Press Releases

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Congressman A. Donald McEachin announced $6,355,829 in federal funding for the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority to make improvements to Ettrick Station. The improved station will attract additional train service and approximately 10,050 new riders annually.

“We’re excited the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority is receiving these federal dollars to upgrade the Ettrick Station and improve public transportation in the region,” said the lawmakers. “This funding will help enhance safety, increase ridership, and reduce emissions by taking cars off the road.”

The funding was awarded through the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant program. Specifically, this funding will be used to make improvements to the existing station building and upgrade its parking and lighting. It will also go towards the construction of a new 850 feet long platform in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The funding announced today is in addition to $1 million for the station that Warner, Kaine, and McEachin secured in the FY 2022 government funding bill.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and 78 of their colleagues in a letter to President Biden urging him to expedite the Executive Branch’s process to advance Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership and pledging to work with the Administration to ensure swift ratification of the Washington Treaty.

In the letter, the Senators noted that NATO’s expansion will send a clear message to Putin and authoritarian leaders across the globe that the free world stands ready to bolster the alliance and defend our values and sovereignty, including through NATO’s open door policy.

“As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven, NATO, along with our democratic partners around the world, is more united than ever in opposition to the illegal acts of war waged by President Putin. Expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden will send a clear message to Vladimir Putin, and any leader that attempts to follow in his path, that the free world stands ready to defend its values and sovereignty. We will also continue to support NATO’s open-door policy, which affirms that new members are welcome to the alliance,” the Senators wrote.

The Senators also affirmed their support for Sweden and Finland’s applications as part of the Senate’s role to provide advice and consent for NATO enlargement. During this pivotal moment to our global security, they noted this expansion will further strengthen NATO’s military and diplomatic capabilities to address emerging threats, and that mutual security assurances should extend to these two countries under the alliance.

“Members of the U.S. Senate take seriously our role in advising and consenting to NATO enlargement, a process that must be approved by all NATO member states. We affirm our support for Sweden and Finland’s applications for membership. In addition, we pledge to work closely with you and with our Senate colleagues to ensure that their applications are swiftly considered and approved by the Senate,” the senators concluded. “The transatlantic alliance has never been more crucial to global security and stability. The addition of these two important allies to NATO will ensure the alliance’s resilience and readiness, and we look forward to welcoming Sweden and Finland to NATO.”

The full list of 82 Senators on the letter includes Senators Warner, Kaine, Shaheen, Tillis, Blumenthal (D-CT), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Coons (D-DE), Duckworth (D-IL), Durbin (D-IL), Hickenlooper (D-CO), King (I-ME), Rosen (D-NV), Wyden (D-OR), Tester (D-MT), Hassan (D-NH), Kelly (D-AZ), Manchin (D-WV), Portman (R-OH), Collins (R-ME), Murkowski (R-AK), Cramer (R-ND), Graham (R-SC), Sasse (R-NE), McConnell (R-KY), Barrasso (R-WY), Ernst (R-IA), Romney (R-UT), Rounds (R-SD), Thune (R-SD), Grassley (R-IA), Hagerty (R-TN), Toomey (R-PA), Hoeven (R-ND), Cornyn (R-TX), Scott (R-SC), Gillibrand (D-NY), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sinema (D-AZ), Baldwin (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Murphy (D-CT), Hirono (D-HI), Booker (D-NJ), Merkley (D-OR), Bennet (D-CO), Warnock (D-GA), Murray (D-WA), Leahy (D-VT), Brown (D-OH), Klobuchar (D-MN), Markey (D-MA), Lujan (D-NM), Cotton (R-AR), Burr (R-NC), Inhofe (R-OK), Schatz (D-HI), Schumer (D-NY), Van Hollen (D-MD), Fischer (R-NE), Reed (D-RI), Heinrich (D-NM), Peters (D-MI), Whitehouse (D-RI), Padilla (D-CA), Menendez (D-NJ), Ossoff (D-GA), Capito (R-WV), Young (R-IN), Wicker (R-MS), Risch (R-ID), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Stabenow (D-MI), Blackburn (R-TN), Sullivan (R-AK), Smith (D-MN), Casey (D-PA), Blunt (R-MO), Marshall (R-KS), Daines (R-MT), Crapo (R-ID) and Warren (D-MA).

Full text of the letter is available here.

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), senior members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, introduced legislation to improve the collection and publication of data collected by federal financial regulatory agencies. The Financial Data Transparency Act requires financial regulators to develop common standards that promote the organization, readability, and availability of financial data they collect from regulated institutions – rules that will make data easier for the public to use and for agencies to process.

“I have long pushed to modernize our government’s technology infrastructure, and the Financial Data Transparency Act marks another important step toward more consistency and transparency in government data collection and use,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to work once again with Senator Crapo on these issues. We look forward to providing greater transparency and usability for investors and consumers, along with streamlined data submissions and compliance for our regulated institutions.” 

“Thank you to Senator Warner for his ongoing work with me on these issues,” said Sen. Crapo. “Making financial data used by federal regulators more accessible and understandable to the American public is an important step in improving government transparency and accountability.”

The Financial Data Transparency Act will make information reported to financial regulators electronically searchable, reducing the private sector’s regulatory compliance burdens while enhancing transparency and accountability to the benefit of consumers and investors. Specifically, the legislation directs the Department of the Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Bureau of the Consumer Financial Protection, Federal Reserve Board, National Credit Union Administration, and Federal Housing Finance Agency to implement data standards developed through a joint rulemaking.

Text of this legislation is available here. A fact sheet is available here. 

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $6,236,161 in federal funding for 15 Virginia schools for Upward Bound programs. Upward Bound, administered through the Department of Education, provides support to low-income and first-generation high school students in order to increase high school and college graduation rates.

“All students deserve access to the resources they need to succeed,” the senators said. “This funding for Upward Bound programs will support low-income and first-generation students through high school and help them prepare for higher education. This represents another critical investment in leveling the playing field so that more students have the tools to reach their goals and get ready for life after high school.”

The funding will be awarded as follows:

Patrick Henry Community College will receive $312,480 for programs including tutoring, mentoring, and a summer bridge program. It will serve 68 students in Martinsville as well as Henry and Patrick Counties.

Norfolk State University will receive $297,485 for programs aimed at increasing students’ GPAs, standardized test scores, and retention and graduation rates. It will serve 60 students in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Virginia Tech will receive a total of $1,146,350 for programs including financial aid application assistance, Pell Grant education, and course selection. It will serve 223 students across Southwest Virginia.

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will receive $427,133 for programs including tutoring, information on financial aid and alternative education programs, and college application support. It will serve 80 students across Southwest Virginia.

Virginia State University will receive $451,377 for academic and summer residential programs. It will serve 88 students across the cities of Hopewell and Petersburg, as well as the counties of Dinwiddie, Greensville, and Sussex, and the Matoaca District of Chesterfield.

James Madison University will receive $287,537 for programs including personal advising, college and cultural immersion experiences, and FAFSA education. It will serve 60 students across Northern Virginia.

Portsmouth Public Schools will receive $297,601 for programs including an Individualized Educational Success Plan (IESP) for every recruited student. It will serve 60 students from I.C. Norcom and Manor High Schools.

