Press Releases

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

“Over the past two years, the US has spent only a tiny fraction of its defense budget to help Ukraine inflict enormous losses on Russia’s military, hold the line in the fight for democracy over autocracy, and thwart Putin’s ambitions to take over Ukraine. Despite the clear security interests in continuing this support, and the commitments we’ve made to both the Ukrainian people and our NATO allies, House Republicans have spent months delaying the renewal of this critical aid. The best time to do this would have been months ago. The second best time is right now. I urge the House to act swiftly to get this done and end this painful and embarrassing delay. Failing to do so would be a mistake of historic proportions.

“At the same time, the House also has the opportunity to take important steps to shore up our national security in other avenues. For years, I’ve been raising the alarm about the powerful national security threat posed by TikTok, and I strongly support their divestiture from a company legally required to do the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party. Amid deeply troubling and escalating violence across the Middle East, it’s also critical that we provide robust and desperately needed humanitarian aid in support of the millions of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, and continue supporting Israel’s security. I look forward to the House’s swift action on all these priorities and to championing their passage in the Senate.”

On February 13, 2024, the Senate passed a national security supplemental package to aid Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and the Indo-Pacific with a bipartisan 70-29 margin.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner, Tim Kaine (both D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), and John Fetterman (D-PA) released the following statement on the Department of Labor (DOL) Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) finalizing its proposal to amend current federal standards to better protect America’s miners from health hazards related to exposure to respirable crystalline silica, or silica dust. 

“We applaud the Mine Safety and Health Administration for finalizing its rule to better protect our nation’s coal miners from exposure to silica dust. This rule will play an essential role in safeguarding miners from cancers, silicosis and black lung disease, especially in Appalachia where black lung cases have been rapidly increasing in recent years. For generations, our brave coal miners have risked their lives to power our nation to greatness, and we will continue working together in the Senate to advance commonsense rules like this one to protect the health and welfare of these heroes,” the Senators said.

“We're grateful for the Agency's initiative in implementing a rule to tackle the increasing incidence of silica-related lung diseases among both coal and metal non-metal miners. The resurgence of these diseases, particularly affecting younger miners in their 30s and 40s, underscores the urgency of this issue. This measure is vital for safeguarding miners' well-being not only in the short term but throughout their careers. The UMWA’s focus now shifts to ensuring mining companies are held accountable,” said United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and U.S. Reps. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Bob Good (R-VA-05), and Jen Kiggans (R-VA-02) released the following statement regarding the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) Inspector General (IG) report on the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center (RPDC) in Sandston. The USPS OIG audited the RPDC because the center is the first consolidated processing center in the country that was opened to centralize outgoing mail and package processing as part of USPS’s 10-year Delivering for America plan.

“It couldn’t be clearer that USPS has not been providing reliable service to Virginians, and we’ve been pressing for answers. This report pinpoints a number of issues, including a lack of coordination between USPS and staff at the Richmond Regional Processing and Distribution Center (RPDC). Going forward, USPS must provide more resources and clearer guidance to management and staff at RPDC, among other steps. We look forward to working with USPS to ensure that happens, the recommendations in the IG report are implemented, and mail delivery is timely for Virginians.”

The report highlights various issues on the local, regional, and national levels that have impacted service in Virginia and made 10 distinct recommendations to USPS for improvement. The issues range from egregious lack of attention to detail (pieces of mail falling off conveyor belts and being lost), to poor synchronizing between machines processing mail at the facility and the schedules of trucks transporting mail to and from the facility, to broader questions about whether the RPDC model is generating the cost savings and efficiency improvements this model has promised. Workforce shortages, including reducing the contracted drivers to operate delivery trucks when the in-house workforce was insufficient, have further strained USPS staff and increased overtime costs. Meanwhile, internal communication among headquarters, regional, and on-site local staff has been inadequate.

A full accounting of the problems that have impacted service and specific recommendations to address them are available here.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the passing of former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut:

“I knew Joe Lieberman for forty years. I didn’t always agree with him politically, but I always had tremendous respect for his integrity and the depth of his thought and understanding on policy matters.

“My condolences go out to Hadassah and the entire Lieberman family at this time. May his memory be for a blessing.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, after the House voted 352-65 to pass the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement:

“We are united in our concern about the national security threat posed by TikTok – a platform with enormous power to influence and divide Americans whose parent company ByteDance remains legally required to do the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party. We were encouraged by today’s strong bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives, and look forward to working together to get this bill passed through the Senate and signed into law.”

