Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $43,637 in federal funding for the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistant to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The fire department will use the funding to replace a 20-year old air compressor. The new compressor will provide breathing air to support firefighters when working in dangerous environments. 

“We are pleased to announce federal funding to support York County’s Fire Department and ensure they have the tools they need to serve the community and keep the firefighters safe,” the Senators said. 

The primary goal of FEMA’s AFG program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations and State Fire Training Academies for critically-needed resources.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, filed anamendment to the defense appropriations bill to prohibit President Trump from abusing the security clearance process to punish his critics. 

“President Trump’s actions over the last week are beyond outrageous. His tactics are reminiscent of another president who abused his office to settle scores and punish critics. By revoking or threatening to revoke the security clearances of former intelligence officials who have criticized his conduct in office, President Trump is setting an extremely dangerous precedent. He’s using the powers of his office in an attempt to intimidate and silence his opponents, and he is politicizing a process that is, by design, supposed to be non-partisan and apolitical,” said Sen. Warner today.  

Sen. Warner offered an amendment to the defense appropriations bill currently under debate on the Senate floor prohibiting the use of federal funds to revoke an individual’s security clearance, except in accordance with Part 147 of title 32, Code of Federal Regulations, and Executive Orders 12968 and 13467 as in effect on August 15, 2018 – the day President Trump revoked John Brennan’s security clearance. Text of the amendment is available here. 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), David Perdue (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) sent a letter to the Secretary of the Army raising concerns over a recent report about lead poisonings and dangerous lead levels in housing on U.S. Army installations, endangering military families. 

“We write to you today concerned about recent reports of lead poisoning at a number of Army installations. The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance,” the Senators said. 

While the sale of lead-based paint is banned in the United States, many older homes still have the old paint on walls, which can become dangerous to children as it peels and chips. Young children are most susceptible to lead poisoning and face long-term developmental delays.

The report highlights cases of lead poisoning at on-base housing at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and a 2015 Department of Defense IG report that found lead paint hazards at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. In the letter, the Senators ask Army Secretary Mark Esper to provide a detailed briefing about what the Army is doing to keep military families safe and what they need from Congress to address this problem. 

“We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable,” the Senators concluded.

 

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

Dear Secretary Esper,

 

We write to you today concerned about recent reports of lead poisoning at a number of Army installations. The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance. 

 

A recent Reuters report highlighted cases of lead poisoning at on-base housing at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Knox, Kentucky. This follows a 2015 DoD inspector general report that found significant lead paint hazards at Ft. Belvoir in Virginia. At Fort Benning, Reuters conducted tests at five homes using methodology designed with a Columbia University geochemist. All five homes contained hazardous levels of deteriorating lead paint with one home far exceeding the federal threshold. Fort Knox contained levels 100 times the federal threshold.  According to Reuters, records from Brooks Army Medical Center in Texas show that from 2011 to 2016 more than 1,050 small children on bases nationwide tested positive for traces of lead higher than the Centers of Disease Control’s elevated threshold.  The report also raises concerns that the Army has discouraged certified testing to identify deteriorating lead paint in base homes and that base hospitals have not properly reported incidents of children with high lead tests to state health departments. 

 

As the report points out, these on-base homes, managed and operated largely through private partnerships, are putting families and children at risk.  We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable.

 

Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Jack Reed (D-RI) and 46 of their Democratic colleagues in a letter to Office of Management & Budget Director Mick Mulvaney to urge the Trump Administration to continue protecting servicemembers and their families from abusive financial practices. The Senators are asking the Trump Administration not to abandon protections established under the Military Lending Act (MLA). The MLA was passed in 2006 with bipartisan support to help safeguard active-duty military members and their families from financial fraud, predatory loans, and abusive credit practices.  Among other military consumer protections, the law caps the annual interest rate for an extension of consumer credit to a servicemember or their dependents at 36 percent.  

“The CFPB should not be abandoning its duty to protect our servicemembers and their families, and we seek your commitment that you will utilize all of the authorities available to the CFPB to ensure that servicemembers and their families continue to receive all of their MLA protections,” the Senators wrote.  

This week, the New York Times reported that: “The Trump Administration is planning to suspend routine examinations of lenders for violations of the Military Lending Act, which was devised to protect military service members and their families from financial fraud, predatory loans and credit card gouging, according to internal agency documents.  Mick Mulvaney, the interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, intends to scrap the use of so-called supervisory examinations of lenders, arguing that such proactive oversight is not explicitly laid out in the legislation, the main consumer measure protecting active-duty service members, according to a two-page draft of the change.” 

And NPR reported that the Trump Administration is also taking aim at financial protections for members of the military by proposing to ease restrictions on “gap insurance” that could open up servicemembers to getting cheated by predatory practices when they purchase cars.

The Senators highlighted that U.S. troops face unique financial challenges and that the financial readiness of our servicemembers is directly tied to military readiness, calling on Mr. Mulvaney not to halt military lending checks or undertake measures that would potentially harm U.S. troops and their families.

“In addition, for our servicemembers, especially those who are deployed overseas facing hostile fire, it is unreasonable to place the burden of detecting and reporting MLA abuses on servicemembers, especially when they should be given every opportunity to focus squarely on their missions,” wrote the Senators.  “What the CFPB is reported to be contemplating is equivalent to forcing our armed forces to stop using radar, sonar, and other early warning technologies and instead react to threats as they occur.   No one would force our armed forces to do so, and the CFPB should not similarly force any of its examiners to turn a blind eye.  For generations, Americans have set partisanship aside and have made every effort to provide servicemembers and their families with all the resources and protections they deserve.  We ask no less of you and, as such, seek your commitment that you will continue the CFPB’s tradition of ensuring that servicemembers and their families receive all of their MLA protections by utilizing all of the authorities available to the CFPB.”

