on the Trump administration and the private sector to adopt data privacy principles since the start of this outbreak. It is time for Congress to lead the way in assuring we have a strong national contact tracing system and that Americans’ personal data is protected. This bill will achieve this mutual goal.”

Eshoo, Schakowsky, and DelBene introduced House legislation with original co-sponsors House Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Health Subcommittee Vice Chair G. K. Butterfield (D-NY), and Consumer Protection & Commerce Subcommittee Vice Chair Tony Cárdenas (D-CA).

The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act would:

·       Ensure that data collected for public health is strictly limited for use in public health;

·       Explicitly prohibit the use of health data for discriminatory, unrelated, or intrusive purposes, including commercial advertising, e-commerce, or efforts to gate access to employment, finance, insurance, housing, or education opportunities;

·       Prevent the potential misuse of health data by government agencies with no role in public health;

·       Require meaningful data security and data integrity protections – including data minimization and accuracy – and mandate deletion by tech firms after the public health emergency;

·       Protect voting rights by prohibiting conditioning the right to vote based on a medical condition or use of contact tracing apps;

·       Require regular reports on the impact of digital collection tools on civil rights;

·       Give the public control over their participation in these efforts by mandating meaningful transparency and requiring opt-in consent; and

·       Provide for robust private and public enforcement, with rulemaking from an expert agency while recognizing the continuing role of states in legislation and enforcement.

The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act is endorsed by Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Public Knowledge, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Consumer Reports, Free Press, Electronic Privacy and Information Center (EPIC), Public Citizen, health privacy scholar Frank Pasquale, and privacy scholar Ryan Calo.

“African Americans and other marginalized communities are suffering disproportionately from coronavirus and its economic effects. They do not need further harm from snake oil surveillance tech. This bill protects the most vulnerable—it ensures that any technology used to track the virus is not used to unfairly discriminate in employment, voting, housing, education, and everyday commerce,” said David Brody, Counsel and Senior Fellow for Privacy & Technology at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“As contact tracing apps and other types of COVID-19 surveillance become commonplace in the United States, this legislation will protect the privacy of Americans regardless of the type of technology used or who created it. It is critical that Congress continue to work to prevent this type of corporate or government surveillance from becoming ubiquitous and compulsory,” said Sara Collins, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge. 

“OTI welcomes this effort to protect privacy as lawmakers consider pandemic response plans that gather vast quantities of data. The bill would establish strong safeguards that would prevent personal data from being used for non-public health purposes and prevent the data from being used in a discriminatory manner,” said Christine Bannan, Policy Counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute.

“When it comes to tracking and collecting people’s data, we want to make sure there are basic protections for people’s privacy, and this bill is a positive step to establish the trust and balance that’s needed. The bill smartly requires that data collected to fight coronavirus can only be used for public health purposes – and nothing else. Importantly, the bill ensures an individual's right to seek redress for violations, and it bars against the use of pre-dispute arbitration agreements. These measures will help individuals trust contact-tracing or proximity-tracing programs, and they can serve as a model for more comprehensive protections down the road,” said Justin Brookman, Director of Consumer Privacy and Technology Policy for Consumer Reports.

“Digital contact tracing and exposure notification systems may be important tools in combating the spread of coronavirus. But they must be deployed responsibly and with adequate safeguards that protect the privacy and civil rights of the people that use them. The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act is a serious effort at ensuring our rights are protected while giving public health officials the tools they need to track and notify those exposed to COVID-19. These rules must apply to everyone using these systems, whether that’s state or local governments, employers, or other tech companies. This bill protects the civil rights of the most vulnerable essential workers, the disproportionately Black and Latinx people most exposed to the virus, and will help ensure they’re not also subject to invasive and unnecessary surveillance that will linger long after this crisis passes,” said Gaurav Laroia, Senior Policy Counsel with Free Press.

“The Public Health Emergency Privacy Act shows that privacy and public health are complementary goals. The bill requires companies to limit the collection of health data to only what is necessary for public health purposes, and crucially, holds companies accountable if they fail to do so,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, Interim Associate Director and Policy Director with Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). 

“What we need more than anything during this global emergency is to feel less vulnerable, to be sure not just that our health is protected, but that our rights are protected as well. This bill will ensure that whatever technological innovation emerges during the pandemic, we will feel safer knowing that our rights to privacy, to our day in court and to access to the ballot box won’t be threatened,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen.

 “This bill establishes critical protections for patients whose health data is released in the context of the public health emergency. To build a trusted data infrastructure, the US needs to ensure that any entity which accesses such data is held accountable and does not abuse the public trust. The Public Health Emergency  Privacy Act is a big step in the right direction,” said Frank Pasquale, Piper & Marbury Professor of Law at University of Maryland Carey School of Law. 