 

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

“Last night the president announced additional action that the United States will be taking to support the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza. These steps are critically needed, and I applaud the president for pushing them forward. Establishing port infrastructure to support the maritime delivery of food, water, shelter materials, and other assistance has the potential to provide dramatically increased levels of aid, and I urge the president to work with Israel and other partners to quickly implement and ramp this operation.

“Deliveries of aid by air and sea are notable steps that represent an ongoing effort by the U.S. to address the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. It must be noted, however, the extraordinary and catastrophic conditions that have led to the consideration of these options. The most direct and effective route for aid to reach Palestinians comes via cross-border transport. Despite Israeli commitments and indeed, obligation, humanitarian access remains dramatically below target levels, with critically needed supplies delayed and restricted at border crossings. It is vital that Israel take steps to allow for greater and more timely access into Gaza.

“The urgency of reaching a diplomatic outcome that puts in place a ceasefire agreement, secures the release of Israelis and Americans who are still held hostage by Hamas, and provides for dramatically increased humanitarian access, cannot be overstated.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded congressional passage of legislation to avert a partial government shutdown and fund key of the government for Fiscal Year 2024. This legislation funds major priorities across several federal departments, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Energy, Interior, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, as well as their related agencies. Specifically, this legislation includes more than $467.5 billion in federal funding, including nearly $148 million in federal funding for Virginia-specific projects secured by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“It’s about time,” said Sen. Warner. “I was proud to support the passage of this legislation, which will give our federal agencies the funding they need to serve the American people and respond to the novel needs of the current fiscal year. I’m particularly thrilled that we were able to secure funding for over 100 individual projects in communities throughout the Commonwealth. These projects will make a world of a difference at the community level, tackling specific needs like making our neighborhoods more resilient to climate change, improving the quality of drinking water, addressing homelessness, strengthening local transportation systems, supporting domestic violence victims, and investing in young Virginians, among many others.”

“Although this is long overdue, I’m glad we passed legislation to fund several parts of the government. The bill includes many provisions I fought for to make our communities safer, expand access to affordable housing, support child care on our military bases, and boost economic growth,” said Sen. Kaine. “I’m proud that we secured funding for 105 community projects across Virginia that will improve transportation, upgrade water infrastructure, support health care, and more. I urge Congress to take up the rest of the government funding bills as soon as possible.”

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 nearly $148 million for community projects across the Commonwealth.

Through strong advocacy, the Senators secured funding in the budget bills for the following projects in Virginia: 

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

In addition, the budget bills include funding for the following Warner and Kaine priorities: 

Supporting Nutrition: The bill includes $7.03 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to ensure that millions of women, infants, and children can access adequate nutrition. It also includes $80 million in administrative funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, the USDA purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality USDA foods, and makes those foods available to state distributing agencies. 

Increasing Access to Healthy Food: Includes $500,000 for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), a public-private partnership that provides technical assistance and financing to support existing grocery stores, food hubs, agriculture producers, farmers, mobile markets, and other food retailers.

Expanding Economic Opportunity: 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. 

Increasing Access to Health Care for Seniors: Includes $62.5 million for states to provide education and counseling for low-income seniors to understand and enroll in the specialized Medicare programs they may qualify for through December 31, 2024. This provision is based on the Helping Seniors Lower Their Health Care Costs Act, legislation championed by Sen. Warner.

Keeping WMATA Running: Includes $150 million in grants to carry out mandatory spending from the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. 

Strengthening our Nation’s Ports: Includes $120.5 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, which provides funding to projects that improve the safety, efficiency, or reliability of the movement of goods into, out of, around, or within a port. This funding is in addition to $450 million in advanced appropriations from the bipartisan infrastructure law, which brings the total amount of funding for this program in FY24 to $570.5 million.

Increasing Air Travel Safety: The bill provides more than $20 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, including needed funding to allow for the hiring of an additional 1,800 new air traffic controllers.

Supporting Economic Development: Includes $468 million for community economic development through the Economic Development Administration (EDA). This includes $100 million for Public Works grants, $25 million for the Good Jobs Challenge Program, $50 million for the Regional Innovation Program, and $79.5 million to support communities dealing with power plant closures.

RAISE Grants: Includes $345 million for the RAISE Grant program, which helps communities around the country carry out road, rail, transit and port projects with significant local or regional impact. When combined with the $1.5 billion in bipartisan infrastructure law advanced appropriations, the RAISE Grant program will see more than $1.84 billion in total funding in fiscal year 2024.

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.

Combating Hate Crimes: Provides $9 million for the enactment of the Khalid Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which creates grants for state and local governments to combat hate crimes. The Khalid Jabara-Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, championed by Sens. Warner and Kaine, was named partially after Heather Heyer, a Virginian murdered by a white supremacist in Charlottesville in 2017.