The Office of Servicemember Affairs at the CFPB has handled more than 90,000 consumer complaints from servicemembers and their families and taken action to help return hundreds of millions into the pockets of servicemembers affected by harmful practices

 

The text of the letter is below:    

 

August 15, 2018

 

Mick Mulvaney                                                                     

Director                                                                                

Office of Management and Budget                                       

725 17th Street, NW                                                               

Washington, DC 20503                                                        

 

Dear Director Mulvaney:

 

We write regarding reports that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will no longer protect servicemembers and their families by including the Military Lending Act (MLA) as part of the CFPB’s routine lender examinations due to a purported lack of authority.  These reports are puzzling because the CFPB already possesses the authority to enforce the MLA and examine many types of lenders for the purposes of “detecting and assessing risks to consumers and to markets for consumer financial products and services.”  The CFPB should not be abandoning its duty to protect our servicemembers and their families, and we seek your commitment that you will utilize all of the authorities available to the CFPB to ensure that servicemembers and their families continue to receive all of their MLA protections.

 

By enacting the MLA, Congress sent a clear bipartisan message that high-cost lending is a clear risk to military consumers that must be addressed to also protect military readiness.  Indeed, among its provisions, the MLA caps the annual interest rate for an extension of consumer credit to a servicemember or his or her dependents at 36%.  CFPB examinations and the CFPB’s Office of Servicemember Affairs have been critical components of ensuring the detection and prevention of risks to military consumers.  Such examinations serve as the early warning system for MLA deficiencies so that they do not snowball into costly losses for servicemembers and avoidable litigation costs and penalties for lenders.

 

Given your senior role at the Office of Management and Budget, we are sure you are aware that the MLA also helps the Department of Defense (DOD) to save taxpayer funds based on the following DOD justification for its MLA rule:

 

“Losing qualified Service members due to personal issues, such as financial instability, causes loss of mission capability and drives significant replacement costs. The Department estimates that each separation costs the Department $58,250.  Losing an experienced mid-grade noncommissioned officer (NCO), who may be in a leadership position or key technical position, may be considerably more expensive in terms of replacement costs and in terms of the degradation of mission effectiveness resulting from a loss of personal reliability for deployment and availability for duty.”

 

Needlessly stopping MLA examinations altogether and choosing instead to rely on reports of MLA violations after they occurred is further perplexing given that the CFPB is already conducting lender examinations of credit products that are also subject to the MLA.  Such a policy decision would be both inefficient and irresponsible to require a CFPB examiner to ignore as part of his or her examination risks to military consumers who are protected by the MLA.  In addition, for our servicemembers, especially those who are deployed overseas facing hostile fire, it is unreasonable to place the burden of detecting and reporting MLA abuses on servicemembers, especially when they should be given every opportunity to focus squarely on their missions.  

 

What the CFPB is reported to be contemplating is equivalent to forcing our armed forces to stop using radar, sonar, and other early warning technologies and instead react to threats as they occur.   No one would force our armed forces to do so, and the CFPB should not similarly force any of its examiners to turn a blind eye.  For generations, Americans have set partisanship aside and have made every effort to provide servicemembers and their families with all the resources and protections they deserve.  We ask no less of you and, as such, seek your commitment that you will continue the CFPB’s tradition of ensuring that servicemembers and their families receive all of their MLA protections by utilizing all of the authorities available to the CFPB.   We request that you respond with your commitment no later than Monday, August 20.

 

Sincerely,


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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $846,000 in federal funding for the County of Orange Fire & EMS through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistant to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The fire department will use the funding to purchase 132 self-contained breathing apparatuses with spare cylinders and 66 additional face pieces. 

“We are pleased to announce funding to help Orange County’s Fire Department purchase the equipment it needs to support operations and ensure it can best serve the community,” the Senators said. 

The primary goal of FEMA’s AFG program is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters by providing direct financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services organizations and State Fire Training Academies for critically-needed resources.

 

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WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) will receive $75,000 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to assist small or emerging businesses in the Historic Downtown District in Culpeper, Va. CRI plans to use this funding to set up a financing mechanism that will allow local businesses to leverage loans that will help develop and expand their businesses.   

“We are pleased these federal funds will give local businesses in Culpeper the ability to expand, innovate, and invest in their own community,” said the Senators. “We look forward to continuing to support the work local entities are doing to revitalize the Culpeper downtown region and spur business investment that will benefit the local economy.”

Designated in 1988, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc. (CRI) is a member of the Virginia Main Street program. The Main Street program was organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help revitalize the economic vitality of downtown commercial districts. The funds provided by CRI will be used for the acquisition and development of land, easements, and rights-of-way, loans for startup operating costs, and working capital, and other business needs. This project has a total cost of $90,000, with $15,000 provided by the local organization while the rest is being covered by USDA through this grant.

The USDA Rural Business Development Grant Program is designed to support targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas. Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought for increased funding to help support rural communities, most recently voting in support of legislation that provided funding for this federal program.  

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today announced $75,000 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support small businesses and job creation in rural Southwest Virginia communities affected by changes in the coal industry. The funds were awarded to Virginia Community Capital, Inc., which will provide technical assistance – such as one-on-one counseling, education, and workshops – to a minimum of ten small businesses in order to help them succeed and grow. 

“As the nation’s economy continues to recover, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure struggling communities aren’t left behind,”said the Senators. “That is why we’re pleased to announce these critical federal dollars to help small businesses in Southwest Virginia receive tools they need to thrive in a 21st century economy.”

Today’s announcement is expected to result in the creation or retention of 15 jobs in rural communities that were impacted by a shift in coal production. The funding was awarded through the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small businesses in rural areas. 

As Governor, Warner help establish Virginia Community Capital (VCC) as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with an initial $15 million investment, with the goal of leveraging that initial investment for an economic return to underserved areas. Since its inception, VCC has grown that original investment into more than $1 billion in statewide impact, with VCC-financed projects creating or retaining more than 6,495 jobs across the Commonwealth. In the Senate, Sens. Warner and Kaine have pushed for federal dollars to support rural communities in Southwest Virginia, including fully funding the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration. 

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised Marine Hydraulics International, Inc. in Norfolk for receiving $505,617 in federal funding to purchase rolling stock, forklifts, quay wall, and support operations.