Paul D. Camp Community College will receive $290,714 for programs including supporting dual enrollment opportunities. It will continue serving Franklin, Lakeland, and Southampton High Schools.

Southwest Virginia Community College will receive a total of $685,387 for initiatives including a Summer Discovery Program, study skills and time management workshops, and college and financial aid seminars. It will serve a total of 132 students across Grundy, Hurley, Twin Valley, Council, Castlewood, Honaker, and Lebanon High Schools.

Hampton University will receive $297,599 for programs including SAT/ACT preparation workshops, financial literacy seminars, and tutoring. It will serve 60 students across Newport News.

Virginia Union University will receive $444,616 for programs including Saturday supplementary education, summer residential components, and Individualized Academic Plan creation. It will serve 85 students across Armstrong, George Wythe, Huguenot, John Marshall, and Thomas Jefferson High Schools.

Rappahannock Community College will receive $287,537 for programs including tutoring, counseling, cultural enrichment, and mentoring. It will serve 60 students from Essex County, Lancaster County, and Washington and Lee High Schools.

Wytheville Community College will receive $297,601 for programs including service-learning opportunities, post-graduation bridge programs, and Wellness Wednesday workshops. It will serve 57 students across Southwest Virginia.

Old Dominion University will receive $400,571 for programs including after-school tutoring, an intensive summer bridge experience, and college tours. It will serve 77 students across Norfolk and Portsmouth.

Virginia Highlands Community College will receive $312,173 for programs including a Summer Academy, career advising and counseling, and cultural and social enrichment programs. It will serve 65 students from Chilhowie, Northwood, Holston, Patrick Henry, and Virginia High Schools.

This funding follows advocacy by both Sens. Warner and Kaine to increase funding for all TRIO programs – including Upward Bound – in a letter to leadership of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations last year.

 

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Thune (R-SD), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced legislation to allow retired first responders to withdraw from their retirement without being penalized. The senators’ legislation would improve and reform the Healthcare Enhancement for Local Public Safety Act (HELPS), by changing state and local direct payment requirements from mandatory to optional, and creating an alternative to the current method, allowing the retirement system to make the distribution to the retired public safety officer. The retiree can then make the premium payment to the provider and remain eligible for the tax exclusion.

“Virginia’s first responders put themselves at risk every day to protect our communities – the least we can do is ensure that they are taken care of in retirement,” said Sen. Warner. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Police and Fire Health Care Protection Act of 2022, which will make it easier for tens of thousands of retired officers – like Mr. Wally Bunker, a stalwart advocate and retired police officer from Culpepper – to claim the benefits that they have earned.”

“Ohio firefighters and other first responders wear their bodies out protecting our families and communities, and they shouldn’t have to worry about being penalized for withdrawing from retirement that they’ve earned,” said Sen. Brown. “This is a simple solution that allows first responders to keep their own money and alleviate pressure on state and local governments.”

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to our retired police officers, firefighters, and other first responders who dedicated their lives to protecting our communities and keeping our friends, families, and neighbors across South Dakota safe,” said Sen. Thune. “Currently, it is extremely difficult for retired first responders to utilize an existing benefit that helps cover certain health care expenses, which is why I introduced this legislation that would ensure these retirees can make tax-free withdrawals from their pension and direct those amounts to qualifying insurance premiums.

“First responders play a vital role in our communities, addressing a variety of high-stress emergency situations throughout their careers. All first responders ought to be able to take advantage of a tax benefit that is intended to help them access health coverage in retirement,” said Sen. Grassley.

In order to implement the direct payment requirement under current law, state and local retirement systems are now responsible for directly paying often numerous health and long-term care providers and keeping track of changes to premium amounts and payment deadlines for thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of retirees. This already challenging task is made even more difficult because providers will often communicate only with the retiree policyholder and not with the retirement system. Information does not flow seamlessly, and inadvertent errors are made. In addition, due to the complexity, some retirement systems have made the decision to not implement HELPS, thereby resulting in retired public safety officers covered by these pension plans being ineligible for the tax benefit.

“Too often fire fighters are forced to retire early and have no access to affordable health insurance. We owe it to our fire fighters and EMS providers to help them access quality healthcare after making a career’s worth of physical and mental sacrifices for our communities,” said Edward Kelly, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters. “This legislation ensures our retired fire fighters can access their hard-earned retirement income to pay for health insurance costs. The IAFF thanks Senators Brown, Thune, Warner, and Grassley for their commitment to supporting our retirees and helping them to maintain a healthy and secure retirement.”

“In 2006, Congress enacted the HELPS Retirees Act, which provided a modest tax benefit to help retired public safety officers afford health insurance by allowing the use, on a pre-tax basis, of up to $3,000 annually from their pension funds health care and long-term care insurance,” said Patrick Yoes, National President, Fraternal Order of Police. “However, too many public safety officers were ineligible or lost their eligibility for this benefit because of the law’s ‘direct pay’ requirement. This means that the public pension system must pay the health or long-term care insurance company directly in order to exclude these payments from the employee’s gross income.  Officers whose pensions are or came to be administered by third parties could not take advantage of this tax break. We are very grateful to Senators Brown and Thune for introducing legislation which repeals this direct pay requirement and provides a modest increase to the benefit.”

“On behalf of Ohio’s and the nation’s public safety personnel we are grateful to Senator Brown for his leadership on this issue. The new legislation will ensure that first responders receive the assistance Congress intended them to receive with their health care expenses in retirement,” said Mary Beth Foley, Executive Director, Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund (OP&F).

Under the senators’ bill, plans that are able to implement HELPS through the current direct payment method, possibly because they have only one or two providers to pay and a small number of retirees, may continue to do so. However, for the many retirement systems that are experiencing administrative problems with the current requirement or have refused to implement HELPS because of the burdens, the senator’s legislation will allow them to make distributions to their retirees without rendering the retiree ineligible for the tax exclusion.

In cases where the distribution is made to the retiree, the legislation would require the retiree to include with their tax return an attestation that the amount sought to be excluded from the pension distribution does not exceed the amount paid by the employee for qualified health insurance premiums for the taxable year. The tax exclusion is capped under current law at $3,000 per year.

The bill has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, and the International Association of Fire Fighters.

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) led a bipartisan group of colleagues in reintroducing the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act, legislation that will encourage market-based competition to dominant social media platforms by requiring the largest companies to make user data portable – and their services interoperable – with other platforms, and to allow users to designate a trusted third-party service to manage their privacy and account settings, if they so choose. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined Sen. Warner in introducing the legislation.

“The tremendous dominance of a handful of large social media platforms has major downsides – including few options for consumers who face a marketplace with just a few major players and little in the way of real competition,” the senators said. “As we learned in the Microsoft antitrust case, interoperability and portability are powerful tools to restrain anti-competitive behaviors and promote innovative new companies. By making it easier for social media users to easily move their data or to continue to communicate with their friends after switching platforms, startups will be able to compete on equal terms with the biggest social media companies. Additionally, empowering trusted custodial companies to step in on behalf of users to better manage their accounts across different platforms will help balance the playing field between consumers and companies. In other words – by enabling portability, interoperability, and delegatability, this bill will create long-overdue requirements that will boost competition and give consumers the power to move their data from one service to another.”