Keeping the Chesapeake Bay Clean: Includes $92 million for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program – the primary federal program that supports Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts – as well as $8 million for the Chesapeake WILD program, which focuses on enhancing habitat for fish and wildlife and recreational opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Additionally, this legislation also includes $3.02 million for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Trails program, which provides unique and vital assistance to state, local, and nongovernmental partners throughout the watershed to increase public access to the Chesapeake Bay and support education programming and outdoor recreation.

Supporting George Washington and Jefferson National Forests: Includes $6.8 million from the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund to address deferred maintenance within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests.

Protecting Southern Appalachia’s Natural Treasures: Includes $9.5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Forest Legacy program for the Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve Expansion Project in Floyd and Carroll County. This project will protect 3,311 acres of Southern Appalachian Eich Cover Forest and productive white pine, as well as nearly 14 miles of mountain streams at the headwaters of the New River.

Caring for America’s Veterans: Includes $121 billion for veterans’ medical care, including $343 million to support improved access to care for veterans in rural communities, $990 million for gender-specific health care services and related investments in facilities, $3.1 billion to support critical services and housing assistance for homeless veterans, and $16.2 billion for mental health services and suicide prevention outreach. 

Providing Veterans With the Benefits They’ve Earned: Includes $3.9 billion to administer benefits to veterans, including efforts to decrease the claims backlog.

Supporting Military Construction: This includes more than $909 million for Virginia for 13 Navy, Navy Reserve, and Marine Corps projects at Dam Neck, JEB Little Creek-Ft Story, MCB Quantico, NS Norfolk, NWS Yorktown, and Norfolk Naval Shipyard; an Army National Guard project at Sandston; and Defense-Wide projects at DIA and the Pentagon. Notable projects include:

  1. $35 million for a Child Development Center at JEB Little Creek-Ft Story
  2. $43.6 million for a Child Development Center at NS Norfolk
  3. $185 million towards the DIA Headquarters Annex at Ft Belvoir
  4. $20 million towards a new Aircraft Maintenance Hangar for the Army National Guard at Sandston – a top longtime priority for the Virginia National Guard.

Housing our Servicemembers: Includes roughly $2 billion for family housing construction.

Protecting U.S. Interests from Malicious Actors: Forbids any funds appropriated in THUD from being used in contravention ofthe American Security Drone Act. This provision was based off Sen. Warner’s STOP Illicit Drones Act, bipartisan legislation that prohibits the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from operating or providing federal funds for drones produced in China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Advancing Scientific Discovery: Includes $8.24 billion 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. Within the Office of Science, the bill includes $11 million for the CEBAF Renovation and Expansion project at Jefferson Lab and $95 million for continued work on the Electron-Ion Collider – a collaboration between Jefferson Lab and Brookhaven National Lab in New York. 

Supporting Nuclear Fuel Security: Includes $2.72 billion in repurposed supplemental funding that will support the domestic production of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which is critical to power upcoming advanced nuclear reactors. This funding will go towards implementation of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act – which was included in the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act – that authorizes the Department of Energy to create a Nuclear Fuel Security Program to increase the quantity of HALEU to support the growing advanced reactor fleet. Sen. Warner was a cosponsor of this legislation. The bill also provides an additional $100 million in discretionary appropriations for advanced nuclear fuel availability.

Leading in Next-Generation Energy: Includes $900 million in unobligated supplemental funding to support the development of small modular reactors. This includes up to $800 million for not more than two near term utility commercial deployments of a Generation 3+ small modular reactor technology in the U.S. It also includes $100 million for one or more competitive awards with a 50 percent cost share to support design, licensing, supplier development, and site preparation of a grid-scale Generation 3+ reactor design that can be deployed no later than 2030.

Promoting Tech Hubs: Includes $41 million for EDA’s Regional Tech Hubs program. In October 2023, Sens. Warner and Kaineannounced the selection of the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Consortium in the Richmond/Petersburg region as one of EDA’s 31 inaugural Regional Tech Hubs. Led by the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, this consortium will ensure that critical pharmaceuticals are manufactured here in America by employing regional assets, scientific capacities, and public and private investment to accelerate the growth, innovation, and sustainability of the U.S.-based pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. In the New River Valley and Danville, the Virginia Additive Manufacturing and Applied Material Strategy Development Consortium received a Strategy Development Grant, which will go towards advancing a regional strategy based in the New River Valley to develop and deploy additive manufacturing system technologies for heavy industry to re-shore manufacturing and to strengthen domestic supply chain resilience. 

