Press Releases

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee and co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, introduced the Health Care Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2024, legislation that would allow for advance and accelerated payments to health care providers in the event of a cyber incident, as long as they and their vendors meet minimum cybersecurity standards. The legislation follows a ransomware attack on Change Healthcare that has paralyzed billing services for providers nationwide, leaving many in danger of becoming financially insolvent.

“I’ve been sounding the alarm about cybersecurity in the health care sector for some time. It was only a matter of time before we saw a major attack that disrupted the ability to care for patients nationwide,” said Sen. Warner. “The recent hack of Change Healthcare is a reminder that the entire health care industry is vulnerable and needs to step up its game. This legislation would provide some important financial incentives for providers and vendors to do so.” 

In rare situations, Medicare Part A providers (such as acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and other inpatient care facilities) and Part B suppliers (including physicians, nonphysician practitioners, durable medical equipment suppliers, and others who furnish outpatient services) can face cash flow challenges due to specified circumstances beyond their control (for instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic.) Since the 1980s, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided temporary financial relief to participants in these programs through Accelerated and Advance Payment (AAP) programs, during which these providers and suppliers receive advance payments from the federal government that are later recovered by withholding payment for subsequent claims.

The Health Care Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2024 would modify the existing Medicare Hospital Accelerated Payment Program and the Medicare Part B Advance Payment Program by:

  • Requiring the Secretary to determine if the need for payments results from a cyber incident;
  • If it does, requiring the health care provider receiving the payment to meet minimum cybersecurity standards, as determined by the Secretary, to be eligible; and
  • If a provider’s intermediary was the target of the incident, the intermediary must also meet minimum cybersecurity standards, as determined by the Secretary, for the provider to receive the payments.

These provisions would go into effect two years from the date of enactment. A copy of the bill text is available here. 

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. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced their co-sponsorship of the Downpayment Toward Equity Act, legislation to address the growing concern around rising home prices, lack of access to home-buying assistance, and the widening wealth and homeownership gaps in Virginia and throughout the country. The bill would provide federal grants, administered through local entities, to aid first-generation homebuyers with qualifying expenses toward purchasing their first home—including downpayment costs, closing costs, and costs to reduce the rates of interest.

“Homeownership is one of the most powerful pathways to accumulate wealth, but first-generation homebuyers – predominantly people of color – still face steep obstacles to achieving it and punching their ticket to the middle class,” said Sen. Warner. “The Downpayment Toward Equity Act could serve as a powerful tool to level the playing field, close the racial wealth gap, and help more families achieve their American Dream.”   

“I was a fair housing attorney in Richmond for nearly two decades, and I saw up close the impact that years of discriminatory housing policies had on families’ ability to purchase a home and benefit from the wealth building that comes from homeownership,” said Sen. Kaine. “While we’ve made significant progress in combating discriminatory policies since then, their lasting effects continue to be evident in the wide homeownership and wealth gaps that people of color face. The Downpayment Toward Equity Act would take a substantial step in addressing these gaps, by helping first-generation homebuyers overcome the disadvantages they face when trying to purchase a home.”

The Downpayment Toward Equity Act would administer grants of up to $20,000 to qualified first-generation homebuyers through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Additionally, HUD would have the ability to increase these grants for socially and economically disadvantaged homebuyers. States would receive 75% of the funds each year, distributed by population, median home prices, and racial disparities in homeownership, and the remaining 25% would be competitively awarded to CDFIs, MDIs, and other nonprofit, mission-driven entities that target services to minority and low-income populations.

Led by Sens. Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Laphonza Butler (D-CA), the bill is also currently co-sponsored by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Accompanying legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters and has received enthusiastic support from housing, homeownership, and racial equity organizations across the country, including the National Coalition for the Homeless, National Consumer Law Center, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, Inc., Piedmont Housing Alliance in Charlottesville, VA, Habitat for Humanity International, Local Initiatives Support Corp., Mortgage Bankers Association, National Housing Conference, National NeighborWorks Association, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Association of Realtors, National Council of State Housing Agencies, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Consumer Law Center, and others.

Sens. Warner and Kaine are longtime supporters of initiatives to assist first-generation homebuyers. The senators introduced the Low-Income First Time Homebuyers (LIFT) Act to establish a program to help first-time, first-generation homebuyers – predominantly Americans of color – build wealth much more rapidly. The LIFT Act will establish a program at HUD, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, to sponsor low fixed-rate 20-year mortgages for first-time, first-generation homebuyers who have incomes equal to or less than 120 percent of their area median income to increase access to homeownership for millions of families.

Text of the Downpayment Toward Equity Act is available here

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Washington – U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mark Warner (D-VA) reintroduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to protect horses from abusive show practices.  Soring is a process by which horse trainers intentionally apply devices or caustic substances to horses’ limbs to make each step painful and force an exaggerated high-stepping gait (called the “Big Lick”) rewarded with higher marks in show rings.  Although federal law prohibits soring, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General (IG) report found that some horse trainers continue this inhumane practice. 

“I support the humane treatment of all animals and the responsible training of horses," said Sen. Crapo.  “Equestrian sports have implemented rules to ensure the welfare of the horses, but changes are needed to address loopholes that allow the continued suffering of sored horses.  Soring is an inhumane practice and the PAST Act would finally end this horrible custom.”

“Horses are a quintessential part of Virginia’s culture and history, and they deserve comprehensive, enforceable protections from abuse of any sort,” said Sen. Warner.  “I am proud to reintroduce the bipartisan PAST Act to strengthen protections against horse soring and crack down on the perpetrators of this disturbing abuse.”

The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act would: 

  1. Eliminate self-policing by requiring the USDA to assign a licensed inspector if the show's management indicates intent to hire one.  Licensed or accredited veterinarians, if available, would be given preference for these positions.
  1. Prohibit the use of action devices and pads on specific horse breeds that have a history of being the primary victims of soring.  Action devices, such as chains that rub up and down an already-sore leg, intensify the horse's pain when it moves so that the horse quickly jolts up its leg. 
  1. Increase consequences on individuals caught soring a horse, including raising the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony, which is subject to up to three years' incarceration, increasing fines from $3,000 to $5,000 per violation, and permanently disqualifying three-time violators from participating in horse shows, exhibitions, sales or auctions.  

In August 2023, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposed a rule to strengthen Horse Protection Act requirements and eliminate the use of horse soring at horse shows, exhibitions, sales and auctions.

“The AVMA strongly endorses the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act and is a longtime advocate for eliminating the cruel and inhumane practice of horse soring,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, Idaho veterinarian and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  “The PAST Act would end the needless suffering of horses by providing enforcement mechanisms to preserve horse welfare.  We thank Senators Warner and Crapo for their leadership on this critical issue facing the veterinary profession and urge Congress to swiftly pass the proposed legislation.”  

“Soring is an abject cruelty, carried out on the backs of horses by those seeking to call themselves ‘grand champions,’” said Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.  “The real losers here are the horses who have endured the ‘Big Lick’ for decades in spite of federal law meant to protect them.  Fortunately, we have our own equine champions in Senators Crapo and Warner, leading the way by mobilizing half the Senate to demonstrate continued broad, bipartisan support for the PAST Act and encourage USDA to swiftly complete its rulemaking to fix weak regulations that have allowed this cruelty to persist.”

