Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Senate Banking Committee members U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) today unveiled draft bipartisan legislation to improve corporate transparency, strengthen national security, and help law enforcement combat illicit financial activity being carried out by terrorists, drug and human traffickers, and other criminals. 

The Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act would, for the first time, require shell companies – often used as fronts for criminal activity – to disclose their true owners to the U.S. Department of Treasury. It would also update decades-old anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) policies, by giving Treasury and law enforcement the tools they need to fight criminal networks. This includes improving overall communication between law enforcement, financial institutions, and regulators, and facilitating the adoption of critical 21st century technologies. 

“We must be vigilant and ensure that our financial system is not being misused to fund individuals and groups who intend harm to the United States and our allies,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation will empower the Treasury Department and other appropriate agencies to better protect our financial system from such abuse, and will ensure that we are using all the tools at our disposal to protect our national security.”

“The United States ought to make it as difficult as possible for criminals and terrorists to finance their evil deeds. Our draft bill makes it easier for law enforcement to track ill-gotten gains without burdening legitimate businesses,” Sen. Cotton said.

“As a former U.S. Attorney, I am all too familiar with criminals hiding behind shell corporations to enable their illegal behavior. At the same time, our anti-money laundering laws have not kept pace with the increasingly sophisticated means by which criminals and terrorist organizations use our financial system to move their money around the world. This bipartisan legislation addresses both challenges and gives law enforcement the tools they need to protect Americans and prosecute criminals,” said Sen. Jones.

"Fighting crime and depriving terrorists of the tools they use to engage in illicit activity within our financial system is vital to protecting Americans,” said Sen. Rounds. “Our legislation seeks to protect our financial system from bad actors by streamlining our government's anti-money laundering system and simultaneously protecting small businesses from undue compliance burdens. I'm proud to partner with my colleagues on this important legislation and look forward to advancing it in the Senate.”

According to research from the University of Texas and Brigham Young University, the U.S. remains one of the easiest places in the world to set up an anonymous shell company. A recent report by Global Financial Integrity demonstrates that, in all 50 U.S. states, more information is currently required to obtain a library card than to register a company. Human traffickers, terrorist groups, arms dealers, transnational criminal organizations, kleptocrats, drug cartels, and rogue regimes have all used U.S.-registered shell companies to hide their identities and facilitate illicit activities. Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies find it increasingly difficult to investigate these illicit financial networks without access to information about the beneficial ownership of corporate entities involved.

At the same time, U.S. AML-CFT laws have not kept pace with the growing exploitation of the global financial system to facilitate criminal activity.  According to a United Nations Report, money laundering activity and illicit cross-border financial flows have generated upwards of $300 billion annually in criminal proceeds. While tracking these growing sums is increasingly difficult, U.S. laws have also failed to adequately address the small dollar financing of global terrorist groups. 

Given the critical importance of cracking down on criminal shell companies and the need to combat money laundering and terrorism, the ILLICIT CASH Act envisions a more transparent corporate ownership system and an updated, effective and efficient AML-CFT regime designed for the 21st century. Specifically, this legislation would:

  • Establish federal reporting requirements mandating that all beneficial ownership information be maintained in a comprehensive federal database, accessible by federal and local law enforcement.
  • Help recruit and retain top talent at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) by putting employees on a pay scale comparable to that of federal financial regulators.
  • Create a hub of financial expert investigators at FinCEN to investigate potential AML-CFT activity in collaboration with federal government agencies.
  • Create a team of FinCEN technology experts to further the development of new and essential technologies that can assist financial institutions and the federal government in their efforts to combat money laundering.
  • Facilitate communications between the Treasury and financial institutions by establishing a Treasury financial institution liaison to seek and receive comments regarding AML-CFT rules, regulations, and examinations.
  • Require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to provide the Treasury Department with metrics on the usefulness of AML-CFT data from financial institutions for law enforcement purposes, as well as data on the past and current trends identified by DOJ in the AML-CFT landscape.
  • Require law enforcement to coordinate with financial regulators to provide periodic feedback to financial institutions on their suspicious activity reports.
  • Prioritize the protection of personally identifying information while establishing a clear path for financial institutions to share AML-CFT information for the purposes of identifying suspicious activity.
  • Prevent foreign banks from obstructing money laundering or terrorist financing investigations by requiring these banks to produce records in a manner that establishes their authenticity and reliability for evidentiary purposes, and compelling them to comply with subpoenas. This legislation would also authorize contempt sanctions for banks that fail to comply.
  • Ensure the inclusion of current and future payment systems in the AML-CFT regime by updating the definition of “coins and currency” to include digital currency.