“This draft legislation addresses two of my biggest privacy concerns about the use of technology and information to respond to COVID-19. As the Act makes clear, the emergency health data of Americans should only be used to fight the pandemic and should never be used to discriminate or deny opportunity,” said Ryan Calo, Lane Powell & D. Wayne Gittinger Endowed Professor at University of Washington School of Law.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner joined Sen.Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 38 of their colleagues in introducing a resolution that encourages U.S. engagement with the international community on the COVID-19 response given the Trump Administration’s failure to participate in global summits on vaccines and therapeutics.  The resolution focuses on the indisputable facts that only with concerted global collaboration and coordination can the COVID-19 pandemic be addressed, and that the U.S. has failed so far to participate in a number of key global collaborative efforts on this issue. 

“I was dismayed when amid the devastating global coronavirus pandemic, the United States sat out a recent virtual conference to collaborate and raise funds to research, manufacture, and distribute possible coronavirus treatments and a vaccine. It was yet another short sighted and critically missed opportunity by the Trump Administration,” Durbin said. “We should be a part of these efforts to not only offer American expertise, but to also share in the lifesaving benefits. That is why 39 Senators have joined me in introducing a straightforward resolution that calls on the United States to join these global efforts.  

“We cannot petulantly isolate ourselves from the international race to find treatments and develop a vaccine. Doing so will only waste more time and cost more lives.”

The following Senators joined Durbin in introducing the resolution: U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Tom Carper (D-DE).  

A copy of today’s Senate resolution is available here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) spoke on the Senate floor about the budgetary challenges facing state and local governments due to the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak. In his remarks, Warner urged Congress to provide additional financial assistance to states and localities and flexibility in how they use coronavirus relief funds. Warner cautioned that failure to address these budget shortfalls could threaten the jobs of first responders and other public servants on the front lines of the pandemic.

Sen. Warner spoke following Senate floor debate on a motion made by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), which would have brought up for consideration Sen. Kennedy’s legislation to give state and local governments more flexibility as they use funds provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. After the motion was blocked by Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Sen. Warner took the opportunity to call for the Senate to provide greater assistance to state and local governments. 

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Warner said in part: “It seems strange to me, when we say we’re going to bail out the airlines because they’ve lost revenues. We’re going to generously take care of every small business when they’ve lost revenues. But when states and localities across the country are losing revenues at a record rate—how can we say we’re not going give them flexibility?”

He continued: “The notion that somehow we’re going to take care of everyone else who lost revenues, but we’re not going to take care of a local government who’s seen its meals tax dry up, its lodging tax dry up, its sales tax dry up—but suddenly you’re on your own and you’ve got to lay off police officers, firefighters, and EMTs at this moment in time doesn’t make sense to me.”

Sen. Warner, a former Governor of Virginia, has been outspoken on the need to support state and local governments facing budget shortfalls due to the impact of the coronavirus. In April,  Sen. Warner called on the Trump administration to revise needless bureaucratic restrictions on how Governors can distribute Coronavirus Relief Funds to their states, which threaten to force states and communities to cut public services and lay off of public employees on the front lines of the COVID-19 response.

 

The full text of Sen. Warner’s remarks as prepared for delivery appears below: 

Mr. President, I’m here to speak on another topic, but I want to simply comment on the exchange between my friend from Louisiana and my friend from Florida. 

I can assure my friend from Louisiana that the state ranked by an independent source, Governing Magazine, as the best managed state was the Commonwealth of Virginia. We were also ranked by Forbes Magazine as the best state for business.

I’ve looked at the Senator from Louisiana’s bill. It may not be perfect, but I actually think we should be voting on it. 

I say this as someone who’s proud of the fact that in Virginia we’ve maintained a AAA bond rating, and we are fiscally responsible. Our fiscal health is, candidly, better than virtually every other state in the country, and we’ve made the hard choices to make that happen.

But it seems strange to me, when we say we’re going to bail out the airlines because they’ve lost revenues. We’re going to generously take care of every small business when they’ve lost revenues. But when states and localities across the country are losing revenues at a record rate—how can we say we’re not going give them flexibility?

I would concur if we had a bill like that. I’d even support a clause that would prohibit those funds from being used to take care of long-term obligations like pension funds. 

But the notion that somehow we’re going to take care of everyone else who lost revenues, but we’re not going to take care of a local government who’s seen its meals tax dry up, its lodging tax dry up, its sales tax dry up—but suddenly you’re on your own and you’ve got to lay off police officers, firefighters, and EMTs at this moment in time doesn’t make sense to me.