Establishing a Data Hub in Hampton Roads: Includes $8 million to advance development of the High Performance Data Facility (HPDF) at Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia. In October 2023, DOE selected Jefferson Lab as the Hub Director and location for the infrastructure for the HPDF, which will be a new scientific user facility specializing in advanced infrastructure for data-intensive science. The HPDF will provide a crucial national resource for artificial intelligence (AI) research, allowing researchers to tackle fundamental problems in science and engineering that require access to large data sets and real-time analysis of streamed data from experiments. DOE anticipates the total project cost of the HPDF will be between $300 and $500 million in current and future year funds.

Following the passage of this partial funding legislation, Congress will have to come together to pass a second bill to fund the parts of the government that remain without FY2024 funds. It must do so before the March 22 deadline.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on the cybersecurity incident at Change Healthcare:

“This ransomware attack on a major health care company should surprise no one. For some time, I have been sounding the alarm on the need for the entire health care sector to drastically step up its game when it comes to cybersecurity. We’ve previously seen incidents that have caused regional disruptions in clinical care, and it was only a matter of time before one disrupted the ability to treat patients nationwide.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working around the clock to help health care providers navigate the attack, and I urge them to ensure all Medicare providers can receive advance and accelerated payments to help them ride this crisis out. If HHS requires additional authorities from Congress to support providers during this time, it’s critical we know that so that we can act as soon as possible.

“This attack demonstrates that we need to have backup plans in place for such incidents. I plan to write and introduce legislation that would provide for accelerated and advanced payments to providers and vendors to protect them in the event of future disruptions, as long as they meet minimum cybersecurity standards.

“While the repercussions of this incident have been primarily – though not wholly – financial, what keeps me up at night is the possibility of a similar widespread attack directly affecting patient care and safety. That is why it is time to consider mandatory cyber hygiene standards for health care providers and their vendors. Sterilization and hand hygiene practices prevent infections – and cyber hygiene practices prevent cyber intrusions. Both are critical to protect patients.”

Sen. Warner has been a leader in the cybersecurity realm throughout his time in the Senate, crafting numerous pieces of legislation aimed at addressing these threats facing our nation. Recognizing that cybersecurity is an increasingly complex issue that affects the health, economic prosperity, national security, and democratic institutions of the United States, Sen. Warner cofounded the bipartisan Senate Cybersecurity Caucus in 2016.  A year later, in 2017, he authored the Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act. This legislation, signed into law by President Donald Trump in December 2020, requires that any IoT device purchased with federal funds meet minimum security standards. As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Warner co-authored legislation that requires companies responsible for U.S. critical infrastructure report cybersecurity incidents to the government. This legislation was signed into law by President Joe Biden as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act in March 2022.

Sen. Warner has also examined cybersecurity in the health care sector specifically. In 2022, Sen. Warner authored “Cybersecurity is Patient Safety,” a policy options paper, outlining current cybersecurity threats facing health care providers and systems and offering for discussion a series of policy solutions to improve cybersecurity across the industry.  Since publishing, Sen. Warner has launched the Health Care Cybersecurity Working Group with a bipartisan group of colleagues to examine and propose potential legislative solutions to strengthen cybersecurity in the health care and public health sector.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement following President Biden’s State of the Union address:

“This evening, President Biden reiterated our nation’s commitment to democracy and outlined a strong vision for continued economic growth, technological progress, and renewed American leadership on the global stage. I was particularly heartened by the President’s call on Congress to pass a national security supplemental that delivers on our commitments to our partners abroad, and by the announcement of new concrete measures to help assuage the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. 

“In the coming months and years, we will keep benefiting from the legislative accomplishments we’ve achieved over past three years. We will continue to see research and development that outperforms that of our adversaries, increased support for nation’s veterans, and greater protections for everyday Americans. We will also continue see our communities grow stronger through record infrastructure dollars, which are bringing high-speed internet to small businesses like that of my guest tonight, Robert Miller, who owns Small Country Campground in Louisa County. In the meantime, I will continue working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to build on this progress and stand up for the values we hold dear as Americans.”  

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after the Senate approved a stopgap funding bill to fund some parts of the government through March 8 and others through March 22. This bill will keep the government open by reauthorizing spending at Fiscal Year 2023 levels.

“Passing a stopgap funding bill is undoubtedly better than shutting down the government, but what would be really great is if Congress could pass a real spending bill, as it was supposed to do back in September. It’s especially frustrating that we are in this position since a bipartisan agreement was reached last spring on spending levels, before House Republicans went back on their word and repeatedly threatened shutdowns over extreme policy positions. But we are encouraged to see negotiators announce a deal on a first group of spending bills, which we hope will be released and brought up for a vote very soon. We will continue working with our colleagues to encourage a bipartisan agreement on a second set of bills before the end of the month so that we can finally fund the government for Fiscal Year 2024.”