“The cruel practice of horse soring--inflicting pain and injury in horses’ legs and hooves to force them into an unnatural, high-stepping gait known as the “Big Lick” --has gone on for far too long while serial abusers have gamed the system and horses have suffered,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The PAST Act, widely championed by humane advocates and the equine industry, received overwhelming support last Congress, and we are grateful to Senators Warner and Crapo for reintroducing this critical bill to finally end this abuse once and for all.”

“For many years, the American Association of Equine Practitioners has championed legislation to end this cruel practice, and the reintroduction of this important bill by Senator Crapo and Senator Warner to protect horses is vital,” said Dr. Katherine Garrett, 2024 American Association of Equine Practitioners president.  “We now will work for passage along with our more than 9,000 equine veterinarian and student members and the industry.”

“On behalf of the American Horse Council (AHC) and its members, I offer Senator Mike Crapo and Senator Mark Warner our profound gratitude for their commitment and leadership in introducing the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act,” said Julie M. Broadway, president of American Horse Council & American Horse Council Foundation.  “We hope that through their efforts, the 118th Congress will act and fulfill the promise and purpose of the Horse Protection Act which is to eliminate the horrific practice of soring. The current industry self-inspection model needs to be fixed as inspections by the USDA clearly and convincingly demonstrate that horses continue to be sored and mistreated.  Adopting the PAST Act will restore public trust and confidence in competitions, auctions, and exhibitions featuring specific breeds of gaited horses." 

“We commend Senators Crapo and Warner for their unwavering commitment to protecting Tennessee Walking Horses and related gaited breeds that have been victimized for the sake of winning awards and cash prizes,” said Dr. Joanna Grossman, equine program director for the Animal Welfare Institute.  “Soring involves a wide range of abhorrent and cruel practices that have persisted for decades.  The PAST Act includes desperately needed reforms that would build on the legacy of the Horse Protection Act.  As this legislation enjoys broad bipartisan support, we urge Congress to pass the PAST Act quickly to protect horses from abuse.”

Crapo and Warner are joined in introducing the legislation by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-New York), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Laphonza Butler (D-California), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Robert Casey (D-Pennsylvania), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chris Coons (D-Delaware), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire), Martin Heinrich (D-New Mexico), John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Chris Muphy (D-Connecticut), Patty Murray (D-Washington), Jon Ossof (D-Georgia), Alex Padilla (D-California), Gary Peters (D-Michigan), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Jacky Rosen (D-Nevada), Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Arizona), Tina Smith (D-Minnesota), Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia), Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), Peter Welch (D-Vermont), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin).

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that eligible individuals leave prison with a valid form of government identification, and that ID is accepted by various components of the federal government. For people leaving prison, a valid form of ID is crucial, necessary to secure a job, obtain housing, and rejoin communities. Yet up to 48% of people leaving federal prison do so without any vital documents—no Social Security card, birth certificate, or state ID.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is currently rolling out a program to issue a photo ID release card to individuals exiting the prison system; however, there is no guarantee that this ID card would be widely accepted, or fulfill the requirements necessary to access federal benefits. This legislation would ensure that all eligible individuals receive a photo identification card, and that identification is accepted by various federal agencies.  

“A valid form of ID is needed to secure housing, apply for jobs, and gain access to assistance programs that will ease the transition back into society,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation that will eliminate unnecessary hardships for individuals looking to restart their lives.” 

“A valid form of ID is a critical first step for those looking for a fresh start and is necessary to become a productive member of society,” said Sen. Tillis. “This legislation requires the Federal Bureau of Prisons to issue a photo identification card to all incarcerated individuals, making the transition back to society easier and paving the way for a better future.”

Specifically, The BOP ID Act would:

  • Require the BOP to issue a photo identification card to all incarcerated individuals, except non-citizens, upon exiting the BOP facility;
  • Direct the BOP to create a system where BOP issued cards can be exchanged for state identification card;
  • Require federal agencies to accept release cards as proof of identification;
    • Specifically requires that the ID be accepted as a valid form of identification for social safety net programs, like SNAP, TANF, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and other programs administered/funded by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development. 
    • Require acceptance of the ID for entry into federal buildings and for probation pretrial, and court services in federal and D.C. courts.

In the House of Representatives, Reps. David Trone (D-MD-06), Barry Moore (R-AL-02), Madeleine Dean (D-PA-04), and Nathaniel Moran (R-TX-01) have introduced companion legislation.

“MCCA firmly believes that ensuring formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter society is critical to preventing recidivism. This includes ensuring they have access to basic human necessities, like food, shelter, and healthcare, as well as economic opportunities to help support themselves and their families,” said Laura Cooper, MCCA Executive Director. “A lack of government-issued identification is a well-documented, significant barrier that can prohibit recently released individuals from being able to obtain the assistance that they need. The BOP Release Card ID Act of 2023 will address this issue by requiring BOP to provide each inmate with a photo ID card upon their release that can serve as the proof of identification needed to participate in federal benefit programs. On behalf of the Major Cities Chiefs Association’s membership, I would like to thank Senators Warner and Tillis for this critical legislation.”

“The Bureau of Prisons ID Act would help eliminate an obstacle faced by many people as they return to society after prison: the lack of proper ID. Under the bill, the bureau would provide federal ID cards to people as they leave prison and build a pathway to state identification. This simple step will enable people to access housing, healthcare, and social services — all of which require ID, and all of which are vital in the first months after leaving prison,” said Ames Grawert, senior counsel in the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law.

Text of the legislation is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Steve Daines (R-MT), members of the Senate Finance Committee, reintroduced legislation to improve orthotics and prosthetics care for seniors on Medicare. The Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act would strengthen Medicare patients’ access to quality orthotics and prosthetics by reducing fraud, expanding access to replacement devices, and removing burdensome regulations that disproportionally hurt orthotists and prosthetists.

“Seniors need quality orthotics and prosthetics care, but hurdles in the industry are making care less accessible while also burdening Medicare and providers,” said Sen. Warner. “This bipartisan legislation would alleviate issues across the orthotics and prosthetics industry so seniors don’t receive unusable devices and also cut unnecessary red tape for orthotists and prosthetists.” 

“Many Montana seniors rely on orthopedic braces or prosthetics but unfortunately the risk of abuse within the Medicare system can stand in the way of quality care,” said Sen. Daines. “I’m glad to introduce this bipartisan bill to expand access to needed orthotics and prosthetics for our seniors and reduce waste and fraud in order to better serve Montana patients.”

Specifically, the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act would:

  • Prevent fraud by prohibiting “drop shipping” of devices that patients should come in and be fitted for.
  • Exempt orthotists and prosthetists from more restrictive policies that apply to them but not other health care providers in order to sell non-fitted devices.
  • Ensure Medicare beneficiaries have timely access to a replacement device if a provider determines it’s necessary due to a change in the condition of the patient, the condition of the device, or if the cost of repair would be excessive.