Sens. Warner, Cotton, Jones, and Rounds are now seeking input from stakeholders regarding their draft legislation. Submissions can be made to Sen. Warner’s office at AML-BSAReform@warner.senate.gov by July 19, 2019.

For an in-depth look at this bill, click here. The full text of the bill is available here.  

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WASHINGTON – The Senate just unanimously passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) to provide tax relief to the children of military members killed in service to their country. This legislation corrects one of the many unintended consequences of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – legislation forced through by the GOP that, among other things, treats military and VA survivor benefits as trusts or estates, subjecting the benefits of many military families to a much higher tax rate. The Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act effectively fixes this error by treating any military and VA survivor benefits as earned income, rather than at the trust or parent tax rate. Companion legislation has been introduced by Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) in the House of Representatives, which now must vote to send the bill to the President’s desk for signature.

“Gold Star families deserve our sympathy and gratitude, not an unfair tax increase thanks to a Congressional screw-up,” said the Senators. We’re glad the Senate has decide to fix this mistake, and we hope the House will take action swiftly to ensure that Gold Star families aren’t hit with a tax hike.”

Under current law, spouses of deceased service members are eligible to receive two different survivor benefits – the Department of Veterans Affairs' Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, as well as the Department of Defense (DOD) Survivor Benefits Plan. However, surviving spouses are not currently able to receive both benefits simultaneously in full, and many of these spouses choose to sign the taxable DOD benefit over to their children. Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, children receiving this benefit were taxed at the parent’s rate, but due to changes in the law, survivor benefits going to children are now treated as a trust or estate, and can be taxed up to 37 percent. This change has affected Gold Star families, who previously paid an average of 12 to 15 percent in taxes on this survivor benefit and have now been forced to pay significantly more without adequate preparation.

As a retroactive bill, the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act would refund Gold Star families who were taxed the higher rate, going back as far as December 31, 2017.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined 42 of their Senate Democratic colleagues to introduce the Working Families Tax Relief Act (WFTRA)legislation that is estimated to increase the incomes of over 1 million Virginia families, benefitting almost 2.7 million Virginians. The bill aims to cut taxes for workers and families at a time when wages are stagnant and the cost of childcare has continued to rise by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), two of the most effective tools we have to put money in the pockets of working people and pull children out of poverty. Expanding these tax credits will give millions more Americans a foothold in the middle class.

“All over Virginia, there are people who are working full-time and still struggling to make ends meet because expenses are rising faster than their wages can keep up,” said Warner. “By expanding two critical tax credits, this legislation will provide dependable financial relief to millions of low- and moderate-income households as well as families with children so that folks can finally focus on getting ahead.”

“More and more Virginia workers are taking on longer hours just to keep up with the rising costs of supporting a family,” said Kaine. “After President Trump and Congressional Republicans passed a tax law to disproportionately benefit millionaires and billionaires, expanding these tax credits can finally offer hard working families the resources to ensure their financial security.” 

  The Working Families Tax Relief Act would:

  • Boost the incomes of 46 million households and 114 million people, including 43 million children. 
  • Lift 7 million people out of poverty, including 3 million children
  • Expand the EITC for families with children by roughly 25 percent.
  • Significantly expand the EITC for workers without children and make the credit available for people starting at age 19 up to age 67. Currently, workers without children can be pulled under the poverty line by taxes. Expanding the EITC would fix that.  
  • Make the CTC fully refundable, so the more than 26 million children who were left out of the Trump tax law get the support they deserve.  
  • Create a Young Child Tax Credit to provide extra support to children five and under, when research says they need it most. 
  • Allow workers to draw a $500 advance payment on their EITC so that families aren’t forced to turn to predatory payday lenders when the car breaks down or other unexpected expenses come up. 

Read more about the bill HERE.

