Press Releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) and Rep Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) announced $6,000,000 in federal funding for improvements to Norfolk International Airport. The funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which the lawmakers helped pass to improve air travel, roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and water infrastructure.

Specifically the funding will go towards the construction of a new Federal Inspection Service (FIS) international arrivals facility, which will process cargo and agricultural products, in order to meet U.S. Customs and Border Protection requirements. This new center will replace the current outdated facility that has very limited processing capability, and will increase capacity at the facility to allow for multiple aircrafts to be processed simultaneously.

“Our regional airports service hundreds of flights weekly, and we’re glad this funding will help improve Norfolk International’s ability to process flights in a timely fashion, ensuring that the facility stays functional and safe,” said the lawmakers.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve Virginia’s airports, including by securing funding for regional airports throughout the Commonwealth. Last year, the senators announced a series of awards for Virginia’s airports as part of the $15 billion in direct grants to airports around the country as a result of the infrastructure law.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $35,000,000 in federal funding for expansion and improvements to Dulles International Airport. The funding was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which both senators helped pass to improve air travel, roads, bridges, rail, broadband, and water infrastructure.

Specifically the funding will go towards building a 14-gate, 400,000 square foot terminal building. The new terminal will include direct connection to the Aerotrain, which helps move passengers throughout the airport, as well as indirect connection to the Metro Silver Line at Dulles, which Sens. Warner and Kaine helped open in 2022. Sens. Warner and Kaine announced $49.6 million in 2022 and $20 million in 2023 to support the construction of the new concourse. 

“Dulles Airport is a beacon for both domestic and international flights, and has expanded rapidly over the past decade,” said the senators. “This funding will improve travel for passengers and ensure that the airport stays functional and safe while continuing to meet flight demands.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to improve Virginia’s airports for travelers, including securing funding for Dulles, Ronald Reagan Washington National, and regional airports throughout the Commonwealth courtesy of the BIL. In addition, Sens. Warner and Kaine have been outspoken about the harm that changes to the FAA slot and perimeter rule would have on Reagan Airport. Dulles Airport is more equipped to handle expansion and increased long-distance flights, and this funding will help to facilitate this expansion.

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock (both D-GA) in urging the Biden Administration to continue U.S. diplomatic efforts to secure the immediate release of hostages, stop the violence in Gaza, provide access for desperately needed humanitarian assistance, and deescalate tensions across the Middle East.

“Since the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, in which Hamas abducted more than 200 civilians — including babies, young children, and the elderly — the United States has played a vital leading role in efforts to secure the release of Americans and Israelis held in Gaza,” the senators wrote to President Biden.

“On November 24th, an agreement brokered with your leadership by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt secured the release of 105 hostages — all women and children — in tandem with a seven-day ceasefire. … Now 130 days since the October 7th massacre, two million Gazan civilians remain displaced in extreme danger and deprivation while hostages held by Hamas remain in life-threatening captivity,” the senators continued. “We therefore write to express our urgent support for your Administration’s ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages in tandem with a restored mutual ceasefire in Gaza.

“We recognize that it is in Israel’s vital national interest that Hamas — a brutal terrorist organization — be removed from power in Gaza. We continue to support Israel’s pursuit of that objective,” the senators affirmed. “We also recognize that without a break in the fighting, humanitarian conditions for civilians in Gaza will become even more catastrophic and thousands more innocents — including many children — will die.”

The senators acknowledged, “such a diplomatic achievement will require the agreement of the warring parties, and that its terms remain under negotiation… In our judgment, it is in our urgent national interest – and the urgent humanitarian interest of millions of innocent civilians — that these negotiations succeed.”

In addition to Sens. Warner, Kaine, Ossoff, and Warnock, the letter was cosigned by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), and Peter Welch (D-VT).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Mr. President,

Since the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, in which Hamas abducted more than 200 civilians — including babies, young children, and the elderly — the United States has played a vital leading role in efforts to secure the release of Americans and Israelis held in Gaza.

U.S. diplomacy has also been essential to efforts to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid and to reaching a pause in hostilities in November of last year.

On November 24th, an agreement brokered with your leadership by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt secured the release of 105 hostages — all women and children — in tandem with a seven-day ceasefire. The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas provided a vital window for humanitarian aid to reach nearly two million Gazan civilians displaced by the war, while the return to safety of those hostages — including a four-year-old American girl, Abigail Idan — gave hope to the families of others abducted by Hamas that strong U.S.-led diplomacy could secure their freedom.

Now 130 days since the October 7th massacre, two million Gazan civilians remain displaced in extreme danger and deprivation while hostages held by Hamas remain in life-threatening captivity.

We therefore write to express our urgent support for your Administration’s ongoing diplomatic efforts to secure the release of hostages in tandem with a restored mutual ceasefire in Gaza.