The majority of orthotics and prosthetics are custom-fabricated or custom-fitted and require the expertise of a certified or licensed orthotist or prosthetist. However, Medicare currently reimburses the “drop shipment” (or direct-to-consumer shipping) of custom orthoses and prostheses directly to patients without the input of a medical professional, which leads to rampant waste and fraud as the delivered devices may not actually meet a patient’s needs. The Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act would prohibit that practice, potentially saving Medicare billions of dollars.

Additionally, Medicare regulations do not cover replacements for orthotics or prosthetics within the “reasonable use lifetime,” even if they are irreparably damaged or there has been a change in the condition of the patient. The bill would close that loophole, allowing coverage for replacements if the patient meets certain conditions. Finally, the bill implements a zero-cost regulatory fix that would allow certified orthotists and prosthetists to be exempted from sending patients to a provider with a competitive bidding license, removing an unnecessary barrier to care for patients and making sure orthotists and prosthetists aren’t subject to unnecessarily stringent requirements.

In the House of Representatives, Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15), Mike Thompson (D-CA-04), Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02), and Angie Craig (D-MN-02) have introduced companion legislation. 

“The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) applauds Senators Mark Warner and Steve Daines for their efforts in introducing the bipartisan Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act in the Senate. For years, AOPA and its over 1,500 members representing both the facilities that treat individuals living with limb loss and limb difference and the manufacturers of orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) devices, have been advocating for Medicare to protect patients’ access to quality O&P clinical care. This legislation would do this while also addressing fraudulent practices that are costly to the Medicare system,” said Eve Lee, MBA CAE, AOPA Executive Director. “If passed, it will impact the lives of millions of Americans living with limb loss and limb difference. We appreciate Senator Warner and Daines’ continued commitment to the O&P profession and the patients its serves.”

“Senator Warner has been a longtime supporter of the O&P profession. The Virginia Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (VOPA) thanks him for continuing this support by once again introducing the Medicare Orthotics and Prosthetics Patient-Centered Care Act,” said Mike Malagari, CO, FAAOP, VOPA President. “Since 2007, VOPA has been advocating for the needs of the O&P facilities in Virginia and their patients. This legislation will go a long way in helping the facilities provide quality patient care to their patients. VOPA looks forward to working with Senator Warner to get this important legislation passed.”

“As Immediate Past President of Northwest Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (NWAAOP), representing over 400 orthotists and prosthetists spanning five states including Washington, Oregon, and Montana, we are incredibly grateful to Senator Daines’ for his continued support of the orthotic and prosthetic profession and the patients we serve,” said Ben Clark, CPO, NWAAOP Immediate Past President. “Senator Daines has been a primary co-sponsor of this legislation for the last two Congresses, dating back to 2021, and continues to advocate on our behalf. This legislation is key to preventing fraud and abuse and to make certain that patients are receiving the best quality interventions. NWAAOP looks forward to continuing our work with Senator Daines.”

Additionally, this bill has been endorsed by numerous organizations including the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association; American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists; American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics Board of Certification/Accreditation; National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics & Prosthetics; American Podiatric Medical Association; American Occupational Therapy Association; American Physical Therapy Association; American Society of Hand Therapists; Access Ready; ACCSES; Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; American Association on Health and Disability; American Cochlear Implant Alliance; American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine; American Music Therapy Association; American Occupational Therapy Association; American Physical Therapy Association; American Therapeutic Recreation Association; Amputee Coalition; Association of Rehabilitation Nurses; Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network; Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis; Center for Medicare Advocacy; Chris and Dana Reeve Foundation; Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation; Institute for Matching Person & Technology; Lakeshore Foundation; Medical Device Manufacturers Association; Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; Muscular Dystrophy Association; National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics; National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities; National Association of Rehabilitation Providers and Agencies; National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers; National Disability Rights Network; National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers; Paralyzed Veterans of America; RESNA; Simon Foundation for Continence; Spina Bifida Association; The Viscardi Center; United Cerebral Palsy; United Spinal Association; and VisionServe Alliance.

Text of the bill is available here

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-MD) sent a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committees opposing any changes to the slot and perimeter rules, which govern the number of flights that can safely operate out of DCA and the distance of those flights, in the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. The senators warn that the proposed changes to the rules, which were included in the Senate’s version of the FAA reauthorization bill, would increase delays and cancellations and risk safety at DCA—which threatens current service reliability to 92 other inside-perimeter airports across the country. The senators go on to list the specific airports and communities where these changes could negatively affect direct service.

“As the House and Senate work toward a final FAA reauthorization bill, we urge you to reject any proposal to add additional flights at an overburdened DCA, which would negatively impact service and increase delays and cancelations for all passengers traveling to and from the airport,” wrote the senators.

“While these delays already impact service to the airports listed below, the addition of ten new flights at DCA will make the situation worse for those traveling to and from the airport, including those with direct service and those who rely on connecting flights,” the senators continued. “Additional beyond-the-perimeter flying at an already at-capacity DCA would adversely impact service at these airports with increased delays and cancelations, downgrading the operational performance of these routes and hurting the passenger experience, with no benefit to these communities that rely on regular, reliable service to and from DCA.”

The senators concluded, “It should go without saying that the safety of the flying public must be our primary focus, particularly as a number of high-profile incidents and near-misses have brought home in a concrete way the need to safeguard the complex and interconnected infrastructure that keeps the National Airspace System safe. Adding ten additional flights into an already overburdened airport is directly contrary to this goal.”

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 Thurgood Marshall Airport (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.

The senators have repeatedly opposed changes to the slot and perimeter rules. 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 also penned an op-ed last June urging their colleagues to oppose changes to the current slot and perimeter rules at DCA.

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Chair Cantwell, Chair Graves, Ranking Member Cruz, and Ranking Member Larsen:

Thank you for your work to produce a bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill that focuses on improving aviation safety and the passenger experience. We share your strong concerns over the strains on our aviation system and the need to strengthen it, which is why we write to express our profound opposition to any changes to the slot and perimeter rules at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

As you know, in July 2023, the House strongly defeated, on a bipartisan basis, an amendment on the House floor that would have added 14 additional flights at DCA, which is already at capacity. Unfortunately, the Senate Commerce-approved FAA bill included in the manager’s amendment a provision that would add ten additional flights to DCA. As the House and Senate work toward a final FAA reauthorization bill, we urge you to reject any proposal to add additional flights at an overburdened DCA, which would negatively impact service and increase delays and cancelations for all passengers traveling to and from the airport. 

That DCA is already overburdened is beyond dispute. The airport was designed to accommodate 15 million passengers, but this year, in part thanks to previous Congressional carve-outs to DCA’s slot and perimeter rules, it is on pace to serve 25 million. These ten million excess passengers have strained DCA’s resources, to the point that in 2022 it was reported that the airport has the third worst cancellation rate among our nation’s busiest airports. Today, 20-22 percent of flights into and out of the airport experience delays averaging 67 minutes. And landside congestion is, if anything, worse. As an illustrative example, consider that in 2022, during a single holiday weekend, more than 800 customers were turned away because DCA’s parking garages were completely full.

