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Career Opportunity

Residential Counselors

(Youth Service Workers)

 

Job#: 2017-10

If you are interested in making a positive impact on the lives of Virginia’s youth, then we want you to become part of our Team!  Rural Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility located in Jarratt, Virginia seeks positive role models to work directly with adolescent boys and girls in a psychiatric residential treatment program.  The Youth Service Worker is responsible for role-modeling healthy behavior, teaching life skills, administering a trauma informed behavioral support program, and leading youth in and participating in social, cultural, and recreational activities.  This position supervises youth in the residential unit and on off-campus activities and appointments.

Must possess the availability to work weekends, evenings, holidays, and nights.  Supreme flexibility required. 

Seeking candidates with Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology, Sociology or other Human Services field.   Experience will be considered in lieu of a degree.

Compensation package includes 401(k) retirement plan & employer sponsored health, dental, vision & life insurance.  JBHS is a Drug Free Workplace.  Successful applicants must pass a pre-employment drug screen and criminal background screening.  EOE.  Positions opened until filled.

E-mail cover letter and resume to:

Jackson-Feild Behavioral Health Services
Attn: Chris Thompson
Job # 2017-10
E-mail:careers@jacksonfeild.org

This Paid Political Advertisement does not represent an endorsement by Emporia News. Emporia News does not endorse candidates for any political office.

KAINE & COLLEAGUES INTRODUCE BILL TO INVEST $45 BILLION TOWARD COMBATING OPIOID CRISIS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) to introduce the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act, which wouldinvest $45 billion for prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment of opioids and opioid addiction. This legislation would address a number of the critical shortcomings in the approach to combating the opioid epidemic, including the Trump Administration’s unwillingness to make a long-term investment in the fight.

“We need to see real action to back up the promises we’ve heard when it comes to the opioid epidemic. We have seen staggering numbers released recently showing how devastating the crisis is in Virginia, and we must take action to help Virginia communities treat and rehabilitate people suffering with addiction,” Kaine said. “The funding from the Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act would go where it’s needed most: to the state and local governmentsthat are on the frontlines fighting this crisis.”

The Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act would:

-      Authorize and appropriate $4,474,800,000 for substance abuse programs for the individual states for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2027.

-      Build upon bipartisanship by adding this funding to the Account for the State Response to the Opioid Abuse Crisis, which was created by the 21st Century Cures Act. The 21st Century Cures Act passed the Senate with 94 votes.

-      Expand the use of funding already allowed under 21st Century Cures, so that states may also use this money for detection, surveillance and treatment of co-occurring infections, as well as for surveillance, data collection and reporting on the number of opioid overdose deaths.

-      Promote research on addiction and pain related to substance abuse, and authorizes and appropriates $50,400,000 for each of fiscal years 2018 through 2022. Under the bill, the National Institutes of Health would be responsible for distributing this money.

-      Provide stable, long-term funding, a total of $45 billion over ten years to the states and over five years to research efforts. This is similar to the stable, long-term investment that Senate Republicans proposed as a response to the opioid emergency.

-      Not replace coverage for treatment under Medicaid or the treatment requirements for private insurance in the Affordable Care Act. Both of these remain critical for combating the opioid abuse epidemic.

The Combating the Opioid Epidemic Act has been endorsed by American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Coalition to Stop Opioid Overdose,  International Nurses Society on Addictions (IntNSA), National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, National Association of County and City Health Officials, National Association of Social Workers, National Council for Behavioral Health, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Safety Council, Treatment Communities of America, and Young People in Recovery.

 

The bill is also co-sponsored by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (DNH), Al Franken (D-MN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

WARNER & KAINE ANNOUNCE MORE THAN $1.3MILLION TO SUPPORT FIRE DEPARTMENTS IN VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced $1,357,959 in federal funding for nine Virginia fire departments through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The funding for nine fire departments in Concord, Chilhowie, Fairfax, Gasburg, Glade Spring, Kenbridge, Lovingston, Newport News, and Norton will be awarded through FEMA’s Assistant to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program.

“This federal funding will provide fire departments with critical support to enhance training operations and purchase life-saving equipment that will help keep Virginians safe,” the Senators said.

The following Virginia fire departments will receive funding under the AFG program:

  • The Concord Volunteer Fire Department will receive $64,762 to purchase vehicle extrication equipment;
  • The Town of Chilhowie Fire & EMS Department will receive $60, 313 to purchase portable and mobile radios;
  • The City of Fairfax Fire Department will receive $136, 182 to support training operations for firefighters;
  • The Gasburg Volunteer Fire Department will receive $46,116 to purchase an air compressor and fill station equipment;
  • The Glade Spring Volunteer Fire Department will receive $38,096 to purchase an air compressor and fill station equipment.
  • The Kenbridge Fire Department will receive $54,739 to update its source capture exhaust system technology;
  • The Lovingston Volunteer Fire Department will receive $142,381 to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus equipment;
  • The City of Newport News Fire Department will receive $404,600 to purchase power lift cots and stretchers and;
  • The City of Norton Fire Department will receive $320,358 to purchase self-contained breathing apparatus equipment and face pieces.

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. 