I hope the Senator will continue to press his case and we’ll get a chance to have that debate. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded $5,445,336 in federal funding for public transportation in Harrisonburg. The funding was authorized by the Federal Transit Authority (FTA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“As we continue charting a way out of this crisis, cities and localities will need to work to make sure that our public transit is not just reliable, but safe for the essential workers who depend on it,” said the Senators. “That’s why we’re glad to know that these federal dollars will help Harrisonburg ensure that its transportation system has the resources it needs to adapt during this crisis.”

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

The funds will provide operating assistance to maintain existing services in order to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency. Harrisonburg can also use the funds to cover expenditures such as salaries, wages, benefits, cleaning, sanitizing, fuel, maintenance and other related expenses. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act which would require the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) within 7 days of enactment to protect our miners from COVID-19 exposure at the mines. Additionally, the bill would forbid mine operators from retaliating against miners for reporting infection control problems to their employer or any public authority. Additional information on the COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act can be found here.

“Our miners risk their lives every day to power our nation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that risk is even greater for our brave miners. On April 17, my colleagues and I sent a letter to President Trump asking for MSHA to implement these safety standards, but they have yet to act to protect our miners,” said Senator Manchin. “I introduced the bipartisan COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act to ensure that our miners are protected from exposure to COVID-19 in the mines. This commonsense legislation will help our miners stay safe during this pandemic while they continue to provide Americans with the power they need every day and especially when so many Americans are spending extended amounts of time at home. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as well as MSHA and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) to pass this legislation and protect our miners during this pandemic.”  

“Thousands of mineworkers in Illinois work in difficult and dangerous conditions, and the COVID-19 crisis only heightens the need for stronger worker protections for these miners,” said Senator Durbin. “With workers sharing tight quarters during long shifts, it’s vital that the Mine Safety & Health Administration issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to limit miners’ exposure to COVID-19 and ensure that miners can earn a living without further endangering themselves or their families.”

“Our nation’s coal miners work tirelessly – often in dangerous conditions – to power our communities. Now more than ever, we must help ensure they can stay safe on the job,” said Senator Kaine. 

“Ohio miners have put their health at risk for years to power our country,” said Senator Brown. “And now they’re facing more danger, as working conditions put them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. MSHA needs to issue an enforceable safety standard to protect these miners from infectious disease, and we need to ensure these workers have the personal protective equipment they need to prevent exposure.”

“Some Americans can safely stay home and practice social distancing, but our Nation’s coal miners are bravely going to work every day to continue powering our country,” said Senator Casey. “The bipartisan COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act would put in place enforceable workplace safety standards to protect miners from COVID-19 on the job and would make clear that miners cannot be retaliated against for reporting health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.”

“West Virginia miners continue to work day in and day out to power our country,” Senator Capito said. “Making sure they are protected and as safe as possible in their job is absolutely critical, especially during COVID-19.”

“As our coal miners continue to do their job to keep the lights on in our communities amid this health crisis, we’ve got to make sure that they have the support they need to stay safe in this pandemic. On the job, miners often have to work in close quarters with their colleagues, which puts them at greater risk of exposure to COVD-19. That’s why we must make sure their health and safety is being prioritized, and adequate protections are put in place to protect these essential workers while on the clock,” said Senator Warner.

“An underground environment is unlike any other workplace there is,” United Mine Workers of America International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “It can easily become a hot spot for COVID-19. Miners breathe the same circulated air no matter where they are in the mine. They frequently must work in close quarters. They ride to and from their specific work stations underground in elevators and mantrips that put them in close proximity to one another. They change into and out of their work clothes side by side before and after their shifts. We have asked MSHA to develop emergency standards to protect miners, but so far the agency has taken no action. We very much appreciate this bipartisan group of Senators for stepping up to support the more than 200,000 miners of all kinds in this nation. They need consistent, enforceable protection on the job just like every other essential worker.”

The COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act would require MSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard, based on CDC, NIOSH, and OSHA guidance, within 7 days of enactment to protect our miners from COVID-19 exposure at the mines. The COVID-19 Mine Worker Protection Act would also:

  • Require mine operators to provide personal protective equipment to miners;
  • Require MSHA to issue a permanent comprehensive infectious disease standard within two years;
  • Require MSHA to forbid employers from retaliating against miners for reporting infection control problems to their employer, or to local, State, or Federal government agencies; and,
  • Require MSHA, in coordination with CDC and NIOSH, to track, analyze, and investigate mine-related COVID-19 infections data in order make recommendations and guidance to protect miners from the virus.

Bill text can be found here

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) – co-chairs of the Senate Aerospace Caucus – today introduced legislation that would create a Private-Public Partnership between the federal government and aviation manufacturers designed to protect the workforce and industry impacted by COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a drastic decline in air travel, and as a result, aviation manufacturing has experienced significant financial losses resulting in widespread layoffs,” said Sen. Moran. “Both in Wichita – the Air Capital of the World – and around the country, our aviation manufacturing plays a critical role in commercial aviation and in our defense community. This legislation would create a program to temporarily support aviation manufacturing in order to prevent more layoffs and allow the industry to make a faster recovery once this crisis has passed.” 