While these delays already impact service to the airports listed below, the addition of ten new flights at DCA will make the situation worse for those traveling to and from the airport, including those with direct service and those who rely on connecting flights. The ten new flights, which would be allowed to fly beyond DCA’s 1,250-mile perimeter, would mostly likely be flown by larger aircraft, with a correspondingly larger strain on DCA’s resources. This strain will be felt on land, as aircraft used for beyond-the-perimeter flights bring on average 70 additional passengers per flight, and it will be felt in the air, as larger aircraft require farther separation standards, slowing down the cadence of take-offs and landings. Additional beyond-the-perimeter flying at an already at-capacity DCA would adversely impact service at these airports with increased delays and cancelations, downgrading the operational performance of these routes and hurting the passenger experience, with no benefit to these communities that rely on regular, reliable service to and from DCA.   

It should go without saying that the safety of the flying public must be our primary focus, particularly as a number of high-profile incidents and near-misses have brought home in a concrete way the need to safeguard the complex and interconnected infrastructure that keeps the National Airspace System safe. Adding ten additional flights into an already overburdened airport is directly contrary to this goal.

For the forgoing reasons, we urge you not to include any additional slots to DCA in the final FAA Reauthorization bill.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), alongside Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA-08), Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Morgan Griffith (R-VA-01), Jennifer Kiggans (R-VA-02), Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04), Bobby Scott (D-VA-03), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10), and Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), wrote to the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to express their strong support for an implementation award for the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Tech Hub. Following APM’s initial designation as a Tech Hub, Virginia legislators and private partners have proposed nearly $300 million for the effort, with the General Assembly already passing $106 million in state-level support. Building on this robust non-federal commitment, the Virginia delegation is now pushing for a Phase 2 implementation award from the EDA, which would secure tens of millions in additional federal funding for the project to create high-paying jobs, onshore manufacturing, and protect supply chains and national security.

“Leveraged with commitments from the Commonwealth and private consortium members totaling nearly $300 million, a Tech Hubs implementation award would provide integral, continued resources needed to ensure the APM Tech Hub’s progress and a resilient, quality drug supply for our nation,” the lawmakers wrote. 

In October 2023, the lawmakers announced that the APM Tech Hub was selected as one of 31 inaugural Tech Hubs that show potential for rapid growth in key technology sectors. Located in the Richmond-Petersburg region and led by the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), the consortium aims to ensure that critical pharmaceuticals are manufactured in America by employing regional assets, scientific capabilities, and public and private investment to spur the growth, innovation, and sustainability of the U.S.-based pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. 

Currently, Americans rely on overseas manufacturing for many critical medications, creating serious national security, supply chain, and quality regulation concerns. The requested investments would build on those passed by the Virginia General Assembly, a Build Back Better Regional Challenge award, and other public and private investments to continue to grow this industry across the Richmond-Peterburg region, revitalizing the economy and creating jobs while ensuring that Americans don’t rely on foreign nations for life-saving medications.

“If funded, CCAM’s APM Tech Hub proposal will help harness federal, state, and private resources to accelerate APM in the Commonwealth of Virginia to create a sustainable, globally competitive manufacturing hub within a decade. We strongly support this critical project for Virginia and our national security and respectfully request you give this application full and fair consideration,” the lawmakers continued.

The Tech Hubs Program, made possible by the CHIPS and Science Act, aims to strengthen U.S. economic and national security by investing in regions across the country that have the assets, resources, and potential to become globally competitive innovation centers focused on the technologies and industries of the future. Final announcements for the implementation awards are expected in summer 2024, when the EDA will select between five and 10 Designated Tech Hubs to receive approximately $40-70 million each.

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Assistant Secretary Castillo:

As you consider applications for Phase 2 of the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) program, we write in strong support of the Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APM) Tech Hub proposal – located in the Richmond-Petersburg region of Virginia. Led by the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), the APM Tech Hub proposal will ensure that essential pharmaceuticals are manufactured domestically by employing regional assets, scientific capabilities, and public and private investment to spur the growth, innovation, and sustainability of the U.S.-based pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

The APM Tech Hub’s mission to address lifesaving and life-sustaining medicine access in the U.S. has been supported by recent federal investments, including a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) contract to manufacture a secure supply of quality active pharmaceutical ingredients and essential medicines for the nation, as well as an EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) award. Recently, the National Science Foundation also awarded members of the APM consortia a Regional Innovation Engine Development Award. Continued investment in manufacturing innovations and capabilities needed to re-shore pharmaceutical manufacturing, as outlined in the APM Tech Hub proposal, is necessary for the U.S. to maintain its position as a global leader in pharmaceuticals.

The APM Tech Hub application proposes seven component projects to invest in infrastructure, technology maturation, workforce development, and the strategy to realize sustainable Hub growth. These projects build on and complement prior investments in physical infrastructure necessary for advanced manufacturing by bolstering the Hub’s physical assets, while developing a strong pipeline for accelerated technology maturation to reach global leadership in the industry and an industry-led, competency-based workforce development program that is designed to be adaptive to ensure the workforce is prepared to operate at the leading edge of this industry. 

Requested investments are designed to build upon the strong footprint in historically distressed areas in the Richmond and Petersburg region established in the BBBRC application, where the growth of this cluster will continue to help revitalize the regional economy and bring numerous high-paying jobs in this emerging industry.

Leveraged with commitments from the Commonwealth and private consortium members totaling nearly $300 million, a Tech Hubs implementation award would provide integral, continued resources needed to ensure the APM Tech Hub’s progress and a resilient, quality drug supply for our nation. The Hub will benefit from two proposed investments from Virginia’s General Assembly, including:

  1. $90 million for “Virginia’s Research Triangle” that will launch a biotechnology, life sciences, and pharmaceutical manufacturing network to foster collaboration among three of the Commonwealth’s major existing university research institutions, laying the groundwork for startup innovation and commercialization that will fuel the APM Tech Hub. The Accelerator Component Project has been designed in partnership with the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation, where funds have been committed to entrepreneurial and ecosystem development efforts in alignment with the proposed Research Triangle. 
  2. $16 million for the Virginia Department of Health to establish a critical Opioid Overdose Reversal Agent Program, which aims to utilize the APM Tech Hub’s advanced pharmaceutical development and manufacturing campus in Petersburg.

Advanced manufacturing technologies reduce the time and cost of manufacturing, break down barriers to access to affordable health care, and lessen the environmental burden of this essential industry. Supported by federal and state investments, as well as a strong and growing coalition of partners, the APM Tech Hub proposal reimagines the manufacturing of medicines and is positioned to realize a sustainable, globally competitive APM Tech Hub within the coming decade that addresses urgent national security interests and critical unmet social needs.

If funded, CCAM’s APM Tech Hub proposal will help harness federal, state, and private resources to accelerate APM in the Commonwealth of Virginia to create a sustainable, globally competitive manufacturing hub within a decade. We strongly support this critical project for Virginia and our national security and respectfully request you give this application full and fair consideration.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you to help carry out the Tech Hubs program and re-shore key industries in the U.S. 

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) introduced legislation to rename Lynchburg VA Clinic after Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, a highly revered Medal of Honor recipient from Lynchburg who saved dozens of lives in World War II.

“When his country called on him to serve, Lynchburg native Desmond Doss was able to square his deeply-held pacifist beliefs with the need to take a stand in a battle of good versus evil,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation today to honor Private First Class Doss, his service to our country, and the courage he displayed time and time again when he came to the aid of his fellow servicemembers.”

