Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $35,000,000 in federal funding for expansion and improvements to Dulles International Airport. The funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which both senators helped pass to improve air travel, roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and water infrastructure.

Specifically the funding will go towards building a 14-gate, 400,000 square foot terminal building. The new terminal will include direct connection to the Aerotrain, which helps move passengers throughout the airport, as well as indirect connection to the Metro Silver Line at Dulles, which Sens. Warner and Kaine helped open in 2022. Sens. Warner and Kaine announced $49.6 million in 2022 and $20 million in 2023 to support the construction of the new concourse. 

“Dulles Airport is a beacon for both domestic and international flights, and has expanded rapidly over the past decade,” said the senators. “This funding will improve travel for passengers and ensure that the airport stays functional and safe while continuing to meet flight demands.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve Virginia’s airports for travelers, including securing funding for Dulles, Ronald Reagan Washington National, and regional airports throughout the Commonwealth courtesy of the BIL. In addition, Sens. Warner and Kaine have been outspoken about the harm that changes to the FAA slot and perimeter rule would have on Reagan Airport. Dulles Airport is more equipped to handle expansion and increased long-distance flights, and this funding will help to facilitate this expansion.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), and Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04) held an event in Arlington to announce $729,000,000 in federal funding they secured for the Transforming Rail in Virginia (TRV) Phase 2 projects. The funding will support the completion of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac River to connect D.C. and Virginia, make improvements to L’Enfant Station, and lay a third track along key sections of the corridor in Prince William, Stafford, and Spotsylvania Counties. This will help alleviate current bottlenecks, expand capacity, and improve reliability for Virginia commuters, travelers, and freight. The TRV projects will help expand Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) rail services between D.C. and Raleigh, North Carolina. In addition to additional service to current destinations, these projects are also a necessary intermediate step for future passenger rail service for the New River Valley and Bristol. The funding was awarded through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant Program made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Warner, Kaine, Beyer, Connolly, and Spanberger helped pass in 2021.

“We’re thrilled we secured federal funding to support the construction of a new Long Bridge across the Potomac River and expand rail capacity and reliability in Virginia,” said Sens. Warner and Kaine. “This is another example of how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is improving transportation networks, reducing congestion, and supporting economic growth in communities across Virginia and the country.”

“This investment will help transform the rail system in Virginia, improving the flow of people and goods not only within the Commonwealth, but up and down the entire East Coast. I appreciate the collaboration between our senators, our congressional delegation, and our Secretary of Transportation to finalize the funding for this critical project this year and get this accomplished expeditiously. This project’s impact on the Commonwealth cannot be overstated — it will ease congestion, make our supply chain more resilient, improve freight movement in and out of our world-class port, and boost local economies,” said Gov. Youngkin.

"The funding we announced today is a huge deal for Northern Virginia and the National Capital Region. This grant will support the completion of a new Long Bridge to connect Virginia and Washington, D.C., doubling capacity at a bottleneck for much of the freight rail traffic in the mid-Atlantic and bringing billions of dollars in projected economic benefits,” said Rep. Beyer. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to help pass, this historic infrastructure investment will benefit Virginians by expanding rail capacity, enhancing connectivity, and promoting economic growth. This project is a fantastic example of the good we can do with smart investment and forward-thinking public policy.”

“Today, we celebrate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in action,” said Rep. Connolly. “This is an historic investment in our future and a transformative project for all Virginians that will reduce rail and road congestion, improve commutes, and increase our regional transportation capacity. I am proud to have helped secure this critical funding and I can’t wait to see these federal dollars at work.”

“This federal investment is proof that the bipartisan infrastructure law is continuing to deliver for Virginia’s communities,” said Rep. Spanberger. “In Congress, I’ve had the honor of representing Virginians up and down the I-95 corridor. And for years, they have been calling for stronger investments in reliable passenger rail. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Virginians I serve, I look forward to seeing these major and historic improvements in action.”

“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act continues to improve our Commonwealth’s public transportation infrastructure and strengthen the capacity and resiliency of our passenger and freight rail network,” said Rep. McClellan. “Virginia Democrats called on the Department of Transportation to support the Long Bridge Project. Today, we celebrate this robust federal funding, which will have profoundly beneficial impacts in Virginia.”

“This grant is great news for Virginians,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of Virginia Passenger Rail Authority. “The full funding of our Transforming Rail in Virginia Phase II projects, in particular, Long Bridge will result in a transformative increase in rail travel in the Commonwealth and along the East Coast.  VPRA is grateful for the immense support we have received from our Virginia senators and Congressional delegation for this initiative. Their support has been immeasurable.”

The existing Long Bridge is the most significant choke point along the East Coast. It’s the only rail bridge connecting Virginia to D.C. and serves as the main rail connection between the Southeast and Northeast for passenger and freight rail. The Long Bridge expansion is estimated to contribute $1.1 billion annually to the national economy and support 17,750 jobs.

Specifically, the funding will be used for:

  • Long Bridge Project: Design and construct a new Long Bridge between Arlington and D.C., including five rail bridges and two pedestrian/bicycle bridges. Once completed, the four-track corridor will allow for the separation of passenger and freight rail.
  • L’Enfant Fourth Track and Station Improvements: Construct approximately one mile of mainline track through and around L’Enfant Plaza in D.C., VRE’s busiest station, and make improvements to the existing station platform.
  • Neabsco Creek to Woodbridge Third Track: Design and construct three miles of a third track in Prince William County.
  • Aquia Creek Third Track South: Design and construct approximately two miles of a third track in Stafford County.
  • Crossroads Third Track: Design and construct approximately four miles of a third track in Spotsylvania County.

Sens. Warner, Kaine, Beyer, Connolly, Spanberger, and McClellan have been vocal advocates for the completion of the TRV Phase 2 projects and sent a letter in support of the project to Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg in October. Warner and Kaine successfully worked to pass the Long Bridge Act, which authorized critical land transfers that allowed construction of the project to move forward. Warner and Kaine previously secured $20,000,000 in federal funding to create a new bicycle-pedestrian bridge that crosses the Potomac River between Long Bridge Park in Arlington and West Potomac Parks in D.C. Warner and Kaine also secured $100 million in federal funding to the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority to design and build the Franconia-Springfield Bypass, which will allow Amtrak and VRE trains to seamlessly cross over two freight rail tracks, preventing delays and expanding capacity for additional service. Warner and Kaine applauded $58 million in federal funding to support the construction of the Raleigh to Richmond (R2R) corridor, which will eventually result in new intercity passenger rail service between Raleigh and Richmond.

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CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BROADCAST-QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO FROM SEN. WARNER'S TREE DECORATION  

THE NORTH POLE – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and his Washington, D.C. staff are ready for Christmas! Today, Sen. Warner welcomed kindergarteners from Bel Air Elementary School in Woodbridge, VA to his Capitol Hill office to kick off the holiday season with carols, milk and cookies, and decoration of the office Christmas tree. This year’s tree, a 12-foot Fraser fir, is from Mt. Rogers Tree Farm in Grayson County, Va.

 

Students helped Sen. Warner decorate his tree with handmade ornaments while serenading members of his staff with classic carols such as “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

 

Sen. Warner has hosted students from across the Commonwealth to help him get in the holiday spirit nearly every year since taking office in 2009.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Rob Wittman (R-VA) have sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget requesting that the FBI headquarters relocation process be paused in order to allow the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to properly investigate the site selection process.

The OIG review comes in response to a November 15 letter penned by the lawmakers, who requested that the Inspector General investigate significant concerns that the GSA site selection process was fouled by political interference and alleged impropriety – a concern echoed by the FBI Director himself.

“It is vital that both GSA and the FBI fully cooperate and provide relevant information to the Inspector General’s review, and that they allow time and space for investigatory efforts to reach a thorough conclusion,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge the Administration to pause efforts to advance this headquarters process, allowing for transparent and fair review.”