“This cost-sharing public/-private partnership is an important step to support the aviation manufacturing, repair, and supply chain workforce,” said Sen. Warner. “The aerospace industry is essential to Virginia and the nation to ensure a strong economy and national defense.” 

This legislation would help prevent further layoffs in aviation manufacturing by creating a public-private partnership, through which the federal government would provide up to 50 percent of total compensation for at-risk employee groups so long as a company commits to continuing their employment. Most importantly, under this arrangement employees remain on the job and fully compensated for their work.  

This program is structured as a temporary, emergency program as manufacturers deal with the unprecedented crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This program ensures that an experienced workforce will be safeguarded and available to contribute as the industry recovers.

“We appreciate Senator Moran’s leadership to bring forward this plan to support aerospace jobs and the U.S. industrial base,” said Tom Gentile, President and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems. “This common-sense, targeted proposal to assist the aerospace and defense industry will help ensure the U.S. retains enough of the skilled workforce necessary to compete globally and support national security needs.”

“As our airline customers suffer, decline in air travel is also reverberating across the aviation manufacturing sector. The result is the cancellation of orders and a decreased demand for maintenance and repairs, which in turn, is helping lead to significant layoffs and furloughs in companies of all sizes,” said Eric Fanning, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. “Temporary and targeted assistance is needed to help save these jobs. The private-public investment envisioned in this bill will provide such support by helping to keep at-risk employees on payroll, while also helping to unburden state unemployment programs. Senators Moran and Warner – bipartisan co-chairs of the Senate Aerospace Caucus – are showing real leadership in proposing this common sense plan to provide companies and employees support as they navigate this crisis and prepare for a strong American recovery.”

# # #

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), spoke on the Senate floor about the need to provide relief to the more than 30 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as the potential consequences if Congress fails to act.  In his remarks, Warner urged Congress to include a Paycheck Security program in the next coronavirus relief bill.

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Warner said in part, “Just as it took the U.S. years to emerge from the Great Depression, it could take years or even decades to recover from the coronavirus recession, if we do not take immediate, bold action in the next coronavirus relief bill. Our first goal must be to prevent further job losses, as well as permanent disruptions like business closures, evictions, and foreclosures. Second, we must work quickly to reduce the economic uncertainty facing workers and small businesses. To do this, we need to provide immediate assistance to the millions of Americans workers who have gone overnight from a steady job to unemployment through no fault of their own.”

He continued, “I’m not talking about another stimulus check. I’m not talking about unemployment benefits. I’m talking about paychecks. This proposal, which I have put forward with Senator Sanders, Senator Jones, and Senator Blumenthal, would create a national paycheck security program for American workers. It uses a grant model that has support on both the left and the right. And we know it works because it has been implemented successfully in several European countries. Paycheck security means that federal government would help cover the payroll expenses for rank-and-file workers who have been furloughed or laid off because of the coronavirus.”

In April, Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) released a proposal to establish a ‘Paycheck Security’ program to cover the wages and benefits of employees of affected businesses and non-profits until the economic and public health crisis is resolved. The Senators’ proposed plan would cover the full payroll and benefits of workers at distressed businesses and non-profits, up to $90,000 per employee, for at least six months. The Paycheck Security plan would also provide funds to cover fixed operating costs such as rent, utilities, and insurance costs to help employers weather the economic crisis.

The Senators released an extensive white paper detailing eligibility, verification, and other contours of their proposal, which is available here.

 

The full text of Sen. Warner’s remarks as prepared for delivery appears below:

Mr. President, I rise today because we face the greatest unemployment crisis America has seen since the Great Depression. More than 33 million workers have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of these folks have also lost their health insurance. I just read that 27 million have lost their insurance due to the virus. The Federal Reserve forecasts that 47 million Americans, or nearly one-third of the workforce, could lose their jobs.

These aren’t just numbers. They represent the pain being felt by families across this country as we enter the greatest economic crisis of our lifetime. Candidly, we need to face some hard truths about how we got here and what will come next if we fail to act. 

The reason we are facing this dire economic crisis is simple: The federal government failed to take appropriate actions to contain the coronavirus. That’s why we have had to do social distancing. It hasn’t been fun. It has been tough on all of us, but we know it has saved lives and begun to flatten the curve.

But we also know that things can’t just go back to normal overnight. Not before we have a vaccine. Not before the government, working with the private sector, finally solves the chronic shortages of testing and PPE that have hampered our response to this pandemic from day one. 