“I’m proud to introduce this bill to rename the Lynchburg community-based outpatient clinic after Private First Class Desmond T. Doss. This bill will honor the legacy of a courageous Army medic from Lynchburg who helped save the lives of 75 men during World War II,” said Sen. Kaine. “I urge my colleagues to join me in getting this bill across the finish line to commemorate his bravery and sacrifice.”

Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Private First Class Doss was inducted into the Army in April of 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a Seventh-Day Adventist, Private First Class Doss could have tried to refuse enlistment on grounds of being a conscientious objector. Instead, he enlisted as a self-described “conscientious cooperator,” going on to pursue medical roles in the Army.

While serving with his platoon in 1944 in Guam and the Philippines, he was awarded two Bronze Star Medals for exceptional valor in aiding wounded soldiers under fire. Later on, during the Battle of Okinawa, he saved the lives of 75 wounded infantrymen atop the area known by the 96th Division as the Maeda Escarpment or Hacksaw Ridge – an act of heroism that earned him a Medal of Honor, awarded by President Harry Truman. Private First Class Doss was wounded four times in Okinawa, and was evacuated on May 21, 1945, aboard the USS Mercy and was brought to Hawaii.

The legislation introduced by the Senators would rename the Lynchburg VA Clinic as the Private First Class Desmond T. Doss VA Clinic. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Bob Good (VA-05).

This legislative effort has the support of a number of veterans organizations and groups, including: the Lynchburg Area Veterans Council Inc.; Salem VA Medical Center; American Legion Post 16; Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 196; Military Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 1607; Marine Corps League Detachment 759; Military Order of the World Wars, Piedmont Chapter; Veterans of Foreign Wars, Desmond T. Doss Post 12179; the National Center for Healthy Veterans, Valor Farm; and Monument Terrace Troop Rally. It is also supported by Desmond T. Doss, Jr.

A copy of the bill text is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL), joined by U.S. Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Ranking Member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), member of the Select Committee on the CCP, and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA-06), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced legislation to require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to develop a strategy to improve the sharing of information and intelligence between the Intelligence Community (IC) and private companies to mitigate the threat that foreign adversaries including the People’s Republic of China (PRC) pose to United States companies in foreign jurisdictions on projects relating to energy generation and storage, including in the critical minerals industry.

The legislation would direct the DNI to create a strategy for information sharing on foreign adversaries’ tactics and illicit activities to spread disinformation, steal intellectual property, and use other illegal efforts to undermine U.S. interests abroad as related to critical minerals. The legislation clarifies that the exchange of information would be voluntary, and at the discretion of the IC and U.S. companies.  

“American companies have been working to invest in critical minerals projects in the U.S. and abroad in order to reduce our country’s dependence on China and meet the increasing demand for these minerals, which are critical for technologies across society,” said Sen. Warner. Our foreign adversaries, in particular the PRC, are increasing malicious efforts to undermine U.S. attempts to dominate in this industry. Increasing collaboration between the IC and these companies is a strong step towards ensuring that our adversaries will not succeed in interfering with U.S. projects abroad, and instead help cultivate strong public-private partnerships that will boost U.S. businesses and interests, particularly in areas of technology critical to our national security.”

“At a time when foreign adversaries continue to undermine our national security interests, we must enhance the sharing of information in the critical mineral sector,” said Sen. Rubio. “This bipartisan and bicameral bill will enhance intelligence community efforts to share timely and critical information with the private sector on the pressing threats to American companies in the critical energy sectors.”

“American companies must be able to invest and compete in foreign markets without undue interference from foreign adversaries. The bipartisan Enhancing Public-Private Sharing on Manipulative Adversary Practices in Critical Minerals Projects Act will help protect American businesses in international critical minerals markets from the illicit tactics of foreign adversaries, such as the CCP,” said Rep. Krishnamoorthi. “Securing our supply chains for critical minerals independent of the PRC is essential to our national security, our transition to a clean energy economy, and the competitiveness of American businesses abroad.”

“Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communist Party is actively trying to undermine U.S. companies pursuing critical mineral projects by spreading disinformation and propaganda,” said Rep. Wittman. “As a senior member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce the bipartisan Public-Private Manipulative Practices Act to enable the U.S. government to more effectively partner with American companies to counter illicit activities from all foreign adversaries that seek to restrict our access to the world’s critical mineral supply.”

“In recent years, foreign adversaries have targeted U.S. companies attempting to procure critical minerals abroad through illicit or deceptive disinformation campaigns, malicious activity, and other forms of economic espionage. Our foreign adversaries want the U.S. and our national security to continue to be dependent on foreign supply chains. That's bad for our national security and bad for business,” said Rep. Houlahan. “One of the impacts to the U.S. is especially problematic — issues accessing critical minerals and developing secure supply chains we need for energy and storage. Passing this bill is crucial to protecting American businesses from spying and other harmful activities, and I'm glad to see it has broad bipartisan support. Our intelligence agencies and the government must work together to ensure our national security is strong, and American companies can get the critical minerals they need from overseas.”

Joining Sens. Warner and Rubio and Reps. Krishnamoorthi, Wittman, and Houlahan in introduction of this legislation are Sens. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), James Lankford (R-OK), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

This is latest step that the Senate Intelligence Committee leaders have taken to counter China’s dominance in this key sector. Last year, Chair Warner and Vice Chair Rubio hosted government officials and domestic industry leaders for a roundtable discussion on access to critical minerals. During that roundtable, industry leaders asked for more robust government support identifying unfair and corrupt practices by foreign adversaries. Specifically, private sector companies attempting to secure critical mineral projects abroad have faced the PRC’s efforts to spread disinformation to foreign host governments about U.S. companies, steal U.S. company IP, and sabotage U.S. company contracts.

Chair Warner and Vice Chair Rubio have also led efforts to secure supply chains and reduce U.S. reliance on the PRC for minerals that are inputs for critical technologies including through increased government support to U.S. private sector companies investing and operating in critical mineral projects.

“The Enhancing Public-Private Sharing on Manipulate Adversary Practices in Critical Minerals Projects Act will help American businesses respond to deceptive and malicious efforts by our adversaries to crowd them out of critical minerals projects in foreign markets. This act will ensure the U.S. government supports and stands by our businesses abroad in industries that are key to our national interests. We look forward to working with Congress to advance this important piece of legislation,” said Avery Ash, SVP, SAFE.

Text of the bill is available here.

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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. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) announced $1,000,000 for the Southeast Community Greenway Reconnector project in Newport News, VA. The funding, courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act's Neighborhood Access and Equity Program, will support the designing and planning of the Southeast Community Greenway Reconnector. Decades ago, the Southeast Newport News Community was almost completely cutoff from downtown due to the construction of Interstate 664. The interstate created a physical barrier separating the majority-minority Southeast Community from the economic opportunities of the downtown district.

This funding will be used to reconnect the Southeast Community and Downtown neighborhoods by revamping the 28th Street Bridge to ensure a safe and convenient connection between these two neighborhoods.

“Decades ago, the construction and expansion of Interstate 664 all but cut off Southeast Newport News from the downtown area, isolating the community from resources and economic opportunities,” the lawmakers said. “We’re glad to secure this funding that will rectify past infrastructure wrongs and help bring communities together.”