“We are pleased that with this federal funding Marine Hydraulics will be able to purchase new equipment that can support their day-to-day operations and help the world’s largest naval station right here in Norfolk maintain the world-class fleet that keeps our country safe,” the Senators said.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD)’s Small Shipyard Grant Program. This grant program helps support shipyards as they modernize operations, invest in emerging technologies, and improve efficiency. In a letter to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Warner and Kaine called for strong funding to support the Small Shipyard Grant Program.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $400,000 in federal funding for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Drug Court Program and $350,000 in federal funding for the Richmond Adult Drug Treatment Court (RADTC) Program.

“We are pleased to announce funding to ensure drug courts in Virginia can provide treatment services, enhance public safety, and reduce crime in local communities. Drug courts are a critical part of our criminal justice system because they focus on prevention and rehabilitation, so those suffering from addiction have a better chance at recovery and are less likely to commit crimes in the future, ” the Senators said.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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Warner & Kaine Urge Newly Confirmed VA Secretary to Review Political Influence Plaguing Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Senators urge VA Secretary to examine if politically motivated actions have impacted the VA’s delivery of care and benefits for veterans after ProPublica report

Aug 13 2018

WASHINGTON – Following a ProPublica investigation showing potential political influence on policy decisions at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) joined Senate colleagues urging the recently confirmed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to review the actions taken by unconfirmed appointees in advance of Secretary Wilkie’s arrival.

“We are concerned that many of the actions taken by VA in the time between your departure from the Acting Secretary role and your swearing-in as Secretary were planned and executed to serve political interests and agendas, rather than to serve the best interests of veterans,” the Senators wrote. “We believe you have the faith and confidence of the Senate to lead the Department based on the values you expressed in multiple Member meetings and in your confirmation hearing.  We want you to succeed, and veterans need you to succeed.  For that to happen, you will need to right the ship at VA by reassuring the nonpartisan career employees that their institutional knowledge and dedication is valued, and by ensuring that everyone under your direction operates with one principle in mind – to serve the nation’s veterans and not anyone’s political interests.”

The Senators specifically ask Secretary Wilkie to examine the impact on the VA’s ability to deliver health care and benefits to veterans following actions by Acting VA Secretary Peter O’Rourke’s to appoint and install key senior leaders without input from Secretary Wilkie; to implement President Trump’s recent Executive Orders that strip VA employees of certain workforce protections; to interfere with the independent Inspector General’s efforts to hold the VA accountable; and to reassign or remove nonpartisan VA career civil servants. The Senators also urge Secretary Wilkie to take his cues from veterans and not unaccountable, politically motivated voices outside the VA.

“We encourage you to recall the commitment you made in your confirmation hearing to do what is best for veterans, even if it is in disagreement with others in the Administration,” the Senators added. “It is clear now that direction is often coming to VA from voices who are outside the Department, who may have financial interests in the contracting decisions made, and who have not been entrusted to make decisions, through election to office or confirmation by the Senate, on behalf of this nation’s veterans.  As Secretary, our nation’s veterans are counting on you to safeguard them and the Department from inappropriate engagement from outside individuals.”

Joining Sens. Warner and Kaine on the letter were Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Jon Tester (D-MT), Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH).

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) issued the following statement to mark the one-year anniversary of the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va. on August 11-12, 2017 that claimed the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates:

“Today we remember the lives lost following the deadly rally that occurred a year ago in Charlottesville, when a group of white nationalists came to a peaceful Virginia town seeking to use hate and division to incite violence against fair-minded, innocent civilians. Their words and their actions betrayed President Lincoln’s appeal to ‘the better angels of our nature,’ forcing us to confront some of the demons that still plague our society today. These purveyors of hate and bigotry were emboldened to take their message public by a President who has refused to categorically and unequivocally condemn their message and actions in clear terms.

“Let us take a moment today to celebrate and honor the lives of Heather Heyer, Lt. Jay Cullen, and Trooper-Pilot Berke Bates. As we honor their memories, we must also continue to heal the racial wounds of our past. We must show that what sets us apart as citizens of this country are our values of respect, openness, and tolerance towards one another. Without that, we cannot fulfill the promise of a more perfect union.”

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One Year After Deadly Charlottesville Rally, Warner & Kaine Press DOJ for Updates on Combating Racial Hate

Letter presses the Administration on carrying out actions to combat hate crimes as outlined in joint resolution led last year by Warner and Kaine

Aug 10 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote a letter to John Gore, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice (DOJ), pressing for more answers on how the Administration is implementing actions specifically outlined by S.J.Res.49, a joint resolution condemning racial hate and directing a coordinated federal effort to address hate violence, following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va. on August 11 and August 12, 2017.

The bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Warner and Kaine along with Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO), unanimously passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Trump on September 14, 2017. The resolution explicitly condemned white nationalists, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups involved in prompting the deadly attack in Charlottesville, Va. that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer, injured several others, and led to the deaths of two Virginia state troopers responding to the violence. Additionally, the resolution outlined specific actions for the Administration to take to fight hate violence, including thoroughly investigating all acts of hate crimes and domestic terrorism by hate groups, and calling upon the Administration to “use all resources available to the President and the President's Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”

Now, nearly one year after the bipartisan resolution was signed into law by President Trump, Sens. Warner and Kaine are pressing for answers on actions the Administration is taking - or not taking - to uphold the terms of the resolution calling for a coordinated federal effort to fight hate violence. 

“We are particularly interested if you have implemented, or plan to implement, the following: the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing hate violence, sufficient funding for civil rights offices, robust data collection procedures to document the prevalence and nature of hate crimes in the U.S., a federal website on hate violence to convene resources and communicate effectively to the public, the development of incentives for participation in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hate Crime Statistics Act reports, increased training and education for jurisdictions that underreport hate crimes, and the use of grants to promote strong enforcement on these issues,” wrote the Senators.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

 

John M. Gore
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Acting Assistant Attorney General Gore:

Nearly one year has passed since the violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia between August 11 and August 12, 2017. As the one year anniversary of that tragedy approaches, we write regarding the progress made by the Department of Justice in carrying out the actions called for in S.J.Res.49, a joint resolution condemning that event.

President Trump signed the resolution into law (P.L. 115-58) on September 14, 2017. As Virginia’s Senators, we led the effort that unanimously passed both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by the President. The legislation rejects White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and other hate groups, and urges action from the President and his administration to combat this growing threat.