This legislation marks the fourth time that Congress has punted its responsibility to deliver a spending bill for Fiscal Year 2024, having passed continuing resolutions on September 30, November 17, and January 18.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after the unanimous Senate passage of their legislation to rename a federal building in Roanoke, VA the “Reuben E. Lawson Federal Building” in honor of the life and legacy of civil rights lawyer Reuben Lawson. The senators introduced the legislation on December 6, 2023, on what would have been Lawson’s 103rd birthday.

“We are thrilled that our legislation to honor Reuben Lawson’s immense contributions to the civil rights movement and Roanoke community was passed unanimously by the Senate,” said the senators. “Mr. Lawson dedicated his life to fighting against segregation, and we urge the House of Representatives to pass this bill to help ensure that his tireless pursuit of justice is remembered across the Commonwealth for generations to come.”

Lawson graduated from Howard Law School in 1945 and spent his career in Roanoke, working closely with civil rights titan Oliver Hill. Lawson filed the first desegregation case in Southwest Virginia, which resulted in the admission of 13 African American students into Floyd County’s high school, which until then had only admitted white students. Similar efforts then followed in Pulaski, Grayson, and Roanoke Counties. Lawson also played a key role in convincing the Roanoke City Council to defy Virginia’s segregation law in 1961 and integrate Roanoke’s Victory Stadium.

In September of last year, Sens. Warner and Kaine met with Roanoke attorney and former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia John Fishwick, Reverend Edward Burton, and members of the Roanoke community who have championed the effort to honor Mr. Lawson through renaming this Federal Building.

“I knew Reuben Lawson through our work in the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP in the 1960s. Reuben was soft-spoken and easy to relate to, but worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to integrate the schools in our region through the courts. He led us in that day and time, and I am proud of the effort to honor his legacy,” said Rev. Edward Burton.

“Mr. Lawson deserves to be recognized for his contributions to ending Jim Crow. The Roanoke Branch NAACP has a shared history with Mr. Lawson and continues to advocate for justice as Mr. Lawson did those many years ago; we can think of no more deserving honor than naming the Federal Courthouse in Roanoke—where Mr. Lawson valiantly fought segregationist policies—after him. Mr. Lawson was truly Roanoke's own civil rights attorney, embodying not only the city, but the spirit of its diverse population,” said Dr. Brenda L.  Hale, President of the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP.

“Reuben E. Lawson was a trailblazing civil rights attorney in Roanoke, Virginia,” said former U.S. Attorney John Fishwick. “His legacy and fearlessness during a turbulent time of civil unrest throughout our country has long been overlooked, and naming Roanoke’s federal building in his honor will give Mr. Lawson the recognition he deserves.”

The building is currently named after former Virginia Congressman and State Supreme Court Justice Richard H. Poff, who opposed integration and voted against the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on President Biden’s executive order aimed at restricting the sale of American’s sensitive personal data to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, as well as entities with ties to those countries:

“For many years now I have been raising the alarm in Congress regarding the need to protect Americans’ sensitive personal data from being exploited by our adversaries. Countries like China have made it their mission to collect as much sensitive information as possible on Americans. I applaud President Biden for taking these steps to ensure that personal data like precise geolocation information, biometric data, and personal health information cannot be accessed by countries of concern. While I welcome these steps, today’s action does not assuage the need for comprehensive data privacy legislation. I urge my colleagues to come together on legislation that finally protects Americans’ privacy online.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s appointment of Tom Perriello of Virginia as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan. Warner and Kaine have consistently pressed the Administration to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan to coordinate and lead diplomatic efforts to negotiate an end to the horrific violence and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 4.8 million people have been internally displaced due to the conflict in Sudan—resulting in one of the largest internal displacement crises in the world. An estimated 10,000 civilians have been killed, and approximately 25 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

“The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan has left millions of civilians in need of urgent assistance. I am glad to see the Biden Administration appoint my friend Tom Perriello as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan,” said Sen. Warner. “I know that Tom’s diplomatic experience will better our efforts in the region to deliver immediate humanitarian aid and prioritize the safety of civilians who have been displaced by incessant violence. Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role and I look forward to working with him to continue our efforts to support the Sudanese people.” 

