Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Following significant problems with the rollout of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this year, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) are urging the Department of Education Office of Inspector General (OIG) to issue a quick review of problems with the form’s rollout and provide a course for corrective action. This move by Sens. Warner and Kaine comes as incoming high school seniors across the country prepare to fill out the FAFSA form as part of the college application process that typically begins in the late summer and early fall.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is currently investigating a broader and full-scale review of the 2024-2025 FAFSA rollout. While GAO and the IG are working together on this review, it is on a longer timeline and likely will not be complete when the FAFSA reopens this fall. The faster “management alert” review being requested by the Senators would focus on the immediate problems that need to be resolved ahead of relaunching the application.

In highlighting the need for a faster review to address urgent problems ahead of next school year, the Senators pointed to the cost that these problems had on students.

“In particular, issues with the form leading to long periods of uncertainty have had a major ripple effect on students and colleges alike,” the Senators wrote. “Students experienced delayed access to the application, technical glitches impacting timely submission, and processing errors. As a result of these setbacks, higher education institutions received student financial data months later than expected, causing slowdowns in the process of providing prospective students with complete financial aid packages ahead of college enrollment deadlines. Many colleges and universities pushed their enrollment deadlines, leading to fragmentation in the college decision timeline.”

And while significant progress has been made to address these issues, the Senators highlighted that lingering issues are still plaguing many who rely on financial aid to make their college decision.

They continued, “And, while most problems have been fully resolved or provided temporary fixes, we remain concerned about continuing challenges, including that students from a mixed immigration status family and whose contributors do not have a Social Security Number are still unable to successfully submit the FAFSA form. Such FAFSA hurdles particularly impact individuals who need financial aid the most, including low-income, first-generation, and traditionally underserved students. For many of these students, the biggest consideration in committing to a college is deciding how to finance it.”

In their letter the Senators also specifically asked that the OIG, in working with GAO, ensure that the broader FAFSA review includes a full assessment of the following:

  • A detailed chronology of the development, implementation, and management of the form;
  • Contributing factors to the form delay, technical malfunctions and backend complications, formula miscalculations, data and processing errors, and other issues;
  • The role of contractors in the launch of the FAFSA form;
  • The Department’s oversight, performance standards, and review of contractors;
  • The Department’s communication and information sharing with impacted communities, including students and higher education institutions;
  • The impact of funding and other competing priorities on implementation;
  • The deadline for implementation, which was pushed from July 1, 2023 to July, 1, 2024;[10]
  • Potential challenges that the Department will need to anticipate ahead of the coming academic year and beyond; and
  • Recommendations for corrective action.

This letter comes after Sen. Warner met with Virginia students to discuss the problems with this year’s rollout of the new FAFSA form and hear how the botched process impacted their college decision process. Earlier this year, the Senators also pushed the Department of Education to quickly address the problems for current students.

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Inspector General Bruce:

We write to you regarding the launch of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which was unveiled on December 31, 2023. In 2020, Congress passed the FAFSA Simplification Act1 , intending to streamline and demystify the federal financial aid process, redesign the FAFSA, and increase access to grants, student loans, and work-study opportunities. 

The “Better FAFSA” form impressively simplified the federal financial aid application from over 100 questions to as few as 18, allowing many students to retrieve income data directly from the Internal Revenue Service and apply for aid in less than thirty minutes. According to the Department of Education, the updated student aid determination formula, as part of the FAFSA Simplification Act, is expected to provide an additional 665,000 students from low-income backgrounds with access to federal grants and more than 1.7 million students with the maximum grant amount. This includes 16,626 Virginia students who will have new access to the Pell Grant and an additional 37,916 Virginians who will go from partial Pell Grant funding to full, expanding affordability and paving paths towards higher education.

Despite this progress, we are disappointed to report that we have heard from countless students, parents, educators, high school counselors, financial aid administrators, and higher education institutions sharing their experiences and expressing great worry with the implications of the 2024-2025 FAFSA rollout.

In particular, issues with the form leading to long periods of uncertainty have had a major ripple effect on students and colleges alike. Students experienced delayed access to the application, technical glitches impacting timely submission, and processing errors. As a result of these setbacks, higher education institutions received student financial data months later than expected, causing slowdowns in the process of providing prospective students with complete financial aid packages ahead of college enrollment deadlines. Many colleges and universities pushed their enrollment deadlines, leading to fragmentation in the college decision timeline.

We welcomed the Department’s efforts over the last few months to provide workarounds to some of aforementioned issues and new steps to support schools and students,6 which has resulted in the successful submission of 8.95 million forms.7 However, the FAFSA impediments and other persisting obstacles have, unfortunately, left prospective students with inadequate time to consider financial aid packages prior to college decision day. In some cases, students have had to commit to a school without a complete understanding of their aid or forgo enrolling in school altogether – the exact opposite of what the new form was intended to achieve.

And, while most problems have been fully resolved or provided temporary fixes, we remain concerned about continuing challenges, including that students from a mixed immigration status family and whose contributors do not have a Social Security Number are still unable to successfully submit the FAFSA form. Such FAFSA hurdles particularly impact individuals who need financial aid the most, including low-income, first-generation, and traditionally underserved students. For many of these students, the biggest consideration in committing to a college is deciding how to finance it.

Further, recent data demonstrates that current national and state-level FAFSA completion rates are lower than last year. According to the National College Attainment Network, as of May 17, only 41.5% of the high school class of 2024 completed the FAFSA – a 15.5% drop from the previous class.8 We are greatly concerned that, as a result of FAFSA related issues and the continuation of such issues, more students will consider opting out of pursuing higher education in the coming years.

We recognize that the Department of Education, and in particular, the Office of Federal Student Aid, was under a difficult implementation timeline while managing limited funding and resources for an extensive financial aid portfolio. We also want to highlight that the contractors responsible for overseeing the implementation played a leading role in the deployment of the form and ensuing complications.

As such, we express great concern with the deployment of the 2024-2025 FAFSA form and the potential consequences it will have on students seeking federal financial aid and pursuing higher education in the fall and the academic years after. We also are concerned about the potential for continued disruptions for the 2025-2026 FAFSA. That is why, we respectfully request that the Office of the Inspector General review and assess the development, implementation, and management of the “Better FAFSA” and swiftly provide direction for corrective action to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted application process for the upcoming academic year and beyond.

We are cognizant of the existing investigations currently open by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). We ask the Office of the Investigative General (OIG) work to ensure that both entities are working in coordination and that investigative efforts are not duplicative. We also understand that GAO investigations operate on a long-term scale and that the current issues regarding the 2024-2025 FAFSA are time sensitive because of the expected to roll out on October 1, 2024. Notwithstanding the GAO investigations, we ask that the OIG consider issuing a separate “management alert” that identifies that current issues with the FAFSA form, potential issues that may arise ahead of October 1, and recommendations to ensure a smooth application period.

Additionally, we ask that your larger and full review of the “Better FAFSA” form and the implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act include, along with any other topics you find appropriate, include a full assessment of the following:

  • A detailed chronology of the development, implementation, and management of the form;
  • Contributing factors to the form delay, technical malfunctions and backend complications, formula miscalculations, data and processing errors, and other issues;
  • The role of contractors in the launch of the FAFSA form;
  • The Department’s oversight, performance standards, and review of contractors;
  • The Department’s communication and information sharing with impacted communities, including students and higher education institutions;
  • The impact of funding and other competing priorities on implementation;
  • The deadline for implementation, which was pushed from July 1, 2023 to July, 1, 2024;[10]
  • Potential challenges that the Department will need to anticipate ahead of the coming academic year and beyond; and
  • Recommendations for corrective action.

The FAFSA form is a gateway to college accessibility and affordability and through this review and recommendations for improvement, we aim to ensure that doors to postsecondary institutions remain open to interested students.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this request.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 14 of his Democratic colleagues in releasing draft legislation to address the rising trend of labor and delivery unit closures in rural and underserved hospitals.

“Rural hospitals across the country and the Commonwealth of Virginia are struggling to keep their doors open, and expectant mothers are bearing the brunt of the impact,” said Sen. Warner. “This draft legislation aims to ensure that all hospitals are able to continue delivering obstetrics care to people in need.” 