They continued, “For more than a decade there has been a clear and shared understanding of the critical nature of this project. The decision bears significant impact on the law enforcement and national security missions of the FBI – GSA’s client agency on this project. All of the parties involved, including GSA and the FBI, had previously stated publicly the need for a process that was fair, transparent, and determined by the merits of the prospective sites. In light of the objections from the FBI, there is concern that this standard was not met. This process must be paused to allow for a fair and transparent review to address these concerns.”

The effort to relocate the FBI spans years of work and multiple presidential administrations. For months, the lawmakers have been making the case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI in part because of its diverse and developed workforce, proximity to critical national security facilities, and easy access to transit. Last month, after a flawed selection process that included last-minute changes to the selection criteria and allegations of political interference, a political appointee overruled the unanimous recommendation of a three-person panel of career experts and selected Greenbelt, Maryland as the site for the new FBI headquarters.

A copy of the letter is available here and text is below.

Dear Director Young,

We write regarding the site selection process for a new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters, led by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). On November 30, GSA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) confirmed that they were initiating an evaluation of the site selection to “assess [GSA]’s process and procedures for the site selection to relocate the FBI Headquarters.” This review follows a November 15 letter that we sent to OIG outlining our significant concerns with the site selection process, including credible allegations of impropriety and politicization.

The FBI Director, Christopher Wray, has raised strenuous objections to both the process and outcome of the GSA-administered site selection process. These concerns were brought directly and repeatedly to GSA throughout the agencies’ deliberations. As Director Wray noted in a message to FBI personnel on November 9, following GSA’s announced selection, “our concerns about the process remain unresolved.”[2] The nature of these concerns draws into question the integrity of a site selection process that demanded fairness and transparency, and they warrant thorough review.

It is vital that both GSA and the FBI fully cooperate and provide relevant information to the Inspector General’s review, and that they allow time and space for investigatory efforts to reach a thorough conclusion. We urge the Administration to pause efforts to advance this headquarters process, allowing for transparent and fair review.

For more than a decade there has been a clear and shared understanding of the critical nature of this project. The decision bears significant impact on the law enforcement and national security missions of the FBI – GSA’s client agency on this project. All of the parties involved, including GSA and the FBI, had previously stated publicly the need for a process that was fair, transparent, and determined by the merits of the prospective sites. In light of the objections from the FBI, there is concern that this standard was not met. This process must be paused to allow for a fair and transparent review to address these concerns.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after reports that the General Services Administration (GSA) decided the FBI’s new headquarters will be in Greenbelt, Maryland:

“We’re deeply disappointed that despite the clear case that Virginia is the best home for the FBI, the Administration went a different direction. It’s especially disappointing that the FBI’s initial criteria for this decision—developed independently by the GSA and affirmed by Congress just last year—were changed at the 11th hour by the Administration following political pressure. We spent years appropriately criticizing the last Administration for politicizing the new FBI headquarters—only for a new Administration to come in and allow politics to taint the selection process. We know from our experience recruiting Hilton, Capital One, Northrop Grumman, Amazon, and many other companies to Virginia that our Commonwealth is the best state for business, and we’ll continue to focus on promoting economic growth and supporting law enforcement in the Commonwealth.”

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $100,000,000 in federal funding to the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority to design and build the Franconia-Springfield Bypass, a critical bridge that will alleviate congestion on one of busiest railways in Virginia. Once completed, the project will allow Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express trains to seamlessly cross over two freight rail tracks, preventing delays and expanding capacity for additional service. 

“Passenger rail is a vital connector for so many Virginians—carrying people to their work, their families, and their travel plans,” said the senators. “We’re thrilled to see this funding make rail safer and more efficient for Virginians by addressing a critical chokepoint in a vital location, alleviating congestion for hundreds of Virginians every single day.”

The funding is awarded through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, and made possible by the bipartisan infrastructure law and the FY2022 government spending bill, both strongly supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve long and short distance rail options across Virginia. Last year, they announced a historic $58 million investment in the Raleigh to Richmond (R2R) rail corridor. For two decades, the lawmakers worked to secure the support and funding necessary to extend the Silver Line to Dulles International Airport, after Kaine helped broker the deal between Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), WMATA, the Commonwealth, and local governments to construct the Silver Line while he was governor. Sens. Warner and Kaine have also been vocal advocates for the completion of the Long Bridge project, which seeks to address a chokepoint across the Potomac River. They worked to pass the Long Bridge Act, which authorized critical land transfers that allowed construction of the project to move forward. Passed in November 2021, the bipartisan infrastructure law represented the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, and nearly tripled funding for the CRISI Program.  

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (D-VA) announced the inclusion of key Virginia priorities in the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2024 draft funding bills. All 12 bills were passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan basis.

“We are proud to announce that the Senate’s draft government spending legislation for Fiscal Year 2024 includes critical funding that will keep the government open, back record investments in infrastructure and U.S. competitiveness, uplift rural and underserved communities, support servicemembers and military families, provide assistance to miners suffering from black lung disease, and support key industries that are central to Virginia’s economy. We’re also proud to have secured more than $111 million for specific community projects all throughout Virginia as we work to ensure our federal budget meets Virginians’ needs. We hope that our colleagues in the House of Representatives will negotiate in good faith in order to reach a compromise on a final deal that includes funding for these important priorities,” said Sens. Warner and Kaine.

As part of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations process, members of Congress were able to work with the communities they represent to request funding for local community projects, otherwise known as earmarks, in a manner that promotes transparency and accountability. This process allows Congress to dedicate federal funding for specific projects in Virginia. The Senators worked to secure more than $111 million for community projects across the Commonwealth. In addition to battling for these priorities, the Senators will work to ensure funds obtained by Virginia House members also remain in the final spending bills. 

More information regarding specific projects in Virginia that will receive Congressionally Directed Spending is available below:

  • For projects in Northern Virginia, click here.
  • For projects in Central Virginia, click here.
  • For projects in the Shenandoah Valley, click here.
  • For projects in Southwest Virginia and Southside, click here.
  • For projects in Hampton Roads, click here.
  • For projects that impact communities in multiple regions across the Commonwealth click here.

 
The following list includes many provisions championed by Sens. Warner and Kaine on behalf of Virginia that were included in the 12 government funding bills: 

Boosting Local Economies: Includes $200 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission and $20 million for the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission to support their work to build economic partnerships, create opportunity, and foster economic development.  

Implementing the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022: Includes $11 billion to implement the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, championed by Sens. Warner and Kaine. Funding will allow the U.S. to keep pace with China and other competitors in scientific fields that can power the economy, such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, microelectronics, clean energy, and advanced communications. Sen. Warner first introduced the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act in June 2020 along with Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).  

Implementing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA): Provides full funding for numerous transportation programs authorized in the IIJA, including $29.5 billion for the National Highway Performance Program, $3.1 billion for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, $245 million for the Rail-Highway Grade Crossings Program, $14.3 billion for the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program, and $2.4 billion for the Bridge Investment Program. Sen. Warner was a lead author and negotiator of the IIJA.  

Strengthening Transportation and Recreation Infrastructure: Provides $150 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and $45 million for the Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program, which supports multi-purpose trails. 

Making Our Communities Safer: Provides $732 million – a $32 million increase from Fiscal Year 2023 – for Violence Against Women Prevention and Prosecution programs to prevent violence and better support survivors. This legislation also includes over $534 million for Community Oriented Policing Services to support state and local law enforcement and communities in developing comprehensive, evidence-based violence intervention and prevention programs based on partnerships between community residents, law enforcement, local government agencies, and other community stakeholders. This includes efforts to address gang and gun violence and improve school safety.