States like mine are working towards a “new normal,” where we gradually scale back social distancing where it is safe to do so. But it just not realistic to suggest, as the President has, that we can just immediately “reopen the economy” before we’ve contained this virus… As if companies will just resume normal business knowing another coronavirus outbreak could shut them down any day… As if a virus for which we still don’t have a vaccine didn’t just kill more than 80,000 of our fellow Americans…

Mr. President, it’s time to face the facts…about what it will take for our economy to recover from this public health crisis. There is not a magic switch that we can just flip. Unfortunately, there will not be a V-shaped recovery if we stay on our current course.  

Just as it took the U.S. years to emerge from the Great Depression, it could take years or even decades to recover from the coronavirus recession, if we do not take immediate, bold action in the next coronavirus relief bill.

Our first goal must be to prevent further job losses, as well as permanent disruptions like business closures, evictions, and foreclosures. Second, we must work quickly to reduce the economic uncertainty facing workers and small businesses. 

To do this, we need to provide immediate assistance to the millions of Americans workers…who have gone overnight from a steady job to unemployment through no fault of their own. I’m not talking about another stimulus check. I’m not talking about unemployment benefits. I’m talking about paychecks.

The proposal, which I have put forward with Senator Sanders, Senator Jones, and Senator Blumenthal, would create a national paycheck security program for American workers. A very similar proposal has been put forward by my friend on the other side of the aisle, Senator Hawley from Missouri.

It uses a direct support model that has support on both the left and the right. Matter of fact, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal have both commented in support. We know those editorial boards never agree on anything, but they both think this approach has merit. 

And we know this direct support approach works because it has been implemented successfully in several European countries, and in Canada—where the unemployment rate has gone up, but just by a couple of points. They’re not seeing the 20% unemployment we’re headed towards, or as the Federal Reserve and the administration have predicted, maybe even 25% unemployment within the next month.

Paycheck security means that federal government would help cover the payroll expenses for rank-and-file workers who have been furloughed or laid off because of the coronavirus.

These Treasury Department grants would cover salaries and wages up to $90,000 for each employee, plus benefits and run for at least six months. They would also provide funds to many businesses to help cover business operating costs such as rent and utilities.

The program would be delivered through the employee retention tax credit—something I worked hard to include in the earlier coronavirus relief bill—which already is set up at the IRS and can be leveraged to deliver far greater benefits than it currently provides. 

In exchange for the paycheck security grant, employers would commit to forgo further layoffs and maintain the pay and benefits of rank-and-file workers. They would also be required to suspend stock buybacks and limit CEO compensation for at least the term of the federal assistance.  

A national paycheck security program would immediately work to prevent financial calamity for millions of American families. At the same time, it would maintain or re-establish the critical link between workers and their employers. The re-establishment of that employment link would restore for many workers the employer-provided health insurance that they have lost due to layoffs.

If we re-establish this connection, the economy would be able to bounce back much more quickly after the public health crisis ends. The certainty provided by this program would also give consumers the confidence they need to begin spending money in the economy, accelerating the eventual economic recovery.

It will be expensive—and I say this as someone who has spent a long time working on trying to reduce the deficit. But when we compare it to the over $600 billion we’ve spent on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which has only helped one section of our economy—businesses under 500 employees—that’s done nothing for mid-sized businesses with 500-10,000 workers, I think the alternative will be much cheaper. And it will be pennies compared to the damage that will be done if we fail to adequately assist our fellow Americans in this moment of economic crisis.

Now Mr. President, I am pleased my colleagues in the House have put forward an initial draft of their view of the next coronavirus relief legislation. It has a number of important provisions. However, I believe it has not taken the bold step of saying—before we refill the funding buckets for these other programs‚ which have had mixed results in some cases—perhaps we should take a time out, and ask if there is a better way to provide the security that the American people are looking for from their government. 

But one thing my House colleagues and I share is an enormous sense of urgency. With unemployment at nearly 15% and rising, this is not the time to play wait and see. It is no exaggeration to say that we face the prospect of not just a recession, but another Great Depression. Every day we delay, we dig ourselves deeper and deeper into the hole we must eventually climb out of when this crisis is behind us.

And as we enter negotiations over the next phase of the coronavirus response, I would encourage my colleagues to look to bold solutions. Let’s give our fellow Americans paycheck security. Put paychecks in their hands and help get them back to work as soon as it is safe to do so. 

Thank you, Mr. President.

###

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and U.S. Reps. James E. Clyburn (D-SC) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) in introducing the VoteSafe Act, legislation to expand voting options and improve the safety and accessibility of polling places across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As our country combats COVID-19, we’re also in the middle of an election year,” said Sen. Harris. “It is critical that we meet voters where they are and ensure that all forms of voting are safe and accessible. That is why I am proud to partner with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and Rep. Marcia Fudge to introduce the VoteSafe Act, which is centered on the experiences of communities that have long struggled with access to the ballot box.”