The Keep Obstetrics Local Act (KOLA) would increase Medicaid payment rates for labor and delivery services at eligible hospitals in rural and high-need urban areas, provide “standby” payments to cover the costs of staffing and maintaining an obstetrics unit at low-volume hospitals, create low-volume payment adjustments for labor and delivery services at hospitals with low birth volumes, and require all states to provide postpartum coverage for women in Medicaid for 12 months, among other steps. The proposal makes sure that hospitals are required to use these additional resources to invest in the maternal health care needs of the local communities they serve.

Virginia has experienced a scourge of closures and challenges to obstetrics care in recent years:

  • In April 2024, HCA LewisGale Hospital Montgomery in Blacksburg, VA temporarily ceased obstetrics services, citing the continuing challenge of recruiting full-time OB-GYNs;
  • In August 2023, Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital in South Boston, VA ended obstetric services, citing the significant decrease in births in recent years;
  • In 2022, Sovah Health Martinsville in Martinsville, VA temporarily paused Labor & Delivery services, citing a 60 percent decline in deliveries since 2015;
  • In 2019, Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth, VA closed its maternity unit, citing insufficient demand;
  • In 2018, Valley Health Warren Memorial Hospital in Front Royal, VA closed its maternity unit.

Between 2012 and 2022, approximately one quarter of all rural hospitals stopped providing obstetrics services, impacting 267 communities. This trend of closures is caused by several overlapping challenges, including the high fixed operating costs of these units, low volumes of births, and difficulties in attracting and retaining OB-trained clinical staff, all of which is made worse by inadequate federal reimbursement for labor and delivery services.

Sen. Warner has led efforts in the Senate to help curb the trend of hospital closures in rural communities. Last year, he introduced the Save Rural Hospitals Act, legislation to help curb the trend of hospital closures in rural communities by making sure hospitals are fairly reimbursed for their services by the federal government.

A summary and section by section of the draft legislation can be found here. A copy of the draft bill text is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) voted to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act, legislation that will renew critical grant programs that fund essential equipment and resources for fire stations, and also help hire, train, and retain new firefighters. Originally passed by the Senate in 2023, today’s final passage also includes Warner-supported provisions that will promote nuclear energy deployment across the country.

“During my visits to fire stations across the Commonwealth, I’ve seen firsthand how these grant programs help stations hire and retain firefighters and secure important equipment upgrades. Firefighters put their lives on the line day in and day out to keep our communities safe – the least we can do is make sure they have the equipment and the personnel they need to do their jobs safely. I’m glad we finally got this legislation across the finish line, and I’m also happy to see it take important steps forward in another critical arena – improving the nuclear regulatory space. This legislation invests in our clean energy future by cutting senseless red tape, promoting American energy independence, and paving the way to bring more green jobs and infrastructure to communities across Virginia,” said Sen. Warner. 

Specifically, this legislation would reauthorize the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program, which provides funding to help firefighters and other first responders obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources necessary for protecting the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards. It would also reauthorize the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program, which provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained, "frontline" firefighters available in their communities. Finally, it would reauthorize and increase funding for the United States Fire Administration (USFA), the lead federal agency for fire data collection, fire research, and fire service training.

Since 2015, 273 AFG grants and 77 SAFER grants have been awarded to communities throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2023, 37 awards were made to localities and fire departments across Virginia totaling over $25 million in funding.

In 2023, the following entities in Virginia received 26 awards totaling over $6 million in funding through the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) grant program:

  • Isle of Wight County received $959,020
  • The City of Lynchburg received $830,636
  • The City of Alexandria received $600,000
  • Frederick County received $463,450
  • Franklin County received $438,238
  • Chesterfield County received $313,880
  • City of Hopewell received $294,645
  • Loudoun County Fire & Rescue received $278,345
  • Virginia Department of Fire received $203,736
  • Patrick-Henry Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. received $186,857
  • City of Portsmouth received $177,272
  • Poquoson Fire/Rescue received $172,095
  • The Bland County Volunteer Fire Department received $163,476
  • Prince Edward County received $162,585
  • Buena Vista Firefighters received $158,914
  • Bloxom Volunteer Fire Co received $150,000
  • Couple District Volunteer Fire Department received $130,144
  • The Courtland Volunteer Fire Department received $130,144
  • Dolphin Volunteer Fire Department received $126,433
  • Brumley Gap Vol. Fire Department received $102,857
  • City of Danville Municipal Building received $83,740
  • Forest Volunteer Fire Co Foundation received $83,515
  • The Scruggs Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad in Franklin County received $66,666
  • Brookville-Timberville Volunteer Fire Department received $53,181
  • Natural Bridge Volunteer Fire Department received $33,034
  • Woodstock Fire Department received $19,047

In 2023, the following entities in Virginia received 11 awards totaling over $19 million in funding through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program:

  • The County of Albemarle received $7,146,642
  • The City of Suffolk received $4,115,448
  • The City of Manassas Park received $3,582,866
  • International Association of Fire Chiefs received $2,667,697
  • Rappahannock County received $561,617
  • Goochland County received $556,972
  • The Town of Chatham received $204,804
  • Greene County received $176,445
  • The Woodstock Fire Department received $133,043
  • Hanover County received $41,800
  • Stephens City Fire and Rescue Company in Frederick County received $21,068

The Fire Grants and Safety Act also contains provisions from the Warner-supported ADVANCE Act, bipartisan legislation that would make it easier to build nuclear power infrastructure. More specifically, the Fire Grants and Safety Act will facilitate American leadership in nuclear energy, reduce regulatory costs associated with licensing nuclear reactors, incentivize the development of next-generation reactors, strengthen the nuclear fuel supply chain, and allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to modernize and address staffing issues. Sen. Warner, a strong supporter of nuclear energy, recently launched the Senate Advanced Nuclear Caucus and has pushed directly on the Department of Defense to ensure consistent, reliable power sources for critical missions, including through the development and deployment of advanced nuclear reactors.  

Sen. Warner is a strong supporter of our firefighters across the Commonwealth, and previously voted to pass the Fire Grants and Safety Act in April 2023. Since then, he has visited fire stations in Richmond and Suffolk to highlight the urgent need to secure final passage of this legislation. Following wildfires across the Shenandoah Valley earlier this year, Sen. Warner met with first responders in Harrisonburg to discuss federal resources for firefighters.

This legislation recently passed with a huge bipartisan margin in the House of Representatives. It now heads to President Biden’s desk.

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the Senate’s failure to advance the Right to IVF Act, Warner-cosponsored legislation that would protect and expand access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services nationwide.

“For years, millions of women have safely and successfully used IVF to start and grow families, making their plans a reality and their dreams come true. Yet we’ve seen judges and politicians take direct aim at fertility care, including in Alabama, where a state Supreme Court ruling upended families’ access to IVF overnight. It isn’t a far-off threat or a fearmongering tactic – we’re in the middle of a targeted assault on women’s access to reproductive care, and we need federal protections in place so families in all 50 states have the freedom to grow if they wish to do so. I’m deeply disappointed that my colleagues failed to protect access to IVF today, including robust protections for servicemembers and military families. I stand firmly with a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I’ll never stop fighting to protect and expand a right to IVF.”

The Right to IVF Act includes provisions from the Warner-cosponsored Access to Family Building Act, and would establish a right for individuals to access IVF and ART services, as well as an adjacent right for doctors to provide these services. It also includes measures from the Veteran Families Health Services Act, which would improve fertility treatment and counseling options for veterans and servicemembers and promote research on servicemember and veteran reproductive health. It would also take several steps to increase affordability, including through mandating coverage of fertility treatments through employer-sponsored insurance plans and other public plans, as well as the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program.

Sen. Warner is a longtime advocate for comprehensive protections for reproductive care. In April, Sen. Warner urged the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to require all insurance carriers in the FEHB Program to cover in-vitro fertilization (IVF) medical treatments and medications. He also cosponsored and voted to pass the Right to Contraception Act, which would codify a right to birth control, and the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect abortion access, both of which have been blocked by Republicans.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg raising concerns about the near collision of two planes at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on May 29 and the airport’s capacity for more flights. They asked Secretary Buttigieg about how DOT and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plan to implement a provision in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024, which Warner and Kaine strongly opposed, that adds ten additional flights in and out of DCA and ensure there are no additional risks to passengers, airport personnel, and facilities.