Online communications platforms have become vital to the economic and social fabric of the nation, but network effects and consumer lock-in have entrenched a select number of companies’ dominance in the digital market and enhanced their control over consumer data. 

The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act would increase market competition, encourage innovation, and increase consumer choice by requiring large communications platforms (products or services with over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S.) to:

  • Make their services interoperable with competing communications platforms.
  • Permit users to easily port their personal data in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
  • Allow users to delegate trusted custodial services, which are required to act in a user’s best interests through a strong duty of care, with the task of managing their account settings, content, and online interactions.  

“Markets work when consumers have a choice and know what's going on. The ACCESS Act is an important step toward reestablishing this dynamic in the market for tech services. We must get back to the conditions that make markets work: when consumers know what they give a firm and what they get in return; and if they don't like the deal, they can take their business elsewhere. By giving consumers the ability to delegate decisions to organizations working on their behalf, the ACCESS Act gives consumers some hope that they can understand what they are giving up and getting in the opaque world that the tech firms have created. By mandating portability, it also gives them a realistic option of switching to another provider,” Paul Romer, New York University Professor of Economics and Nobel Prize winner in Economics, said.

“Interoperability is a key tool for promoting competition on and against dominant digital platforms. For social networks in particular, interoperability is needed to make it easy for users to switch to a new social network. Until we have clear and effective interoperability requirements, it will be hard for users to leave a social network that fails to reflect their values, protect their privacy, or offer the best experience. Whatever our reasons for switching to a new social network, the ACCESS Act can make it easier by requiring the largest platforms to offer interoperability with competitors. We all stand to benefit from the greater competition that an interoperable world can create,” Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge, said.

"We now understand that the dominant tech platforms' exclusive control over the data we create as we interact with them is the source of extraordinary market power. That power distorts markets, reduces innovation and limits consumer choice. By requiring interoperability, the ACCESS Act empowers consumers, levels the playing field and opens the market to competition. Anyone who believes that markets work best when consumers are able to make informed choices should support this Act,” Brad Burnham, Partner and Co-Founder at Union Square Ventures, said.

“The reintroduction of the ACCESS Act in the Senate is a critically important step forward for empowering consumers with the freedom to control their own data and enable consumers to leave the various walled gardens of the today’s social media platforms. The ACCESS Act literally does what it says—it would give consumers the option to choose better services without having to balance the unfair choice of abandoning their personal network of family and friends in order to seek better products in the market.  The Senate needs to move forward as soon as possible to vote on the ACCESS Act.” Eric Migicovsky, Founder and CEO of Beeper, said.

Sen. Warner first introduced the ACCESS Act in 2019 and has been raising concerns about the implications of the lack of competition in social for years.

Sen. Warner is one of Congress’ leading voices in demanding accountability and user protections from social media companies. In addition to the ACCESS Act, Sen. Warner has introduced and written numerous bills designed to improve transparency, privacy, and accountability on social media. These include the Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism and Consumer Harms (SAFE TECH) Actlegislation that would allow social media companies to be held accountable for enabling cyber-stalking, targeted harassment, and discrimination across platforms; the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act, bipartisan legislation that would require data harvesting companies to tell consumers and financial regulators exactly what data they are collecting from consumers and how it is being leveraged by the platform for profit; and the Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation that would prohibit large online platforms from using deceptive user interfaces, known as “dark patterns,” to trick consumers into handing over their personal data and would prohibit these platforms from using features that result in compulsive usage by children.

Full text of the bill is available here. One-pager of the legislation is available here.

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement regarding the Naming Commission’s recommendations to rename three Virginia bases that were previously named after Confederates. Kaine co-sponsored an amendment in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act that initiated the process to rename these bases and all other DOD facilities named after Confederates.

“If we as a country hope to overcome the racial injustices that continue to surround us today, we simply cannot continue to honor those who fought against the United States to deprive African Americans of their equality. While much work remains ahead to deliver on America’s promise of liberty and justice for all, days like today are proof that progress is possible, and we’re going to keep fighting to build on it.”

Now that the Commission has shared these name recommendations with Congress, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will consider the Commission’s recommendations before reaching a decision with President Biden regarding whether to adopt them.

The Naming Commission’s recommendations are to rename Fort A.P. Hill as Fort Walker, in honor of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker; Fort Lee as Fort Gregg-Adams, in honor of Arthur Gregg and Charity Adams; and Fort Pickett as Fort Barfoot, in honor of Van T. Barfoot. More information regarding Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, Arthur Gregg, Charity Adams, and Van T. Barfoot are available here, here, and here.

Warner is a cosponsor of the Confederate Monument Removal Act, which would remove statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol. He has also spoken publicly about the need to remove public symbols honoring the Confederacy as part of broader efforts to advance racial justice.

 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded unanimous Senate passage of the Access to Baby Formula Act, which will help improve access to baby formula for families who participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. The legislation passed the House of Representatives yesterday and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“No one should have to worry about where or how they’re going to get formula to feed their child, and we’re glad Congress is taking action to address these shortages,” said the Senators. “This bill is an important step to ensuring our most vulnerable families have access to the formula they need.”

The legislation was introduced by Congressman Bobby Scott and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. Specifically, the Access to Baby Formula Act will:

  • Establish waiver authority to address emergencies, disasters, and supply chain disruptions by ensuring states that contract with one formula manufacturer for the WIC program can secure supplies from additional manufacturers;
  • Grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture the authority to waive certain requirements that can slow down the process to get formula back on the shelves, without sacrificing safety standards; and
  • Facilitate coordination and information-sharing between the Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Health and Human Services regarding any supply chain disruption, including supplemental food recalls.

 

According to USDA, Abbott Nutrition’s formula products serve 89% of WIC families.

Warner and Kaine sent a letter last week calling on infant formula manufacturers to increase production and make every effort possible to get formula on shelves.

Earlier this week, Warner spoke about the importance of addressing this shortage, calling for additional funding to address the issue as well as a thorough examination of the American and worldwide supply chain issues that have contributed to this shortage. Warner also praised Senate passage of the legislation on Twitter and pledged to continue pushing for initiatives that relieve this burden.

Kaine released a video statement after new steps to address the shortages were announced, including an FDA and Abbott agreement to reopen the shuttered plant and the FDA’s move to make it easier to import formula. Kaine called on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to help ramp up formula production—a call President Biden heeded shortly after. Kaine also sent a letter to President Biden urging him to appoint a White House coordinator to address current shortages, and implement a national strategy to increase the resiliency of the infant formula supply chain and protect against future contamination and shortages.

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Co-Chair of the Senate Cyber Caucus, joined Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to protect the data privacy of women seeking reproductive health care, following the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The senators expressed their concern over reports that data brokers are selling location data that allow purchasers to see how many people sought abortion services and other family planning care.

“We write to express serious concerns regarding recent reports identifying data brokers buying and selling location data that includes personal data related to family planning and abortion services,” the senators wrote. “Recent reports highlight data brokers selling location data that allows the buyer to see how many people visit a certain location and when, including how many people are seeking care at reproductive health clinics such as Planned Parenthood.”