Last year, Sen. Warner and Sen. Kaine wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in support of this project. Sens. Warner and Kaine have also secured funding for projects across Virginia to reconnect communities through the bipartisan infrastructure law.  

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded Senate confirmation of Jasmine Yoon to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia (WDVA):

“We’re thrilled the Senate voted to confirm Jasmine Yoon to the federal judiciary. She has a remarkable track record and a profound commitment to public service. With today’s confirmation, she cements herself in history as the first Asian American federal judge in Virginia. We know she’ll be a tremendous asset to the federal judiciary.”

Yoon was nominated by President Biden after the senators recommended her to fill the position when Chief Judge Michael F. Urbanski assumes senior status in July 2024. The senators spoke at her confirmation hearing in February, and she was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. She is the first Asian American Article III federal judge to serve in Virginia and the seventh federal judge recommended by the senators confirmed in the last three years. 

Under President Biden, the senators have confirmed nearly 200 federal judges to the bench, including the Honorable Toby HeytensPatricia Tolliver Giles, Michael S. Nachmanoff, Elizabeth Hanes, Jamar Walker, and Robert Ballou for federal courts across Virginia.

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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. 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 – 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. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval of Jasmine Yoon to become a U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia (WDVA). Yoon was nominated by President Biden after the senators recommended her to fill the position when Chief Judge Michael F. Urbanski assumes senior status in July 2024. The senators spoke at her confirmation hearing in February. Her nomination will now be considered by the full Senate.

“Jasmine Yoon represents the best of Virginia—having immigrated to the U.S. when she was 14, barely speaking English, to becoming a distinguished lawyer who has dedicated her career to public service. We’re confident her work ethic and stellar track record will serve her well in this new role,” said Warner and Kaine. “We look forward to voting in favor of her confirmation on the Senate floor and urge our colleagues to do the same.”

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. Yoon would be the first Asian American federal judge to serve in Virginia and the seventh federal judge recommended by the senators confirmed in the last three years.  

Under President Biden, the senators have confirmed nearly 200 federal judges to the bench, including the Honorable Toby HeytensPatricia Tolliver Giles, Michael S. NachmanoffElizabeth HanesJamar Walker, and Robert Ballou for federal courts across Virginia.

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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, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a former civil rights attorney, have joined 48 of their colleagues in introducing the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation would update and restore critical safeguards included in the original Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court weakened crucial tenets of that landmark law prohibiting discriminatory voting practices. 

“The Voting Rights Act was one of the most pivotal and transformative laws of the 20th century, as it finally protected the long-delayed promise of democracy for Black Americans,” said Warner. “Tragically, we’ve seen the Supreme Court take aim at some of the most effective portions of the law, diluting its power and turning the clock back for folks seeking a fair shot at the ballot box. I’m proud to support the John R. Lewis Voting Advancement Act so we can restore critical portions of the VRA, recommit to preventing discriminatory voting regulations, and honor the towering legacy of Rep. Lewis and all the civil rights heroes who forever strengthened American democracy.” 

“The ability to vote freely and conveniently regardless of where you live or what you look like is crucial to democracy. But Americans in at least 14 states will have a harder time voting this year because their state legislatures passed new, restrictive voting laws,” said Kaine. “That’s unacceptable. It’s past time for Congress to act, in part by restoring the Voting Rights Act so we can protect Americans’ right to make their voices heard at the ballot box.”

The Supreme Court’s disastrous Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013 significantly curtailed the federal government’s ability to prevent discriminatory changes to voting laws and procedures—opening the floodgates for voter suppression. The Supreme Court’s subsequent ruling in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee further weakened the Voting Rights Act by making it significantly harder for plaintiffs to challenge discriminatory voting laws or procedures. The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act in the wake of those rulings.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is endorsed by hundreds of organizations, including the following leading civil rights organizations: ACLU, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, MALDEF, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, and Demos.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today announced that Mr. Robert Miller of Louisa County, Va. will attend as his guest at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday, March 7. Mr. Miller, owner of Small Country Campground in Louisa County, Virginia, will be joining Sen. Warner as he highlights how small business owners in rural and underserved areas have benefitted from being able to connect to broadband internet for the first time thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure law.

“In the 21st century, broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. For too long, residents and small business owners in rural areas had to rely on antiquated technologies while traditional internet companies looked at their balance sheets, unable to justify the cost of bringing broadband to these remote areas,” said Sen. Warner. “As one of the negotiators of the bipartisan infrastructure law, I am thrilled to be joined by Mr. Miller, one of the many small business owners who are now able to rely on high-speed internet to expand and grow their business.”

“Before high-speed internet arrived in Louisa County, Small Country Campground ran on a spotty landline and a laggy reservation system. Now, we boast a reliable internet-based phone system that’s accessible across 80 acres of property, as well as a faster and more responsive online reservation system,” said Mr. Miller. “My family and I are thankful for the broadband dollars in the infrastructure law, which have allowed us to attract remote workers, improve the overall guest experience, and generate more business for our community.”

As Virginia’s Senator and former Governor, Sen. Warner has championed efforts to expand broadband affordability and access in Virginia. As an author and negotiator of the bipartisan infrastructure law, Sen. Warner secured $65 billion in funding to help deploy broadband and decrease costs associated with connecting to the internet. Virginia alone has received over $1.5 billion through the BIL to expand broadband. Louisa County is just one of many communities that has benefitted, or will soon benefit, from broadband dollars. The Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill supported by Sen. Warner included $364 million for the ReConnect program — funding that will support additional projects that will help rural communities access the internet. 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,900,000 in federal funding for three projects in Bland, Stuart, and Lee County, Virginia. The funding, courtesy of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), will go towards building a dental clinic in Bland, investing in downtown revitalization projects in Stuart, and improving water service to 38 homes in Lee County.

“Communities across Virginia have tremendous momentum, ideas, and initiative for projects that will improve their towns and grow their economies, and they often just need the resources to execute them,” said the senators. “We’re thrilled to see federal funding meet clear needs and bring better dental care, water service, and community improvement projects to life to help communities grow and thrive.”

The funding is broken down as follows:

  • $700,000 for the Town of Stuart to implement projects in their downtown revitalization plan by expanding the roof at the Stuart Farmers’ Market and building a 3,200 square foot “mega-deck” downtown to provide handicap accessibility to historic buildings, allow for outdoor programming, and connect the area to surrounding natural resources. Twenty-nine businesses in the area will benefit from this mega-deck.
  • $700,000 for the St. Charles Monarch Waterline Replacement project in Lee County. This project will replace 9,970 feet of aging waterline, install 4 gate valves, and place 1 fire hydrant, which will improve water service for 38 homes.  
  • $500,000 for the Bland Ministry Center and Dental Clinic in Bland. This will support the construction of a dental clinic with seven dental procedure rooms, sterilization space, and x-ray and denture labs. This new clinic will double capacity for dental service in Bland and surrounding counties, serving an additional 3,600 patients within three years and hiring seven additional staff members. 