“These recent near misses underscore the critical importance of ensuring the highest safety standards at our nation's airports, particularly for an airport as busy and nationally significant as DCA,” wrote the senators. “Recent near-miss incidents raise serious questions about the current capacity of DCA to handle additional flights without compromising safety of air traffic control operations.”

“We urge you to implement these changes at DCA with the utmost caution and concern for public safety, and without adding undue and unsustainable stress to its already overburdened infrastructure and personnel. At minimum, we owe this enhanced level of scrutiny to the passengers, airline staff, and airport workers who utilize this airport every day and rely on federal government regulations to keep them safe,” they continued.

The senators asked DOT to “… please provide information on any actions that the Department is taking in light of these two near misses, including the rationale behind those actions and any potential future actions under consideration. We also request that the Department share its plans for minimizing added risk to DCA’s facilities and personnel as these additional flights are forced in to the daily schedule.”

For months, Warner and Kaine sounded the alarm about adding more flights at DCA as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. They filed an amendment to remove the ten additional flights in and out of DCA from the bill. Prior to the Senate vote, Kaine spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to strike the additional flights. Warner and Kaine ultimately voted against the bill because of this dangerous provision.

Full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Secretary Buttigieg:

We write to express our serious concern following the alarming near miss between two aircraft at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on May 29, 2024. We understand the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to investigate this incident, which follows another near miss that occurred on April 18, 2024. These recent near misses underscore the critical importance of ensuring the highest safety standards at our nation's airports, particularly for an airport as busy and nationally significant as DCA.

As you are aware, DCA operates under unique landside size constraints and, with flights taking off and landing at the airport nearly every minute of every day, the airport’s slot and perimeter rules are in place to manage the high volume of air traffic and ensure the safety and efficiency of operations. DCA, originally designed to accommodate 15 million passengers, now serves over 25 million annually. This situation that has led to significant stress on the airport’s facilities and infrastructure.

Despite the public objections of the regional Congressional delegations, a provision in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024 tacks on ten additional flights in and out of DCA that are exempt from perimeter rules. It is now up to the Department and FAA to implement these changes within 60 days of enactment of this legislation. However, recent near-miss incidents raise serious questions about the current capacity of DCA to handle additional flights without compromising safety of air traffic control operations.

Ensuring that the National Airspace System is the safest and most reliable in the world must always be our top shared priority as senators and as Secretary. Therefore, we urge you to implement these changes at DCA with the utmost caution and concern for public safety, and without adding undue and unsustainable stress to its already overburdened infrastructure and personnel. At minimum, we owe this enhanced level of scrutiny to the passengers, airline staff, and airport workers who utilize this airport every day and rely on federal government regulations to keep them safe.

We ask that you please provide information on any actions that the Department is taking in light of these two near misses, including the rationale behind those actions and any potential future actions under consideration. We also request that the Department share its plans for minimizing added risk to DCA’s facilities and personnel as these additional flights are forced in to the daily schedule. That information should include discussions with DCA, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, affected carriers, and communications with other stakeholders responsive to this request.

We look forward to your prompt response and to working together to ensure that DCA remains a safe and efficient hub for air travel.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Mark R. Warner (both D-VA) introduced the Response to Conflict in Sudan Act, legislation to bolster and coordinate the U.S. response to the war in Sudan by codifying the Special Envoy for Sudan position at the U.S. Department of State. Specifically, the bill would elevate the position and require the Special Envoy to report directly to the Secretary of State; the Envoy currently reports to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. The bill would also require the Envoy to be confirmed by the Senate, reaffirming the Senate’s role in advice and consent for the appointment of senior national security officials, and ensure the Department of State appropriately staffs and resources the Envoy’s office to respond to this complex and worsening crisis. 

“I remain gravely concerned by the mass atrocities and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan,” said Warner. “Tom Perriello, the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, has worked diligently to deliver humanitarian aid and prioritize the safety of civilians who have been displaced by violent conflict. His efforts as Special Envoy are critical to supporting a path to ending the ongoing violence. We must ensure that the envoy role is fully resourced and elevated, and reflects the absolute seriousness of the need to secure an immediate and peaceful resolution.” 

“The conflict in Sudan has resulted in more than 150,000 civilian deaths, the displacement of millions, and a devastating humanitarian crisis. While I’m pleased that the Administration finally appointed Virginian Tom Perriello as Special Envoy for Sudan, which I strongly advocated for, we need to do more to ensure he’s empowered to fulfill his mandate,” said Kaine. “I have heard consistently from Virginians, including members of the Sudanese diaspora, about the urgent need for the U.S. to step up its engagement on this crisis. A robust U.S. response is critical to helping prevent further instability, holding the perpetrators of human rights atrocities accountable, coordinating a humanitarian response, and avoiding yet another refugee crisis. I’m introducing this bill to strengthen the role of the Special Envoy for Sudan and reaffirm the need to end the war in Sudan and secure a democratic future for the country.”  

Kaine and Warner successfully urged the Administration to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan and applauded the appointment of Virginian Tom Perriello to the role last year. They have been focused on bringing an end to the war in Sudan and increasing humanitarian assistance to civilians. Following the outbreak of violence, Kaine held a roundtable in Richmond and Warner hosted a virtual town hall with members of Virginia’s Sudanese American community to hear their concerns. They sent a letter to the Administration urging them to extend the re-registration period for Temporary Protected Status for migrants from Sudan, which the Department of Homeland Security announced last year. In December, they sent a letter to the Administration reaffirming his urgent request for the appointment of a Special Envoy for Sudan. Kaine also participated in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sudan in May.

Full text of the bill is available here.

  

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in introducing the Right to IVF Act, legislation to protect and expand access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technology (ART) services nationwide. The Senate is expected to vote on the Right to IVF Act soon.

“For decades, millions of women have used IVF to start or grow their families and make their dreams come true,” said Sen. Warner. “It’s clear that lawmakers and judges across the country won’t stop at banning abortion – we’re witnessing a broad-scale attack on reproductive freedom that includes access to assisted reproductive technology and contraception, too. I’m glad to be standing up to these attacks by introducing the Right to IVF Act and other comprehensive measures to protect reproductive care, and I won’t stop fighting for families to have the freedom to access basic health care.”

“Following the Alabama Supreme Court ruling that restricted IVF access, Elizabeth Carr, the first person born via IVF in the United States in Norfolk, said she felt like an endangered species. I invited her to the State of the Union this year to shine a light on this issue because no one should be made to feel that way. We must take steps to protect Americans’ freedom to decide whether, when, and how to start or build their families amid state restrictions on reproductive health care,” said Sen. Kaine. “I’m proud to be introducing this comprehensive bill to protect and expand access to IVF and ART services. I hope my colleagues will pass it when it comes to the Senate floor next week.”

Specifically, the Right to IVF Act includes provisions from four bills:

  • The Access to Family Building Act, which Warner and Kaine cosponsored to
    • Establish a statutory right for individuals to access, providers to provide, and insurers to cover IVF and ART services.
    • Authorize the U.S. Department of Justice to enforce these statutory rights.
    • Authorize a private right of action to allow adversely affected parties to sue.
  • The Veteran Families Health Services Act of 2023, which Kaine cosponsored to
    • Permanently authorize and enhance fertility treatment and counseling options for veterans and servicemembers, expand family-building assistance, improve eligibility rules, and strengthen research on servicemember and veteran long-term reproductive health.
    • Expand servicemembers’ access to fertility services before deployment to a combat zone or hazardous duty assignment and after an injury or illness.
  • The Access to Fertility Treatment and Care Act to
    • Increase affordability of fertility care, including IVF, by requiring employer-sponsored insurance plans and other public insurance plans, cover fertility treatments.
    • Standardize baseline of high-quality fertility treatment coverage under private health insurance plans and protect Americans against excessive out-of-pocket costs.
  • The Family Friendly FEHB Fairness Act to
    • Promote the standardization and widespread availability of affordable fertility treatment coverage under employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
    • Require insurance carriers that participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) Program to cover ART, including IVF treatments.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been strong advocates for reproductive freedom in Congress. Following an Alabama Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that led to restricted access of IVF, Warner and Kaine cosponsored the Access to Family Building Act to protect Americans’ right to IVF and other assisted reproductive technology services. In April, Warner and Kaine urged the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to require health insurance coverage of IVF medical treatments and medications for federal employees. In March, Kaine invited Norfolk-born Elizabeth Carr, the first person born in the United States via IVF, to join him as his guest at the State of the Union. Kaine held two roundtables in Norfolk and Arlington to discuss the need to protect IVF. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, Kaine worked across the aisle to introduce the Reproductive Freedom For All Act, a bipartisan bill to protect access to abortion and contraception.