“The right to vote is a basic American right and our democracy depends on our citizens having access to the ballot box,”said House Majority Whip Clyburn. “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the many challenges Americans face while voting, which is why I’m proud to join Senator Harris and Congresswoman Fudge to introduce the VoteSafe Act today, because it expands voting options to include no-excuse vote by mail and early voting, as well as improve access to voter registration. This legislation ensures that polling locations and its workers have the resources they need to not only keep themselves safe, but also keep the public safe during this public health crisis. We must act now to protect every American’s basic right to vote and guarantee that when people do vote, they are safe and have equal access to the ballot box.” 

“While the health and safety of voters is a top priority during the current public health emergency, we must make sure the pandemic does not impede full, unfettered access to the ballot box,” said Rep. Fudge, Chair of the House Administration Subcommittee on Elections. “Voters must have safe, accessible options and sufficient time to cast their ballots without unnecessary confusion and potential voter disenchantment. Congress has the responsibility to ensure every eligible American can exercise their right to vote. I am proud to cosponsor the VoteSafe Act and any legislation preventing and removing barriers to the ballot box; barriers that have plagued our democracy for far too long.”      

This year, multiple primary elections were besieged by public health concerns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, in Wisconsin, voters experienced long lines and hours-long wait times, after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a court order that would have extended the period for voters to return absentee ballots—forcing many voters to vote in-person at a limited number of polling places. Multiple voters tested positive for COVID-19 after this election.

The VoteSafe Act would:

  • Require states to provide no-excuse mail-in absentee voting for the 2020 elections and guarantee minimum due process protections for these voters;
  • Require states to maintain an early in-person voting period of at least 20 days for the 2020 elections;
  • Authorize $2.5 billion for states to meet their obligations to offer no-excuse absentee voting and early in-person voting; and
  • Provide $2.5 billion in additional discretionary grant funding for states to further improve the safety and accessibility of voting options during the pandemic, including:
  • Ensuring that elections are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Ensuring adequate protections for language minority voters.
  • Ensuring voting access for American Indian, Alaska Native, and rural voters.
  • Implementing and promoting curbside voting.
  • Implementing and meeting a maximum wait time standard or publishing current wait times for voters.
  • Providing for the training and recruitment of poll workers.
  • Improving access to voter registration.

In addition to Warner, Harris, Clyburn, and Fudge, the VoteSafe Act is co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR); and Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Andre’ Carson (D-IN), David Cicilline (D-RI), Gilbert Cisneros (D-CA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Danny Davis (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Val Demings (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Chuy Garcia (D-IL), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Daniel Kildee (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Steven Lynch (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Donna Shalala (D-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Mike Thompson (D-CA).

The bill is endorsed by Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Areva Martin, civil rights attorney, author, and founder of Special Needs Network, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Asian Law Alliance, Asian Pacific Islander Initiative, Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, Building Healthy Communities East Salinas, California Black Chamber of Commerce, Center for American Progress (CAP), Common Cause, The Daniel Initiative, David Ryu, Los Angeles City Councilmember, End Citizens United Action Fund and Let America Vote, Environmental Health Coalition, Fresno Barrios Unidos, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Homeboy Industries, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership, Marc Elias, election and voting rights attorney, Mi Familia Vota, Mid-City Community Action Network (Mid-City CAN), Mission Economic Development Agency, MoveOn, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO Educational Fund), National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), Native American Rights Fund (NARF), National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Education Association (NEA),New Breath Foundation, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Sacramento LGBT Center, San Diego Organizing Project, San Francisco Faith Community, San Francisco NAACP, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), SEIU Local 2015, UnidosUS, UNITE HERE Local 11, United Farm Workers (UFW), Urban League of San Diego County, Voto Latino,and Working Partnerships USA.

“Our right to vote is a central pillar of our democracy,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “Yet despite the hard-fought history to secure voting rights, too many Americans still face unnecessary barriers when trying participate in our democracy. Senator Harris’ VoteSafe Act proposes long overdue election reforms to ensure access to the ballot for all eligible Americans. These common-sense proven policies will be critical to ensuring that our elections in November are accessible, secure, and safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. More voters who vote early, by mail or safely in-person — along with thoughtful public health protocols at voting locations — means shorter lines and a safer voting experience on Election Day for voters, all poll workers, and elections staff alike.”

“Even before this devastating pandemic, our nation was experiencing a sustained period of voter suppression across the states, triggered by the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder,” said Kristen Clarke, President & Executive Director of the Lawyers' Committee. “Now, more than ever, we need bold and comprehensive legislation like Senator Harris' VoteSafe Act, which would both expand options for safe in-person voting and facilitate the expansion of vote by mail in the states. This is critical to protecting the right to vote during this pandemic, especially for African Americans and other people of color.” 