Support for Missing Persons Program: Includes $1 million to help with the nationwide implementation of the Ashanti Alert system. In 2018, Sen. Warner secured unanimous Senate passage of the Ashanti Alert Act, legislation that created a new federal alert system for missing or endangered adults between the ages of 18-64. The bill was signed into law on December 31, 2018. 

Investing in Children: Provides $8.7 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which provides financial assistance to help low-income families access child care. This is $700 million more than Fiscal Year 2023. The bill also includes $12.3 billion, $300 million more than Fiscal Year 2023, for Head Start, the national school readiness program. In July, Sens. Warner and Kaine urged the White House to provide additional funding to help stabilize the child care industry. In April, Sen. Kaine introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, legislation that would help ensure families can find and afford child care by expanding access to more high-quality options, stabilizing the child care sector, and helping ensure child care workers taking care of our nation’s kids are paid livable wages. The bill also includes $15 million for the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health program – a program that Sen. Kaine reauthorized via bipartisan legislation.  

Making Higher Education More Affordable: Provides a $250 boost to the maximum Pell Grant in the 2024-2025 school year, raising the maximum award to $7,645. The bill also includes over $1 billion, an increase of $5 million, for programs to strengthen Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority-serving institutions.

Supporting K-12 Education: Provides over $18.5 billion for Title I-A grants, which supports school districts with low-income students. This is $175 million more from Fiscal Year 2023. The bill also provides over $5 billion for the primary Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Special Education State grant program, an increase of $175 million from Fiscal Year 2023. In July, Sen. Kaine reintroduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, legislation that would ensure Congress fulfills its commitment to fully fund IDEA through regular, mandatory increases in spending.

Investing in Affordable Housing: Includes $1.5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, which provides fundingto state and local governments for housing construction, and $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which can be used to support affordable housing, community development, and economic development. Also includes $3.9 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants (HAG), to help families and individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Sens. Warner and Kaine are strong advocates for affordable housing funding each year.

Supporting Nutrition Programs: The bill includes $6.3 billion – a $615 million increase from Fiscal Year 2023 – for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to ensure over 6 million women, infants, and children can access adequate nutrition. It also fully funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to serve an estimated 42 million people per month – with no new restrictions on eligibility – and fully funds the Child Nutrition Programs to help serve an estimated 5 billion lunches and 2.6 billion breakfasts to kids across the country. 

Fighting Global Hunger: Provides $1.8 billion for the Food for Peace program and $248.3 million for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program, while the State and Foreign Operations bill provides a $691 million increase in funding for humanitarian assistance programs, including increased investments in addressing global hunger and enhancing food security.  

Preventing and Treating Substance Use: Provides $5 billion – an increase of $125 million over Fiscal Year 2023 – for opioid treatment and prevention. This includes $40 million for the Substance Use Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services Block Grant; $20 million for the State Opioid Response grants; $10 million for the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program; and $20 million for NIH opioid research programs. 

Fighting the Flow of Fentanyl: Includes $719 million to improve the detection and seizure of fentanyl and other narcotics at ports of entry with new technology and personnel. Invests $105 million in new resources to disrupt transnational criminal organizations and stop fentanyl and illicit drugs at their source. Sens. Warner and Kaine are both cosponsors of the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain. Earlier this year, Sens. Kaine and Joni Ernst (R-IA) led bipartisan legislation to direct increased federal attention to fentanyl trafficking by utilizing the tools of the Department of Defense and involving Mexico as an active partner to combat the fentanyl crisis. That legislation was included in the Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act.

Addressing Long COVID Needs: Includes $10 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to support access to comprehensive, coordinated, and person-centered care, particularly for underserved, rural, vulnerable, or minority populations that are disproportionately impacted by the effects of Long COVID. Also includes $5 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to establish a network of Long COVID Centers of Excellence that can gather, develop and disseminate data regarding evidence-based treatment; educate and train providers on best practices; conduct outreach to affected populations and community organizations; and coordinate access to care. Sen. Kaine has been a strong advocate for helping individuals with Long COVID, including by leading the bipartisan Long COVID Support Act with Sen. Todd Young (R-IN).

Supporting Rural Health: Includes a $12 million increase for Rural Health programs. This includes a $10 million increase in the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program and a $2 million increase for the Rural Health Outreach program, which supports projects that demonstrate new and innovative modes of outreach in rural areas. Also includes $5 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish an Office of Rural Health. Sen. Kaine supported the establishment of this office as a cosponsor of the Rural Health Equity Act, and led a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee in FY23 requesting this funding.

Addressing the Maternal Mortality Crisis: Includes an increase of $10 million for the Implementing a Maternal health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) Initiative to combat alarming rates of maternal mortality, as well as an increase of $2.5 million for programs to improve health outcomes during and after pregnancy and reduce disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes. Also includes $110.5 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Safe Motherhood and Infant Health programs, which is a $2,500,000 increase from fiscal year 2023 and more than $1.7 billion for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which is a $10,000,000 increase from fiscal year 2023. Sen. Kaine led a bipartisan letter to the Appropriations Committee asking for robust funding for these programs.

Pandemic Preparedness: Includes $3.67 billion for the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR). This includes a $20 million increase for the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support the advanced development of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics and devices for potential serious public health threats, and $75 million to establish a new program in manufacturing and production to ensure that critical resources including medical countermeasures and ancillary supplies are manufactured in the United States. 

Increasing Funding for Pediatric Research: Provides $12.6 million to further fund the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act—legislation championed by Sens. Warner and Kaine and named after a child from Loudoun County who died from a brain tumor in 2013. 

Supporting the Refugee Resettlement Program: Includes $133 million for refugee settlement to meet the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2024. 

Expanding Home Energy Assistance: Includes $4.075 billion – an increase of $75 million from Fiscal Year 2023 – for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides assistance to low-income households to help heat or cool their homes. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been strong advocates for lowering energy costs and have consistently advocated for robust funding for LIHEAP. 

Expanding High-Speed Internet Access: Includes $98 million for the USDA’s ReConnect Program to expand access to high-speed broadband to remote underserved areas. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been vocal advocates for expanding broadband. As Governors and Senators, Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported expanding broadband access in Virginia. During the pandemic, they secured significant funding for broadband through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Sens. Warner and Kaine also joined a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership requesting this funding earlier this year, and Sen. Warner personally secured billions of dollars for broadband expansion in both the American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

Increasing Military Pay and Compensation: Fully funds the 5.2 percent pay raise for servicemembers, while providing $29.6 billion for housing and $8.4 billion for subsistence – including BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence—food for servicemembers not living in government quarters).

Economic Support for Underserved Communities: Provides $341 million for the U.S. Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund. Sens. Warner and Kaine requested this funding. Sen. Warner has led efforts in Congress to support CDFIs through legislation including the Jobs and Neighborhood Investment Act and the creation of the bipartisan Senate Community Development Finance Caucus.  

Small Businesses: Provides $1.2 billion to the Small Business Administration to help small businesses thrive. This funding will support SBA’s lending programs, which increase access to capital for small businesses, as well as their entrepreneurial development programs, which include services that help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, such as the Small Business Development Center and Women’s Business Centers networks.

Addressing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Delays and Customer Service Issues: Includes $12.3 billion for the IRS, which will enable it to continue to update ancient computer systems, improve customer service, and reduce wait times for refunds and other services. Sens. Warner and Kaine have consistently pushed the IRS to address poor customer service and severe delays within the department.  

Support for Miners: Includes $12.19 million for Black Lung Clinics. Sens. Warner and Kaine have actively worked to secure benefits for miners and their families suffering from black lung disease. In July, Sens. Warner and Kaine reintroduced the Relief for Survivors of Miners Act, which would ease restrictions to make it easier for miners’ survivors to successfully claim benefits. In June, the Senators also urged the Biden Administration to issue new silica standards to protect miners across America – a push that helped contribute towards the release of those standards.