The Right to IVF Act is endorsed by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, MomsRising, the Endocrine Society, Indivisible, and the What to Expect Project.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a cosponsor of the Right to Contraception Act, issued the following statement after voting to advance legislation to codify the right to access contraception into law. The legislation failed to reach the 60-vote threshold to move forward by a margin of 51-39.

“For over 50 years, Americans’ right to contraception has been protected by the Supreme Court. But in the years since Roe v. Wade was overturned, we have seen countless attacks on reproductive rights across the country including, unfortunately, in Virginia. Birth control is an essential part of health care, and the right to decide if and when to start a family should never be taken away from individuals. This legislation would have protected the right of women and families to access contraception without delay, harassment, or intimidation. I’m disappointed by today’s vote, but I will continue supporting measures that allow women to access the care they need.”

Earlier this year, Sen. Warner cosponsored legislation that would guarantee timely access to birth control at pharmacies nationwide. Today’s vote follows a move by Virginia state legislators to preserve contraception access in the Commonwealth, though that effort was eventually vetoed by the Governor.

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) cosponsored Tyler’s Law, a bill directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide hospitals with guidance on how emergency rooms can implement fentanyl testing in their routine drug screens. The bill is named for Tyler Shamash, a teenager who died of an overdose in part because – unbeknownst to the physician – he was not tested for fentanyl upon being checked into the emergency room.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of 17-year-old Fairfax County resident Malcolm Kent, who died of a fentanyl overdose that might have been prevented by more comprehensive testing protocols. It’s clear that we need to start employing every mechanism we have at our disposal to catch and treat overdoses before they occur,” said Sen. Warner. “While this law will never bring back Malcolm Kent, Tyler Shamash, or the thousands we’ve lost too soon to overdoses, in their memory I am glad to push to save more lives by instituting more robust guidance on testing for fentanyl during a suspected overdose.”

In January 2023, Malcolm Kent, a 17-year-old Fairfax County resident, went to the emergency room while experiencing an overdose but was not tested for fentanyl. He died of a fentanyl overdose shortly after being discharged. His mother, Thurraya Kent, has advocated for robust measures to test for fentanyl in emergency rooms and expand access to treatment.

Tyler’s Law would direct the Secretary of HHS to:

  • Complete a study to determine how frequently emergency rooms are currently testing for fentanyl when patients come in for an overdose, as well as the associated costs and benefits/risks, and
  • Issue guidance to hospitals on implementing fentanyl testing in emergency rooms.

In 2022, 1,967 Virginians died due to overdose of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, accounting for nearly 79% of all drug overdose deaths in Virginia. Nationally, fentanyl and other synthetic opioids were responsible for just over 63% of all drug overdose deaths that year. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, fentanyl has more than doubled overdose deaths among children ages 12 to 17.

Sen. Warner has consistently pushed for robust action to address the opioid epidemic, particularly by expanding telehealth so more Virginians experiencing substance use disorder can access treatment. He leads the TREATS Act, which would permanently (and without any special registration) allow telehealth prescribing of controlled substances to treat opioid use disorder, such as buprenorphine. He also repeatedly pushed the DEA to preserve pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities and create a special registration  so that quality providers can permanently prescribe controlled substances safely via telehealth. To address trafficking, he recently celebrated passage of the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering law that targets fentanyl traffickers. He also introduced the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act, legislation that would increase staffing capacity and technology to detect drugs that are being smuggled through points of entry. 

Tyler’s Law is led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mike Braun (R-IN), and also cosponsored by Bob Casey (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), Alex Padilla (D-CA). The full text of the bill is available here.  

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced $1,000,000 for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond to educate and train the primary care and supportive care workforces to provide age-friendly and dementia-friendly care to older Americans. The funding, made possible by the Fiscal Year 2024 government funding bill that Warner and Kaine helped pass, was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). The program was made permanent as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Warner and Kaine voted to pass.

“All Americans deserve to age with dignity, and we should make it easier for older adults to get the care they need in their communities,” said the senators. “We’re glad this funding is headed to VCU to train more health care professionals to provide care to older Americans and address health care workforce shortages.”

Warner and Kaine have long worked to expand access to care for older Americans. As a member of the Senate HELP Committee, Kaine is working to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA), which provides nutritional services, family caregiver support, long-term care programs, and other services to older Americans. In March, he introduced two witnesses from Virginia during a HELP Committee hearing on the OAA. Kaine has also introduced legislation to revitalize the long-term care workforce. As co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease, Warner led efforts to introduce and pass the National Alzheimer’s Project to treat and prevent the disease. Kaine’s bipartisan BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Actlegislation to reauthorize funding for public health initiatives across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health, passed out of the Senate HELP Committee last month.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded the announcement that Envigo – a breeding facility in Cumberland, Va. that engaged in egregious animal welfare violations – has plead guilty to felony violations of the Animal Welfare Act and Clean Water Act. This victory was made possible by Sens. Warner and Kaine, who began shedding light on this issue in 2022 and demanding federal action.

“Today’s settlement represents an enormous victory for animal welfare, as the perpetrators of horrific abuse against innocent dogs will pay a historic settlement for their negligence. After our advocacy for these animals, we’ve been deeply heartened to hear stories of their adoption into loving, safe homes, and this settlement takes another step critical towards justice. We’re glad to see Envigo held accountable for its crimes, and we’ll keep pushing to root out animal abuse across Virginia.”

In March of 2022, Sens. Warner and Kaine expressed horror and demanded immediate and aggressive action by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) following more than 70 animal welfare violations at the Envigo breeding and research facility in Cumberland. After these calls for action, the federal government stepped in, seizing 446 beagles in acute distress and eventually helping facilitate the surrender of nearly 4,000 dogs to the Humane Society of the Unites States (HSUS), which worked to place these dogs into homes.

Following this action, Envigo today pled guilty and agreed to pay $22 million in fines and $13.5 million to upgrade their facilities and support animal welfare and environmental projects. The settlement represents the largest-ever fine in an animal welfare case ever pursued by the Department of Justice. Envigo’s parent company, Inotiv, will face additional animal care standards and be assigned a compliance monitor.

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

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

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, wrote to the U.S. Copyright Office in support of expanding the existing good-faith research exemption within the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Every three years, the DMCA goes through a rulemaking process to authorize exemptions that allow individuals and researchers to circumvent technical protection measures on copyrighted material without risking liability. This year, Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers have petitioned for a new exemption relating to “Security Research Pertaining to Generative AI Bias.” Sen. Warner, who has led the charge in the Senate to explore the capabilities of AI technology while simultaneously advocating for reasonable guardrails around its usage, argues that expanding the current good-faith research exemption to cover research that falls outside of traditional security concerns, such as bias and other harmful outputs, is the best way to ensure safe and equitable AI while enabling its continued innovation, public trust, and adoption.

Sen. Warner wrote, “Due to the difficulty in understanding the full range of behaviors in AI systems - particularly as models are introduced in contexts that diverge from their intended use - the scope of good-faith research has expanded to the identification of safety flaws caused by misaligned AI systems, as well as research into how AI systems can reflect and reproduce socially and economically harmful biases…it is crucial that we allow researchers to test systems in ways that demonstrate how malfunctions, misuse, and misoperation may lead to an increased risk of physical or psychological harm.”

He continued, “At the same time, as the Department of Justice letter emphasized, a hallmark of the research exemption has been the good faith of security researchers. In the absence of regulation, many AI firms have voluntarily adopted measures to address abuse, security, and deception risks posed by their products. Given the growing use of generative AI systems for fraud, non-consensual intimate image generation, and other harmful and deceptive activity, measures such as watermarks and content credentials represent especially important consumer protection safeguards. While independent research can meaningfully improve the robustness of these kinds of authenticity and provenance measures, it is vital that the Copyright Office ensure that expansion of the exemption does not immunize research that intends to undermine these vital measures; absent very clear indicia of good faith, efforts that undermine provenance technology should not be entitled to the expanded exemption.”