“Unless Congress takes immediate action to help upgrade state election systems, the chaos and potentially deadly consequences observed in Wisconsin will likely repeat themselves in states across the country,” said Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress. “States must act now to expand vote by mail and ensure safe in-person voting so Americans can exercise the fundamental right to vote without risking their health.”

“It’s shocking that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, some states and localities are actively trying to disenfranchise certain voters, especially from communities of color. If Congress doesn’t act to protect our right to vote, millions of Americans could be disenfranchised, and thousands more Americans could get sick by showing up to vote. No one should have to decide between their health and their right to vote,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “We appreciate Senator Harris’ leadership in introducing the VoteSafe Act to help ensure that all Americans can safely have their voices heard and votes counted in this year’s elections.”

“No one should ever have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” said Tiffany Muller, President of Let America Vote and End Citizens United. “Senator Kamala Harris’ VoteSafe Act of 2020 is a comprehensive solution to ensure there are safe voting options while also protecting Americans’ access to the ballot box in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. By expanding absentee vote-by-mail options, guaranteeing adequate assistance for language minority voters, and improving polling place management and safety, the VoteSafe Act of 2020 provides the necessary measures and funding for election preparedness during these challenging times. Let America Vote and End Citizens United Action Funds applaud Senator Harris for her bold leadership on a critical issue impacting Americans across the country, and we urge the Senate to act now to pass this bill.”   

“The COVID-19 pandemic reaffirms that all people, regardless of the color of their skin or where they were born, need a strong voice in our democracy. Voting is one of the fastest, most efficient ways to voice our vision for the path we want our communities to take in 2020 and beyond. SEIU members applaud Senator Harris for introducing the VoteSafe Act to help states prepare for holding elections during the pandemic in a way that’s safe and accessible for all voters. Having an election that is safe and healthy for every voter no matter where they live is vital to creating a democracy that works for us all,” said Service Employees International Union International (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry. 

Bill text can be found here.

A one pager on the bill can be found here.

Additional supportive quotes can be found here.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined more than 40 of their colleagues to introduce the Emergency Educational Connections Act, legislation aimed at ensuring K-12 students have adequate home internet connectivity and devices during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill is the Senate companion to legislation recently introduced in the House, but makes one important change: increasing the appropriation from $2 billion to $4 billion. Education groups had originally identified the $2 billion figure believing the crisis would last only through this academic year. As it has become clear that the crisis could last far longer, need has only increased. 

“As a nation, we have a responsibility to make sure that this health crisis does not interfere with our ability to continue providing a quality education to every single child – no matter where they live or how much their parents make,” said Warner. “Students and teachers all over the Commonwealth are doing their best to adapt to this new normal, but it’s up to Congress to provide schools with the funding they need to make sure every child is able to successfully participate in virtual learning. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this legislation to help schools and libraries afford the additional connectivity resources needed during this pandemic.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has revealed great disparities in our nation, including in our education system,” Kaine said.“Congress must step up to ensure no student, particularly those in low-income households, is left behind as schools transition to online learning. This legislation will support both schools and students with the resources they need to stay connected and focus on their education during this time.” 

The “homework gap” is experienced by 12 million students in this country who do not have internet access at home and are unable to complete their homework. Research has shown that this gap affects students in both rural and urban areas and disproportionately affects lower-income students and students of color.  Students without internet access at home consistently score lower in reading, math, and science.  This existing inequity has been exacerbated during this current public health emergency as schools suspend in-person classes and transition to remote learning over the internet to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff. 

Specifically, the Emergency Educational Connections Act would:

  1. Provide $4 billion in federal support for elementary and secondary schools and libraries, including tribal schools and libraries, to provide Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-enabled devices (as well as internet service through such equipment) to students, staff, and patrons;
  2. Allow schools and libraries to continue to use the equipment after the emergency period; and
  3. Ensure schools and libraries prioritize support for those most in need, following the guidelines of the E-Rate program.

As the coronavirus pandemic develops, the E-Rate program offers an immediate solution that may help mitigate the impact of this crisis on our most vulnerable families. Additional funding for E-Rate would greatly narrow the homework gap and help ensure that all students can continue to learn.

A copy of the legislation can be found HERE

The legislation was also cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Doug Jones (D-AL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Angus King (I-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Gary Peters (D-MI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bob Casey Jr. (D-PA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and John Tester (D-MT).