We recognize that such a diplomatic achievement will require the agreement of the warring parties, and that its terms remain under negotiation. In our judgment, it is in our urgent national interest – and the urgent humanitarian interest of millions of innocent civilians — that these negotiations succeed.

We recognize that it is in Israel’s vital national interest that Hamas — a brutal terrorist organization — be removed from power in Gaza. We continue to support Israel’s pursuit of that objective.

We also recognize that without a break in the fighting, humanitarian conditions for civilians in Gaza will become even more catastrophic and thousands more innocents — including many children — will die.

Without an agreement that secures their release, the prospects are dim for the survival of hostages who remain alive.

Without the space created for regional diplomacy by a restored ceasefire, the political conditions for durable peace and security will remain unreachable, and escalating regional conflict will continue to threaten U.S. national security.

Sincerely,

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acknowledging the physical limitations at DCA, Congress has since 1986 restricted the number of nonstop flights that can originate out of DCA to airports outside of a 1,250-mile perimeter, with Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Baltimore-Washington International Marshall (BWI) planned as the growth airports for the region’s aviation needs. However, in past FAA reauthorization bills, Congress has made changes to these rules that have disrupted the balance in this three-airport system by adding additional flights from Reagan to destinations outside the 1,250-mile perimeter. These changes in flight activity have produced significant stress on DCA’s facilities – from strained roadways and limited parking availability to overburdened baggage systems – and created frustrations for travelers, businesses, and local residents. Those changes have also prevented Dulles, whose size allows for larger planes to land and take off, from realizing its full potential as the primary long-haul flight destination for the Washington metropolitan area.

In March, the Senators sent a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, which has responsibility for drafting legislation to reauthorize the FAA, strongly opposing any further changes at airports that serve residents of the National Capital Area. They have also penned an op-ed last June urging their colleagues to oppose changes to the current slot and perimeter rules at DCA. 

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced the Drone Evaluation to Eliminate Cyber Threats Act of 2024 (DETECT Act), legislation directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop cybersecurity guidelines for the federal government’s use of drones.

Drones have the ability to collect sensitive information, and as they become more common, the security of this technology is of increasing importance. The DETECT Act would address cybersecurity concerns by directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop a set of guidelines. Following an implementation period, these guidelines would be binding on the federal government’s use of civilian drones, the private sector may voluntarily use these guidelines in their own operations.

“Drones and unmanned systems have the capability to transform the way we do business, manage our infrastructure, and deliver life-saving medicine, and as drones become a larger part of our society, it’s crucial that we ensure their safety and security,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation will establish sensible cybersecurity guidelines for drones used by the federal government to ensure that sensitive information is protected while we continue to invest in this new technology.” 

“As the capabilities of drones continue to evolve and be utilized by both the federal government and the private sector, it’s critically important that they operate securely,” said Sen. Thune. “This common-sense legislation would require the federal government to follow stringent cybersecurity guidelines and protocols for drones and unmanned systems.”

Specifically, The DETECT Act:

  •  Directs NIST to develop guidelines covering cybersecurity for civilian drones;
  • Directs OMB to test the guidelines by requiring one federal agency to implement them on a pilot basis;
  • Directs OMB, after the conclusion of the test period described above, to require every agency with civilian drones to implement politics and principles based on the NIST guidelines;
  • Directs OMB to issue guidance to agencies governing the reporting of security vulnerabilities discovered in drones used by the agencies;
  • Requires contactors who supply civilian drones or drone-related services to the federal government to report any security vulnerabilities discovered;
  • Directs the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to promulgate any necessary regulation to carry the forgoing contractor requirements into effect;
  • Forbids agencies from acquiring drones that do not meet the guidelines referenced above, subject to a waiver process under certain circumstances.

Sens. Warner and Thune have been strong supporters of the domestic production of unmanned systems, including driverless cars, drones, and unmanned maritime vehicles, and have taken steps to ensure that domestic production of drones is both safe and keeping up with global competitors. Last year, the senators introduced the Increasing Competitiveness for American Drones Act, legislation that would clear the way for drones to be used for commercial transport of goods across the country. Sen. Warner also championed legislation to prohibit federal dollars from being used to procure or operate drones from countries or companies identified as posing a national security threat, which was ultimately included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2024.

"As the use of drones for multiple types of important operations –critical infrastructure inspection, public safety, agriculture, drone delivery, and more– has grown significantly in recent years, the need for cybersecurity standards for these critical mission tools has become evident,” said Michael Robbins, Chief Advocacy Officer of the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International. “To ensure safety and security, the U.S. must lead in this area. AUVSI thanks Senators Warner and Thune for their leadership in protecting our nation from cyber risks and supporting American leadership in advanced aviation.”