“The rapidly worsening crisis in Sudan urgently necessitates the delivery of humanitarian assistance and meaningful steps to protect civilians. I’m pleased President Biden appointed Tom Perriello as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan to help see those priorities through,” said Sen. Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). “Tom has the experience and skills needed to lead our strong diplomatic efforts in Sudan. Virginia is home to a large Sudanese diaspora, and I expect he will bring these perspectives with him in this new role. I look forward to working closely with him.”

In December, Warner and Kaine sent a letter urging the Administration to avoid further delays in the appointment of a Special Envoy for Sudan. Since the drastic rise in violence between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) last year, Warner and Kaine have led efforts to increase assistance and protect civilians in the region. Immediately following the outbreak of violence, the senators called for increased humanitarian access and assistance. They also applauded the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) December announcement that it will extend the re-registration period for Temporary Protected Status for migrants from Sudan, which they urged in May. Last year, Warner spoke out about the violence in Sudan and hosted a virtual town hall for Sudanese Americans. Kaine pushed the Administration to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Sudan and urged both sides to commit to a permanent ceasefire. He held an event in Richmond with members of Virginia’s Sudanese American community to hear their concerns and discuss ways he can be helpful to address the conflict.

Perriello was appointed as U.S. Special Representative for the State Department’s second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review by President Barack Obama. He also served as Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He previously worked for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone and at the International Center for Transitional Justice in Kosovo, Darfur, and Afghanistan.

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement on the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine:

“Over the past two years, Ukrainians have displayed remarkable courage, resolve, and strength as they fend off Russia’s brutal invasion. While Putin naively expected that Kyiv would fall in a matter of days, Ukraine has instead displayed tremendous willingness and ability to fight and decimated Russia’s military capabilities for some time to come. For most of the past two years, the United States and our NATO allies have come together in a powerful display of unity to provide Ukraine with indispensable support. 

“We now face a pivotal moment. After a pointless and painful delay, the Senate made good on our word and renewed a robust aid package to Ukraine, but the House must act on it. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Ukrainians sorely need this aid to continue fighting, and our partners as well as authoritarian leaders around the globe alike are closely watching to see if America’s word can be trusted. Walking away now would be a mistake of historic proportions.

“Two years in, it is my most fervent hope that we get this crucial aid package done so Ukraine can continue their fight for democracy over autocracy and preserve the path to a peaceful resolution of this conflict that will maintain the sovereignty of a free Ukrainian nation.”

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Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued the following statement of support for the tech accord to combat deceptive use of AI in 2024 elections:

“We are concerned about the potential use of AI-enabled content, such as 'deepfakes,' in this year’s elections. It has become clear that AI-generated audio, video, and images can be used to sow confusion or chaos in political elections. These deepfakes increasingly create a serious risk of deceiving the public about the steps we take and the statements we make. They potentially threaten the integrity of our elections, and they require urgent action.

“We believe it is imperative for technology companies to take proactive and responsible steps to address the growing risk of AI-enabled content in our elections. We support the voluntary commitments the tech sector is taking through the Tech Accord to Combat Deceptive Use of AI in 2024 Elections, but will continue to hold the industry accountable.

“As technology continues to evolve, we call on the tech sector to build on this Accord, to put its principles into operational effect, to consider additional steps as new needs arise, and to work collaboratively with a constant commitment to uphold freedom of expression, the pursuit of innovation, and the protection of personal privacy.

“We also recognize that the protection of the public from AI-enabled content requires that we all work together. It requires a shared responsibility that transcends partisan interests and brings together political leaders, civic groups, tech companies, other businesses, and informed citizens across the country, including through potential new rules. 

“This is a constructive step forward. We appreciate the companies involved for stepping up to the plate. Time will tell how effective these steps are and if further action is needed. We all have a role to play in protecting the integrity of our elections and upholding the democratic process, and we welcome this critical step by technology companies.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement:

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has the intelligence in question, and has been rigorously tracking this issue from the start. We continue to take this matter seriously and are discussing an appropriate response with the administration. In the meantime, we must be cautious about potentially disclosing sources and methods that may be key to preserving a range of options for U.S. action.”

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on Senate passage of a supplemental aid package to support Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and the Indo-Pacific:

“After months of reckless delays, I’m glad that the Senate has finally passed aid to our partners abroad. Without the loss of a single American or NATO soldier, Ukraine has been able to hold the line in the fight for democracy over autocracy and significantly damage Russia’s military capabilities. Today, we took a major step forward to support that historic effort, prove that America stands by its promises, and put authoritarian leaders across the globe on notice.