The Emergency Educational Connections Act is supported by the following organizations: AASA The School Superintendents Association, Advance CTE, Alliance for Excellent Education, American Federation of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, AFLCIO, American Library Association, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, ASCD, Association for Career and Technical Education, Association of Educational Service Agencies, Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO), Children's Health Fund, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Committee for Children, Common Sense Media, CoSN - Consortium for School Networking, Council for Exceptional Children, Council of Administrators of Special Education, Family Centered Treatment Foundation, First Focus Campaign for Children, Girls Inc., IDEA Public Schools, International Society for Technology in Education, KIPP Foundation, Learning Forward, Magnet Schools of America, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, National Association for Music Education, National Association of Counties (NACo), National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), National Association of Independent Schools, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), National Catholic Educational Association, National Center for Families Learning, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), National Education Association, National Forum to Accelerate, Middle-Grades Reform, National Rural Education Advocacy Consortium, National Rural Education Association, National School Boards Association (NSBA), Parents as Teachers, Public Knowledge, Project Tomorrow, Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK), SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association), Schools Healthy & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), Stand for Children, Teach For America, and The Education Trust. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $4,520,475 in federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The federal funding was made possible by Section 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every sector of our economy including fisheries and our seafood industry, which is already particularly susceptible to the forces of nature that determine when produce is ready for harvest,” said the Senators. “We’re glad to know that these funds will help provide some needed relief to help Virginia’s seafood industry withstand this crisis.”

Section 12005 of the CARES Act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to provide $300 million in appropriated funds to assist fishery participants affected by the COVID-19. Specifically, these funds will help address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19.

Fishery participants eligible for funding – including tribes, commercial fishing businesses, charter/for-hire fishing businesses, qualified aquaculture operations, processors, and other fishery-related businesses – will be able to work with their state marine fisheries management agencies, territories, or tribes to apply for these funds. 

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long advocated for Virginia’s seafood industry – a community largely made up of rural, family-owned operations. Earlier this week, the Senators joined their colleagues in sending a letter to Senate leaders asking them to make sure urgently needed federal assistance is delivered to America’s fishermen and seafood processors who have been affected by this crisis. Additionally, in February, the Senators urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release additional H-2B visas needed to support local seafood businesses in Virginia and states like Alaska, Maryland, and North Carolina.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $7,961,099 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand COVID-19 testing capacity at 26 health centers across Virginia. These grants were awarded as part of the Expanding Capacity for Coronavirus Testing (ECT) program.

“We must expand testing capacity for COVID-19 in Virginia and across the country,” the Senators said. “This federal funding will directly help health centers in Virginia achieve this. We will keep working to ensure that health centers receive the support they need to serve Virginians during this emergency.”

The following will receive funding:

  • Rockbridge Area Free Clinic of Lexington, VA will receive $198,709
  • Tri-Area Community Health of Laurel Fork, VA will receive $247,429
  • Blue Ridge Medical Center, Inc. of Arrington, VA will receive $227,029
  • Central Virginia Health Services of New Canton, VA will receive $785,164
  • Portsmouth Community Health Center, Inc. of Portsmouth, VA will receive $291,424
  • Peninsula Institute for Community Health of Newport News, VA will receive $405,559
  • Neighborhood Health of Alexandria, VA will receive $536,194
  • Clinch River Health Services, Inc. of Dungannon, VA will receive $138,814
  • Kuumba Community Health & Wellness Center of Roanoke, VA will receive $239,974
  • St. Charles Health Council, Inc. of Jonesville, VA will receive $356,074
  • Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. of Onancock, VA will receive $573,139
  • Daily Planet Health Services of Richmond, VA will receive $201,424
  • Johnson Health Center of Madison Heights, VA will receive $475,054
  • Highland Medical Center, Inc. of Monterey, VA will receive $126,499
  • Piedmont Access to Health Services (PATHS) of Danville, VA will receive $387,844
  • Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Inc. of Saltville, VA will receive $321,469
  • Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness of Martinsville, VA will receive $170,044
  • Harrisonburg Community Health Center, Inc. of Harrisonburg, VA will receive $332,344
  • Free Clinic Of The New River Valley, Inc. of Christiansburg, VA will receive $174,979
  • Greater Prince William Community Health Center of Woodbridge, VA will receive $386,404
  • Bland County Medical Clinic, Inc. of Bastian, VA will receive $194,404
  • Southern Dominion Health Systems, Inc. of Victoria, VA will receive $285,574
  • Stony Creek Community Health Center of Stony Creek, VA will receive $138,739
  • Loudoun Community Health Center DBA Health Works Northern Virginia of Leesburg, VA will receive $286,249
  • Capital Area Health Network of Richmond, VA will receive $312,604
  • Horizon Health Services, Inc. of Ivor, VA will receive $167,959

The ECT award supports health centers by providing funding for necessary expenses to purchase, administer, and expand capacity for testing in order to monitor and combat COVID-19.

 

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