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where he discussed details of the newly released bipartisan supplemental package. Sen. Warner stressed the urgent need to pass this legislation in order to continue support for Ukraine in its ongoing fight against authoritarian Russia as well as address urgent needs at the border.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Sen. Warner outlined the top lines of this legislation, highlighting compromises made by both Democrats and Republicans:

“Every Republican senator who's complaining about this deal has said repeatedly, you've got to change the law. Donald Trump said, you've got to change the law. We now are giving what is needed, a significant change of the law. Took a long time to get it negotiated, combined with stepping up for Ukraine, combined with stepping up for Israel and humanitarian aid in the region. The question is going to be, folks who’ve asked for this, are they going to take the deal?”

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Sen. Warner reiterated the importance of continuing to provide Ukraine with military support:

“I've been in this job 14 years, I can't think of a more important vote – a more historic vote – than whether we will stand by Ukraine, which has taken out 80 percent of the Russian ground forces pre-war, where the Europeans have put up €50 billion, where nations like Finland and Sweden have joined NATO because of American leadership. If we walk away from that, that will be a mistake of historic proportions.”

Video of Sen. Warner on CNBC’s Squawk Box can be found here. Video of Sen. Warner on MSNBC’s Morning Joe can be found here.

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WASHINGTON– U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined a letter led by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representative Grace Meng (D-NY-6) in support of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s proposal to expand the E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries access affordable broadband. Under the proposal, the E-Rate program would be updated to allow schools and libraries to loan Wi-Fi hotspots to students and educators. In their letter, the lawmakers call for the expansion and modernization of the E-Rate hotspot program to help reduce educational disparities and ensure that all students can access the internet. 

The lawmakers wrote, “[We] are excited that the Commission has proposed to update the E-Rate program to allow schools and libraries to provide Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet services to students and educators. This proposal properly recognizes that learning now extends beyond the physical premises of school buildings.”

The lawmakers continued, “With millions of students at risk of losing internet access at home, we are glad to see the FCC exercising this authority and modernizing the E-Rate program, and we encourage the Commission to provide schools and libraries with the flexibility to adapt their programs to local conditions while continuing to effectively guard against fraud and waste.” 

Students who lack internet access at home face significant disadvantages in school, and a recent study found they receive lower grades than their classmates. Expanding the E-Rate program will build on the progress made through the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), which Warner and Kaine helped pass as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP),?to provide devices and connectivity for students and educators at home. With the ECF set to expire at the end of this year and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) set to run out of funding soon, expanding the E-Rate program would also help prevent many students from losing internet access.

Joining Sens. Warner, Kaine, Markey, Van Hollen, and Meng on the letter in the Senate are Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). 

Warner – one of the principal authors of the ACP – and Kaine have long fought to expand access to broadband. The senators urged congressional leadership to extend funding for the ACP, which was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Warner and Kaine helped pass. They also announced nearly $1.5 billion in federal funding to expand high-speed internet through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, which was also made possible by the BIL. They’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that funding for broadband deployment from the BIL and the ARP, will not be considered taxable income.

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Chairwoman Rosenworcel,

We write in strong support of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to allow libraries and schools to provide Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet services to students and educators through the E-Rate program. This effort represents an important modernization of the E-Rate program and a recognition that learning now extends beyond the school and library premises. As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated, students without access to the internet at home are at a distinct disadvantage compared to their better-connected peers. We urge the Commission to move ahead with the E-Rate hotspot program to help reduce educational disparities and ensure that low-income students are not left behind.

Although the E-Rate program has successfully connected nearly every school and library in the country, the changing nature of education has reconstituted some of the inequalities that led Congress to create E-Rate in 1998. Back then, better-resourced schools gained internet access ahead of low-income and disadvantaged schools, providing an advantage to their students. Today, that inequality exists among individual households. Now, wealthy and middle-class students almost universally can access high-speed internet at home, but low-income and disadvantaged students lag behind. As schools adopt online resources and homework increasingly requires an internet connection, this “Homework Gap” favors students in wealthy households over their low-income classmates.

If this inequality was not clear before 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic made it obvious. Although the pandemic had serious consequences for students of all backgrounds, low-income students — especially those without access to the internet at home — have faced the greatest impact. In surveys of students at different grade levels, the Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress has repeatedly shown that high-performing students had much better access to the internet at home. A recent study of Michigan students also found that a student without access to home internet earned significantly lower grades — 0.6 lower, on the 4.0 scale — than his or her connected classmates. A different study using Census Bureau data estimated that individuals with greater access to a computer and the internet at home spent 28 percent more hours learning than those without such access. As this evidence on home connectivity piles up, there should be no debate: Students without access to high-speed internet at home are seriously disadvantaged compared to their better-connected classmates.

Fortunately, during the pandemic, the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) — which Congress created in 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act — helped close this homework gap. The ECF program included $7.17 billion for schools and libraries to distribute devices and internet services to students and educators. Thanks to the hard work of the FCC staff, the Commission quickly stood up this program and began distributing these funds. Over the past two years, the ECF has helped roughly 18 million students at 11,500 schools connect to the internet at home. The program has provided nearly 13 million connected devices and more than 8 million broadband connections to students and educators. Unfortunately, the ECF program is set to sunset at the end of June, leaving students — and schools and libraries — in a potentially dire situation: Without action, millions of low-income students could lose access to the internet at home, a devastating digital cliff that would reverse the ECF’s important achievements. The potential expiration of the Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps low-income households afford broadband, would further exacerbate this impact on disadvantaged students.