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve clean water access across the Commonwealth, expand access to dental care, and invest in downtown revitalization. Recently, the senators announced over $62 million for water infrastructure upgrades across the Commonwealth, secured $1.25 million to construct a dental clinic in Wise County, and celebrated grants to support economic revitalization. Additionally, the senators are staunch advocates for full funding for the ARC. The bipartisan infrastructure law – legislation strongly supported by both Warner and Kaine – authorized an additional $1 billion for the ARC, allowing it to fund more projects across the Commonwealth.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Promoting United States Leadership in Standards Act of 2024, legislation aimed at restoring the U.S.’s position as a leader in international standards-setting for emerging technologies.

For decades, the United States led the world in developing new technologies, which allowed our country to set the rules of the road when it came to those technologies’ global standards. However, in recent years, Chinese companies backed by the Communist Party of China have overtaken the U.S., which has allowed the Chinese government to influence standards in ways that further their own interests.

“In recent years, the Communist Party of China has asserted their dominance in the global technology space, and as their status has risen, our authority and influence has fallen,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation clearly outlines steps we must take to reestablish our leadership and ensure that we are doing all we can to set the global standards for critical and emerging technologies.”

“The Communist Chinese Party has made it their mission to undermine the U.S. and our interests around the globe by exploiting our deficiencies,” said Sen. Blackburn. “As they ramp up their efforts to dominate global standards for emerging technologies, the U.S. must be a global leader in innovation, and that includes setting standards that reflect our interests and values.”

Standards-setting bodies make critical decisions not only relating to technical specifications, but also relating to values, such as openness, safety, and accessibility, embedded in emerging technologies.

Specifically, the Promoting United States Leadership in Standards Act would:

  • Require the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to submit a report to Congress that identifies current U.S. participation in standards development activities for AI and other CETs;
  • Create an easy-to-access web portal to help stakeholders navigate and actively engage in international standardization efforts. The portal would include a list of relevant standards and information about how to participate in standardization activities related to AI and other CETs;
  • Establish a pilot program to award $10 million in grants over 4 years to support the hosting of standards meetings for AI and other CETs in the U.S.;
  • Create a report to Congress, after the third year of the program, that identifies grant recipients, provides a summary of expenses, assesses the effectiveness of the program to grow the number of standards meetings in the U.S, and shows the geographic distribution of event attendees.

“The United States must continue to lead global technical standardization. IEEE-USA supports Senator Warner's and Senator Blackburn's Promoting United States Leadership in Standards Act of 2024 to enable necessary increased stakeholder access to the standards development process, especially for those who may not have the resources to fully engage in the development activities. Enabling access for underrepresented actors increases the diversity of voices and ensures democratization of the process, thus strengthening the open markets in which the U.S. is highly competitive,” said Keith Moore, President, IEEE-USA.

“Cisco is engaged in the proper development and deployment of AI across all aspects of the ecosystem, and we firmly believe U.S. leadership is fundamental in the development of global standards for AI and other critical technologies. This legislation will not only foster U.S. participation in standards-setting bodies but also help create a policy environment that unlocks the benefits of responsible and trustworthy use of AI. We applaud the bipartisan efforts of Senators Warner and Blackburn and look forward to engaging them and other stakeholders on this important issue,” said Nicole Isaac, Vice President, Global Public Policy, Government Affairs, Cisco.

“We applaud Senators Warner and Blackburn for introducing the Promoting United States Leadership in Standards Act, which can better position standards development organizations and standards participants for success,” said Morgan Reed, President of ACT | The App Association. “A strong, yet nimble approach to technical standards development is a foundational imperative for ACT | The App Association’s members as they create tomorrow’s innovations. Nurturing open and global participation in standardization activities, especially when hosted in the United States, can address shared technical challenges while advancing American technology leadership.  This legislation represents a decisive step in the right direction. We look forward to working with the sponsors to ensure the language best achieves Congress’ goals as the bill moves forward.”

“XRA is proud to support the Promoting United States Leadership in Standards Act of 2024. Emerging technologies like XR drive economic growth and help the U.S. address strategic challenges like workforce development, industrial productivity, and healthcare delivery. Foreign governments, particularly competitors of the U.S., see immersive technology and other emerging technologies as their chance to shape the future of computing and grow their economic influence. These competitors are actively engaged in the development of technical standards and governance frameworks and understand that early leadership in these bodies yield long-term advantage. Unfortunately, the United States Government’s participation in these critical international standards bodies has not kept pace," says the XR Association’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Joan O’Hara. “This legislation will strengthen the United States’ leadership role in the development, adoption, and governance of critical emerging technologies like XR.”

Full text of the legislation is available here. A one-page summary of the legislation is available here

 

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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 – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to express the urgent need to increase the Commerce Department’s actions to protect U.S. critical technologies – including the biotech sector – through a more robust export-control regime, among other measures. This letter follows previous efforts from Sens. Warner and Rubio to push the Departments of Treasury and Commerce to counter the flow of U.S. technology and investments to the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s military industrial complex. 

“We write to underscore our continued concern that the Department of Commerce has not sufficiently used its existing tools, including export controls, to prevent adversary access to U.S. technology, capital, data, and talent in critical technology sectors,” the senators wrote. 

The letter outlines efforts recently taken by PRC-affiliated biotech companies to undermine U.S. leadership in biotechnology and access sensitive American genetic data, including through the acquisition of an American company, which provides genetic sequencing machines to U.S. laboratories.

“We urge the Commerce Department, in cooperation with the Treasury Department and the Intelligence Community, to take a comprehensive approach to protecting American technology, investment, data, and talent in critical technology sectors, such as biotechnology. Specifically, the Commerce Department should implement an export-control regime—as undertaken with the semiconductor industry—and impose controls on the sharing of American data,” the senators continued.

In addition to advocating for the implementation of an export-control regime, the senators also committed to supporting any additional legislation to bolster American biosecurity.

The senators concluded, “The CCP has openly revealed its intentions to utilize biotechnology to advance its military capabilities and ambitions, undermine U.S. security, and continue its egregious violations of human rights. The U.S. must respond forcefully to these intentions. While the Department has ample authorities to take action, we commit to working with the Department if additional legislation is needed to secure American interests in biosecurity.”  

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Raimondo:

We write to underscore our continued concern that the Department of Commerce has not sufficiently used its existing tools, including export controls, to prevent adversary access to U.S. technology, capital, data, and talent in critical technology sectors. Last February, in our capacity as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we wrote to you on this topic and have yet to receive a reply.  As such, we renew our request for the Department of Commerce to increase its actions to protect U.S. critical technologies, including in the biotechnology sector, through a more robust export-control regime, among other measures. 

In our February 9, 2023 letter, we highlighted the continued efforts by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to target American technology, investment, and data in order to monopolize global supply chains, achieve technological dominance, and displace U.S. economic and military leadership. We urged the Department to use its authorities to track PRC efforts to acquire U.S. innovation, and immediately restrict these activities.

The PRC has continued its attempts to leverage the lack of U.S. controls surrounding access to American innovation, data, and talent to undermine U.S. superiority in critical sectors and related supply chains. The PRC has capitalized on the massive amounts of U.S. data and innovation it has acquired to develop weapons and technologies for nefarious ends.