Specifically, the law urges the Attorney General to work with “the Secretary of Homeland Security to investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by these groups to determine if any criminal laws have been violated and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.” Further, the law directs the Attorney General to collaborate with “the heads of other Federal agencies to improve the reporting of hate crimes and to emphasize the importance of the collection, and the reporting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, of hate crime data by State and local agencies.”

More broadly, the law directs the administration to use all available resources to address the growing prevalence of hate groups.

Given the direction provided to the Department of Justice in this legislation, we request that you provide our offices an update within 30 days of receipt of this letter on activities that you have undertaken in furtherance of the provisions of S.J. Res 49, as well as a full report on the multi-agency efforts on hate crimes data collection.

As you implement this request, we are particularly interested if you have implemented, or plan to implement, the following: the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing hate violence, sufficient funding for civil rights offices, robust data collection procedures to document the prevalence and nature of hate crimes in the U.S., a federal website on hate violence to convene resources and communicate effectively to the public, the development of incentives for participation in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Hate Crime Statistics Act reports, increased training and education for jurisdictions that underreport hate crimes, and the use of grants to promote strong enforcement on these issues.

We appreciate your attention on this important matter and look forward to your response within 30 days.

 

Sincerely,

 

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has approved $500,000 in grant funding for St. Mary’s Health Wagon, a non-profit organization that provides health services to underserved individuals. The funding will be used to construct a new healthcare clinic in Clintwood, Va. that is expected to serve 3,500 uninsured and underinsured patients annually.

“Every year, the Health Wagon helps thousands of Virginians get access to healthcare they otherwise could not afford. As Governors and as Senators, we have been proud to support the important work of the Health Wagon. Worthy projects such as this clinic are why we have fought so hard in Washington to protect funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission. This new facility in Dickenson County will allow the Health Wagon to continue providing health, vision and dental services to underserved patients in Southwest Virginia,” said the Senators. 

“We are so pleased that ARC chose to fund a much-needed construction grant for a brand-new stationary free health clinic in Dickenson County, the county where St. Mary’s Health Wagon began almost forty years ago. The Health Wagon is the region’s only free clinic, serving Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson, Buchanan and Russell Counties and is a medical home to over 10,000 patients. The new free clinic will be located in Clintwood, Virginia, and will bring a variety of new innovative patient resources and economic benefits such as medical tourism and new jobs to the region.  The new clinic will have dedicated optometry, dental, ultrasound and x-ray suites,” said Dr. Teresa Tyson, Health Wagon Executive Director.

The current Health Wagon clinic in Clintwood has only two exam rooms, limiting the ability of physicians to accommodate patient needs. Construction of the new 5,000-square foot clinic will provide additional exam rooms for medical, dental, and vision care services, as well as administrative offices and spaces for x-ray, pharmacy, laboratory and telehealth use. Governor McAuliffe recommended funding for this project at the end of tenure, which has now been formally approved by ARC.

ARC project grants are awarded to local and state government entities and non-profits. The ARC funds are then matched by local funding sources. In addition to the ARC funds, local sources will provide $730,600, bringing the total project funding to more than $1.2 million. Since its inception in 1965, ARC has generated over 300,000 jobs and $10 billion for the 25 million Americans living in Appalachia. ARC has provided funding and support for job-creating community projects across the 13 Appalachian states, producing an average of $204 million in annual earnings for a region often challenged by economic underdevelopment. President Trump’s 2018 budget proposed eliminating the program entirely. Warner and Kaine have continued to vote to fully fund ARC.

As Governors, Warner and Kaine both advocated for additional funding for the Health Wagon, a partner in the annual Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic that provides dental care, exams and treatment at no cost.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine praised the Town of Appomattox receiving $3,501,000 in federal funding to support improvements to the existing sewage treatment and collection system to avoid health hazards. The funding will replace and repair collection lines, rehabilitate manholes, construct a new wet well and new wastewater pump station, level sensors, and improve gas monitoring.

“We are pleased that Appomattox will receive funding to support the renewal of aging infrastructure. This funding will help alleviate sanitary hazards so we can protect the health of the community,” the Senators said.

The sewage treatment and collection system in Appomattox serves 700 residential users and 70 businesses.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program. Funding from this program is used to ensure clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage and solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage for households and businesses in rural areas. 

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Warner & Kaine Announce $11.7 Million for Improvements at Va. Airports

DOT grants will provide funding to improve infrastructure and increase safety at local airports

Aug 07 2018

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that nearly twenty Virginia airports will receive a total of $11,725,371 in federal funding from the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Improvement Program.

“We are pleased these funds will allow Virginia airports to continue improving their infrastructure and making air travel safer for all Virginians,” the Senators said. “This federal funding will help these airports to expand travel options, increase local tourism, and attract more businesses.”

Airports and project amounts are listed below:

  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport – $506,692. The first grant of $232,632 will help conduct an environmental study of impacts of proposed projects identified on the airport's layout plan and five-year capital improvement plan. The second grant of $274,060 will help reconstruct 40 of the existing airfield guidance sign fixtures.
  • Stafford Regional Airport - $1,260,000. These funds will help extend 6,000 feet of an existing runway at the airport.
  • Twin County Airport (Galax, Hillsville and Carroll, VA) - $180,000. These funds will go towards updating the airport master plan strategy and airport layout plan to address key issues, objectives and goals pertinent to the airport's future development.
  • Warrenton-Fauquier Airport - $1,150,000. These funds will help reconstruct 1,100 feet of the existing taxi lane pavement.
  • Winchester Regional Airport - $277,500. These funds will help meet operational needs of the airport by supporting demolition efforts and the relocation of new taxiways.
  • Commonwealth of Virginia - $500,000. In addition, Virginia will receive funds to conduct a statewide obstruction study to evaluate existing obstructions at six airports.

The funding was awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program within the Department of Transportation (DOT). The program supports projects that improve airport infrastructure. Warner and Kaine have long fought for funding for Virginia’s airports and pushed back against the Trump Administration’s suggested budget cuts to DOT to ensure that critical upgrades like these can happen. The Senate is expected to consider a long-term FAA reauthorization measure in the coming weeks that would provide increased funding certainty to allow for further aviation infrastructure investment.