Given these stakes, we are excited that the Commission has proposed to update the ERate program to allow schools and libraries to provide Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet services to students and educators. This proposal properly recognizes that learning now extends beyond the physical premises of school buildings. When a sixth grader is completing a homework assignment through an online educational platform or a ninth grader is attending class through a video conferencing application, they are clearly engaged in educational activities. In the Communications Act, Congress rightfully provided the FCC with the flexibility to structure and strengthen the E-Rate program as educational conditions change. With millions of students at risk of losing internet access at home, we are glad to see the FCC exercising this authority and modernizing the E-Rate program, and we encourage the Commission to provide schools and libraries with the flexibility to adapt their programs to local conditions while continuing to effectively guard against fraud and waste.

Thank you for your continued commitment to closing the digital divide.

Sincerely,

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

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) pressed the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on the mail delivery delays and disruptions impacting Virginians in the Richmond region. The push follows an alarming report that the Richmond VA Medical Center recently received hundreds of colon cancer test samples via USPS that are unusable because they exceed the 15-day window the samples were valid for. Some samples date as far back as mid-2023. In their letter, the lawmakers requested a briefing with USPS and a tour of the relevant USPS facility to better understand the causes of these unacceptable delays and discuss what is being done to prevent them from happening again.

“We want to be clear; this is unacceptable,” the lawmakers wrote. “These issues with postal delays have caused unnecessary stress and harm for our constituents and suggest to us that the issues in the region are worse than we thought.”

“We are unsatisfied with the level of urgency and responsiveness the agency has demonstrated with the issues we have raised previously, and this must change with this new revelation,” the lawmakers continued. “USPS has recently declined requests for meetings and tours to discuss these issues – Postal Service customers in Central Virginia deserve transparency and explanation, as soon as possible, regarding these issues.”

Joining the Senators in this push are U.S. Reps. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-4), Rob Wittman (R-VA-1), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7), Jen Kiggans (R-VA-2), and Bob Good (R-VA-5).

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy and Mr. Roane:

In recent months, we have shared with the Postal Service the substantial constituent outreach we have received regarding postal delivery delays and disruptions in the Richmond region. Among other impacts, these delays have caused people to miss needed medications or to receive billing notices after payment deadlines have passed. We have shared these with the agency formally and via staff in an effort to identify if these are isolated cases or signs of a systemic challenge with postal delivery in this area.

We now have received a report from the Richmond VA Medical Center (Richmond VA), with potentially even more alarming consequences. According to the Richmond VA, the facility recently received a delivery from USPS of some 870 immunochemical test samples, which had been collected by veterans at home and then returned by mail. These tests are one method used to early-screen for colon cancer, and must be received back by the VA within a roughly two-week window in order to still be valid. It is our understanding that upon delivery of this recent batch of tests, more than half of the samples were older than two weeks – some dating back to mid-2023 – and therefore were unusable by the VA. The Richmond VA is working with USPS to understand how this could have happened and has stated to our offices that precise answers have not yet been forthcoming from USPS.

We want to be clear; this is unacceptable. These issues with postal delays have caused unnecessary stress and harm for our constituents and suggest to us that the issues in the region are worse than we thought. We are unsatisfied with the level of urgency and responsiveness the agency has demonstrated with the issues we have raised previously, and this must change with this new revelation.

We request a briefing with our offices at your earliest convenience to understand how this could have happened and what is being done to keep it from happening again. We also request a tour of the relevant facility to see firsthand the operational challenges. It is imperative that we understand the systemic issues that are causing these operational challenges on the ground at Virginia postal facilities, so that we may provide the resources and support these facilities require from the federal level in order to prevent further service delays and disruptions. USPS has recently declined requests for meetings and tours to discuss these issues – Postal Service customers in Central Virginia deserve transparency and explanation, as soon as possible, regarding these issues.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we await your response.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs National Security and International Trade and Finance Subcomittee, wrote to Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury, questioning the Department’s failure to implement appropriate sanctions enforcement as major technology firms such as Alphabet and Meta repeatedly flout U.S. sanctions rules through provision of digital advertising services. In his letter, Sen. Warner highlighted reports that tech companies continue to provide adtech services to sanctioned companies that have deep ties to our foreign adversaries, including Russia and Iran.

“[P]ublic reports in November 2023 indicated that Google served ads – and provided publisher monetization and search solutions – to a range of sanctioned Iranian and Russian companies,” Sen. Warner wrote. “Even if, as Google has claimed, these relationships did not result in ad payments to sanctioned entities, Google’s provision of web services to these sanctioned companies suggests a troubling inattention to compliance, particularly given the company’s long track record of ignoring fraud within the online ad ecosystem and of accusations of skirting U.S. sanctions laws.”

As Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Warner outlined the negative impact that these transactions have on U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and the need for the Treasury Department to enforce the sanctions in place.

“[R]eports suggest that Meta (parent of Facebook) flaunts U.S. sanctions rules, with recent reporting suggesting that the sanctioned Russian oligarch, Ilan Shor, has continued to use Facebook advertising for malign influence activity targeting Moldovan elections,” Sen. Warner continued. “My staff first inquired of the Department about apparent violations by Facebook in February 2023, when prior reports of Shor’s Facebook activity surfaced. This example is especially concerning  given the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s extensive efforts to publicize the ways in which Russian influence actors exploited social media platforms like Facebook to target U.S. elections. Nearly one year later, Facebook has continued to ignore U.S. sanctions laws – reportedly running hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements that, on their face (and in the recorded payment information), clearly indicated connection to the sanctioned oligarch.”

 As the 2024 elections ramp up, Sen. Warner stressed the need to combat efforts of foreign malign actors to influence and subvert elections.

He concluded, “This year, the world’s democracies will hold an unprecedented number of elections. In the wake of Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections in 2016, malign actors worldwide have increasingly embraced social media and online advertising tools as vectors for election influence. Given the centrality of U.S. firms to online advertising and social media markets worldwide, it is vital that the Department enforce American technology company compliance with U.S. sanctions.”  

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Yellen,

I write with concern over the Department of Treasury’s (the Department) failure to ensure sanctions compliance in digital advertising markets. In multiple instances in the previous two years, my staff has alerted the Department of instances of apparent sanctions violations by U.S. technology firms. Despite these repeated notifications, United States firms such as Alphabet and Meta continue to flout U.S. sanctions rules.

Various sanctions issued by the U.S. government bar corporations from certain transactions with sanctioned entities. Treasury already gives significant latitude to U.S. technology firms through the issuance of general licenses exempting “internet-based communications.” These exemptions ensure that internet users in foreign countries can continue to access certain basic communications services, particularly in the context of repressive regimes under U.S. sanction. However, these exemptions are not meant to continue facilitation of sanctioned activity, or financially benefit sanctioned entities, and in response to inquiries from my staff the Department acknowledged that online advertising services are not covered by these general licenses. Notwithstanding this acknowledgement, however, the Department has continued to ignore repeated instances of non-compliance by U.S. technology firms.

For instance, public reports in November 2023 indicated that Google served ads – and provided publisher monetization and search solutions – to a range of sanctioned Iranian and Russian companies.  Even if, as Google has claimed, these relationships did not result in ad payments to sanctioned entities, Google’s provision of web services to these sanctioned companies suggests a troubling inattention to compliance, particularly given the company’s long track-record of ignoring fraud within the online ad ecosystem and of accusations of skirting U.S. sanctions laws.  Notably, Google’s facilitation of ad delivery in countries under U.S. sanctions regimes has been a longstanding concern. In 2019, Wired reported that Google appeared to be exposing advertising clients to ad waste and potential sanctions violations.  Similarly, ProPublica has reported on instances of Google ostensibly ignoring U.S. sanctions by monetizing a Serbian media outlet that has sought to promote separatist violence.  ProPublica has also noted that Google’s provision of ad services to sanctioned companies has enabled them to harvest user data  – potentially enabling Russian surveillance and influence activity.

Even more recently, reports suggest that Meta (parent of Facebook) flaunts U.S. sanctions rules, with recent reporting suggesting that the sanctioned Russian oligarch, Ilan Shor, has continued to use Facebook advertising for malign influence activity targeting Moldovan elections.  My staff first inquired of the Department about apparent violations by Facebook in February 2023, when prior reports of Shor’s Facebook activity surfaced. This example is especially concerning given the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s extensive efforts to publicize the ways in which Russian influence actors exploited social media platforms like Facebook to target U.S. elections. Nearly one year later, Facebook has continued to ignore U.S. sanctions laws – reportedly running hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertisements that, on their face (and in the recorded payment information), clearly indicated connection to the sanctioned oligarch. And, notably, this is not the only instance in which Facebook has been accused of profiting from sanctions non-compliance. A pair of whistleblower complaints in 2022 similarly accused the company of enabling influence activity by Russian-linked, sanctioned separatist leaders. 

This year, the world’s democracies will hold an unprecedented number of elections. In the wake of Russian efforts to influence U.S. elections in 2016, malign actors worldwide have increasingly embraced social media and online advertising tools as vectors for election influence. Given the centrality of U.S. firms to online advertising and social media markets worldwide, it is vital that the Department enforce compliance with U.S. sanctions.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers to urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with Congress to ensure Medicare beneficiaries maintain access to telehealth. Current pandemic-era flexibilities will expire on Dec. 31, 2024 without further action, forcing seniors to adapt to new care routines. In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the lawmakers underscored the urgent need to make pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities permanent. 