Restoring the Chesapeake Bay: Includes $93 million for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program, the primary federal program that coordinates Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection efforts throughout the Bay watershed.

Strengthening Our Ports: Provides $1.2 billion for the Maritime Administration (MARAD), including $213 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP), which supports the buildout and modernization of our nation’s ports including the Port of Virginia.

Advancing Scientific Discovery: Includes $8.43 billion – an increase of $330 million from Fiscal Year 2023 – for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science sponsors basic research in the physical sciences and supports 22,000 researchers at 17 national laboratories across the country, including Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia.

Protecting our Courts: Provides $11.4 million to improve security of the Walter E. Hoffman Courthouse in Norfolk, Virginia. Sen. Kaine visited the Hoffman Courthouse in 2020 to observe the serious security vulnerabilities firsthand and the Senators have been fighting to enhance its security ever since. The Senators last wrote to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in January 2023 to push for the long delayed security measures.

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WASHINGTON – Members of Virginia’s congressional delegation, Governor Glenn Youngkin, and local leaders are making the case that Springfield remains the best location for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) new headquarters. Even with the General Services Administration’s (GSA) recent announcement of adjusted selection criteria, the lawmakers and local leaders expressed confidence that Springfield continues to perform strongly across each of the five criteria: FBI Proximity to Mission-Related Locations, Transportation Access, Site Development Flexibility and Schedule Risk, Promoting Sustainable Siting and Advancing Equity, and Cost.

In their letter to GSA and FBI, Governor Youngkin, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03), Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10), Jen Kiggans (R-VA-02), and Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04) highlighted Springfield’s proximity to Quantico and other law enforcement and national security assets, the region’s robust transportation network, and ways the site would save money for the federal government and taxpayers because it is already federally-owned. They also explained how selecting the Springfield site would advance equity, support underserved communities, and help address inequities that exist in the region.

“Virginia’s proposal for a consolidated FBI headquarters offers a reliable partnership, exceeding the site selection criteria across all categories. The optimized GSA Springfield site provides superior proximity to law enforcement and national security-related agency assets; an accessible, robust transportation and public transit network; significant site development flexibility as the only federally-owned site under consideration, with a commitment to expediting any permitting and construction processes, and minimizing schedule risk; a proven record of, and strong commitment to advancing equity in local communities and promoting sustainable siting; and a substantial cost benefit, with Virginia’s strong commitment to making this a responsible choice for the taxpayer,” wrote the lawmakers.

In addition to the Virginia congressional delegation letter, the Alexandria NAACP, All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Interfaith & Government Committee, Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Urban League, Prince William NAACP, and Prince William Omega Psi Phi Fraternity sent a separate letter to GSA and FBI outlining how choosing the Springfield site would advance equity across the region. The local leaders wrote, “We fully support the Springfield bid and believe it will have a transformative impact for our communities.”

“Relocating to Springfield also offers the federal government the opportunity to help address inequities that exist in our region, particularly in the Franconia District, where the prospective FBI site is located,” they continued. “Choosing Springfield as the new home for the FBI headquarters will help close the gap and provide economic opportunity to historically disadvantaged and underserved communities.”

In March, Governor Youngkin and members of Virginia’s congressional delegation met with GSA and FBI and held a press conference to make the case that Springfield is the best location for the new FBI headquarters. In February, Governor Youngkin, Senators Warner and Kaine, Representatives Connolly, Beyer, and Spanberger, and local leaders held a press conference in Springfield. In February, members of Virginia’s congressional delegation and Governor Youngkin sent a letter to GSA and FBI laying out the case for the Springfield site.

Full text of the letter sent by Governor Youngkin and members of Virginia’s congressional delegation is available here. Full text of the letter sent by local leaders is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $15,500,000 in federal funding for clean energy improvements for Nottoway County and Alexandria City Public Schools that will lower energy costs. The funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Renew America’s Schools Program, a first-of-its-kind program that aims to help schools make clean energy upgrades that will lower utility costs, improve indoor air quality, and foster healthier learning environments.

“After decades of politicians talking about upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, this vision is now a reality thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we helped pass,” said the Senators. “We’re glad to see federal dollars from this law are headed to Nottoway County and Alexandria City Public Schools to help make clean energy upgrades that will save money for the schools and improve air quality for students, teachers, and staff.”

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • $11,500,000 for Nottoway County Public Schools to make energy efficient improvements, including LED lighting upgrades, unit building automation upgrades, high efficiency boiler and hot water heater replacement, high efficiency window replacement, roof replacement, and installation of a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC system with a dedicated outdoor air system.
  • $4,000,000 for Alexandria City Public Schools to replace aged HVAC boilers with high efficiency electric water heat pumps, replace existing lighting with LED fixtures, use thermal scanning to pinpoint areas where unconditioned air may enter the building, and purchase new efficient rooftop units and building automation controls at William Ramsey Elementary School. The building systems at the elementary school have exceeded their operational life expectancy and need to be replaced to reduce energy consumption.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) sent a letter to the CIM Group, a real estate owner and developer, highlighting the concerns of tenants at an affordable housing complex in Alexandria, who have reported declining conditions and increases in evictions and rents.

“We write to share troubling concerns we have heard from constituents regarding conditions of the Southern Towers apartment complex in Alexandria, Virginia since your firm, the CIM Group (CIM), took ownership of the property,” wrote the Senators. “Tenants have shared with our offices that, under CIM ownership, they have been subjected to eviction filings during the eviction moratorium, changes in how utilities are billed combined with rent increases that have led to substantial price hikes, and unaddressed maintenance issues that pose health and safety risks. Further, tenants have voiced that CIM issued unclear eviction notices indicating that tenants who were late on their rent payments had only five days to ‘pay rent or, alternatively, to terminate lease and vacate premises’ – only mentioning later in the notice that tenants located on a ‘covered property’ as defined by the CARES Act were entitled to a 30-day notice before vacating.”

The Senators urged CIM to quickly address these concerns directly with residents and work with tenants to resolve any outstanding concerns. The Senators highlighted the need to tackle these issues in the midst of a nationwide affordable housing crisis. Virginia alone is facing a shortage of over 170,000 units for extremely low-income households with the supply shortfall particularly pronounced in Alexandria, which lost an estimated 90 percent of its market-affordable units between 2000 and 2017.

They continued. “As a federally-backed property, it is incumbent upon CIM to manage Southern Towers in alignment with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s mission to promote quality affordable housing. At a minimum, federally-backed properties should be well-maintained and free from health and safety risks, and have a responsive management team with transparent rent and utility pricing procedures. Moving forward, we urge CIM to meet regularly with tenants to hear their concerns, clearly communicate plans regarding deferred maintenance issues or pricing changes, and work directly with tenants to address issues in a timely manner.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine, a former fair housing attorney, have long supported efforts to increase accessibility to affordable housing. Earlier this year, they announced over $98 million in federal funding for affordable housing, community development, and homelessness assistance throughout the Commonwealth. They’ve introduced legislation that would address rising home prices, assist first-generation homebuyers, and close widening wealth and homeownership gaps. Sen. Kaine has also introduced legislation that would protect veterans and low-income families from housing discrimination.

A copy of the letter is available here and text is below:

Dear Ms. Chang,

We write to share troubling concerns we have heard from constituents regarding conditions of the Southern Towers apartment complex in Alexandria, Virginia since your firm, the CIM Group (CIM), took ownership of the property. Tenants of Southern Towers have raised concerns regarding declining conditions, unresolved maintenance requests, and significant pricing changes. As such, we urge you to take immediate action to address these issues by engaging directly and frequently with the tenants and working quickly to resolve outstanding concerns.