“In light of reports that the Supreme Court is set to overrule Roe vs. Wade, we are concerned about the privacy of women making decisions that should be between them, their families, and their doctors, as they have for more than five decades. We appreciate your efforts to highlight the critical need for increased consumer privacy and danger of open data to further victimization. However additional measures need to be taken to protect personal data and ensure the privacy of women as they make decisions that should be between them and their doctors,” they continued.

In addition to Sens. Warner, Klobuchar, and Baldwin, the letter was also signed by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Sen. Warner has been a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose. He recently cosponsored the Women's Health Protection Act, which failed to advance in the Senate last week. As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Warner has worked to address problematic data collection practices, sending a letter in 2020 to the FTC urging the agency to take action to address the troubling data collection and sharing practices of the mobile app Premom, which helps users track their fertility cycles to determine the best time to get pregnant.

Sen. Warner has also introduced numerous bills demanding increased data accountability and transparency, such as the Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data (DASHBOARD) Act, bipartisan legislation that would require data harvesting companies to tell consumers and financial regulators exactly what data they are collecting from consumers and how it is being leveraged by the platform for profit, and the Deceptive Experiences to Online Users Reduction (DETOUR) Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation that would prohibit large online platforms from using deceptive user interfaces, known as “dark patterns,” to trick consumers into handing over their personal data and would prohibit these platforms from using features that result in compulsive usage by children.

A copy of the letter is available here and below. 

Dear Chair Khan,

We write to express serious concerns regarding recent reports identifying data brokers buying and selling location data that includes personal data related to family planning and abortion services. We respectfully request additional information on what steps the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking to ensure data brokers are not collecting, buying, or selling sensitive location data that put people, particularly those seeking medical attention, at risk.

We are concerned about online markets that sell and trade mobile phone location data. This data is often collected and sold by ordinary apps installed on a person’s smartphone, such as weather apps. The data is then bought and resold by data brokers. All of this information has historically been used to identify individuals. The estimated value of the location data market has been estimated at approximately $14 billion in 2021.

Recent reports highlight data brokers selling location data that allows the buyer to see how many people visit a certain location and when, including how many people are seeking care at reproductive health clinics such as Planned Parenthood. One report identified the purchase of data showing the number of people that visited over 600 Planned Parenthood locations in a week for just over $160

In light of reports that the Supreme Court is set to overrule Roe vs. Wade, we are concerned about the privacy of women making decisions that should be between them, their families, and their doctors, as they have for more than five decades. Should the Court’s final decision match the leaked opinion, thirteen states could immediately ban abortion and over a dozen others are likely to criminalize it. Banning and criminalizing abortion in parts of our country could create added risks to those seeking family planning services in states where abortions remain legal.

We appreciate your efforts to highlight the critical need for increased consumer privacy and danger of open data to further victimization. However additional measures need to be taken to protect personal data and ensure the privacy of women as they make decisions that should be between them and their doctors. 

We respectfully request that you respond to the following questions by June 1:

  • What measures is the FTC taking to ensure individuals have the right to review and remove their information online, and assist them should their data be sold or they become victim to a breach? If so, please describe these measures.
  • How does the FTC plan to address mobile phone apps that are developed to collect and sell the location data? How is the FTC educating individuals about how to identify apps 

that collect and sell their location data?

  • What is the FTC doing to coordinate with the Department of Justice, states and localities, health care providers and private stakeholders to prevent data brokers and others from gaining access to the personal information of women and their healthcare decisions? 
  • Does the FTC need additional resources to better protect women from having their personal location data bought and disseminated by data brokers? 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to working with you to address this threat to privacy and safety.

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 WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner issued the following statement after the Senate failed to advance the Small Business COVID Relief Act – legislation that would have provided additional COVID-19 relief for small businesses still dealing with the ramifications of the pandemic:

“Today, Congress failed to fulfill its promise to small business owners still reeling from the pandemic. When we established the Restaurant Revitalization Fund through the American Rescue Plan, business owners took us up on it for good reason. Many businesses were struggling to stay afloat and many of them knew that if they went out of business, they wouldn’t be able to bounce back. Unfortunately, demand surpassed available dollars. This bill would have helped Congress keep its promise and deliver aid to Virginia businesses who did everything right and applied on time. I’m disappointed that so many of my colleagues chose not to stand on the side of small businesses today, but I’m committed to continue working to get this done.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, Sen. Warner has pushed to provide small businesses and nonprofit organizations the support and relief they need. This includes fighting for the successful passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the 2020 emergency relief bill, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

     

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Tim Kaine, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, issued the following statement after voting to pass a $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine:

“Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine underscores the importance of democracies around the world sticking together to stand against authoritarians who violate international law and commit war crimes. Today’s vote is another powerful signal that the United States is committed to that principle, and we’re going to keep working to ensure that we remain a very strong ally of Ukraine.”

Behind the scenes and in public, Chairman Warner has been a strong advocate for the $5 billion in food aid included in this bill to support non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been working since day one to address the dire humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Among other efforts, Chairman Warner has also pushed to ensure the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions on Russia. Earlier this year, he introduced legislation with a group of lawmakers aimed at preventing Russian oligarchs from using digital currencies to avoid the full brunt of the sanctions.

Sen. Kaine has been a consistent advocate for both directing assistance to Ukraine and ensuring Americans aren’t complicit in Russia’s unjustified war. Kaine was one of the first members of Congress to call for a war crimes investigation into Russia’s actions, and applauded International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan’s announcement that he would launch such an investigation. To ensure that the United States is doing its part in a coordinated effort to collect and maintain evidence of Russia’s war crimes and atrocities, Kaine teamed up with a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce the Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act.

Broadcast-quality video of Sen. Warner speaking about the legislation is available here.

Broadcast-quality video of Sen. Kaine speaking about the legislation is available here.

The aid package is now headed to President Biden’s desk for signature.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was joined by U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) in urging Senate Committee on Appropriations leadership to include significant funding to modernize federal information technology (IT) systems for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. This request includes at least $300 million in funding for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), created through a Warner-led bill in 2017.

“It is widely acknowledged that our federal government needs to make significant and urgent investments in replacing outdated and insecure legacy IT systems,” the senators wrote. “Each year, the federal government spends roughly $90 billion on IT systems. Significant portions of this funding go toward the maintenance of older, legacy systems, which over time grow increasingly costly, and often present concerning cybersecurity vulnerabilities.”

“In addition to the urgent security concerns, ignoring these needed modernization efforts hinders the public’s ability to interact with the government in an efficient and responsive way. We saw this issue magnified during the course of the pandemic, as added demands at times overwhelmed our government’s ability to continue providing effective customer service and critical benefits to Americans. We have heard repeatedly from constituents how these strains have slowed the processing of benefits and claims, in many cases hindering their ability to access critical resources and needed assistance that Congress has put in place,” they continued.

Sen. Warner has long pushed for the federal government to improve IT infrastructure. Last year, Sen. Warner applauded the Biden Administration for taking steps to more quickly and effectively help agencies address technology-related issues, after having previously called for them to do so. In 2020, Sen. Warner joined colleagues in calling on the Appropriations Committee to include funding for IT modernization in future COVID-19 relief packages.

A copy of this year’s bipartisan letter is available here and below.