“We urge you to work with Congress to ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries have permanent access to telehealth services before the temporary waivers expire on December 31, 2024,” the lawmakers wrote. “Enacting permanent telehealth legislation will require collaboration between HHS and Congress in the year ahead. We urge you to communicate to Congress and the public the authorities, appropriations, resources, and other supports needed to achieve this goal.” 

“Telehealth is a cost-effective way to improve access to care, especially for rural and underserved communities,” the lawmakers continued. “Telehealth also allows patients to choose a medical provider that best suits their personal medical needs. Medicare beneficiaries have come to rely on expanded access to telehealth and are satisfied with the care they have received.”

Sen. Warner has consistently led efforts to expand telehealth accessibility. He is an original cosponsor and a tireless advocate for the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technologies (CONNECT) for Health Act, legislation that would expand coverage of telehealth services through Medicare and make permanent COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities. He has also introduced bipartisan legislation to increase access to telehealth services for individuals with substance use disorder and repeatedly pushed on the DEA to institute long-term flexibilities for the prescription of controlled substances via telehealth.

Joining Sens. Warner and Schatz in sending the letter were U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Thune (R-SD), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and U.S. Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA-04), David Schweikert (R-AZ-01), Doris Matsui (D-CA-07), and Bill Johnson (R-OH-06).

A copy of the letter is available here and below.  

Dear Secretary Becerra: 

As 2024 begins, we urge you to work with Congress to ensure that all Medicare beneficiaries have permanent access to telehealth services before the temporary waivers expire on December 31, 2024. We appreciate the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) efforts to implement telehealth flexibilities that Congress authorized over the past four years. With the expiration of temporary waivers rapidly approaching, we strongly encourage you to make telehealth a priority. We stand ready to work with you to ensure Medicare beneficiaries maintain access to telehealth services.

Congress has recognized the critical role of telehealth in health care delivery by expanding coverage during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. Most recently, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 extended several Medicare telehealth flexibilities through December 31, 2024. Among these was a provision allowing patients to use telehealth regardless of where they are located. These short-term extensions have been important to allow continuity of care and provide time for experts to evaluate the benefits of expanded telehealth services. The data is clear: Permanent policy is necessary, such as the policies in our consensus bipartisan bill, the CONNECT for Health Act.

Enacting permanent telehealth legislation will require collaboration between HHS and Congress in the year ahead. We urge you to communicate to Congress and the public the authorities, appropriations, resources, and other supports needed to achieve this goal. Ideal channels for these communications include the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget, the Calendar Year (CY) 2025 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, and upcoming testimonies before Congressional committees. We also request timely technical assistance and data sharing to support Congress’ legislative work. To address any outstanding implementation questions related to permanent policy, including those outlined in the CY 2024 Physician Fee Schedule, we strongly encourage you to solicit information from stakeholders.

This is a pivotal year for telehealth policy, and it is critical that we enact long-term legislation in 2024. Telehealth is a cost-effective way to improve access to care, especially for rural and underserved communities. Telehealth also allows patients to choose a medical provider that best suits their personal medical needs. Medicare beneficiaries have come to rely on expanded access to telehealth and are satisfied with the care they have received. We must provide patients and clinicians long-term certainty about access to care through telehealth. We appreciate your collaboration on this important issue and look forward to working with you to ensure access to telehealth services is available on a permanent basis.

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – With the 2024 election season already underway, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote to Jen Easterly, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), pushing the agency to recommit to addressing foreign malign influence in our elections. In his letter, Sen. Warner cited a recently declassified intelligence assessment emphasizing the continuing threat of foreign election influence.

Sen. Warner specifically highlighted the need for CISA to lead efforts to shore up our nation’s defenses, both through physical and technical protections of election systems and electoral processes, and by serving as a liaison between the intelligence community, the private sector, and state and local institutions in order to facilitate information sharing to combat malign influence.

“CISA’s commitment to leading the federal government’s engagement on physical security and cybersecurity ahead of each federal election is crucial,” wrote Sen. Warner. “Since the designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in 2017, CISA has led a collaborative effort to assist state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and private sector partners in protecting election systems from cyber threats. The complex and often highly varied election processes and systems across the U.S. are markedly more secure today as a result of CISA’s important efforts.”

The role of CISA in combatting election threats has never been more important, as the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on Murthy v. Missouri, a case that has the potential to severely limit the role that government officials can play in communicating with private social media companies when it comes to countering foreign disinformation campaigns.

“With the heightened possibility that the FBI may (through internal policy or court decision) be hamstrung in its ability to share threat information with impacted parties outside the federal government, it will be incumbent upon CISA to fill this vacuum – engaging and serving as an interlocutor between private sector entities, the intelligence community and law enforcement, and state and local officials,” concluded Sen. Warner.