This is the latest step in Sen. Warner’s efforts to reign in big tech and better understand the impacts of rapidly expanding usage of AI. Earlier this month, he introduced the Secure Artificial Intelligence Act of 2024, legislation to improve the tracking and processing of security and safety incidents and risks associated with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

A copy of the letter is available here and below: 

Dear Ms. Perlmutter,

I write today in response to the petition submitted to your office that proposes a new exemption for “Security Research Pertaining to Generative AI Bias” as part of the Copyright Office’s ninth triennial rulemaking proceeding under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). I understand a number of stakeholders have submitted public comments to weigh in on this petition, including a letter from the Department of Justice. Ultimately, I urge the Copyright Office to consider expanding the existing good-faith security research exemption to cover both security and safety flaws or vulnerabilities, where safety includes bias and other harmful outputs.

As the leader of bipartisan legislation to improve the security of AI systems and the Co-Chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, I recognize the importance of independent security research. The existing DMCA exemption for good-faith security researchers plays a critical role in empowering a robust security research ecosystem that identifies vulnerabilities and risks to systems around the world, facilitating their remediation, and preventing future exploitation by threat actors that could lead to incidents. We must continue to promote this important work and understand that, although AI is software at its core, the non-deterministic nature of AI systems means that security vulnerabilities are no longer the only type of flaw that can be introduced and enable misuse. As the AI Risk Management Framework, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), emphasizes, AI risks differ from traditional software risks in key ways - including increased opacity and barriers to reproducibility, complex and non-deterministic system dependencies, more nascent testing and evaluation frameworks and controls, and a “higher degree of difficulty in predicting failure modes” for so-called “emergent properties” of AI systems.

Due to the difficulty in understanding the full range of behaviors in AI systems - particularly as models are introduced in contexts that diverge from their intended use - the scope of good-faith research has expanded to the identification of safety flaws caused by misaligned AI systems, as well as research into how AI systems can reflect and reproduce socially and economically harmful biases. This research into bias and other harmful outputs is essential to ensuring public safety and equity while enabling continued innovation, public trust, and adoption of AI. Therefore, it is crucial that we allow researchers to test systems in ways that demonstrate how malfunctions, misuse, and misoperation may lead to an increased risk of physical or psychological harm.

At the same time, as the Department of Justice letter emphasized, a hallmark of the research exemption has been the good faith of security researchers. In the absence of regulation, many AI firms have voluntarily adopted measures to address abuse, security, and deception risks posed by their products. Given the growing use of generative AI systems for fraud, non-consensual intimate image generation, and other harmful and deceptive activity, measures such as watermarks and content credentials represent especially important consumer protection safeguards. While independent research can meaningfully improve the robustness of these kinds of authenticity and provenance measures, it is vital that the Copyright Office ensure that expansion of the exemption does not immunize research that intends to undermine these vital measures; absent very clear indicia of good faith, efforts that undermine provenance technology should not be entitled to the expanded exemption.

The existing exemption has been an important contributor to the multistakeholder effort to improve information security by enabling the “good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability” in computer programs.  As you review the public comments on this new petition, I urge you to consider expanding the good-faith security research definition to include both security and safety flaws or vulnerabilities, where safety includes bias and other harmful outputs. In considering this expansion, I urge the Copyright Office to continue to bind the exemption to research that is conducted in a safe environment, primarily to enhance the security or safety of computer programs, without facilitating copyright infringement.  Further, I encourage careful consideration of the exemption’s application to any research on technical measures that protect the authenticity or provenance of content from generative AI models.

              Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the below statement following the sentencing of Virginia resident Tyler Wenrich:

“After advocacy from my office and across Congress, I’m glad to see Virginia resident Tyler Wenrich receive a lenient sentence for mistakenly bringing just two hunting bullets to Turks and Caicos while on a cruise. Tyler never sought to break the law, so I’m deeply relieved that the justice system chose fairness and leniency over a 12-year prison sentence. I’m thrilled he will be able to return home to Louisa County with his wife and one-year-old son, and I will continue advocating for the safe return of wrongly detained Americans across the world.”

 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, (both D-VA) today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act, legislation they cosponsored, which will direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set up a National Parkinson’s Project, under which HHS would create and update a national plan to address Parkinson’s and related conditions, provide an estimate of research needs, and establish an advisory council that would report to Congress. The legislation now heads to President Biden for his signature.

In April 2023, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) shared her diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, and in September of last year, her diagnosis was upgraded to progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare and incurable brain disorder that rapidly deteriorates mobility and speech.

“Our friend Jennifer Wexton has been a model of grace and perseverance in the face of a difficult diagnosis,” said the senators. “This legislation bearing her name will help all those who are suffering with Parkinson’s and related conditions, and we are proud to see it head to the president’s desk for signature.”

The National Parkinson’s Project is modeled after the National Alzheimer’s Project which, as co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, Sen. Warner led efforts to introduce and pass. Sen. Kaine’s bipartisan Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act, legislation to reauthorize funding for public health initiatives across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health, passed out of the Senate HELP Committee this week. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after Senate Republicans defeated a bipartisan bill to address the situation at the U.S. southern border:

“This failed vote is the epitome of Washington dysfunction: after years of bellyaching about the situation at the U.S. southern border, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have shut down a border bill authored by a member of their very own party. It’s been nearly 40 years since Congress last reformed our immigration system, and it shows. The dysfunction at the border, the illegal movement of fentanyl through our ports of entry, the broken system in place for fearful asylum seekers – it’s a shame that Congress would turn down the opportunity to tackle all of these challenges today with the first real bipartisan immigration compromise we’ve seen in over a decade. As the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I worry this failure to address the situation at the border will only serve the interests of bad actors looking to jeopardize our national security. I will continue to push for solutions to fix this broken system.”

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WASHINGTON – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence passed the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 (IAA) today by a unanimous 17-0 vote. The bill authorizes funding, provides legal authorities, and enhances congressional oversight for the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC).

“The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2025 reflects the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bipartisan commitment to ensuring America’s intelligence agencies have the authorities and resources they need to protect against rapidly evolving conflicts and threats,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA). “This year’s bill enhances the IC’s ability to identify and counter emerging technological threats posed by adversarial nations, including foreign adversaries’ efforts to use and dominate areas like artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, and next-generation energy. The IAA also designates foreign ransomware organizations as hostile cyber actors and ensures the IC has the tools it needs to counter economic coercion and illicit technology transfer, in particular by the People’s Republic of China. It also reforms the nation’s security classification system, strengthens the security of our election systems, and furthers the Committee’s efforts to ensure the IC can attract and expeditiously on-board a talented, diverse, and trusted workforce to meet the emerging challenges we face.”

“Our Intelligence Authorization Act represents significant improvements to our national security tools, legal authorities, Intelligence Community workforce, and ensures resources are focused on the most pressing threats, specifically from China, Russia, Iran, and their partners, including Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea, as well as terrorist organizations,” said Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “Importantly, this bill takes unprecedented steps to address counterintelligence risks to our  National Laboratories by prohibiting visitors from foreign adversary nations thereby protecting America’s research and competitive advantage. I look forward to moving our bipartisan legislation to the full Senate and final enactment.”