Chairman Leahy, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chairman Van Hollen, and Ranking Member HydeSmith: 

As your committee begins consideration of appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, we write to urge you to include significant and critically needed funding to modernize federal information technology (IT) systems. In particular, we request that you provide funding of at least $300 million for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF).

Congress created the TMF as part of the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, in response to pressing needs for federal agencies to modernize outdated IT systems and address critical vulnerabilities. The TMF – a revolving fund governed by a board of experts with backgrounds in IT, cybersecurity, financial management, and federal acquisition – is unique in its ability to rapidly evaluate agencies’ technology modernization proposals, assign funding in an agile manner that prioritizes high-need and cost-saving projects, and do all of this in a transparent and accountable manner.

In the roughly four years since it was established, the TMF has delivered approximately $400 million in funding to 20 modernization projects across the government, funding projects that the TMF Board identified as having significant impact on agencies’ security, program operability, and ability to efficiently and effectively deliver results for taxpayers. As the TMF is a revolving fund, agencies that receive funding are given repayment terms that vary based on the project, which allows the TMF to recover a portion of the funds – often through direct cost savings.

It is widely acknowledged that our federal government needs to make significant and urgent investments in replacing outdated and insecure legacy IT systems. Each year, the federal government spends roughly $90 billion on IT systems. Significant portions of this funding go toward the maintenance of older, legacy systems, which over time grow increasingly costly, and often present concerning cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

In addition to the urgent security concerns, ignoring these needed modernization efforts hinders the public’s ability to interact with the government in an efficient and responsive way. We saw this issue magnified during the course of the pandemic, as added demands at times overwhelmed our government’s ability to continue providing effective customer service and critical benefits to Americans. We have heard repeatedly from constituents how these strains have slowed the processing of benefits and claims, in many cases hindering their ability to access critical resources and needed assistance that Congress has put in place.

In 2021 Congress appropriated $1 billion to the TMF to address government IT challenges. While this served as a sizable investment towards these efforts, the demand for these funds was more than double their availability, and the Administration confirms that the TMF will allocate the majority of these funds by the end of this current fiscal year.

By necessity, efforts to modernize and improve the security of IT systems require ongoing and sustained effort by agencies. Congress has a similar responsibility to continue to fund modernization efforts, so that legacy systems aren’t left to grow increasingly costly and insecure over time. The TMF presents agencies with a funding vehicle that is agile and allows them to amortize modernization costs, and that makes technical experts available to agencies throughout the proposal and implementation phases. It also provides Congress a tool with additional accountability and oversight, in the form of board-review of proposals, incremental funding based on outcome-based milestones, and regular follow-up with funding recipients during funding implementation.

We appreciate your consideration of our request for at least $300 million for the Technology Modernization Fund – the level requested by the Administration – and we look forward to continuing to work with you, and with our other colleagues here in the Senate, to ensure that we are providing necessary investment in our federal government’s IT systems.

Sincerely,

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WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a pair of bills that would cement and build on the important progress that has been made to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s costs our nation an astonishing $321 billion per year, including $206 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. If we continue along this trajectory, Alzheimer’s is projected to claim the minds of 12.7 million seniors and nearly surpass $1 trillion in annual costs by 2050.  In 2021, family caregivers provided 16 billion hours of unpaid care for loved ones with dementia.  Nearly half of baby boomers reaching age 85 will either be afflicted with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone who has it.

The NAPA Reauthorization Act—authored by Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ)—would reauthorize NAPA through 2035 and modernize the legislation to reflect strides that have been made to understand the disease, such as including a new focus on promoting healthy aging and reducing risk factors.

The Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act—authored by Sens. Warner, Collins, Markey, Capito, Moran, and Menendez—would continue through 2035 a requirement that the Director of the National Institutes of Health submit an annual budget to Congress estimating the funding necessary for NIH to fully implement NAPA’s research goals. Only two other areas of biomedical research – cancer and HIV/AIDs – have been the subject of special budget development aimed at speeding discovery.

“Consistent research and investment into Alzheimer’s disease is crucial to better understand and treat this illness and help patients, their families, and their caregivers,” said Senator Warner.  “I know all too well the pain and suffering associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as my own mother battled the illness for close to 10 years.  As co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, I am proud to introduce these two pieces of legislation that will continue the transformative work being done to find effective ways to mitigate, treat and ultimately cure Alzheimer’s.”

“We have made tremendous progress in recent years to boost funding for Alzheimer’s research, which holds great promise to ending this disease that has had a devastating effect on millions of Americans and their families,” said Senator Collins, a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s disease.  “The two bills we have introducing today will maintain our momentum and make sure that we do not take our foot of the pedal just as our investments in basic research are beginning to translate into potential new treatments. We must not let Alzheimer’s define our children’s generation as it has ours.”

“More than a decade ago, I cosponsored, and Congress passed, the National Alzheimer's Project Act, which has since played an important role in ensuring Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are a priority at NIH and other federal agencies,” Senator Capito said. “Now, more than ever, as more Americans and their families are living with the effects of Alzheimer’s, we must keep up this momentum, continue to make critical research investments, and fight for all those impacted by this disease. Both of these bipartisan bills work toward our shared goals, and I’m proud to introduce them today with my colleagues.”

“More than a decade has passed since I first introduced the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) to create a federal framework to prioritize Alzheimer’s patients and direct billions of dollars in funding for medical research. More than seven years have gone by since my Alzheimer’s Accountability Act mandated the National Institutes of Health hold itself accountable to fulfilling the promises set forth in NAPA by submitting its research budget directly to Congress. While these landmark pieces of legislation have increased funding for Alzheimer’s research more than five-fold, the fight to prevent, treat, and cure this disease continues. Today, I am proud to partner with Senator Collins on legislation to reauthorize NAPA and extend the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act so that we can redouble our commitment to Alzheimer’s patients and their families and ensure that disproportionally impacted populations aren’t left behind in the groundbreaking research that will ultimately lead to a cure,” said Senator Markey.

“Our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and the development of new treatments has made significant progress since the National Alzheimer’s Project Act was first signed into law in 2011,” said Senator Moran. “In my role on both the HELP and Appropriations Committee, I remain committed to providing necessary resources so we not only maintain NAPA’s progress but expand it to help end this horrible disease.”

“In the years since I lost my mother to this devastating disease, I have only increased my commitment to fighting for other Alzheimer’s patients and their families by securing important programs and funding,” said Senator Menendez. “These bills are a bipartisan commitment to continuing our important and critical work to ensure we emerge victorious in this fight.”

“Thanks to the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s. The passage of the NAPA Reauthorization Act and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act is the next important step to continue the work of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and ensure that the nation continues to prioritize addressing Alzheimer’s and all other dementia,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the sponsors for introducing this important bipartisan legislation to help improve the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s throughout the country. The Alzheimer’s Association looks forward to working with our tireless advocates and these congressional champions to advance this bipartisan legislation.”

“The passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act more than a decade ago was a turning point in our nation’s fight against Alzheimer’s, fundamentally changing the trajectory of disease research for the better,” said George Vradenburg, chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is thankful to Sen. Collins for her leadership on behalf of patients living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones. We look forward to working with her and other members of Congress to reauthorize NAPA and continue driving toward an end to Alzheimer’s disease.”