As you know, Southern Towers is a five-building apartment complex located in Alexandria, Virginia. For years, it has been home to generations of immigrants and has become a haven of affordable housing where families can achieve economic stability. In 2020, CIM purchased the property with significant financial backing from Freddie Mac. Tenants have shared with our offices that, under CIM ownership, they have been subjected to eviction filings during the eviction moratorium, changes in how utilities are billed combined with rent increases that have led to substantial price hikes, and unaddressed maintenance issues that pose health and safety risks. Further, tenants have voiced that CIM issued unclear eviction notices indicating that tenants who were late on their rent payments had only five days to “pay rent or, alternatively, to terminate lease and vacate premises”  – only mentioning later in the notice that tenants located on a “covered property” as defined by the CARES Act were entitled to a 30-day notice before vacating.  

These issues are all the more staggering when considering that our nation is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. Virginia alone is facing a shortage of over 170,000 units for extremely low-income households with the supply shortfall particularly pronounced in Alexandria, which lost an estimated 90 percent of its market-affordable units between 2000 and 2017.  As the vast share of the undersupply is concentrated in low-income, high-opportunity markets, we know that the burden of this crisis is falling largely on low- and moderate-income families. It is more important than ever that our existing affordable housing stock is safe and available for those that need it most, including complexes like Southern Towers.

As a federally-backed property, it is incumbent upon CIM to manage Southern Towers in alignment with the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s mission to promote quality affordable housing. At a minimum, federally-backed properties should be well-maintained and free from health and safety risks, and have a responsive management team with transparent rent and utility pricing procedures. Moving forward, we urge CIM to meet regularly with tenants to hear their concerns, clearly communicate plans regarding deferred maintenance issues or pricing changes, and work directly with tenants to address issues in a timely manner. As CIM refers to itself as a “community-focused real estate investor”, we also urge CIM to offer assistance to tenants at risk of eviction by connecting them with government resources in an effort to keep more individuals and families in their homes. 

It must be a priority that our most vulnerable communities are protected from displacement and have access to safe and affordable housing. We look forward to working with you to ensure that Southern Towers is a quality, affordable community for the tenants that call it home.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded $171,555,620 in federal funding for five transit projects in Virginia. This funding was authorized by the bipartisan infrastructure law supported by both Senators and signed into law by President Joe Biden. Specifically, these federal dollars will go towards investing in bus facilities and American-built buses that will be manufactured with American parts and labor.  

“We are thrilled to see the bipartisan infrastructure law continue to deliver for communities,” said the Senators. “This funding will help deliver state-of-the-art buses and bus facilities that are better for our environment and make Virginia’s transit systems more reliable and comfortable for riders. We’re proud to know that this funding will support American jobs while making our communities more accessible.” 

The funding will be distributed as follows:

  • The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will receive $104 million to convert its Lorton, VA, bus garage to a fully electric facility, buy approximately 100 battery-electric buses, and develop a workforce training program for drivers, mechanics, and first responders to ensure safe and efficient operations of the fleet. This project will support WMATA’s plans to accelerate its transition to a 100-percent zero-emission bus fleet and create good paying construction jobs, which will be supported through a project labor agreement and registered apprenticeships.
  • The City of Alexandria will receive $23,984,700 to buy 13 battery-electric buses and charging equipment and perform utility upgrades to the DASH transit system. The project includes worker training to introduce new skills to the existing and future workforce to maintain the electric buses, charging infrastructure and associated technology. The buses will accelerate DASH's transition to a 100% zero-emission fleet.
  • Loudoun County will receive $13,880,910 to buy 37 compressed natural gas buses, build a fueling station and improve its maintenance facility, the first step in its 10-year net-zero energy strategy.  The buses will anchor the agency's fleet and service the county's environmental justice communities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads will receive $25,000,000 to replace the 39-year-old Parks Avenue Maintenance Facility in Virginia Beach to accommodate future zero-emission buses. The new Southside Bus Operating Facility will help the agency support and maintain its current fleet while preparing to support expanded regional transit service.
  • The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) will receive $4,690,010 to replace the oldest buses operated by 11 rural transit providers. The project includes the purchase of a few dozen replacement buses that are vital to reducing a backlog of adequate vehicles. 

Funding for these projects was distributed through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities and Low- and No-Emission (Low-No) Vehicle programs.

The Buses and Bus Facilities program provides federal funding for transit agencies to buy and rehabilitate buses and vans and build and modernize bus facilities. The bipartisan infrastructure law provides nearly $2 billion through FY 2026 for the program. The Low-No program makes funding available to help transit agencies buy or lease American-built low- or zero-emission vehicles, including buses and vans; make facility and station upgrades to accommodate low- or zero-emission vehicles; and purchase supporting equipment like chargers for battery electric vehicles. The bipartisan infrastructure law provides $5.5 billion through FY 2026 for the Low-No Program – more than six times greater than the previous five years of funding combined.  

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $6,710,000 in federal funding for three Virginia airports. The funding was awarded through the Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration’s Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Airport Improvement Program (AIP).  

“Virginia’s airports serve thousands of flyers every day and we are thrilled to deliver funding that will make travel through Virginia safer, more convenient, and more accessible for all,” the Senators said. “This funding will allow our Commonwealth’s airports to start important maintenance and planning projects that will help meet their communities’ needs for years to come.”

The funding is distributed as follows:

  • $5,000,000 for Ronald Reagan Washington International Airport in Arlington, VA for the construction of a taxiway.
  • $1,350,000 for Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Newport News, VA for to fund an update to the Airport Master Plan.
  • $360,000 for Winchester Regional Airport in Winchester, VA for the construction of a taxiway.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have championed continued investment in Virginia’s airports in order to make travel easier across the Commonwealth. Last month, the Senators announced over $1 million in funding for Luray Caverns Airport in Luray, Virginia courtesy of the AIP. Earlier this year, Sens. Warner and Kaine announced over $29 million in federal funding for improvements to three Virginia airports, Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Norfolk International Airport (ORF), and Richmond International Airport (RIC). Additionally, the Senators have announced nearly $400 million in funding for various Virginia airports secured through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act.

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WASHINGTON – Today, during Brain Cancer Awareness Month, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner, Tim Kaine (both D-VA), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act 2.0. This legislation would provide a new source of funding for the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Gabriella Miller Kids First Pediatric Research Program (Kids First)—which Kaine helped create—by redirecting penalties collected from pharmaceutical, cosmetic, supplement, and medical device companies that break the law to pediatric and childhood cancer research. Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) introduced a version of the legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

The bill is named in honor of Gabriella Miller, a Leesburg, Virginia resident who died from a rare form of brain cancer at the age of 10. Miller was an activist and worked to raise support for research into childhood diseases like cancer until her death in October of 2013. In 2014, Kaine honored her by championing the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which established a Ten-Year Pediatric Research Initiative at the NIH and authorized $12.6 million per fiscal year through FY23 for pediatric disease research. Since President Barack Obama signed the original bill in 2014, $126 million has been directed to pediatric cancer research at the NIH through the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research program.

“I can think of no better way to honor the memory of Gabriella and other children who have lost their lives to rare pediatric cancers than by passing this legislation, which would provide crucial, sustainable funding for research to advance lifesaving treatments,” said Sen. Warner.

“Gabriella Miller was a Virginian and a passionate activist, and it’s my mission to honor her by working to make sure pediatric disease research is a priority in Congress,” said Sen. Kaine, who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “I’m proud to join together with colleagues from both sides of the aisle in introducing this legislation, which would provide a crucial source of funding for the pediatric cancer and disease research that can support treatments and save lives in the years to come.”

“Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children, and we must better understand this horrific disease,” said Sen. Moran. “By directing new resources to NIH to research cures and treatments for cancer in children, we can help save lives and honor the memory of Gabriella Miller.”