Earlier this month, Sen. Warner filed an amicus brief urging the Court to reverse the dangerous decision of the Fifth Circuit that would prevent voluntary information sharing between government agencies and private social media companies in order to better protect against foreign threats. 

A copy of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Director Easterly,

With less than 11 months before the 2024 U.S. Presidential election, and the first primary already underway, I write with growing concern about the Administration’s posture to combat foreign election threats. As the recently declassified Intelligence Community Assessment on Foreign Threats to the 2022 US Elections illustrates, a range of foreign adversaries continue to target our nation’s democratic processes, with the goals of promoting greater social divisions, undermining confidence in electoral processes, and in some cases seeking to shape election outcomes. While the section of that Assessment that provides a prospective assessment for the 2024 elections remains classified, the IC has noted that foreign election influence activity tends to be elevated during presidential election years. Notwithstanding this persistent threat to our democracy, recent litigation by hyper-partisan actors has sought to stymie federal efforts to counter these threats.

The work of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has been pivotal in shoring up the nation’s defenses since 2016. This includes not just CISA’s vital work to assist state and local election administrators in protecting physical and technical aspects of election systems and electoral processes, but also CISA’s efforts to serve as a nexus between the intelligence community, the private sector, and state and local institutions.

CISA’s commitment to leading the federal government’s engagement on physical security and cybersecurity ahead of each federal election is crucial. Since the designation of election infrastructure as critical infrastructure in 2017, CISA has led a collaborative effort to assist state and local governments, election officials, federal partners, and private sector partners in protecting election systems from cyber threats. The complex and often highly varied election processes and systems across the U.S. are markedly more secure today as a result of CISA’s important efforts. However, recent elections have demonstrated the proclivity of foreign adversaries to pursue blended operations, which highlights the need to address election security holistically, encompassing both election interference  and election influence  threats. As the 2022 US Elections ICA highlighted, for instance, Iran impersonated a U.S. violent extremist organization to send emails seeking to intimidate voters, as well as creating a website with death threats to US election officials. Similarly, in 2016 we saw Russia embrace hacking and dissemination operations (which included targeting political parties’ networks and probing election systems), combined with social media-based election influence operations.

In hearings the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held in 2018, the Senate heard first-hand from senior social media executives how pivotal the Department of Homeland Security’s election security efforts – in conjunction with those of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Foreign Influence Task Force – have been.  Efforts by hyper-partisan litigants and media personalities to rewrite that history – and to falsely characterize these efforts, as part of an outlandish conspiracy theory, as somehow involving efforts by federal officials sought to suppress Americans’ voices – should not intimidate your organization from maintaining this vital role.

The federal government has made substantial – if uneven – progress since being caught flat-footed in the face of sustained efforts by a foreign adversary to interference in our democratic processes in 2016. Far from receding, these election threats have only grown – with a wider array of foreign actors, a larger number of social media platforms suitable for influence activity (and a combination of ownership and management changes reducing the private sector resources devoted to countering foreign election threats), and heightened incentives of many adversaries to shape election outcomes in pursuit of specific geopolitical objectives.

With the heightened possibility that the FBI may (through internal policy or court decision) be hamstrung in its ability to share threat information with impacted parties outside the federal government, it will be incumbent upon CISA to fill this vacuum – engaging and serving as an interlocutor between private sector entities, the intelligence community and law enforcement, and state and local officials.

Sincerely, 

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) joined U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in introducing the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act. This legislation increases staffing capacity and technology to bolster security and detect illicit drugs and other contraband being smuggled through ports of entry along the border.

“Families and communities across the Commonwealth have been devastated by the spread of fentanyl,” said Sen. Warner. “This legislation will help our law enforcement officers at the border stop the flow of fentanyl into this country by providing personnel and equipment needed secure our border.”  

The Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act would enable U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to hire more Officers and Border Patrol Agents to increase capacity to stop illicit smuggling over the border. The bill also provides funding to purchase Non-Intrusive Inspection systems, which scan vehicles and cargo at the border to provide detailed images of their interiors, which leads to the detection of fentanyl and other illicit drugs. Additionally, the bill would create an inspection program to increase seizure of firearms being exported from the United States to Mexico, which criminal organizations frequently purchase in the United States and smuggle into Mexico to support their fentanyl production operations and other violent criminal enterprises.  

This legislation comes following the senators’ call to President Biden to prioritize additional resources to strengthen security at the Southwest border in order to stop the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl through ports of entry. Sen. Warner has led numerous efforts to curb fentanyl trafficking, and last week participated in a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the topic. 

Joining Sens. Warner, Casey, and Kelly in introducing this legislation are U.S. Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). 