 

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 WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined HELP Chair Patty Murray and Senator Bob Casey, as well as 28 of their Democratic colleagues, in sending a letter to Mardi Mountford, President of the Infant Nutrition Council of America, calling on infant formula manufacturers to make every effort possible to get parents and families the formula they need to feed their kids. Over the past several months, and particularly in light of the massive recall following contaminated formula from Abbott Nutrition, a major supplier, it has become increasingly difficult for families to access infant formula.

“We write to express our concern about the infant formula supply shortage which is making it harder for parents and caregivers nationwide to get their children the nourishment they need. Formula is a critical source of nutrition for newborns and infants, and this supply shortage has put their health and development at risk. We are calling on you and your member companies to take immediate action and ensure that infant formula manufacturers are making every effort to mitigate this dangerous shortage and get children the nourishment they need,” wrote the senators.

In the letter to the Infant Nutrition Council of America today, the senators stressed how dire the situation is for families, and urged formula manufacturers to take action to increase infant formula production and distribution, and prevent future supply chain disruptions.

“This shortage has placed an unacceptable burden on parents and caregivers and has put the health of babies and infants at risk. For many families, infant formula is critical for ensuring their children receive the nutrition they need to grow healthy and well-nourished,” the letter continued. “This shortage has been especially challenging for some of the most vulnerable infants, with particularly acute shortages of specialty formulas to address health needs such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or metabolic disorders.  There is no easy substitute for infant formula, and this shortage has left families across the nation scrambling to figure out how they will safely care for their children.”

The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear President Mountford:

We write to express our concern about the infant formula supply shortage which is making it harder for parents and caregivers nationwide to get their children the nourishment they need. Formula is a critical source of nutrition for newborns and infants, and this supply shortage has put their health and development at risk. We are calling on you and your member companies to take immediate action and ensure that infant formula manufacturers are making every effort to mitigate this dangerous shortage and get children the nourishment they need.

Over the past several months—and particularly in light of the massive recall following contaminated formula from Abbott Nutrition, a major supplier—it has become increasingly difficult for families to access infant formula. According to a recent report, between November 2021 and early April 2022, the national out-of-stock rate for infant formula rose to 31 percent—an 11 percent increase. These numbers varied significantly across the country, with some metropolitan areas seeing out-of-stock rates of over 50 percent. In several states, more than half of their infant formula supply was sold out by the last week of April] Major retailers are implementing nationwide restrictions on infant formula purchases.

This shortage has placed an unacceptable burden on parents and caregivers and has put the health of babies and infants at risk. For many families, infant formula is critical for ensuring their children receive the nutrition they need to grow healthy and well-nourished. This shortage has been especially challenging for some of the most vulnerable infants, with particularly acute shortages of specialty formulas to address health needs such as allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or metabolic disorders. There is no easy substitute for infant formula, and this shortage has left families across the nation scrambling to figure out how they will safely care for their children.

We urge the Infant Nutrition Council of America and your member companies to do all you can to increase infant formula production and distribution, and prevent future supply chain disruptions.

Sincerely,

 

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $114,700,190 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to increase affordable housing across the Commonwealth.

“All Virginians deserve access to safe and affordable housing, but rents and home prices have skyrocketed across Virginia in recent years,” the senators said. “We’re glad that this funding will go to supporting the construction of new affordable housing units and help Virginians access more housing options.”

The funding was awarded through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), and Housing Trust Fund (HTF).

Warner and Kaine, a former fair housing attorney, have long supported efforts to increase affordable housing. Warner and Kaine strongly advocated for increases in federal funding for these programs. Warner and Kaine have also introduced legislation that would address rising home prices, assist first-generation homebuyers, and close the widening wealth and homeownership gaps.

A breakdown of the funding based on program is below.

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

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$18,813,102

Alexandria

$1,143,364

Blacksburg

$534,673

Bristol

$269,250

Charlottesville

$414,907

Chesapeake

$1,141,624

Christiansburg

$125,664

Colonial Heights

$106,471

Danville

$852,803

Fredericksburg

$203,268

Hampton

$903,077

Harrisonburg

$538,229

Hopewell

$225,305

Lynchburg

$714,845

Newport News

$1,287,677

Norfolk

$4,435,015

Petersburg

$583,253

Portsmouth

$1,539,655

Radford

$183,174

Richmond

$4,474,570

Roanoke

$1,818,463

Staunton

$317,340

Suffolk

$488,891

Virginia Beach

$1,968,186

Waynesboro

$187,537

Winchester

$275,326

Arlington County

$1,333,133

Chesterfield County

$1,496,877

Fairfax County

$5,918,926

Henrico County

$1,645,428

Loudoun County

$1,379,452

Prince William County

$2,636,075

TOTAL

$57,955,560

 

HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME): The HOME program partners with nonprofits to build, buy, or rehabilitate affordable housing and provides direct rental assistance to low-income individuals. The Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill included $1.5 billion for the HOME program and was the highest level of funding in the past decade.

 

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$12,031,604

Alexandria

$693,431

Blacksburg

$651,299

Charlottesville

$747,825

Chesapeake

$613,692

Danville

$328,742

Hampton

$570,404

Lynchburg

$421,034

Newport News

$871,322

Norfolk

$1,378,254

Portsmouth

$464,737

Richmond

$1,764,354

Roanoke

$760,067

Suffolk

$465,021

Virginia Beach

$1,163,266

Winchester

$713,163

Arlington County

$823,984

Chesterfield County

$679,539

Fairfax County

$2,471,231

Henrico County

$991,558

Prince William County

$1,015,307

TOTAL

$29,619,834

 

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

 

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$3,048,024

Norfolk

$382,849

Richmond

$384,355

Roanoke

$156,541

Virginia Beach

$171,520

Fairfax County

$515,135

Henrico County

$146,882

Prince William County

$226,857

TOTAL

$5,032,163

 

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

 

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$1,582,493

Richmond

$1,794,492

Virginia Beach

$2,676,916

TOTAL

$6,053,901

Housing Trust Fund (HTF): The HTF provides funding for construction, reconstruction, or rehabilitation of affordable housing for low- and very low-income households and requires HTF units to have a minimum affordability period of 30 years.

 

City/County

Amount of Funding

Commonwealth of Virginia

$16,038,732

 

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WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement after their bipartisan bill to commemorate historic sites that catalyzed litigation leading to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, was signed into law by President Biden:

“We’re excited our legislation to commemorate the Moton Museum in Farmville and other historic sites associated with the Brown v. Board of Education decision was signed into law today by President Biden,” Sens. Warner and Kaine said. “This bill will preserve the site and help ensure future generations can learn about its significance, as well as the history of Barbara Johns, who led her classmates in a protest against school segregation at the Moton School.”

The Brown v. Board of Education National Historical Park Expansion and Redesignation Act will expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas and designate National Park Service (NPS) Affiliated Areas in Delaware, South Carolina, Kansas, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Specifically, it will recognize the Moton Museum, formerly the Robert Russa Moton High School, in Farmville, Virginia, where Barbara Johns led a protest against school segregation and demanded better conditions for Black students. This designation would help protect the site.