Along with Senators Warner and Kaine and sponsor Senator Sherrod Brown, cosponsors of the bill include: Michael Bennet, Dick Durbin, Ron Wyden, Patrick Leahy, Patty Murray, Jack Reed, Chuck Schumer, Tom Carper, Debbie Stabenow, Maria Cantwell, Bob Menendez, Benjamin Cardin Bernie Sanders, Bob Casey, Amy Klobuchar, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, Jeff Merkley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chris Coons, Richard Blumenthal, Brian Schatz, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, Mazie Hirono, Martin Heinrich, Angus King, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, Cory Booker, Gary Peters, Chris Van Hollen, Tammy Duckworth, Maggie Hassan, Kamala Harris, Catherine Cortez Masto, Tina Smith, Doug Jones, and Jacky Rosen. 

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance and Budget Committees, issued the below statement after the Senate voted along party lines 51-48 to approve the budget-busting GOP plan to cut taxes for corporations and the richest Americans:

“This is the worst piece of legislation we have passed since I arrived in the Senate.”

Nonpartisan analyses released yesterday confirm the final Trump-Republican tax bill will hike taxes on millions of middle-class Americans in order to pay for massive cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. By 2027, under the Trump-Republican tax bill, families earning under $75,000 would pay more in taxes than they do today – while the top 1 percent would enjoy the largest tax breaks, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT).

And the Tax Policy Center estimated that 53 percent of American households will face tax hikes in 2027 while the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers will get an average tax cut of nearly $200,000. The top one percent of taxpayers are expected to receive 83 percent of tax benefits.  

On top of this, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that the true cost of the final, unpaid-for GOP tax bill is roughly $2.5 trillion, adding to our $20 trillion national debt. 

The bill now heads back to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass and be sent to the President for his signature without a single Democratic vote.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine expressed their concern over the House Republicans’ tax plan that would eliminate the Federal Historic Tax Credit, which communities across Virginia use to draw in new business, create jobs, and revitalize cities and towns. The Federal Historic Tax Credit, a critical component of public-private partnerships, helps to attract development projects by providing a tax credit to developers after the restoration of a qualifying historic building. Virginia has been a top recipient of this federal funding, which has been used to redevelop more than one thousand buildings across the Commonwealth since 2002, including affordable housing, office space, restaurants, hotels, retirement homes, child care centers and shopping centers. Notable projects that have used these funds include the Wayne Theatre in Waynesboro, the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, and the Bolling Wilson (George Wythe) Hotel in Wytheville.

“This tool has helped Virginia communities preserve historically significant buildings while creating quality jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth,” said Warner. “We should not be targeting this proven economic engine, which would leave many localities hanging while some companies and high income earners receive a tax break.”

“I’ve heard from mayors and local leaders across Virginia who agree it would be a short-sighted mistake to eliminate a successful program that’s strengthened local economies in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Kaine. “We should be helping Virginia’s rural communities get ahead, but instead this cut in the Republican tax plan hurts their ability to succeed and redirects funds toward tax cuts for those at the very top.”

Between Fiscal Years 2002 and 2016, developers completed more than one thousand projects in Virginia using the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Elected officials have also voiced concern that eliminating this credit may impact the completion of buildings that are part of existing projects, which localities have already invested in.

The Senate version of the Republican tax plan similarly aims to limit the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Warner, a member of the Senate Finance Committee that is debating the Republican plan this week, has cosponsored a measure that would amend the legislation to protect and expand this tax tool.

Below is a list highlighting some of these notable projects throughout Virginia. For a more comprehensive list please click here