 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $456,000 in federal funding to support the James River Expansion Project. The funding will be used to purchase equipment to assist in the expansion around the Richmond Marine Terminal.

“We’re pleased to announce funding to increase shipment capacity at the Port of Virginia and ensure that it continues to serve as an important economic hub in the region,” the Senators said.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD).

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, led a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai that raises grave concerns and critical questions about Google’s reported plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that would prohibit websites and search terms objected to by the Chinese government and Communist Party. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) also signed the letter.

The full text of the letter is here and below:

Dear Mr. Pichai:

We write in response to recent news reports about Google’s plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China—codenamed “Dragonfly”—that would prohibit websites and search terms deemed objectionable by the Chinese government and Communist Party.  If true, this reported plan is deeply troubling and risks making Google complicit in human rights abuses related to China’s rigorous censorship regime.

After a cyberattack that compromised the Gmail accounts of dozens of Chinese human rights activists, Google’s March 2010 decision to stop censoring results on Google.cn was widely praised.  The company’s statement at the time noted:  “We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement.

Chinese authorities, however, continue to censor a broad range of news and social media topics that they have deemed politically “sensitive” due to their belief that these topics may contribute to criticism of the Chinese government and Communist Party, and possibly lead to collective action.  In recent weeks, a significant vaccine scandal in China, which may have affected the health of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children, has run afoul of censors.  News reports indicate that, as of last Monday, the Chinese word for “vaccine” was one of the most restricted on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog platform.

Moreover, China has in recent years harnessed the power of communications technology to advance its surveillance and social control efforts. The Financial Times recently reported that  the largest technology companies in China—including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, and JD.com—are “inextricably linked with the Chinese state and its security apparatus, and the authorities retain the upper hand in the relationship.” Google’s reported activity to build applications compatible with Chinese censorship demands is all the more concerning in light of relationships that Google has made with these companies, including a technology cross-licensing joint venture with Tencent and an investment of $550 million in JD.com.

It is a coup for the Chinese government and Communist Party to force Google—the biggest search engine in the world—to comply with their onerous censorship requirements, and sets a worrying precedent for other companies seeking to do business in China without compromising their core values.  In light of these reports, we respectfully request answers to the following questions:

  • Is Google in the process of developing a censored search engine or other censored applications for China?  If so, will this be part of a joint venture with a Chinese domestic partner?
  • What has changed since 2010 to make Google comfortable cooperating with the rigorous censorship regime in China?
  • In many cases, the entrance of a western firm in China is conditioned upon that firm entering a joint venture with a domestic Chinese firm. Was Google’s decision to enter a joint venture with Tencent connected in any way with its efforts to enter the Chinese market via the custom search app?
  • If Google is working on a search product for the mainland Chinese market, which “blacklist” of censored searches and websites are you using?  Are there any phrases or words that Google is refusing to censor?
  • Will Google employees involved in managing “Dragonfly” be required to attend the official mandatory trainings on “Marxist news values” and “socialist values” as required of other technology companies that provide Internet news content services in China?
  • Presumably Google will comply with China’s Cybersecurity Law and its data localization requirements. Will Google provide information about the search histories of individual users to Chinese government authorities? What confidence does Google have that its local joint venture partner will abide by any user protections that Google puts in place?

We appreciate your prompt reply to this inquiry, including any views that you are prepared to share as to how this reported development can be reconciled with Google’s unofficial motto, “Don’t be evil.”

Sincerely,

 

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Washington, DC—Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced a bipartisan bill to improve professional development opportunities for teachers and school leaders in high-needs school districts called the Teacher and School Leaders need Education and Development to be Empowered Resources in Schools (LEADER) Act. 

 

“Having strong teachers, school leaders, and administrators is vital to a strong school,” said Hatch. “By supporting training programs that develop aspiring teachers, principals, and other school leaders and give them the practical experience needed to succeed in the classroom, we can respond to the need for the best educator development. As Utah and other states struggle to staff schools with well qualified educators, my Senate colleagues and I are working to enable schools in high-need districts to partner with a broader range of organizations to provide more professional development opportunities for educators and help prepare them for a career in the classroom. This proposal both ensures that teachers, principals, and school leaders have greater access to the resources they need to thrive in their professions and inspire a new generation of Americans.”

 

“We must ensure that all students can learn from excellent teachers and school leaders,” said Bennet. “Colorado’s communities recognize the importance of investing in the preparation and development of our educators. From Denver to Alamosa, districts have crafted residency programs to raise the bar for the skills, experience, and support we provide to our future teachers. This legislation builds on Colorado’s momentum to provide more teachers and school leaders with access to the tools they need to succeed in our classrooms and schools.” 

 

“Teachers and school leadership play a vital role in nurturing and shaping young minds capable of solving today’s toughest problems,” said Cornyn. “This legislation would help give educators in Texas’ high-need school districts the opportunities and resources necessary to motivate students to succeed in school and beyond.” 

 

“I’m proud to join Senator Hatch, Senator Bennet, and Senator Cornyn in introducing this bipartisan legislation to expand professional development opportunities for teachers and school administrators,” said Warner. “When we empower educators, their students benefit.”  

 

 

Statements of Support

 

Many local, state and national organizations have endorsed the bill. A letter signed of support has been signed by the following groups: Center for the Study of Education Policy, Council for Exceptional Children, Deans for Impact, Democrats for Education Reform, EdAllies (MN), Educators for Excellence, Hope Street Group, Knowledge Alliance, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Council of Teachers of English, New Leaders, NJ Principals and Supervisors Association, NYC Leadership Academy, Profound Gentlemen, TASH, and Teach Plus. Click [HERE] to read the full letter.

 

Jean Desravines, New Leaders Chief Executive Officer
“The proposal put forth today by Senators Hatch, Bennet, Cornyn, and Warner highlights what research and our experience have long shown: school leadership matters greatly for students. We are especially encouraged by the bill’s recognition that a large and growing number of teachers, principals, and other school leaders are trained through nontraditional programs. The proposal would provide the opportunity for a wider array of innovative and effective programs to partner and compete for funding under Title II—while also being held accountable for delivering real results for kids. By focusing on research-based practices and evidence of effectiveness, the bill advances a crucial goal: getting well-prepared, well-supported leaders in every school, especially those serving the students and communities most in need.”