The 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka transformed the United States, overruling Plessy v. Ferguson and striking down school segregation as unconstitutional. The Brown decision was a major catalyst of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

The bill unanimously passed the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) led the Senate version of the bill. Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC 6) led companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Senators Warner and Kaine secured $500,000 in funding for critical facility upgrades at the Moton Museum in Farmville through the Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, and supported efforts to honor Barbara Johns as one of Virginia’s two statues in the United States Capitol.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and one of the Senators tasked with negotiating the U.S. jobs and competitiveness package, delivered opening remarks at the first meeting of the congressional conference committee.

“We’ve seen America’s supply of semiconductors fall from about 33 percent of manufacturing down to single digits. We’ve almost seen the exact converse take place in terms of China’s investments,” Chairman Warner said in his opening statement. “My fear is that what we are seeing in semiconductors and the need for us to make investments, we may need similar types of approaches in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, synthetic biology. We need to maintain America and the West’s leadership in cutting-edge technologies.”

In April, Chairman Warner was selected to serve on the conference committee of Senators and House members working to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the jobs and competitiveness bill. This bill has been known variously as the Bipartisan Innovation Act, America COMPETES Act, the United States Innovation and Competition Act, and the Endless Frontier Act.

Once the conference committee comes to an agreement on a final version of the bill, the House and Senate will each vote on whether to send that bill to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.  

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, issued the following statement after voting to confirm Jerome H. Powell to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years:

“Chair Powell is respected on both sides of the aisle for his steady leadership during the pandemic – a difficult time for our economy. I am proud to have voted this week to bring new diversity and perspectives to the Fed Board, and I am glad to see Chair Powell re-confirmed today. I look forward to having a full Board of Governors soon, and to working with all of them to maintain our economic recovery, curb inflation, and ensure that our economic growth lifts up all of our communities.”

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, released the statement below after voting for a procedural motion to advance legislation to codify reproductive rights into law. The legislation failed to move forward by a vote of 49-51 after falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to open debate on the bill.

“I’m gravely concerned by the Senate’s failure to codify Roe. For almost 50 years, women have had the right to make private medical decisions about their own reproductive health. If the Supreme Court does overturn Roe soon, women in many states will be stripped of their right to a safe abortion – including in cases of sexual assault, incest, or high-risk pregnancies. This is not what the majority of Virginians or Americans support, and it sets an extremely dangerous precedent for rolling back established rights. I’m extremely disappointed that the Senate chose inaction, but I’ll keep supporting measures to allow women to access the care they need.” 

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WASHINGTON - As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) works to finalize policy changes to modernize and enhance the agency’s rules relating to cybersecurity, a bipartisan group of leading U.S. Senators is urging the SEC to increase transparency for investors in an age of persistent cybersecurity threats with rising economic costs. 

In March, the SEC published proposed rules on Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure. The proposed rules seek to enhance and standardize disclosures regarding public companies ’ cybersecurity risk governance, including disclosure of whether any directors on a company’s board have cybersecurity expertise.  The proposed rules would affect public companies that are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

This week, U.S. Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Angus King (I-ME), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Susan Collins (R-ME) sent a comment letter to the SEC urging the agency to finalize rules regarding disclosures of the board’s oversight of cybersecurity risks. 

The seven Senators, all cosponsors of the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act (S. 808), have urged the SEC to issue the exact rules that the agency proposed in March to require publicly traded companies to disclose whether they have cybersecurity expertise on their boards of directors.

The Senators wrote: “The Proposal would implement bipartisan legislation that we have introduced called the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act.  That legislation directs the SEC to issue rules requiring each public company to disclose, in its annual report or annual proxy statement, whether any member of its governing body has expertise or experience in cybersecurity, including details necessary to describe fully the nature of that expertise or experience.  And if no member has such expertise or experience, a company would be required to describe what other aspects of the company’s cybersecurity were considered by any person, such as an official serving on a nominating committee, who is responsible for identifying and evaluating nominees for membership to the governing body.

“The Proposal follows the intent of our bill by encouraging directors to play a more effective role in cybersecurity risk oversight at public companies, and we commend the SEC for issuing a Proposal that would achieve this important goal.” 

Full text of the letter follows:

May 9, 2022

Re: Cybersecurity Risk Management, Strategy, Governance, and Incident Disclosure (SEC File No. S7-09-22).

Dear Ms. Countryman:

                We write to respectfully request that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) finalize, as proposed, rules requiring periodic disclosures by public companies regarding cybersecurity expertise on their boards of directors and management’s role in implementing cybersecurity policies and procedures (the Proposal). 

The Proposal would implement bipartisan legislation that we have introduced called the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act.  That legislation directs the SEC to issue rules requiring each public company to disclose, in its annual report or annual proxy statement, whether any member of its governing body has expertise or experience in cybersecurity, including details necessary to describe fully the nature of that expertise or experience.  And if no member has such expertise or experience, a company would be required to describe what other aspects of the company’s cybersecurity were considered by any person, such as an official serving on a nominating committee, who is responsible for identifying and evaluating nominees for membership to the governing body.

The Proposal follows the intent of our bill by encouraging directors to play a more effective role in cybersecurity risk oversight at public companies, and we commend the SEC for issuing a Proposal that would achieve this important goal. 

We respectfully request that the SEC finalize Items 106(c) and 407(j) of Regulation S-K as proposed.  Item 106(c) would require disclosure about public companies’ cybersecurity governance, including the board’s oversight of cybersecurity risk and a description of management’s role in assessing and managing cybersecurity risks, the relevant experience of management, and its role in implementing cybersecurity policies, procedures, and strategies. Item 407(j) would require disclosure about the cybersecurity expertise of members of the board of directors, if any, including the name of any director, and details to describe the nature of the expertise.

I.             Cybersecurity is an important component of long term shareholder value.

Cybersecurity incidents have never been more frequent, complex, and costly.  Last year, the overall number of data breaches reached an all-time high of 1,862, up 23% year-over-year. Almost all of these data breaches were caused by cyberattacks.  The average cost of a data breach has also reached an all-time high last year of $4.24 million, up 10% year-over-year. To take one concrete example at the high end of this scale, the Equifax breach in 2017 ultimately cost the company over $1.7 billion. Companies of all sizes and in many industries have experienced serious cybersecurity incidents with significant impacts on customers, counterparties, and investors. 

Investors often bear the costs associated with these incidents.  The Proposal details a number of specific costs to companies and shareholders, including payments to meet ransom, liability for stolen information, increased insurance premiums, lost revenues due to theft of intellectual property, reputational damage, and litigation costs. These costs culminate in damage not only to a company’s profitability, but also to its stock price.  According to a report by leading economic consulting firms, a severe cybersecurity breach causes an average permanent decline in a company’s valuation of 1.8%.[5]  The Proposal would provide investors with the disclosure they deserve regarding how public companies plan to guard against these risks before they materialize.

II.            The Proposal provides powerful incentives for public companies to bolster cybersecurity, preserving long-term shareholder value. 

Prudent management of cybersecurity risk is important to maintaining long-term shareholder value.  Directors therefore have a responsibility to manage this risk and contribute to a company’s cybersecurity.  But corporate boards are struggling to meet this important obligation.  Only 40% of boards have a director with cybersecurity experience.  And a recent survey by consulting firm EY confirmed a “deficiency of cybersecurity expertise at the C-suite level.” Indeed, according to a recent survey, 60% of directors “don’t believe that cybersecurity should get in the way of business operations.” The Proposal appropriately recognizes that boards must be more vigilant because cybersecurity is among the most significant challenges companies face. 