“It never had to be this way or take this long. I remain profoundly disappointed that some of my colleagues made every attempt to lead us towards historic failure by reneging on our commitments abroad. Despite these efforts, today’s vote shows that we can maintain our commitments to Ukraine and Israel, deliver sorely needed humanitarian aid to Gaza, and deter Chinese aggression by supporting partners across the Indo-Pacific. Getting this across the finish line is one of the most critical strategic imperatives I have witnessed in my time in government – I strongly urge my colleagues in the House to get this done as soon as possible.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) introduced Jasmine Yoon in a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. In November, the senators recommended Yoon to fill an upcoming vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, which will be created when Judge Michael F. Urbanski assumes senior status in July 2024. In January, President Biden nominated Yoon for the seat. 

“[Yoon] came to our country at age 14 from South Korea, speaking virtually no English. So in eighth grade, she spent her time reading the dictionary and watching American TV, and by the time she got into high school, she spoke fluent English thanks to that ethic of hard work. She developed such a stellar record that she was a two-time graduate of the University of Virginia, both undergrad and law school,” said Sen. Warner. “Jasmine’s community-oriented mindset, her qualifications, and her numerous accolades make her an extraordinary nominee for the Western District of Virginia.”

“This is such a happy occasion for Senator Warner and I,” said Sen. Kaine. “[Jasmine Yoon] really has a wide breadth of legal experience. We've never had an Asian American member of the Article III bench in Virginia… To have come to the United States at age 14, speaking virtually no English, and four years later, to get a full scholarship to UVA—when she graduated from undergrad, she received the award as the outstanding undergraduate… and she also received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship to go to UVA law school. Truly an amazing record… She would be a tremendous, tremendous asset to our federal judiciary, and that’s why Mark and I are so proud to be here to introduce her today.”

Jasmine Yoon is the Vice President for Corporate Integrity, Ethics, and Investigations at Capital One Financial Corporation. Prior to this role, she served as Interim University Counsel and Associate University Counsel at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, her alma mater. She also worked as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where she investigated and prosecuted over 80 financial crimes and public corruption cases. Her nomination will now be considered by the Judiciary Committee and subsequently the full Senate.

Under President Biden, the senators have confirmed 177 federal judges to the bench, including the Honorable Toby HeytensPatricia Tolliver GilesMichael S. NachmanoffElizabeth HainesJamar Walker, and Robert Ballou for federal courts across Virginia. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) released the following statement after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation voted to undermine the current ‘slots and perimeter’ rules at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) as part of the Senate version of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act:

“We are deeply disappointed by the Senate Commerce Committee’s move to overburden DCA. With this profoundly reckless decision, the Committee is gambling with the safety of everyone who uses this airport. As we have said countless times before, DCA’s runway is already the busiest in the country. Forcing the airport to cram additional flights in its already crowded schedule will further strain its resources at a time when air traffic controllers are overburdened and exhausted, working 10-hour days, six days a week.

“Last year, the House of Representatives wisely rejected a proposal to add new flights to DCA in its FAA reauthorization bill. As we move towards a final bill, we call upon everyone involved to reject any backroom deal-making that prioritizes particular senators’ desires for a more convenient commute over the safety of the flying public.” 

Acknowledging the physical limitations at 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, with Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall (BWI) planned as the growth airports 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 three-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, the Senators sent 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. They have also penned an op-ed last June urging their colleagues to oppose changes to the current slot and perimeter rules at DCA. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote on the bipartisan legislation to provide needed funding for Ukraine and address the situation at the U.S. southern border:

“Today’s vote begs the question: are there any serious Republican legislators left? It is preposterous that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would vote against bipartisan legislation to address the situation at the southern border – the very issue they’ve obsessed over for months. Congress must find a way to come back to this important issue, to repair our deeply broken immigration system and address the dysfunction at the border. However, in light of this vote, I am glad to see Leader Schumer announce that he will move forward with a vote to pass standalone national security legislation.

“As Ukraine presses forward with its fight against Russian authoritarianism, I implore my colleagues to look beyond one election cycle, to consider the decades-long ramifications of allowing Vladimir Putin to prevail in his annexation of Ukraine and his goal of exporting his ruthless authoritarian ideology beyond Russia. Ukraine has demonstrated that it is willing and able to fight – it has done so without a single drop of American blood. As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I will be voting to move forward with this national security legislation to renew our commitment to Ukraine, deliver humanitarian aid for Gaza, support Israel, and show our allies abroad that the U.S. stands by its promises.”