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

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), members of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation to require Medicare Advantage plans to publicly report the supplemental benefits they offer and the extent to which beneficiaries use them, making sure that the program is using Medicare-funded benefits to better serve seniors. Specifically, the legislation would require Medicare Advantage plans report enrollee-level data on supplemental benefits to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as report eligibility for benefits, the types of benefit categories offered, and data on utilization of and payments for such benefits.

“As more and more seniors turn to Medicare Advantage for their health coverage, it’s important that we properly evaluate the effectiveness of the program,” said Sen. Warner. “That’s why I introduced legislation to make Medicare Advantage data more readily available so that we can better evaluate plans in order to give seniors the best coverage for their needs and to ensure the sustainability of the Medicare program as a whole.”

In recent years, the use of Medicare Advantage has skyrocketed, with 39 percent of all Virginia Medicare beneficiaries and more than half of eligible beneficiaries nationwide choosing to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. However, there is currently no statutory requirement to specifically report on supplemental benefits, making data on available benefits and their utilization unreliable. Sen. Warner’s legislation would ensure this data is available in order to understand beneficiary use of supplemental benefits and their impact on the sustainability of the Medicare program.

This legislation builds on Sen. Warner’s efforts to expand and protect healthcare access for Medicare beneficiaries, including through legislation like the Preserving Patient Access to Home Infusion Act and CHRONIC Care Act.

Full text of the bill is available here.

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

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

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

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $1,452,800 in federal funding to build 38 publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging ports across Henrico County and to plan for the future of EV infrastructure development. The ports will be spread across seven community facilities, such as libraries, government centers, and parks and recreation sites. The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant Program, which equalizes access to EV ports and other alternative fueling sources across America.?The CFI Program was created through the bipartisan infrastructure law (BIL), legislation strongly supported by Sens. Warner and Kaine.

“Electric vehicles have enormous potential to limit air pollution and cut carbon emissions, but we need widespread, accessible charging infrastructure so even more Virginians can make the switch,” said the senators. “We’re thrilled the bipartisan infrastructure law is expanding EV charging capacity in Henrico County, and we will continue working to make it affordable and convenient for Virginians to choose electric vehicles and other clean energy solutions.”

Sens. Warner and Kaine have long supported efforts to invest in a clean energy future. This funding represents some of the $7.5 billion authorized by the BIL to build electric vehicle charging stations across the country, with more grants still to be announced. In addition to competitive grants, Virginia is guaranteed to receive at least $106 million in formula funding over five years to build new EV charging stations. Across the board, the BIL has made several other investments in clean energy across the Commonwealth: the senators also recently celebrated over $17 million to buy 57 low- and no-emission school buses for Fairfax and Newport News Public Schools, $71 million to reduce power outages and allow more clean energy sources to reach the electric grid, $171 million for low- or no-emission public transit buses, and more. Additionally, the senators strongly supported the Inflation Reduction Act, which invests in both clean energy production and tax credits for Americans that make qualifying energy-efficient purchases. On Jan. 1, the IRA began allowing individuals that buy a new or used electric vehicle to receive a tax credit at the point-of-sale instead of having to wait to file their taxes.

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WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released the following statement regarding provisions to lower health care and energy costs that went into effect on January 1, 2024. These provisions were made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, which was supported by the senators and passed in the Senate by one vote. These measures to lower costs come as the prices of hundreds of drugs are expected to rise this month.

“When we passed the Inflation Reduction Act, we knew that it would have tremendous benefits for communities across Virginia. We’re excited that key provisions from the law went into effect this year to help lower prescription drug and energy costs for millions of Americans. We look forward to Virginians continuing to see the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act in the years to come.”

The following provisions went into effect on January 1, 2024:

  • Lower Health Costs for Low-Income Americans: Americans with Medicare who have incomes up to 150% of the federal poverty line are now eligible for full benefits under the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) program, also known as “Extra Help.” The Extra Help program helps low-income Americans on Medicare cover their out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. Virginians can apply for Extra Help through the Social Security Administration by going online, calling 1-800-772-1213, or visiting a local Social Security Office.
  • Lower Drug Costs for Millions of Medicare Recipients: Lower Drug Costs for Millions of Medicare Recipients: A provision in the IRA will make accessing medication more affordable for millions of Americans on Medicare who rely on expensive medications, often to treat chronic conditions. This IRA provision institutes a cap on prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare Part D for the first time. 
  • Lower Premiums for More Than 500,000 Virginians: There are additional provisions that went into effect to limit annual premium increases for Americans, including more than 500,000 Virginians, enrolled in Medicare Part D.
  • Simplified Electric Vehicle (EV) Tax Credits: The IRA allows qualified individuals to get a tax credit up to $7,500 for the purchase of new EVs or a tax credit of up to $4,000 for certain used EVs and plug-in hybrids purchased through a dealership. Virginians who buy an EV from a participating dealer can now choose to receive their tax credit for that purchase at the point-of-sale instead of after filing their taxes.

More information about other key provisions from the Inflation Reduction Act that went into effect in 2023 is available here.

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