 “It is unacceptable that less than 8% of the federal cancer research funding goes towards childhood cancer while tens of thousands of children are diagnosed each year in the U.S. – and cancer is taking more children’s lives than any other disease right now,” said Rep. Wexton. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to build on the remarkable work of the Kids First research programs and boost funding for treatments and cures that can save kids’ lives. It’s been an honor to work with Ellyn Miller, a constituent and Gabriella’s mother, as well as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver real change so no family has to go through what the Millers have faced.”

While cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among children past infancy, childhood cancer and other rare pediatric diseases remain poorly understood. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 9,910 children under the age of 14 will be diagnosed with cancer, and about 1,040 will die of the disease in the United States in 2023. 

The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Program has supported critical research into pediatric cancer and structural birth defects and has focused on building a pediatric data resource combining genetic sequencing data with clinical data from multiple pediatric cohorts. The Gabriella Miller Kids First Data Resource Center is helping to advance scientific understanding and discoveries around pediatric cancer and structural birth defects and has sequenced nearly 20,000 samples thus far.

The legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Peter Welch (D-VT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ted Budd (R-NC), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

You can view the full bill text here

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the following statement today:

“With the expansion of Metro access to Dulles, long-distance flights from the Washington region have never been more accessible or competitive. The slot and perimeter rules help to balance consistent world-class aviation services at the region’s three major airports, which has in turn allowed for billions of dollars in private-sector capital investment in the metropolitan Washington area. As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we will strongly oppose any efforts to disrupt or undermine the balance between Dulles and National, an airport one-fourteenth the size of Dulles.”

Acknowledging the physical limitations at Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), Congress has since 1986 restricted the number of nonstop flights that can originate out of DCA to airports outside of a 1,250-mile perimeter, while Washington Dulles International (IAD) was planned as the growth airport for the region’s aviation needs. However, in past FAA reauthorization bills, Congress has made changes to these rules that have disrupted the balance in this two-airport system by adding additional flights from Reagan to destinations outside the 1,250-mile perimeter. These changes in flight activity have produced significant stress on DCA’s facilities, from strained roadways and limited parking availability to overburdened baggage systems, and created frustrations for travelers, businesses, and local residents. Those changes have also prevented Dulles, whose size allows for larger planes to land and take off, from realizing its full potential as the primary long-haul flight destination for the Washington metropolitan area. In March, Sens. Warner and Kaine were joined by the two senators from Maryland in sending a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, which has responsibility for drafting legislation to reauthorize the FAA, strongly opposing any further changes at airports that serve residents of the National Capital Area.

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WASHINGTON – With summer just around the corner, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) has seen a steady rise in requests for assistance regarding passport applications and renewals. Many constituents are expressing frustration caused by prolonged and unexplained delays as to the status of their travel documents. Today, Sen. Warner sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to ensure that the State Department is taking proper steps to clear the passport backlog and fulfill renewal requests.

Specifically, Sen. Warner wrote to Sec. Blinken regarding the now-closed Online Passport Renewal (OPR) System, which received more than 500,000 requests from August 2022 to February 2023. The online system has been unable to keep up with demand, leaving travelers scrambling to replace their passports at the last minute. In addition to costly delays, many constituents who filed to renew their passports online are receiving little to no information on the progress being made with applications regardless of how well in advance of planned travel their requests were filed, leaving many in limbo waiting for their documents.

“In an increasingly online age, I welcome the ability for my constituents to renew their passports through a secure paperless process,” wrote Sen. Warner. “However, the OPR system seems to be fraught with significant errors that have caused Virginians headaches, stress, and unfortunately in some instances, delayed or missed travel. Simply put, the service my constituents have received is unacceptable.”

In his letter, Sen. Warner posed a series of questions to better understand how the State Department plans to address the backlog:

  • How does the agency’s handling of passport applications submitted online differ from those that are filed through traditional processes, either by applying at a Passport Acceptance Facility in person or by U.S. Mail?
  • How does the agency determine the assignment of OPR applications to their Passport Agencies across the country? How does this compare to the assignment of traditional applications received?
  • What is the current average processing time of an application submitted through the OPR process compared to those submitted through the traditional process? Please indicate the processing time for applications submitted under both expedited and routine processing.
  • Does agency data reflect that some Passport Agencies are more successful in processing OPR applications timely than others? If so, what does the agency believe is the source of this imbalance, and how is the agency addressing this problem?
  • Members of my staff have been told by Passport Agency officials that “technical issues” can at times impede the processing of an OPR application and that officials must transfer the application into the traditional system for final processing. Can you further explain these technical issues and what steps the agency is taking to fix these issues?

Sen. Warner’s constituent casework team works daily to help Virginians with a variety of federal agency needs, including help with passport renewal. Constituents experiencing any problems with new passport applications or passport renewals through both online and traditional applications can reach out to Sen. Warner for assistance through his website, available here.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Secretary Blinken:

I write today to express my concern and frustration with the State Department’s Online Passport Renewal (OPR) system. 

The OPR system opened to the public in a pilot status in August 2022, and the agency reports it received more than 500,000 applications before they system closed in February 2023. During that time, many Virginians participated in utilizing this system to submit their passport renewals. Since the start of 2023, my office has received a significant increase in requests from Virginians who are experiencing considerable delays in the processing of their renewal applications filed through the OPR system prior to its closure. In many cases, my constituents filed well in advance of their travel date and paid for expedited processing. That said, the applicants still faced delays and, in some cases, ultimately needed to physically travel to a Passport Agency, often the day before their scheduled travel, in order to have their passport issued.

In an increasingly online age, I welcome the ability for my constituents to renew their passports through a secure paperless process. However, the OPR system seems to be fraught with significant errors that have caused Virginians headaches, stress, and unfortunately in some instances, delayed or missed travel. Simply put, the service my constituents have received is unacceptable. Therefore, I ask that you please address the following questions:

1.      How does the agency’s handling of passport applications submitted online differ from those that are filed through traditional processes, either by applying at a Passport Acceptance Facility in person or by U.S. Mail?
2.      How does the agency determine the assignment of OPR applications to their Passport Agencies across the country? How does this compare to the assignment of traditional applications received?
3.      What is the current average processing time of an application submitted through the OPR process compared to those submitted through the traditional process? Please indicate the processing time for applications submitted under both expedited and routine processing.
4.      Does agency data reflect that some Passport Agencies are more successful in processing OPR applications timely than others? If so, what does the agency believe is the source of this imbalance, and how is the agency addressing this problem?
5.      Members of my staff have been told by Passport Agency officials that “technical issues” can at times impede the processing of an OPR application and that officials must transfer the application into the traditional system for final processing. Can you further explain these technical issues and what steps the agency is taking to fix these issues?

My office has been told that the agency is experiencing “an unprecedented volume of early demand for passports this year.” I commend officials at Passport Agencies across the country for their tireless work in adjudicating millions of passport applications each year. However, it appears that the OPR system’s flaws are directly inhibiting this effort, and I look forward to understanding how the agency will address existing challenges and improve the system for future use.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

 

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The FBI’s new headquarters should be in Springfield

by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Sen. Mark R. Warner & Sen. Tim Kaine

in the Washington Post

March 17, 2023

 

Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, is the governor of Virginia. Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner, both Democrats, represent Virginia in the Senate. 

Virginia made its case to federal officials last week for Springfield to be the next home of the FBI. Though we come from different political parties, we are in lockstep on this issue. Politics should play no role when it comes to the security of the American people.

The FBI and the General Services Administration have laid out a specific set of five criteria for determining where the new FBI headquarters should go. We believe strongly that Springfield is the clear winner across the board.

Northern Virginia is home to a majority of the nation’s intelligence workforce and the largest population of cybersecurity companies and personnel on the East Coast — more than double the number in Maryland. During our presentation to the GSA, Adam Lee, a retired 22-year veteran of the FBI, shared his firsthand experience of how the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, forced the bureau to work more closely with its sister intelligence agencies. With increasing collaboration needed to respond to national security threats rapidly, the Springfield site, situated near the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is the premier site candidate.