 

Tabitha Grossman, Hope Street Group National Director, Education Policy and Partnerships

"We know from research that the quality of school leadership influences teachers' decisions about remaining in the profession. Keeping more teachers in the profession is a priority and efforts to strengthen the preparation of school leaders is one we support."

 

Alice Johnson Cain, Teach Plus Executive Vice President, Policy and Partnerships

"Teachers know that strong principal leadership is an essential ingredient in successful schools.  The Teacher and School LEADERS Act will ensure more of our public schools get the outstanding leadership they need so more students can succeed."


Background

 

Research has shown that strong school leaders can dramatically improve the quality of teaching and accounts for 25 percent of a school’s effect on student achievement. Despite the critical importance of school leadership within a school, our current state of educator preparation and training does not adequately prioritize the need to recruit, select and train teacher and school leaders, particularly in high-need schools. At the same time, recent reports and statistics show that traditional methods of training new educators do not adequately prepare them for the realities of teaching or leading in a school setting. To do their best for students, aspiring teachers, teacher leaders, principals and other school leaders need more practical, on-the-job experience and targeted support from their preparation programs and colleges. Innovative programs and partnerships are responding to the need for stronger educator development, but continued innovation and progress require even more dramatic changes to the sector.

 

Reforming Teacher Quality Partnership Grants to Support Principals and School Leaders

 

This legislation amends Part A of Title II of the Higher Education Act to support opportunities for principal and school leader preparation programs within the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Program. In doing so, it explicitly allows for high-need school districts to enter into partnerships with colleges and education and non-profit entities to support programs that recruit, select, and train educators who aspire to fill leadership roles in high-need schools. It also supports pre-service residency opportunities for aspiring school leaders which would train them to offer high-quality administration and leadership to geographically diverse or high-need schools.  

 

Allowing for More Innovation in Educator Preparation Will Help Elevate the Sector

This legislation also affords high-needs school districts the opportunity to forge new partnerships for the newly re-named Teacher, Principal, and Other School Leader Quality Enhancement grants under Title II of the Higher Education Act.  It allows districts to choose which teacher or school leader preparation organization (e.g., a college of education, nonprofit provider, alternative certification provider, etc.) will serve as their primary partner for the grant, based on shortages in teacher areas and qualifications.

This bill also fosters a stronger connection between teacher and school leaders' professional development and induction within the partnership grants.  It allows for up to 10 percent of grant funds to be used to create a nexus between a teacher’s clinical experiences and their professional development once placed in a school or district.  By strengthening the link between educator preparation and professional development, this bill will help teachers and school leaders develop and will support innovation in educator preparation based on district feedback.

Furthermore, this legislation encourages teachers and school leaders to use both qualitative and quantitative data to improve student achievement and classroom instruction. It also requires the Institute of Educational Sciences to evaluate independently the effectiveness of the Teacher, Principal, and Other School Leader Quality Enhancement Grants.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) applauded Senate passage of bipartisan legislation to fund federal programs under the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of the Treasury (USDT), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Interior (DOI).

On a bipartisan 92-6 vote, the Senate approved the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations package that covers funding for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD); Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration; Interior and Environment; Financial Services and General Government; and all of their related agencies. The bill will now go to conference where it will be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives. 

“This bipartisan package maintains key Virginia priorities and pushes back against the Administration’s attempts to impose draconian cuts to vital federal programs,” said the Senators. “The bill keeps federal commitments to help fund the Metro system, which is critical to the capital region, and maintain cleanup efforts for the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, these funds will help expand broadband access to rural communities in Virginia and provide support to the six Virginia tribes that earned federal recognition this year so they can finally access the services and benefits they are owed.”

The following list includes many of the provisions Sens. Warner and Kaine advocated for on behalf of Virginia that were included in the appropriations package:

  •  WMATA: The bill includes the full federal funding of $150 million for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) capital improvement. Warner and Kaine previously urged Senate appropriators to fund WMATA at authorized levels.
  • Virginia Tribes: Earlier this year, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017, legislation introduced by Sens. Warner and Kaine which for the first time granted federal recognition to six Virginia tribes: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. The appropriations bill provides $1.12 million to largely help these Virginia tribes access the benefits and resources now available to them after their successful, decades-long effort to secure federal recognition.
  • Chesapeake Bay: The bill provides $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program, a regional partnership that directs and conducts the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. It also includes $2.02 million for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Water Trails Network, which helps increase public access and the use of ecological, cultural and historic resources of the Chesapeake region.
  • Broadband Grants: The bill provides $30 million to fund a grant program administered by the Rural Utilities Service that brings critical services to some of the most rural, underserved areas in America. The program provides financing to support new or improved broadband access across rural America and enable telecommunications providers to fill gaps where there is little or no broadband service. Broadband access has become a critical part of basic economic infrastructure for Virginians and is vital for job creation.
  • FBI Headquarters: The bill does not include funding for the Trump Administration’s plan to demolish the existing FBI headquarters in Washington and build a new facility in its place. Senate appropriators specifically note in the bill that they will continue to be reluctant to provide additional funds for this project due to the unanswered questions from the Administration regarding their new plan, including the revision of longstanding mission and security requirements for the new facility.
  • National Park Service: The bill provides $3.2 billion for operations of the National Park Service. In 2017, more than 24 million individuals visited Virginia’s 21 National Parks. National Park Service assets also fill critical transportation needs for Virginians, such as the link the Arlington Memorial Bridge, to visit historic sites like Arlington National Cemetery and the national monuments in the District of Columbia.
  • Wolf Trap: The bill provides $2.2 million for the National Capital Performing Arts Fund, which provides the funding needed to operate Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Northern Virginia.
  • Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG): CDBG helps communities develop projects that meet unique housing, infrastructure, and economic development needs and supports job creation. The bill provides $3.4 billion for CDBG, equal to the fiscal year 2018 level. The bill rejects the President’s proposals to increase rent for public housing residents and protects critical sources of funding for affordable housing such as the HOME program. Sens. Warner and Kaine have strongly opposed President Trump’s efforts to cut funding for affordable housing.
  • Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT): The bill includes $500 million for payments to counties through the PILT program, in order to help local governments offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable federal lands within their boundaries.
  • Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program: The bill includes $270 million to assist individuals and families so they can quickly regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness.
  • Unmanned Systems: The bill appropriates $6 million in matching funds for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) research. The original FY19 T-HUD base bill made $3 million available as matching funds for companies that partner with the UAS test sites like the one at Virginia Tech, which are working towards integrating UAS into the national airspace. After Sen. Warnerintroduced an amendment to boost UAS research funding levels, the final bill doubled that amount to $6 million.
  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI): The bill provides $1 million to help bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities across America. Recent changes to the program included in the Senate-passed version of the 2018 Farm Bill closely follow Sen. Warner’s efforts in the Senate to eradicate food deserts.  
  • Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grants: The bill provides $33 million for this national competitive grant program that aims to help rural communities obtain the technology and training needed to connect educational and medical professionals with the teachers and medical providers who serve rural residents. USDA has awarded over $587,000 to Virginia telemedicine projects which provide health care services in rural areas, including mental health, drug addiction treatment, and funded two mobile health units that offer on-site care and telemedicine video conferencing with doctors and specialists. USDA also awarded over $215,000 to Pittsylvania County Schools to purchase video conferencing equipment to provide interactive distance learning services for students and educators.
  • Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA): The bill includes a 1.9 percent salary boost for federal civilian employees.
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): The bill provides $425 million for LWCF, which has helped preserve forests, trails, wildlife refuges, historic battlefields, and Chesapeake Bay lands and waters in Virginia. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the Virginia outdoors industry supports approximately $21.9 billion in annual consumer spending and 197,000 direct jobs.
  • BUILD infrastructure grants: The bill provides $1 billion for competitive transportation grants through the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) program, formerly known as “TIGER” grants. Virginia has previously used these grants for projects including I-95 Express Lanes, I-564 connector from Norfolk International Terminals at the Port of Virginia, I-64 Delta Frames Bridges in Rockbridge County, the Pulse bus-rapid transit system in Richmond, and Northstar Boulevard in Loudoun County near Dulles.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the following statement after Congress approved the conference report to accompany the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):

“As our foreign adversaries continue to challenge our military and cyber readiness, today’s bipartisan legislation authorizes necessary resources, provides policy direction to bolster our nation’s defenses, and supports several important initiatives that are critical to Virginia’s defense industry.

“I have long advocated for Congress to address the outdated security clearance process and the 700,000-person investigation backlog that undermines our ability to maintain a skilled workforce equipped to access the nation’s secrets. That is why I’m proud that this defense bill includes needed changes to help modernize and streamline the outdated security clearance process.

“I also support numerous provisions included in the legislation that will push the Administration to establish a proactive cyber defense strategy as part of our national security posture. After the unprecedented attack on our elections in 2016, we must bolster our cyber defenses and deter our adversaries from attacking us. Part of that strategy must also include developing a skilled cyber workforce. That is why I’m proud that the bill includes my cyber scholarship amendment to help attract a diverse pool of candidates to strengthen our cyber readiness.

“This defense bill provides important support for our men and women in uniform and authorizes a 2.6 percent pay raise for servicemembers. The legislation also authorizes $7.14 billion for two new Virginia-class submarines and $1.59 billion for a Ford-class carrier, all of which are essential to maintaining our nation’s security and support thousands of Virginia jobs. In addition, the legislation authorizes more than $174 million for 12 military construction projects across the Commonwealth.

“However, I remain extremely frustrated that this compromise bill did not include our bipartisan amendment to reinstate the ban on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, which had passed the Senate 85-10. ZTE was prohibited from buying U.S. parts in response to numerous violations of U.S. export controls and sanctions laws. As a state-backed enterprise that is ultimately loyal to the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese government, it poses a clear threat to the national security, people, and economy of the United States. When Congress returns to Washington, I will be working with my colleagues on a new legislative path forward to protect our national security and restore the ban on ZTE.”

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement today after Facebook announced that it removed 32 Pages and accounts from Facebook and Instagram that showed connections to and activity consistent with previous Russian disinformation efforts: 

“Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation, and I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity. I also expect Facebook, along with other platform companies, will continue to identify Russian troll activity and to work with Congress on updating our laws to better protect our democracy in the future.”  

In October, Sen. Warner – along with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ) – introduced the Honest Ads Act to help prevent foreign interference in elections and improve the transparency of online political advertisements.

 

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) introduced a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to the FY19 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) portion of the ‘minibus II’ spending package that would provide $6 million towards unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research to safely integrate them into the national airspace. 

Currently, the FY19 T-HUD base bill makes $3 million available as matching funds for companies that partner with the UAS test sites working towards integrating UAS into the national airspace. Sen. Warner’s amendment would boost UAS research funding levels to $6 million. The text of the amendment can be found here.

“This amendment will ensure we continue supporting advancements in the safe and responsible integration of unmanned systems in our airspace. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure we provide the necessary funding towards research and development of this cutting-edge technology so that the U.S. can maintain our competitive edge,” said Sen. Warner.

Sen. Warner has been a strong supporter of research and investment in unmanned systems, including driverless cars, drones, and unmanned under water vehicles. He has introduced bipartisan legislation designed to advance the development of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and build on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) efforts to safely integrate them into the National Airspace System. Virginia is home to one of seven FAA-approved sites across the country where researchers are testing the safest and most effective ways to incorporate UAS into the existing airspace. In May 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) announced the selection of Virginia to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Pilot Program (IPP).