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WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement after the House voted in favor of a $78 billion tax package that would expand the Child Tax Credit and dramatically cut child poverty in the United States: 

“I am encouraged by today’s House passage of a bipartisan tax bill that would lift nearly half a million U.S. children out of poverty. As we saw during the pandemic, expanding the Child Tax Credit is a tried-and-true way to give struggling families a meaningful boost and help put food in the mouths of needy children. Especially now, with tax season around the corner, this legislation could provide near-immediate breathing room for millions of working families who live paycheck to paycheck – but only if the Senate acts quickly. As this bill makes its way to the Senate, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver for American families.”

This legislation, as passed by the House, would benefit 16 million children in the U.S., lifting as many as 400,000 children above the poverty line in the first year alone and continuing to reduce poverty for the families of about 5 million additional children over time. 

Currently, the Child Tax Credit allows families up to $2,000 in tax credits per child. However, many families – especially poor families who need the program the most – do not make enough to reap the full tax deduction benefit. This bill would expand the Child Tax Credit by allowing families to reap the full credit as long as they continue to meet the minimum income threshold of $2,500 per year. It would also ensure that the Child Tax Credit can keep up with inflation. This legislation would help pick up where the nation left off at the end 2021, when a similar COVID-era expansion of the Child Tax Credit expired. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on the ongoing border negotiations and the need to deliver for Ukraine:

“With the support of democracies around the world, the people of Ukraine have succeeded in decimating Putin’s ground forces, without the loss of a single NATO soldier. Turning our back on them now would be a grave miscalculation with global ramifications that would reverberate long after the next election – it would send a message to authoritarian leaders around the world that the United States no longer stands by its commitments.

“We now also have a real opportunity to fix decades of dysfunction along our southern border. While I have tremendous respect for the hard work of the negotiators who have spent weeks hammering out a bipartisan deal, and acknowledge that even with their broad agreement this supplemental package requires appropriators to iron out more details to proceed, time is of the essence. Nothing in D.C. ever happens without a deadline. Let’s all agree on one now to enable the Senate to move forward.”

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after the Senate approved a stopgap funding bill to fund some parts of the government through March 1 and others through March 8. This bill will keep the government open through early March by reauthorizing spending at Fiscal Year 2023 levels.

“It’s unfortunate that we once again need to step in at the eleventh hour to avert a government shutdown due to Congress’ inability to pass full spending bills in a timely manner. We urge House Republicans to put brinksmanship aside and join us in passing today’s legislation without delay. It’s time for Congress to start treating funding deadlines seriously and provide the government and the American people with the funding needed to respond to the novel needs of a new fiscal year. We look forward to working with our colleagues these next six weeks to fulfill Congress’ most basic duty and finally push a bipartisan long-term agreement through the finish line.”

This legislation marks the third time that Congress has punted its responsibility to deliver a spending bill for Fiscal Year 2024, having previously passed continuing resolutions on September 30 and November 17.

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WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement on President Joe Biden’s nomination of Nelson Cunningham to serve as Deputy United States Trade Representative:

“I applaud President Biden’s nomination of Nelson Cunningham to serve as Deputy United States Trade Representative. With a distinguished career in the public and private sectors, Mr. Cunningham brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. His deep understanding of foreign policy and international trade issues makes him an excellent choice to serve as Deputy USTR. I am confident that Mr. Cunningham’s experience and acumen will allow him to effectively advance strategic U.S. trade policy goals on the world stage.”

Nelson Cunningham currently serves as the President Emeritus of McLarty Associates, a global strategy firm that he helped co-found in 1998. Prior to this role, he served in the Clinton White House as General Counsel for the Office of Administration and then as Special Advisor to the President for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Cunningham also served as General Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee under then-Chairman Joe Biden (D-DE) and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Following his graduation from Stanford Law School, he clerked for The Honorable James Hunter III on the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, after which point he moved on to serve as an Associate at the law firm Hale and Dorr.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative negotiates directly with foreign governments to create trade agreements, to resolve disputes, and to participate in global trade policy organizations. It also meets with governments, business groups, legislators, and public interest groups to gather input on trade issues and to discuss the President's trade policy positions.

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WASHINGTON —Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement applauding President Biden’s nomination of Jasmine Yoon to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia (WDVA):

“Having dedicated her career to promoting accountability and justice, Ms. Yoon would bring a brilliant, principled voice to the Court. Her experience investigating and prosecuting financial crimes and public corruption cases as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, as well as her profound commitment to public service informed by her life experience growing up as an immigrant, will serve her well in this important role. We look forward to voting in favor of her confirmation.”

Last year, Sens. Warner and Kaine sent a letter to President Biden recommending Ms. Yoon, who also previously served as Interim University Counsel and Associate University Counsel at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, her alma mater. These nominations are subject to confirmation by the full Senate.

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