Of the sites under consideration, Springfield is also the closest to the FBI’s Quantico location. This is significant because the FBI has said that proximity to this facility’s training academy and laboratory is critical for the bureau to meet its mission. According to the bureau’s own figures, over just a two-month period last summer, FBI personnel made about 1,700 trips to Quantico. This number doesn’t include the personnel who work at Quantico who made reverse trips to the current headquarters downtown or to one of the FBI’s other locations in the area. That’s thousands of person hours spent traveling between locations, making it easy to understand why proximity to Quantico is so important to the FBI.

Springfield also provides more travel choices and public transportation options than any other site under consideration. Though both Springfield and the Greenbelt site in Maryland are less than a 10-minute walk to Metro and commuter trains, the Springfield site provides roughly double the number of bus routes. Maryland has not made major improvements to its Beltway system in decades and just lost its partner in the effort to add express lanes to Interstate 270; Northern Virginia has already rebuilt its interstate network, investing more than $15 billion in these critical arteries.

As the only site under consideration already owned by the federal government, the Springfield site would cost less than the competitor sites in Maryland.

A more recent criterion includes advancing support for underserved communities. We applaud and embrace that objective.

As one of the most diverse communities in America, Northern Virginia has a lot to offer here, too. More than half of Springfield’s households speak a language other than English. Recruiting a diverse workforce helps the FBI better fulfill its national security mission: Officers from diverse backgrounds are uniquely qualified to understand cultural differences and bring diverse viewpoints to the many security challenges facing Americans.

Though Northern Virginia is often painted with a broad brush, tens of thousands of people in the area live below the federal poverty level, and tens of thousands of people still lack health insurance or a high school diploma.

By selecting Springfield, the administration would fulfill its commitment to advance diversity and economic opportunity.

We are confident that any objective evaluation of the transparent criteria laid out by the FBI and the GSA can lead to only one conclusion: The best home for the FBI is in Virginia.

Permalink: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/03/16/youngkin-kaine-warner-fbi-headquarters-springfield/

WASHINGTON – Today, Virginia’s Governor Glenn Youngkin, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and U.S. Representatives Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer, Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton, Jen Kiggans, and Jennifer McClellan issued the following statement after Virginia leaders presented to the General Services Administration (GSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the clear case for Springfield to host the FBI’s new headquarters:

"The selection process for a new FBI headquarters should be a straightforward assessment of five criteria identified by the experts at the FBI and the GSA. In today’s meeting, Virginia made the case that in all five criteria, Springfield, Virginia is the leading site under consideration. With its proximity to FBI Quantico and other key intelligence sites, it’s the optimal location to support the FBI mission. It has more public transportation options than any other site under consideration, as well as superior site development flexibility. Choosing Springfield would also represent a strong commitment to advancing equity in underserved communities. It would give taxpayers the best bang for the buck since it’s already federally-owned and built-ready. Springfield is a home run in every category.”

Last month, Youngkin, Warner, Kaine, Connolly, Beyer, and Spanberger held a press conference alongside local leaders in Springfield to highlight the ways in which it best meets the five selection criteria set forth by the GSA and FBI, which are: support for the FBI mission requirement; transportation access; site development flexibility; promoting sustainable siting and advancing equity; and cost. The press conference followed the submission of a letter by Virginia’s congressional delegation and Governor Youngkin to the GSA and FBI laying out the case for the Springfield site.

For high quality video of Warner and Kaine making the case for Springfield following today’s presentation, click here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the below statement after Del. Eileen Filler-Corn announced that she will not run for re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates:

“Eileen Filler-Corn and I have worked together for many years, dating back to my term as Governor. As one of the original organizers of the Million Mom March and a committed PTA leader before that, I have always known her to be a relentless progressive who is committed to getting things done for Virginia families. 

“She will leave behind an enormous legacy as the Speaker who helped Virginia steer through the COVID-19 pandemic, oversaw the record investment that will make Virginia the national leader in broadband access, and made the Commonwealth the 38th state to finally ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to guarantee the same rights for all our citizens, regardless of their sex, as part of the Constitution. The first woman and the first Jewish American to serve as Speaker of the House of Delegates, Eileen Filler-Corn will be stepping down from the House of Delegates a historic figure, one who helped to build the fairer, more prosperous Virginia we know today. I congratulate her on an extraordinary career in public service, and look forward to seeing what she does next.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $29,400,000 in federal funding for three Virginia airports. Funds were made available through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Terminals Program. This funding was made possible through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which was negotiated by Sen. Warner and strongly supported by Sen. Kaine. 

“Another day, another win from the bipartisan infrastructure law,” the Senators said. “The bipartisan infrastructure law provides sustained investments to make air travel smoother and safer, and we’re glad to see another year of targeted airport investments across the Commonwealth to make that a reality.”

The funding is distributed as follows:

  • $20,000,000 for Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Dulles, VA to replace existing ground loading positions with 14 loading bridges on the Tier 2 Concourse. The project connects directly to the Dulles Aerotrain and indirectly to the public Metrorail. 
  • $5,400,000 for Norfolk International Airport (ORF) in Norfolk, VA to construct a people mover on the pedestrian bridge connecting the departures and arrivals terminal building.
  • $4,000,000 for Richmond International Airport (RIC) in Richmond, VA to replace 21 passenger loading bridges that are beyond their useful life.

These funds come in addition to over $50 million awarded last year to the Dulles and Richmond airports through the Airport Terminals Program. Additionally, the Senators have announced nearly $400 million in funding for various Virginia airports secured through the bipartisan infrastructure law. Last year, Sens. Warner and Kaine negotiated the opening of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Silver Line Extension, which provides Metro service directly to Dulles International Airport.

High-quality photos of Sens. Warner and Kaine’s recent visit to Dulles International Airport are available here. High-quality photos of Sen. Warner’s visit to Richmond International Airport are available here. 

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WASHINGTON – Today elected officials and community leaders held a press conference in Springfield to lay out why Northern Virginia is the ideal location for the new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters, as the FBI and the General Services Administration (GSA) work to finalize a location after years of work on the project spanning multiple presidential administrations.

“Virginia is the best place to live, work, and raise a family for law enforcement. The Commonwealth has a diverse workforce, hosts a well positioned transportation network with close proximity to public and private sector partners, and is home to major federal agencies from the Pentagon to the FBI academy in Quantico,” Gov. Glenn Youngkin said. “The Springfield site is ideal for the next FBI headquarters because it saves the most money for U.S. taxpayers. Virginia stands ready to ensure that the FBI is well-positioned to continue to serve all Americans.”

“As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I know the kind of threats facing our nation. These threats are dramatically different than they were even a couple of decades ago, and we won’t be able to meet these increasingly complex challenges without a workforce that looks like the face of America,” said Sen. Mark Warner. “With the Springfield site, the Biden administration has an exciting opportunity to make good on its promise to invest in diverse and underserved communities, and in doing so can deliver a world-class HQ that best helps the men and women of the FBI meet their mission day-in and day-out.”

“Virginia is good for the FBI mission and good for the FBI workers. Between the fantastic transportation network, schools, business climate, national security network, diverse communities, commitment to affordable housing, and site readiness, there's no better place for the FBI headquarters than Springfield, Virginia,” Sen. Tim Kaine said.

“The merits and ability to meet the FBI’s mission must drive the GSA’s decision for the new FBI headquarters. The Springfield site is the clear leader in nexus to FBI partner facilities, access to transit, equity, and cost effectiveness. Those criteria, not political gamesmanship, should drive this process,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly.