 

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WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) issued the below statement on the status of a new headquarters building for the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

“Congress worked with GSA and the FBI for years to put together a comprehensive plan and bidding process to replace the current deteriorating headquarters building. With no warning and no rationale, the Trump Administration halted that process, and since then, has made no progress on replacing a building whose condition will only get worse in the years to come. That’s one reason why it is important that we see the results of the IG investigation into this decision. Our hardworking law enforcement and intelligence professionals deserve a state-of-the-art and secure facility. Having President Trump micromanage this complex procurement – with so many other issues on his plate and so many questions about apparent conflicts of interest here – just isn’t helpful to these public servants or to the region.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine have for years worked with the Maryland Senators as well as the bipartisan Virginia delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives to secure funding for a new FBI headquarters to replace the current, deteriorating J. Edgar Hoover building in Washington, which was built in 1974. In 2014, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced that a site in Springfield, Va. was one of three finalists for a consolidated HQ that would house all 11,000 area FBI employees, who are currently scattered across multiple sites in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. However, in July 2017, the Trump Administration abruptly backed away from more than five years of government preparations to relocate the FBI HQ, announcing instead in February 2018 plans to demolish the existing FBI headquarters in Washington and build a new facility in its place. The GSA has estimated that this new plan would cost $3.3 billion – including $1.9 billion in construction costs, added to the cost of temporarily relocating thousands of FBI employees while the existing structure is demolished and a new building constructed in its place.

 

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WASHINGTON – The Senate Intelligence Committee is honoring the courage and dedication of the men and women of the U.S. intelligence community by introducing a bipartisan resolution designating today, July 26, 2018 as “United States Intelligence Professionals Day.” A Senate resolution thanking intelligence officers, past and present, for their service and professionalism in protecting the United States was introduced by U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and co-sponsored by every member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Today is the 71st anniversary of President Truman signing the National Security Act of 1947, which laid the foundation for today’s intelligence community and continues to govern its activities. 

“The men and women of the Intelligence Community work tirelessly and quietly, often risking their lives in defense of our nation. We rarely hear about their successes or their sacrifices, but the Senate Intelligence Committee sees the results of their hard work firsthand,” said Vice Chairman Warner. “Today is a rare opportunity to recognize these quiet heroes, and thank them for their sacrifice. They deserve not only our respect, but our gratitude.” 

“As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I have had the opportunity to meet many of the brave men and women of the United States Intelligence Community, and understand the enormous sacrifice they make on behalf of our nation. Every day, intelligence professionals risk their lives to keep our homeland safe. They do so without public acknowledgment, credit, or thanks, but with the knowledge that their work is vital for America’s national security,” said Chairman Burr. “While much of their work must always go unrecognized, today we thank them for their service and express our support for their efforts.” 

 “I’ve served on the Intelligence Committee since 2001, a position that has allowed me to foster a deep sense of respect and appreciation for the work done by all the men and women of the intelligence community. These individuals are often nameless and faceless, but the work they do and the dedication they exhibit helps keep us safe, and for that I thank them,” Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said.

“The country does not know much about our intelligence community’s activities, by necessity, of course, but we all owe them a debt of gratitude for their work defending our national security and all Americans,” said Senator Jim Risch (R-ID). “I join my colleagues today in pausing to recognize these patriots.” 

“Every day, across our nation and around the world, the hard working men and women serving in the Intelligence Community make countless sacrifices to ensure the safety of our country and our citizens. I am consistently impressed by the high level of professionalism, patriotism, and courage that our intelligence professionals exhibit,” Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said. “Our resolution will ensure that these Americans, who must operate in the shadows, receive well-deserved recognition for their public service.” 

“Our nation's intelligence professionals are dedicated, patriotic men and women who make real sacrifices to help keep our country safe and free. I am proud to recognize them for their public service,” said Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

“Intelligence professionals provide the critical information decision makers rely on to keep Americans safe,” said Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO). “We’ll always be grateful for their dedication and the sacrifices they make every day to protect our country.” 

“We live in a dangerous world, and America’s intelligence professionals are our first line of defense. These men and women are patriots who don’t serve any party or any individual – they serve the people of the United States of America. Their hard work and commitment to protecting our citizens deserves nothing less than our utmost gratitude,” said Senator Angus King (I-ME)

“Our intelligence community works tirelessly every day to keep America safe. As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I recognize the commitment of our intelligence professionals. Most of them work in anonymity, so this is a small way for us to publically recognize them and the critical work they do to protect all of us,” said Senator James Lankford (R-OK).

“The brave men and women in our intelligence community selflessly serve our country in the shadows, most of the time with little recognition. This resolution aims to make up for that fact and recognize their service and commitment to protecting our country and our interests abroad. Their work is essential to the safety of the United States and has prevented tragedies, protected individuals and executed missions with the utmost professionalism and we all thank them for their sacrifice,” Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said. 

“The work our intelligence professionals do to help us understand the threats we face as a nation is essential. Theirs can often be a thankless job, and today we recognize them for their service and patriotism,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) said.

“The brave men and women of our Intelligence Community do important work critical to keep our nation safe and secure often without any recognition or acknowledgement,” said Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). “Their service, sacrifice and utmost professionalism must never be taken for granted, and so I’m proud to honor their work today and the contributions they make to our nation.” 

The full text of the resolution is available here

 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Rural Development awarded $66,800 in federal funds to the towns of Pennington Gap and Quantico. The funds will be used to purchase new police vehicles and related equipment, including officer safety equipment and emergency response lighting.

“We are pleased this federal funding will allow these Virginia communities to update their safety vehicles and help improve public safety,” said the Senators.

The following localities will receive funding:

  • The Town of Pennington Gap will receive $50,000 to purchase two new, properly equipped police patrol vehicles to replace older, high-mileage vehicles. One of the current vehicles is no longer considered a safe and reliable vehicle. The second vehicle was recently totaled in an accident, but the insurance payment was not sufficient to replace it due to age and condition. These improvements have a total cost of $71,500, with $21,500 provided by the town through a USDA loan and the rest funded by USDA through this grant.
  • The Town of Quantico will receive $16,800 to purchase a new police vehicle and related equipment, including officer safety equipment and emergency response lighting. The Town of Quantico needs to purchase a new police vehicle to replace an existing 2005 Ford Crown Victoria Police sedan, which is 13 years old with high mileage. The existing vehicle requires a significant yearly expense for maintenance and is well beyond industry standard service life for an emergency response vehicle. These improvements have a total cost of $30,648, with $13,848 provided by the town and the rest funded by USDA through this grant.

The USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. Funding awarded through this program seeks to purchase, construct, and/or improve community facilities that are used for health care, public safety, community support, and public service.

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