The Proposal would create powerful incentives for public companies to pay greater attention to cybersecurity risks.  According to a report by the prior Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors, “mandatory disclosure requirements were previously shown to incentivize firms to adopt better cybersecurity measures.” The Proposal’s board level expertise disclosure requirement is a prime example of such an incentive.  The North American Securities Administrators Association agrees that “[i]ncentivizing publicly traded companies to consider whether or not they have appropriate cybersecurity expertise on their governing body is a common-sense way to promote greater attention to cybersecurity risk by public corporations. Investors and customers are well-served by policies that encourage companies to consider such risks proactively, as opposed to after a data breach has already occurred, when such investors and customers have already been harmed.” Proposed Item 106(c) of Regulation S-K would direct public companies to provide these exact disclosures. 

The disclosures in the Proposal will also enable investors to hold public companies accountable.  In a letter of support for the Cybersecurity Disclosure Act, the Council of Institutional Investors stated its belief that “cybersecurity is an integral component of a board’s role in risk oversight.” In another letter of support, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System said that this approach will “ensure that investors have access to decision useful information to better assess the ability of corporate management to adequately address cybersecurity risks.” And according to consulting firm EY, “remaining cyber-resilient and building stakeholder trust in the company’s data security and privacy practices is a strategic imperative. Public disclosures can help build trust by providing transparency and assurance around how boards are fulfilling their cybersecurity risk oversight responsibilities.” If public companies provide the market with more insights into their governance of cybersecurity risks, then investors will be better equipped to decide whether to invest in a public company and how to vote in elections for directors.

III.           Cybersecurity poses unique risks to public companies, which justify the disclosures required by the Proposal.

The unique harms caused by cybersecurity breaches justify the Proposal.  According to testimony by Professor John Coates of Harvard Law School before the Senate Banking Committee:

[T]here is maybe going to be some suggestion that there is a slippery slope and there is all kinds of risks and that cyber is one of them and so on. I really do want to emphasize that cyber is unique. Other than financial risk, where we already have an obligation for boards to say do they have financial expertise on the board or not, other than financial risk, cyber risk is, I believe, the one type of risk that is almost universal among public companies. It is very hard to think of a public company in this network age that is not at least somewhat exposed to cyber risk.

This is precisely why cybersecurity risk warrants special attention from the SEC.  The Proposal is narrowly tailored to require disclosure of board-level expertise that is important to mitigating this singular risk to public companies’ profitability and valuation. 

Moreover, the Proposal accomplishes this goal while providing appropriate discretion to public companies to define what constitutes “cybersecurity expertise” and to address cybersecurity risks through any means they see fit.  The Proposal, like our legislation, does not mandate that any company’s board actually have a person with expertise in cybersecurity or require companies to take any actions other than to provide this disclosure.  We respectfully request that the SEC adopt this flexible disclosure approach over mandating any set of best practices, in order to encourage boards to develop approaches that are tailored to mitigate risks to the specific set of shareholders to which they are accountable.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass the supplemental aid package that will deliver more than $40 billion in additional aid to support Ukraine: 

“The Ukrainian people are facing horrific violence inflicted by Russia. In the face of significant tragedy and loss of life, so many are fighting to repel Putin’s authoritarian campaign and preserve the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. I’m glad that the House voted to advance this critical legislation, which will provide Ukraine with critically needed humanitarian and military assistance. I’m proud to have successfully pushed for $5 billion in food aid to help support the remarkable work of non-governmental organizations that are responding to this crisis on the ground by providing hot meals, food supplies, and other desperately-needed aid.”

Behind the scenes and in public, Sen. Warner has been a strong advocate for increasing available funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have been on the ground since day one, working to address the dire humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This package will now head to the Senate, which will vote on whether to send the bill to President Biden for his signature.  

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (Both D-VA) and Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-MD) issued the following joint statement in response to the announcement that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Board of Directors has selected Randy Clarke as its new General Manager and CEO. Clarke currently serves as President and CEO of Capital Metro in Austin, Texas.

 “Safe and reliable Metrobus and Metrorail service is essential for our constituents in the National Capital Region, for millions of visitors each year and for the employees who make the federal government function every day. For this reason, we are encouraged that the WMATA Board of Directors has selected a new General Manager and CEO who brings experience in safety oversight.

“As stalwart advocates for supporting and improving transit in the National Capital Region and continuing Metro’s strong federal partnership, we look forward to meeting with Mr. Clarke as soon as possible to learn more about his experience managing transit in major and rapidly-growing cities, and to discuss Metro’s urgent needs and our shared priorities for the future. We are ready to work with Mr. Clarke as he takes on the challenges Metro faces as our region moves forward from the pandemic.”

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 WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded  President Biden’s announcement of new efforts to lower high-speed internet costs for Virginians and all Americans, including commitments from 20 internet providers to either increase speeds or cut prices to no more than $30/month for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)-eligible households. Warner and Kaine helped create the ACP, which was established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Warner negotiated and they both voted to pass. 1,908,000 or 23% of people in Virginia will be eligible for the ACP.  

“We’ve made great progress in expanding broadband in Virginia, but too many Virginians still face challenges in accessing internet due to high costs. These steps to lower internet costs for families are critical to address that gap. We’re glad the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help more families stay connected with friends and loved ones, access telehealth services, and find job and educational opportunities online,” Sens. Warner and Kaine said.

Specifically, the ACP program provides a $30 per month discount, or $75 per month for households on tribal lands, for low-income families to use toward any internet service of their choosing. Today’s commitments from the 20 internet providers will mean tens of millions of ACP-eligible households will receive high-speed internet at no cost. Households can also receive a one-time $100 discount for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet. Eligible households must have an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or have a family member that meets at least one of these criteria outlined by the Federal Communications Commission. Virginians can go to GetInternet.gov to sign up for the ACP and find participating providers in their area.

As Governors and Senators, Warner and Kaine have long supported expanding broadband access in Virginia. During the pandemic, they secured significant funding for broadband through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the December 2020 government funding bill, which included COVID relief, and the  American Rescue Plan. They also introduced legislation to help students access the internet at home. The Fiscal Year 2022 government funding bill supported by Warner and Kaine included $550 million to expand access to broadband and $450 million for the ReConnect program to help rural communities access the internet.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, released the following statement after the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced a proposed change to regulations surrounding the Community Reinvestment Act:

“I am pleased that federal banking agencies worked together to produce this joint notice of proposed rulemaking to modernize and strengthen their regulations implementing the Community Reinvestment Act. The CRA is one of the best tools we have to drive investments in underserved and underbanked communities, but it needs to be updated to reflect the fundamental changes we have seen in the banking sector since 1995, the last time there were significant revisions to the rules. As a former entrepreneur, I understand how important access to capital is to start a business and build wealth. Ensuring broader access to affordable credit, whether it’s to buy a house, start a business, or pay for emergency expenses, is vital to address inequalities and close the racial wealth gap. I look forward to reviewing the proposed rule in coordination with all stakeholders to ensure we end up with a strengthened, 21st-century CRA that can continue to drive meaningful change in low- and moderate-income communities.”

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