Background:

The IAA for Fiscal Year 2025 authorizes funding for the IC and ensures that it has the resources, personnel, and authorities it needs to protect our country and inform decision makers, while ensuring continued robust congressional oversight. The bill’s provisions focus on the following key areas:

  • Increases oversight of the national security threats posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), including its attempts to evade sanctions and regulations, military capabilities, and investments in, and attempts to dominate, the supply chains of artificial intelligence (AI), next-generation energy technologies, and biotechnology, among others.
  • Enhances the IC’s ability to identify and counter threats relating to biotechnologies, including by improving and modernizing the roles, missions, and objectives of the National Counterproliferation and Biosecurity Center and by directing the IC to identify PRC plans, intentions, and timelines relating to illicit uses of biotechnologies.
  • Enhances sanctions enforcement against terrorist and ransomware organizations and revokes foreign nationals’ visas if they endorse/espouse terrorist activity.
  • Enhances policies relating to AI, including by requiring the President to develop procedures to ensure that Federal agencies better engage the private security on AI system-related threats, as well as establishing an AI Security Center within the National Security Agency to advance AI security research.
  • Enhances the IC’s ability to procure, transition, and incorporate emerging technologies, including by creating a fund for acquiring and transitioning such technologies.
  • Increases the IC’s focus on the growing threats to the United States by ISIS and affiliated terrorist organizations.
  • Promotes reform of the nation’s security classification system, by requiring the President to designate an Executive Agent for Classification and Declassification, improving the system for the classification and declassification of information, and requiring each Federal agency with access to classified information to establish an insider threat program to protect against unauthorized disclosures.
  • Prohibits entry into the Department of Energy National Laboratories by foreign nationals from adversary countries who pose counterintelligence risks.
  • Builds upon the Committee’s efforts relating to energy security by requiring a strategy to improve information sharing between the IC and the private sector regarding foreign adversary-based threats to U.S. critical minerals and other energy-related projects abroad.
  • Requires the IC to conduct an assessment of the likely course of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine, and the effects of Western support to Ukraine.
  • Requires the IC to conduct an assessment of the Israel-Hamas war.
  • Improves oversight related to the Western Hemisphere, specifically when it comes to national security implications of visa-free travel by certain foreign nationals.
  • Enhances insight into the Venezuela Maduro regime’s relationship with state sponsors of terrorism and foreign terrorist organizations.
  • Requires the IC to establish an IC-wide policy authorizing a program for contractor-based sensitive compartmented information facilities, to improve public-private cooperation on technology innovation.
  • Requires a Government Accountability Office (GAO) review of the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office regarding unidentified anomalous phenomena reporting and Federal agency coordination.
  • Reforms management of controlled access programs to improve Congressional oversight.
  • Enhances election security by requiring that voting systems undergo penetration testing for certification processes.
  • Maintains strong congressional oversight of and enhances protections for IC whistleblowers.
  • Ensures continued support to the victims of anomalous health incidents (AHIs or “Havana Syndrome”) by improving funding flexibility for payments to qualified victims.
  • Safeguards important voluntary investments in watermarking and content authenticity by generative AI firms by establishing penalties for services that deliberately facilitate removal of those voluntary protections.

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 WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Renewable Natural Gas Incentive Act, bipartisan legislation to provide a tax credit for heavy-duty vehicles that use renewable natural gas.

“I am proud to introduce this legislation that will accelerate investment in clean vehicles and help lower emissions from the transportation sector,” said Sen. Warner. “This tax credit will help incentivize the use of clean, reliable, and affordable fuel sources and continue to aid the transition to a clean economy while creating good-paying jobs and reducing our reliance on foreign energy.”

“Renewable natural gas is a clean, affordable, and reliable fuel source that provide sustainable transportation for fuel industries across the country,” said Sen. Tillis. “This bill incentivizes the use of clean energy while promoting economic growth through lowering the cost of doing business and decreasing reliance on foreign energy. I am proud to introduce this commonsense legislation which will safeguard America’s energy independence.”  

Background:

Despite its ultra-low emissions and ability to deliver economic growth as a scalable alternative energy source, renewable natural gas received a lower tax credit than similar transportation fuels. The Renewable Natural Gas Incentive Act would create a $1.00 per gallon tax credit for sellers of renewable natural gas used for transportation.

Full text of the bill is available here

 

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WASHINGTON –Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) introduced the Enabling New Agile Buying-power and Leveraging Enhancements in Intelligence Community (ENABLE IC) Acquisitions Act, which would enable the IC to streamline acquisition processes and give priority to small business concerns and nontraditional defense contractors: 

“Our adversaries are rapidly advancing their technological capabilities, and so must we,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation helps ensure that the Intelligence Community has the support, funding, and flexibility it needs to acquire and integrate the most cutting-edge emerging technologies to protect our national security.”

“There are important advancements in intelligence products being made in the private sector, but our intelligence agencies must fight bureaucratic delays throughout the acquisition process,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation would give our Intelligence Community the flexibility it needs to speed up the acquisition of cutting-edge technologies and leverage American innovation across the country to get the most capable tools into the hands of our intelligence collectors and analysts.”

 “Our Intelligence Community works hard every day to protect our nation without any recognition or glory, but they are also fighting our own government with the amount of time it takes to process newer technology,” said Sen. Lankford. “The bad actors and foreign adversaries who are coming after us every day are not going to wait around while our Intelligence Community waits on bureaucratic delays. Our nation must have the ability to stop whatever new technology is being used against us without unnecessary delays.”

“Ensuring our Intelligence Community can get timely access to state-of-the-art products and tools will strengthen our national security and help us maintain an edge over adversaries,” said Sen. Kelly. “By cutting unnecessary red tape, our bill provides new acquisition options, further drives national security innovation, and ensures the U.S. is always one step ahead.”

Background:

In light of global threats to national security, acquisition leaders in the Intelligence Community must be able to explore the use of private capital partnerships to secure technological advantages for the intelligence community through the identification, development, and transfer of promising technologies to full-scale programs capable of meeting IC requirements.

This legislation would create a fund to assist in transitioning useful IC products from the research and development phase to the contracting and production phase, with priority given to small business concerns and nontraditional defense contractors. It would also enable the IC to use streamlined acquisition processes and enhances existing authorities to facilitate exchanges between the private sector and the IC.

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 WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, (both D-VA) have cosponsored the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act. In April 2023, Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) shared her diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, and in September of last year her diagnosis was upgraded to progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a rare and incurable brain disorder that rapidly deteriorates mobility and speech.

Specifically, this legislation would direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to set up a National Parkinson’s Project, under which HHS would create and update a national plan to address Parkinson’s and related conditions, including Rep. Wexton’s diagnosis of PSP, provide an estimate of research needs, and establish an advisory council that would report to Congress.

 “Our friend Jennifer Wexton has been a model of grace and perseverance in the face of a difficult diagnosis,” said the senators. “We are proud to introduce this legislation that will devote time and resources towards tackling Parkinson’s disease and its related conditions so that one day we can find a cure for this devastating disease.”

The National Parkinson’s Project is modeled after the National Alzheimer’s Project which, as co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, Sen. Warner led efforts to introduce and pass. Sen. Kaine is leading the bipartisan Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act, legislation to reauthorize funding for public health initiatives across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health.

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WASHINGTON – With under six months until the U.S. general election, Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today pushed tech companies to follow up on commitments made at the Munich Security Conference and take concrete measures to combat malicious misuses of generative artificial intelligence (AI) that could impact elections. In February, a group of AI companies signed the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections, a high-level roadmap for a variety of new initiatives, investments, and interventions that could improve the information ecosystem surrounding this year’s elections. Following that initial agreement, Sen. Warner is pushing for specific answers about the actions that companies are taking to make good on the Tech Accord. 

“Against the backdrop of worldwide proliferation of malign influence activity globally – with an ever-growing range of malign actors embracing social media and wider digital communications technologies to undermine trust in public institutions, markets, democratic systems, and the free press –  generative AI (and related media-manipulation) tools can impact the volume, velocity, and believability of deceptive election,” Sen. Warner wrote.

This year, elections are taking place in over 40 countries representing over 4 billion people, while AI companies are simultaneously releasing a range of powerful and untested new tools that have the potential to rapidly spread believable misinformation, as well as abuse by a range of bad actors. While the Tech Accord represented a positive, public-facing first step to recognize and address this novel challenge, Sen. Warner is pushing for effective, durable protections to ensure that malign actors can’t use AI to craft misinformation campaigns and to prevent its dissemination on social media platforms. To that end, he posed a series of questions to get specific information on the actions that companies are taking to prevent the creation and rapid spread of AI-enabled disinformation and election deception.

“While high-level, the commitments your company announced in conjunction with the Tech Accord offer a clear roadmap for a variety of new initiatives, investments, and interventions that can materially enhance the information ecosystem surrounding this year’s election contests. To that end, I am interested in learning more about the specific measures your company is taking to implement the Tech Accord. While the public pledge demonstrated your company’s willingness to constructively engage on this front, ultimately the impact of the Tech Accord will be measured in the efficacy – and durability – of the initiatives and protection measures you adopt,” Sen. Warner continued.

The letter concludes by pointing out that several of the proposed measures to combat malicious misuse in elections would also help address adjacent misuses of AI technology, including the creation of non-consensual intimate imagery, child sexual abuse material, and online bullying and harassment campaigns. Sen. Warner has been consistently calling attention to and pushing for action from AI companies on these and other potential misuses. On Wednesday, Sen. Warner will host a public Intelligence Committee hearing where leaders from the FBI, CISA, and the ODNI will provide updates on threats to the 2024 election.