City

Original Name

Address

Year

Use

Current Use

Bristol

Bristol Warehouse Company

221 Moore St

2016

Commercial

Studio Brew

Bristol

Bristol Building Supply Company Building

220 Lee Street

2012

Office

Bristol School Board Offices

Buena Vista

Peoples Bank Of Buena Vista

128 21St Street

2010

Library

Bank

Charlottesville

The Paramount Theater

215 East Main Street

2005

Other

The Paramount Theater

Danville

John W. Ferrell & Company Furniture Store

533-535 Main Street

2012

Multi-Use

Retail

Danville

North Theater

629 North Main Street

2005

Housing

The Historic North Theatre Performing Arcts Center

Danville

Continental Tobacco Company

610 Craghead St

2015

Housing

The Continental Lofts complex

Galax

Ye Ole Galax Post Office

201 N. Main

2003

Restaurant

Macado's

Harrisonburg

Cassco Ice House

217 S. Liberty Street

2015

Commercial

Harrisonburg Ice House

Hillsville

Nuckolls Drug Store

510 North Main Street

2008

Other

Pizza Perfect On Main

Lexington

McCampbell Inn

11 N Main St

2015

Multi-Use

The Georges Inn

Lynchburg

Craddock Terry Shoe Corp. Southland

1326-1328 Commerce Street

2007

Hotel

Craddock Terry Hotel

Marion

Marion High School Building

203 N Church St

2015

Theater

Wayne C. Henderson School for the Arts

Marion

Lincoln Theatre

117 E. Main Street

2006

Hotel

General Francis Marion Hotel

Norfolk

Portlock Building

241 Granby Street

2003

Multi-Use

Brick Anchor Brew-House

Richmond

Maggie L. Walker High School

1000 N. Lombardy Street

2002

School

Maggie Walker School

Richmond

Lady Byrd Hat Company Building

140 Virginia Street

2009

Multi-Use

Retail

Roanoke

Patrick Henry Hotel

617 South Jefferson Street

2011

Multi-Use

The Patrick Henry Ballroom & Conference Center

Roanoke

Jefferson Center Auditorium

550 West Campbell Avenue

2001

Theater

Jefferson Center

Roanoke

Burrell Memorial Hospital

611 Mcdowell Avenue SW

2004

Multi-Use

Blueridge Behavioral Healthcare

South Boston

Taylor Tobacco Prizery

340 Ferry Street

2009

Housing

Taylor Lofts Apartments

South Boston

The Prizery-R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Warehouse

900 Bruce Street (Previously 716 Seymour Drive)

2005

Theater

Performing arts venue called the Prizery

Staunton

Stonewall Jackson Hotel And The Blackfriars Playhouse

24 S. Market Street

2006

Hotel

Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center

Waynesboro

Wayne Theatre

521 W Main St

2016

Theater

Wayne Theatre - Ross Performing Arts Center

Winchester

The Old Star Building

29-31 33-35 East Boscawen Street

2013

Multi-Use

Commercial/Office space and apartments

Wytheville

George Wythe Hotel

170 East Main Street

2015

Hotel

Bolling Wilson Hotel

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), members of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation today that encourages employers to invest more in quality skills training for their workers, creating a tax credit for increased training expenses directed at lower- and moderate-income workers. The Investing in American Workers Act proposal is aimed at encouraging new investments in qualified training that will help more employees advance their careers by staying on top of changing technology and skills requirements.
 
“To be in the middle class now requires lifelong learning not just to get a job but to hold on to one. Yet in an era when people change jobs frequently and no longer work at one company for their entire careers, the incentive for businesses to invest in their workers—especially their lower- and middle-income workers—has declined,” said Sen. Warner. “This proposal takes positive steps towards helping American workers climb the economic ladder by encouraging more training opportunities for workers while also incentivizing employers to increase both the amount and the quality of the training they’re currently providing.”

“This bill is about helping workers access the kind of job training that leads to increased wages,” said Sen. Casey. “Under this bill, businesses across Pennsylvania will be able to invest in their workforce and build a foundation for growth. In order to rebuild the middle class, we must spur investments in workers, and that’s what this bill will do.”
“The number one issue I hear about from businesses in Michigan is the need for more skilled workers,” said Sen. Stabenow. “This legislation will cut taxes for businesses who are investing in high-quality training for employees and help workers attain the skills they need for good-paying jobs.” 

The Investing in American Workers Act legislation encourages high-quality training programs by:

  • Establishing a tax credit for employers who increase their spending on training lower- and moderate-income workers. The credit would be equal to 20% of the increased spending on qualified training beyond the average spent over the previous three years. 
  • Incentivizing high-quality training by specifying a wide range of allowable providers and programs, including training provided through apprenticeship programs, community colleges, accredited career and technical schools or labor organizations.  
  • Encouraging small businesses to upskill their workers by providing a simplified filing process and allowing them to apply the credit against payroll and alternative minimum taxes. 
The legislation’s focus on high-quality training has been endorsed by a wide variety of organizations and employers:
  • “U.S. businesses – including small and medium sized employers – are investing every day in the skills of their workforce, helping their employees advance their careers and creating new job opportunities in our communities. But today’s tax code doesn’t adequately reward those companies that are willing to make these critical investments, making it harder for businesses to compete in a global economy,” said Kermit Kaleba, federal policy director for the National Skills Coalition. “Sen. Warner’s legislation is an important step in the right direction, and will help expand high quality training that leads to better results for companies and workers alike. We look forward to working with Senator Warner to advance this legislation and we applaud his leadership and vision on this vital issue.”
  • "As the leader of a company that is deeply committed to creating opportunities for youth, I want to commend Sen. Warner on the big step he has taken today to accelerate a much-needed focus on apprenticeships in the U.S.,” said CEO Chris Nassetta of Virginia-based Hilton. “At Hilton, we have seen tremendous results from this model, with thousands of with thousands of opportunities offered to young people to-date and counting. I look forward to seeing apprenticeships become a real pathway to success in America for years to come." 
  • “Workforce development is the single most important investment we make at Newport News Shipbuilding,” said Jennifer Boykin, President of Newport News Shipbuilding. “Our skilled workforce is the backbone of our success, and we are committed to being an employer that puts our people first by supporting their development, providing the tools and technology needed to do their jobs, and providing a positive and modern work environment. Senator Warner’s efforts will help other companies make this important investment.” 
  • “Many employers, including retailers and domestic manufacturers, want to run their own workplace training programs or partner with external career and technical education offerings, but lack the resources and capacity to do so,” said Bruce Harris, Vice President of Federal Government Affairs for Walmart. “One of the best ways to address this need is to incentivize employers to create and expand skill-building programs – including apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities – for new and seasoned workers.” 
  • “As artificial intelligence and automation continue to impact and disrupt the economy, having an educated and well-trained workforce is increasingly important for workers and companies to remain competitive and succeed,” said Al Fitzpayne, Executive Director of the nonpartisan Aspen Institute’s Future of Work initiative.“Workers will need to become lifelong learners and access opportunities to acquire new skills or sharpen their existing skills. A worker training tax credit would provide a meaningful incentive for companies to boost competitiveness by investing in the skills of their workforce, while helping employees succeed through access to education and skills development through their work.”
  • “Every day I see the impact of training on the thousands of workers employed by Managed by Q and the service providers on its marketplace,” said Dan Teran, CEO of Managed by Q, which maintains and manages workspaces. “We see training as a driver of customer satisfaction and employee retention, as well as a pathway for workers to enhance their earning potential. I am excited to see Senator Warner making it easier for employers to do the right thing by investing in their workers.”
 
Since 2015, Sen. Warner has served as honorary co-chairman of the nonpartisan Aspen Institute’s Future of Work initiative, which is researching proposals to strengthen the workforce and the national economy. Earlier this year, Sen. Warner introduced the first federal legislation to experiment with different models for portable benefits for independent workers.  He also has sponsored bipartisan legislation to make it easier for startups and privately-held firms to give employees an ownership stake by providing profit-sharingamong a broader range of employees.
 
The proposal at the center of the Investing in American Workers Act, a tax credit for qualified trainingwas included in the Democratic Party’s ‘A Better Deal’ package unveiled this summer.
 
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Senate Finance Committee Approves 2 Bipartisan Bills Boosting Employee Access to Stock Options & Retirement Benefits

Warner-Heller measure eases tax impact of providing stock options for employees. Warner-Collins measure eases paperwork burden on employers offering retirement accounts.

Sep 21 2016

Warner-Heller measure eases tax impact of providing stock options for employees. Warner-Collins measure eases paperwork burden on employers offering retirement accounts.

After Tax Day, Warner Presses IRS on Identity Theft & Fraudulent Tax Returns

Sen. Warner requests more information on IRS efforts to protect taxpayers and assist victims of identity theft

Apr 16 2015

Following the April 15th federal income tax deadline, U.S. Sen. Warner is requesting more information from the Internal Revenue Service about procedures in place to help taxpayers who have been victims of identity theft, and what might be done going forward to proactively alert taxpayers identified as possible victims of identity theft.

IRS to Warner: Uniforms for Public Safety Officials are Not Taxable

In response to request from Sen. Warner, IRS provides clarity to Virginia firefighters and police that the cost of clothing provided to wear on duty is not subject to taxation

Mar 11 2015

In a letter to Sen. Warner, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that firefighters and police officers will not be expected to pay taxes on common clothing items that they are required to wear while on duty.