“Northern Virginia is a vibrant and diverse community, and a great place to live and work – which the many FBI employees who already live here know very well,” said Rep. Don Beyer. “Bringing the FBI to Virginia and this area would be a huge boon to our region, and would bring opportunity to so many who need it. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue making the case that Virginia is the best place to put the new FBI headquarters.”

“As the Representative for Virginia’s Seventh District — home of the FBI Academy at Quantico, I’m proud to unite with Virginia’s elected officials to make the clear case for why the FBI Headquarters should come to our Commonwealth,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger. “As a former federal agent and CIA case officer who worked joint cases with the FBI, I know their commitment to keeping our country safe. This region has a strong respect for the FBI’s employees and its mission, particularly because so many of these public servants already call Virginia home. I’m deeply proud to represent these extraordinary law enforcement professionals and their families, and I know that the FBI’s mission will be strengthened by its long-term presence here in Northern Virginia.”

“Through my work as a delegate and pastor at First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia, I speak with Virginians of different backgrounds every single day. From my constituents, I know that the Springfield community is an ideal location for the FBI to pursue its mission,” said Del. Luke Torian, Chair, Virginia’s Minority Business Commission. “Our vibrant, talented, and diverse workforce is ready to offer the FBI a steady stream of future career officers and law enforcement personnel for years to come.”

“I want to restate the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ unequivocal support for Springfield as the choice location for the FBI headquarters,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay. “Our universal backing is based on multiple factors, all of which lead us to definitively state that the Springfield site is head and shoulders above the competition and makes the most sense for residents, taxpayers and FBI employees alike. The extraordinary economic opportunity that this investment would bring to the historically underserved, majority-minority community of Greater Springfield cannot be overstated.”

“There are still pockets of great need that persist in our community, and it is hard to imagine a larger investment, either in our community or its residents, than the relocation of the FBI headquarters to Fairfax County and the Franconia District,” said Franconia District Supervisor Rodney Lusk. “I am proud to be standing here this morning as part of this coalition of leaders who are stepping forward to commit the full faith and partnership of our region to supporting that investment.”

“Our area is uniquely well-equipped to provide transportation solutions that will benefit the bureau for decades to come. Through Virginia’s more than $15 billion investment in multimodal transportation improvements, the Springfield site provides more travel choices and public transportation options than any other site being considered, whether it’s FBI workers commuting to the new headquarters or traveling between FBI offices, Department of Justice or private entities,” said Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis J. Randall, Chair, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. “I look forward to welcoming the FBI to Springfield, and being a trusted partner with the agency as it continues to grow.”

“Northern Virginia’s diversity is its strength,” said Susana Marino, President & CEO, NOVA Hispanic American Chamber. “Bringing the new FBI headquarters here would showcase the federal government’s commitment to furthering equity and diversity.”

Earlier this month, the Commonwealth’s congressional delegation and Gov. Youngkin sent a letter to the GSA and FBI detailing the ways in which Springfield best meets the five selection criteria set forth by the GSA and FBI, which are: support for the FBI mission requirement; transportation access; site development flexibility; promoting sustainable siting and advancing equity; and cost.

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WASHINGTON – As the General Services Administration (GSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) work to finalize a location for the new FBI headquarters, Virginia’s leaders are joining together to make the case that Springfield is the superior site.  

In a letter, the Commonwealth’s bipartisan congressional delegation and Gov. Glenn Youngkin detailed the ways in which Springfield best meets the five selection criteria set forth by the GSA and FBI, which are: support for the FBI mission requirement; transportation access; site development flexibility; promoting sustainable siting and advancing equity; and cost.

“The Springfield site presents the government with a comprehensive and holistic candidate location to house the FBI, as it performs strongly across all criteria. Springfield would provide the men and women of the FBI with a location that best enables them to meet their critical law enforcement and national security missions, allow GSA to execute that according to best practices in public real estate acquisitions, and provide the government with a strong and exciting opportunity to meet its community investment goals,” they wrote.

The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, Gov. Glenn Youngkin, and U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott, Rob Wittman, Gerry Connolly, Don Beyer, Abigail Spanberger, Jennifer Wexton, and Jen Kiggans. A full copy of the letter is available here.  

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) announced that he will bring Mrs. Marguerite Bailey Young of Fredericksburg, Virginia as his guest for President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Mrs. Young – a 94 year-old widow and retired school system administrator – relies on several daily medicines, including two types of insulin. Like many seniors across the country, Mrs. Young has seen the cost of her insulin drop dramatically thanks to a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that caps insulin at $35 per month for Medicare recipients.

“Congress has spent years talking about lowering the price of prescription drugs, and last August, under President Biden, we did just that. This State of the Union, it’s an honor to be joined by Mrs. Marguerite Bailey Young – one of millions of Americans who no longer have to worry about rationing or having to forgo their insulin due to the disproportionate, skyrocketing costs,” said Sen. Warner.

The Inflation Reduction Act is a historic piece of legislation that was supported by Sen. Warner, passed by Congress, and signed into law in August of 2022. The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to lower the cost of prescription drugs costs and health care by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, capping out-of-pocket costs for seniors, and extending the expanded Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years, among a number of other key provisions.  

Mrs. Young, an Accomack County native who lives independently and on a fixed income, has been an active advocate for access to health care for underserved persons in her region. She previously served as a board member of Central Virginia Health Services, a federally qualified health center with more than 15 practice sites throughout Central Virginia. She spent more than 30 years championing healthcare access and equity within her own community, first as a Board Trustees on the Mary Washington Healthcare Board, then continuing to serve as a citizen member on the health system’s board-level committees before retiring just last year.

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SANTA’S WORKSHOP (WASHINGTON) – Christmas cheer has spread to the Senate! Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) welcomed students from Dumfries Elementary School to his Capitol Hill office to kick off the holiday season with carols, milk and cookies, and decoration of the office Christmas tree. This year’s tree, a 12-foot Fraser fir, is from Mt. Rogers Tree Farm in Grayson County, Va.

The fifth-graders helped Sen. Warner decorate his tree with homemade ornaments before serenading members of his staff with classic carols such as “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

This holiday tradition has been held annually, and Sen. Warner was thrilled to once again host students following a two-year pandemic pause. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (all D-VA)  and Reps. Jennifer Wexton, Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly issued the following statement on the release of U.S. citizen and Virginia resident Asim Ghafoor from detention in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he had been since July 14, 2022.

“Thanks to the courageous work of many, Asim Ghafoor is now home with his family. Since he was arrested on July 14, we have been outspoken advocates for Asim’s fair treatment and due process during his imprisonment and worked closely with his loved ones to raise awareness of his ordeal. Asim has clearly touched the lives of many, and we are relieved that he is free and back in Northern Virginia with his family.”

Asim Ghafoor is a board member for the nonprofit organization Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) which advocates for democratic reforms in the Middle East and a beloved and active member of the local Muslim community in the Northern Virginia region. He also represented Jamal Khashoggi, who was brutally murdered by Saudi officials in 2018. Asim Ghafoor was detained by UAE authorities on July 14 while transiting Dubai International Airport. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to three years in prison without being provided any notification regarding his charges. His prison sentence was overturned by an Emirati court earlier this week, permitting him to return home to his family.

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WASHINGTON –U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $2,900,000 in federal funding from Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration for the Culpeper Regional Airport. This funding – made available thanks to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act negotiated by Warner and strongly supported by Kaine last year and will go towards the final phase of a project that will remove a road obstruction on the runway.

“This investment will provide Culpeper Regional Airport with the final batch of funds needed to complete this project, bringing Runway 22 up to Federal Aviation Administration standards,” the senators said.  “The Culpeper airport hosts 23,000 passengers a year who rely on the airport for convenient, accessible travel. We are pleased that these funds will support this necessary construction.”

In November of last year, Sens. Warner and Kaine announced nearly $400 million in funding for airports in the Commonwealth thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law.  

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