We were pleased to see the Department of Commerce add 37 entities, including Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) Research, BGI Tech Solutions, and Forensic Genomics International, to its Entity List in March 2023. The U.S. government, however, continues to allow PRC biotechnology companies to operate freely within the U.S., to purchase and/or invest in U.S. companies, and to acquire U.S. data. These companies include: BGI Group, MGI Tech, Complete Genomics, WuXi AppTech, and WuXi Biologics, which have linkages to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Military-Civil Fusion program, and/or to the PRC’s ongoing genocide in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. For example, BGI has purchased American companies and leveraged these American companies to provide machines to unwitting U.S. laboratories and obtain sensitive genetic data of Americans. 

We urge the Commerce Department, in cooperation with the Treasury Department and the Intelligence Community, to take a comprehensive approach to protecting American technology, investment, data, and talent in critical technology sectors, such as biotechnology. Specifically, the Commerce Department should implement an export-control regime—as undertaken with the semiconductor industry—and impose controls on the sharing of American data. The CCP has openly revealed its intentions to utilize biotechnology to advance its military capabilities and ambitions, undermine U.S. security, and continue its egregious violations of human rights. The U.S. must respond forcefully to these intentions. While the Department has ample authorities to take action, we commit to working with the Department if additional legislation is needed to secure American interests in biosecurity. 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bill Casidy, M.D. (R-LA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation to ease access to supplemental oxygen for Medicare beneficiaries. The Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform (SOAR) Act of 2024 would establish a new payment methodology for non-liquid oxygen, allowing for most Medicare beneficiaries to be covered under the base payment levels.

“Respiratory care is lifesaving for so many patients, but too often access to this care is cost-prohibitive or simply not accessible. This legislation will ensure that supplemental oxygen is affordable and accessible for Medicare patients, allowing them to live the healthier, more active lives they deserve,” said Sen. Warner. 

“Patients who need supplemental oxygen often have other health problems. Making it easier to get their oxygen is one less thing they must worry about,” said Dr. Cassidy. 

“Supplemental oxygen is a life-sustaining treatment for individuals suffering from respiratory and heart diseases, and it should be accessible to patients who need it,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will protect access for seniors on Medicare who use supplemental oxygen both in and away from their homes.” 

The SOAR Act would:

  • Remove all oxygen and oxygen equipment from Medicare competitive bidding;
  • Establish a separate base payment rate for liquid oxygen with an add-on payment for liquid oxygen at 6 liters/minute and higher;
  • Create a new add-on to the supplemental oxygen rate to reimburse for respiratory therapist services when providing supplemental oxygen to Medicare beneficiaries; and
  • Establish protections for Medicare beneficiary supplemental oxygen users.

“Today is an important day that has been years in the making for the American Lung Association and so many of the people who we serve who rely on supplemental oxygen every day. Thanks to advancements in research and treatment, most people living with severe lung disease can live active lives. Unfortunately, too many people face challenges in getting the right type and levels of oxygen required to do day-to-day activities. This is why the SOAR Act is critical to the 1.5 million people in the U.S. who need supplemental oxygen. Thank you to Senators Bill Cassidy, Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar for championing this legislation. The American Lung Association urges members of Congress to cosponsor and swiftly pass this truly life-changing bill,” said Harold Wimmer, American Lung Association President.

“For years, AARC has advocated for patient access to respiratory therapist care outside the acute care setting,” said Carl Hinkson MS, RRT-ACCS, NPS, FAARC, President of American Association for Respiratory Care. “AARC is proud to stand with the coalition in creating a future where supplemental oxygen is available and affordable and patients have access to expert care from a respiratory therapist to return to a fuller and healthier life.”

“Thousands of people living with serious lung and respiratory diseases are confined to their homes, struggling for each breath because they are unable to access the supplemental oxygen they need,” said Scott Staszak, Chief Operating Officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “We applaud Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator Mark Warner and Senator Amy Klobuchar for their pivotal role in advancing crucial Oxygen Reform legislation to ensure that everyone will be able to breathe easier.”

“The SOAR Act represents a significant step towards ensuring comprehensive oxygen reform. The CQRC thanks Senators Cassidy, Warner and Klobuchar for their leadership on this bill and urges Congress to seize this opportunity and advance the SOAR Act without delay,” said Dan Starck, Interim Chair of the Council for Quality Respiratory Care. “This bipartisan legislation is a beacon of hope for patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, and communities, promising improved access to supplemental oxygen and respiratory therapy to safeguard and enhance health and quality of life.”

“As an association focused on improving care within chest medicine, we believe that access to oxygen is critical for many of our patients,” said Jack D. Buckley, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of the Chest Physicians. “This is one of the main advocacy pillars for our organization because it is so crucial to maintaining the quality of life for patients struggling with chronic lung disease. Without adequate access to oxygen, these patients have enormous difficulty with normal daily activities, such as traveling to the grocery store or getting to their next doctor’s appointment.”

“Many people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, are struggling to lead more active and productive lives because Medicare policies unreasonably limit their access to supplemental oxygen therapy,” said Dr. Jean Wright, CEO of the COPD Foundation. “We are grateful to Senators Cassidy, Warner and Klobuchar for leading legislation to restore and update these critical services.”

“As president of the American Thoracic Society, I applaud Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator Mark Warner and Senator Amy Klobuchar for introducing the Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform Act – SOAR – to reform Medicare's reimbursement of supplemental oxygen. The current Medicare system for providing supplemental oxygen does not serve patient needs creating needless suffering. Patients have suffered from low quality equipment to supply their oxygen. They have suffered from insufficient support staff to fix problems with their oxygen service. They have suffered from being given big, bulky, heavy oxygen systems that prevent them from ever leaving their homes and being part of a larger community most of us take for granted. The legislation that Senators Cassidy, Warner and Klobuchar introduced today will reform Medicare's oxygen reimbursement system by ensuring patients get the oxygen system they truly need and not just the cheapest oxygen system available. I look forward to working with Senators Cassidy, Warner and Klobuchar to see this important legislation enacted by Congress,” said M. Patricia Rivera, MD, ATSF, President of the American Thoracic Society.

“The engaged Senate leaders introducing the Medicare Oxygen Payment Reform are undertaking a great need for patients with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. We have heard firsthand many shocking personal stories about patients not properly matched or trained on the oxygen equipment they need to breathe each day. This legislation will improve outcomes for all oxygen dependent patients in the U.S. The Alpha-1 Foundation is proud share with our patients that the Senate is helping with a solution that includes access to patient equipment and education,” said Scott Santarella, President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation.

 "We need to change the system to help Alpha-1 patients have greater access to respiratory therapists and the oxygen equipment they need to breathe.  I am grateful to Senator Warner for his leadership on this bill.  The patients who depend on oxygen in the state of Virginia and the entire United States will benefit from Senator Warner’s leadership.  As a constituent and an Alpha-1patient and oxygen user, I am extremely grateful.” Charles W. Frost, Virginia Alpha-1 patient.

The SOAR Act is supported by the American Lung Association, American Association for Respiratory Care, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Council for Quality Respiratory Care, American College of the Chest Physicians, COPD Foundation, American Thoracic Society, and Alpha-1 Foundation.

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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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