Sen. Warner sent letters to every signatory of the Tech Accord: Adobe, Amazon, Anthropic, Arm, Eleven Labs, Gen, GitHub, Google, IBM, Inflection, Intuit, LG, LinkedIn, McAfee, Microsoft, Meta, NetApp, Nota, Open AI, Snap, Stability AI, TikTok, Trend, True Media, Truepic, and X.

A copy of every letter is available here and one example is included below:

Earlier this year, I joined to amplify and applaud your company’s commitment to advance election integrity worldwide through the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections. As generative artificial intelligence (AI) products proliferate for both commercial and general users, a multi-stakeholder approach is needed to ensure that industry, governments, and civil society adequately anticipate – and counteract – misuse of these products in ways that cause harm to vulnerable communities, public trust, and democratic institutions. The release of a range of powerful new AI tools – many enabled or directly offered by your [company/organization] -- coincides with an unprecedented number of elections worldwide. As memorialized during the Munich Summit, elections have occurred – or will occur – in over 40 countries worldwide, with more than four billion global citizens exercising their franchise. Since the signing of the Tech Accord on February 16th, the first round of India’s elections have already concluded. European Parliament elections will take place in early June and– as primary contests are already well underway – the U.S. general election will take place on November 5th

While policymakers worldwide have begun the process of developing measures to ensure that generative AI technologies (and related media manipulation tools) serve the public interest, the private sector can – particularly in collaboration with civil society – dramatically shape the usage and wider impact of these technologies through proactive measures. Against the backdrop of worldwide proliferation of malign influence activity globally – with an ever-growing range of malign actors embracing social media and wider digital communications technologies to undermine trust in public institutions, markets, democratic systems, and the free press –  generative AI (and related media-manipulation) tools can impact the volume, velocity, and believability of deceptive election information.

While high-level, the commitments your company announced in conjunction with the Tech Accord offer a clear roadmap for a variety of new initiatives, investments, and interventions that can materially enhance the information ecosystem surrounding this year’s election contests. To that end, I am interested in learning more about the specific measures your company is taking to implement the Tech Accord. While the public pledge demonstrated your company’s willingness to constructively engage on this front, ultimately the impact of the Tech Accord will be measured in the efficacy – and durability – of the initiatives and protection measures you adopt. Indeed, many of these measures will be vital in addressing adjacent misuses of generative AI products, such as the creation of non-consensual intimate imagery, child sexual abuse material, or content generated for online harassment and bullying campaigns. I request that you provide answers to the following questions no later than May 24, 2024.

  1. What steps is your company taking to attach content credentials, and other relevant provenance signals, to any media created using your products? To the extent that your product is incorporated in a downstream product offered by a third-party, do license terms or other terms of use stipulate the adoption of such measures? To the extent you distribute content generated by others, does your company attach labels when you assess – based on either internal classifiers or credible third-party reports – to be machine-generated or machine-manipulated?
  2. What specific public engagement and education initiatives have you initiated in countries holding elections this year? What has the engagement rate been thus far and what proactive steps are you undertaking to raise user awareness on the availability of new tools hosted by your platform?
  3. What specific resources has your company provided for independent media and civil society organizations to assist in their efforts to verify media, generate authenticated media, and educate the public?
  4. What has been your company’s engagement with candidates and election officials with respect to anticipating misuse of your products, as well as the effective utilization of content credentialing or other media authentication tools for their public communications? 
  5. Has your company worked to develop widely-available detection tools and methods to identify, catalogue, and/or continuously track the distribution of machine-generated or machine-manipulated content?
  6. (To the extent your company offers social media or other content distribution platforms) What kinds of internal classifiers and detection measures are you developing to identify machine-generated or machine-manipulated content? To what extent to these measures depend on collaboration or contributions from generative AI vendors?
  7. (To the extent your company offers social media or other content distribution platforms) What mechanisms has your platform implemented to enable victims of impersonation campaigns to report content that may violate your Terms of Service? Do you maintain separate reporting tools for public figures?
  8. (To the extent your company offers generative AI products) What mechanisms has your platform implemented to enable victims of impersonation campaigns that may have relied on your models to report activity that may violate your Terms of Service? 
  9. (To the extent your company offers social media or other content distribution platforms) What is the current status of information sharing between platforms on detecting machine-generated or machine-manipulated content that may be used for malicious ends (such as election disinformation, non-consensual intimate imagery, online harassment, etc.)? Will your company commit to participation in a common database of violative content?

Thank you for your attention to these important matters and I look forward to your response.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $14,070,000 in federal funding for three conservation projects in the Commonwealth. The funding, courtesy of the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Legacy Program (FLP), was made possible through annual Land and Water Conservation Funding (LWCF) as well as the Inflation Reduction Act, which the senators helped pass.

“We are proud to announce this funding to support conservation efforts, protect wildlife, and help Virginians safeguard our natural lands for generations to come,” the senators said. “This funding will preserve thousands of acres of scenic land and boost outdoor recreation, a critical part of local economies across the Commonwealth.”

The funding is broken down as follows:

  • The Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve Expansion Project in Floyd and Carroll Counties will receive $9,500,000 in Land and Water Conservation Funding to protect 3,311 acres of the Southern Appalachian Rich Cove Forest and productive white pine, as well as nearly 14 miles of mountain streams at the headwaters of the New River. The funding will secure public access to outdoor recreation activities, alleviate pressure on existing Preserve resources, and support the tourism economy of surrounding communities.
  • The Assamoosic Pinelands State Forest Project in Southampton County will receive $3,265,000 in federal funding courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act to establish a new state forest. The state-recognized Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia will enter into a co-stewardship agreement with the Virginia Department of Forestry and The Nature Conservancy to collaboratively manage the property in the center of the former Nottoway Indian Tribe reservation.
  • The Cedar Mountain Project in Albemarle County will receive $1,305,000 in federal funding courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act to construct a conservation easement that will protect 767 acres of family-owned forestland. The project will help ensure the Appalachian Corridor's protection and enhance critical habitat connectivity and climate resiliency in the region. 

Sens. Warner & Kaine have long supported efforts to protect and preserve Virginia’s landscapes. Last year, the senators introduced the Virginia Wilderness Additions Act, which would add a total of 5,600 acres to the existing Rough Mountain and Rich Hole wilderness areas within the George Washington National Forest in Bath County, Virginia. The senators also successfully pushed to pass legislation to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating the Great Dismal Swamp and its associated sites as a National Heritage Area, as well as legislation to establish the Northern Neck as a National Heritage Area, both of which President Biden signed into law. Sens. Warner and Kaine also authored and championed the Great American Outdoors Act, legislation to preserve and protect our country’s public lands.

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WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced their intention to object to a plan to fast track a short-term extension of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act until there is a commitment that there will be a vote on their amendment to eliminate a dangerous provision in the proposed long-term FAA reauthorization bill that would add five incoming and five outgoing flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The proposed one-week extension would allow Senate leadership to run out the procedural clock on consideration of the FAA bill without allowing a vote on any amendments.

“Last month’s near miss at DCA is a flashing red warning light that this airport is overburdened and that cramming more flights onto the busiest runway in America is a terrible idea. But now, the same senators who crafted a provision in the FAA bill to do just that, behind closed doors and against the advice of all four capital region senators, are asking us to smooth a procedural path to the finish line for that bill without a promise to bring our amendment—or any amendment—up for a vote. We can’t in good conscience greenlight that plan until we have a commitment that there will be an opportunity to put our amendment to a vote, and to persuade our colleagues to prioritize the safety of millions of passengers over a few senators’ desire for a direct flight home.”

Kaine spoke on the Senate floor yesterday about the need to remove the additional flights in the FAA reauthorization.

The additional ten flights at DCA would risk passenger safety and increase delays by 725 minutes per day, leading to a total of 12,734 minutes of overall daily delay at the airport. DCA’s main runway is the busiest in the country with nearly 25 million passengers every year and is operating at near peak capacity. In April, two aircraft narrowly avoided a crash on the runway.

Warner and Kaine have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the addition of flights at DCA and opposed changes to the slot and perimeter rules, which govern the number and distance of flights that can safely operate out of the airport. Last week, Kaine spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to strike the additional DCA flights from the FAA reauthorization bill. Also last week, the senators sent a letter to their Senate colleagues expressing concern over this provision in the FAA reauthorization.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement regarding the Senate’s ramming through of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act without a vote on their amendments regarding a dangerous provision that will add five incoming and five outgoing flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA):

“The Senate abdicated its responsibility to protect the safety of the 25 million people who fly through DCA every year. Just weeks after two aircraft nearly crashed into one another at DCA, this body refused to take up our commonsense amendment to remove a dangerous provision that would have crammed more flights onto the busiest runway in America. We even offered a compromise: another amendment that would have given the Secretary of Transportation the power to settle this matter after considering the implications more flights would have on delays and passenger safety. But some of our colleagues were too afraid to let the experts make the call. They didn’t want to show the American people that they care more about a few lawmakers’ desire for direct flights than they care about the safety and convenience of the traveling public. That is shameful and an embarrassment.”

Warner and Kaine have long warned about the consequences of more flights at DCA. DCA is severely overburdened. The addition of ten flights to and from DCA is an enormous risk to passenger safety and will cause alarming delays. DCA’s main runway is the busiest in the country with nearly 25 million passengers every year, and the provision will increase delays by 725 minutes per day, leading to a total of 12,734 minutes of overall daily delay at the airport, according to FAA data. In April, two aircraft narrowly avoided a crash on the cramped runway.

Last week, Warner and Kaine sent a letter to his Senate colleagues expressing concern over this provision in the FAA reauthorization.

In March, they sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce Committee and the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee opposing any changes to the rules in the FAA reauthorization. They penned an op-ed last June urging their colleagues to oppose changes to the rules. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a former fair housing attorney, announced $98,617,544 in federal funding for affordable housing, community development, and homelessness assistance throughout the Commonwealth. The funding is awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, and Housing Trust Fund.

“No Virginian should be worried about whether they’ll have a place to sleep at night,” said the senators. “We’re glad this funding will support community development projects, improve and construct affordable housing options, and help more Virginians stay in their homes.”

Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to increase access to affordable housing. Earlier this week, the senators announced over $55.5 million in federal funding improve affordable housing throughout Virginia. Also this week, Kaine also cosponsored the Housing Alignment and Coordination of Critical and Effective Supportive Health Services (ACCESS) Actlegislation to address the intersecting crises of homelessness, mental health, and substance use disorder.

In March 2023, the senators cosponsored the Downpayment Toward Equity Actlegislation to provide federal grants to first-generation homebuyers to cover down payment costs, closing costs, and costs to reduce the rates of interest. In April 2023, Kaine introduced the Fair Housing Improvement Act to protect veterans and low-income families from housing discrimination. In July 2023, Warner introduced bicameral legislation cosponsored by Kaine to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers – predominately Americans of color – build wealth much more rapidly by offering a 20-year mortgage for roughly the same monthly payment as a traditional 30-year loan.

A breakdown of the funding by program is below.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): The CDBG program provides flexible funding to states, cities, and counties to support community development, including infrastructure, economic development projects, housing construction or rehabilitation, public facilities upgrades, homeowner assistance, and more. 

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$19,107,637

Alexandria

$1,114,668

Blacksburg

$541,225

Bristol

$259,696

Charlottesville

$438,617

Chesapeake

$1,164,868

Christiansburg

$163,666

Colonial Heights

$91,001

Danville

$857,190

Fredericksburg

$187,161

Hampton

$907,516

Harrisonburg

$491,620

Hopewell

$242,417

Lynchburg

$722,622

Newport News

$1,345,362

Norfolk

$4,427,764

Petersburg

$582,410

Portsmouth

$1,563,930

Radford

$172,251

Richmond

$4,366,108

Roanoke

$1,811,295

Staunton

$328,268

Suffolk

$519,451

Virginia Beach

$2,081,498

Waynesboro City

$167,321

Winchester

$234,286

Arlington County

$1,329,439

Chesterfield County

$1,612,449

Fairfax County

$5,804,077

Henrico County

$1,610,554

Loudoun County

$1,466,683

Prince William County

$2,559,056

TOTAL

$58,272,106

HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME): The HOME Program provides grants to states and localities that communities use - often in partnership with nonprofits - to build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing and provides direct rental assistance to low-income individuals.

   

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$9,536,456

Alexandria

$594,309

Blacksburg

$547,113

Charlottesville

$651,111

Chesapeake

$520,599

Danville

$284,497

Hampton

$505,716

Lynchburg

$302,774

Newport News

$800,547

Norfolk

$1,198,575

Portsmouth

$455,398

Richmond

$1,358,981

Roanoke

$568,452

Suffolk

$380,722

Virginia Beach

$1,018,348

Winchester

$570,716

Arlington County

$698,792

Chesterfield County

$568,229

Fairfax County

$2,037,491

Henrico County

$804,180

Loudoun County

$439,635

Prince William County

$794,851

TOTAL

$24,637,492

Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG): The ESG program provides funding for emergency shelter for people in crisis, outreach and essential services to those living on the streets, re-housing services, and homeless prevention programs.

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$3,069,615

Norfolk

$389,171

Richmond

$381,608

Roanoke

$156,904

Virginia Beach

$177,050

Fairfax County

$499,429

Henrico County

$145,231

Prince William County

$228,267

TOTAL

$5,047,275


Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA): The HOPWA program provides housing assistance and support services to low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$1,660,100

Richmond

$2,044,113

Virginia Beach

$3,117,530

TOTAL

$6,821,743

Housing Trust Fund (HTF): The HTF program provides grants to states to preserve, build, and rehabilitate affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households.

Commonwealth of Virginia

$3,838,928

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a former fair housing attorney, announced $55,516,821 in federal funding to improve affordable housing in 26 communities across the Commonwealth. The funding is awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Capital Fund Program, which annually provides funds to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to build, renovate, and modernize the public housing in their communities.

“All Virginians deserve access to safe, affordable housing,” said the senators. “We’re glad this federal funding will help our communities expand, renovate, and improve affordable housing units, and will continue to do all that we can to expand access to affordable housing in Virginia.” 

The funding is distributed as follows:

·       $14,365,691 for the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $10,700,670 for the Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $4,923,972 for the Roanoke Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $3,658,188 for the Newport News Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $2,214,776 for the Portsmouth Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $2,047,487 for the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,714,697 for the Chesapeake Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,608,481 for the Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,584,848 for the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority

·       $1,361,850 for the Charlottesville Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,266,189 for the Petersburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,244,327 for the Lynchburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,207,251 for the Hopewell Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,177,309 for the Bristol Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $1,013,715 for the Hampton Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $895,502 for the Cumberland Plateau Regional Housing Authority

·       $806,492 for the Marion Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $753,444 for the Norton Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $739,207 for the Wytheville Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $627,569 for the Wise County Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $619,466 for the Waynesboro Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $382,263 for the Williamsburg Redevelopment & Housing Auth.

·       $299,312 for the Scott County Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $193,411 for the Lee County Redevelopment & Housing Authority

·       $103,565 for the Abingdon Redevelopment and Housing Authority

·       $7,139 for the Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority

Capital grants can be used to address maintenance needs, reduce vacancies, relocate residents, fund programs supporting economic self-sufficiency, support resident security, safety, and homeownership activities, integrate utility management and energy saving measures, and make other improvements.

Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to increase access to affordable housing. Last year, they announced $98,345,447in federal funding for affordable housing, community development, and homelessness assistance throughout the Commonwealth. In March 2023, they cosponsored the Downpayment Toward Equity Act, legislation to provide federal grants to first-generation homebuyers to cover down payment costs, closing costs, and costs to reduce the rates of interest. In April 2023, Kaine introduced the Fair Housing Improvement Act to protect veterans and low-income families from housing discrimination. Last July, Warner introduced bicameral legislation cosponsored by Kaine to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers predominately Americans of color  build wealth much more rapidly by offering a 20-year mortgage for roughly the same monthly payment as a traditional 30-year loan. This week, Kaine also cosponsored the Housing Alignment and Coordination of Critical and Effective Supportive Health Services (ACCESS) Act, legislation to address the intersecting crises of homelessness, mental health, and substance use disorder.

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