CARPER, KAINE INTRODUCE BILL TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH CARE MARKETPLACE & LOWER PREMIUMS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to help stabilize the individual health care marketplace and lower premiums. The Act would provide certainty in the marketplace by creating a permanent reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market, similar to the successful programs used to lower premiums and spur competition in the Medicare Part D program. U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are original co-sponsors of the legislation.

This reinsurance program would provide funding to offset larger than expected insurance claims for health insurance companies participating in the state and federal insurance marketplaces, encouraging them to offer more plans in a greater number of markets, improving competition and driving down costs for patients and families. Additionally, the bill would provide $500 million a year  from 2018 to 2020 to help states improve outreach and enrollment for the health insurance marketplaces, drawing in new members and educating the public about the need to be insured.  This outreach funding prioritizes counties where there are limited insurers left in the marketplace.

“The Affordable Care Act has made incredible strides toward ensuring access to high-quality health care for every American, but the law isn’t perfect and Congress must work together across party lines to make it better,” said Carper. "That is why Senator Kaine and I have introduced legislation that would inject more stability into the individual insurance market, and do so by replicating the stabilization efforts that have worked so well in the bipartisan Medicare Part D program. By providing insurers with the certainty they need to participate in the individual insurance markets, this bill will increase competition among insurers and lower premiums for consumers.”

“The only way to get health care right in this country is for both parties to work together on real solutions for all Americans,” Kaine said. “After months of uncertainty, our bill would work to stabilize the individual market through a reinsurance program modeled after the bipartisan Medicare Part D plan. I have long said I was willing to work on ways to improve the Affordable Care Act, and if my colleagues are serious about looking for a way to fulfill President Trump’s promises that no one will pay more and no one will lose coverage, especially those with preexisting conditions, then this is a great place to start. This is just one way to improve affordability and choices for consumers and I look forward to working on additional solutions.”

“We have to focus on finding ways to fix our nation’s health care system, and this bill, which will help reduce premiums for Floridians by as much as 13 percent, is one step in the right direction,” said Nelson.

"The Affordable Care Act isn't perfect but there's no doubt that it's made New Hampshire healthier,” said Shaheen. “This legislation would inject stability into the individual insurance market through a program included in the original ACA, which sunset in 2016, that helps lower premiums and spur competition. I continue to urge colleagues across the aisle to work with Democrats to improve the Affordable Care Act though legislation like this, not wholesale repeal a law that is working."

“We must work together across party lines to help ease the burden of health care costs that are squeezing far too many hard-working Granite Staters and Americans,” Hassan said. “This common-sense legislation will help lower premiums for middle class Americans and stabilize the individual market, which the Trump Administration has been working to sabotage. I continue to stand ready to work with anyone who is serious about improving upon the Affordable Care Act and lowering health care costs for Granite State families, and this bill is an important first step.”

The Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act would:

  • Lower premiums, which would then decrease the cost of Advance Premium tax credits,
  • Increase competition among insurers,
  • Provide funding to states to improve outreach and enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces,
  • And provide additional marketplace stability for insurers, providers, and patients.

The reinsurance program would increase stability in the individual health insurance marketplaces by providing federal funding to cover 80 percent of insurance claims between $50,000 and $500,000 from 2018-2020. Starting in 2021, federal funding would cover 80 percent of insurance claims between $100,000 and $500,000.

View full text of the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act, here

KAINE & WARNER BILL TO GRANT FEDERAL RECOGNITION OF VIRGINIA INDIAN TRIBES MOVES ONE STEP CLOSER TO FINAL PASSAGE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017, a bill reintroduced in March by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, cleared its first procedural hurdle with unanimous passage out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.  The legislation would grant federal recognition of six Virginia tribes: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. These tribes have received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but have not received federal recognition, which would grant the tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government. The legislation will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

“Today’s committee passage brings Virginia’s tribes one step closer to federal recognition,” said Kaine and Warner “Passage of this bill would give these tribes access to educational and health care services and the ability to properly pay respect to their ancestors. We won’t give up until Virginia’s tribes receive the recognition they deserve.”

Federal recognition would allow Virginia’s tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government. Further, it would allow tribes to:

  • Compete for educational programs and other grants only open to federally recognized tribes;
  • Repatriate the remains of their ancestors in a respectful manner. Many of these remains reside in the Smithsonian, but without federal status there is no mandate to return the remains; and
  • Provide affordable health care services for elder tribal members who have been unable to access care. 

KAINE & TESTER INTRODUCE BILL TO PROTECT FEDERAL STUDENT AID FOR GOLD STAR FAMILIES

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and co-chair of the Senate Military Families Caucus, and Jon Tester (D-MT), ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced the Protect our Gold Star Families’ Education Act, legislation that wouldexpand the Pell Grant program to include the children and dependents of those killed in action in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001 to offset their educational expenses.

Currently, students whose parents died as a result of military service in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 are eligible to receive federal student aid for postsecondary education that is equivalent to the maximum Pell Grant award through the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant. However, as a result of sequestration, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter in May 2016 to institutions requiring them to reduce the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant awards by about 7% (or roughly $400 per recipient) for the 2016-2017 award year. The Protect our Gold Star Families’ Education Act would move the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant to the Pell Grant program to stabilize the funding source for these awards and ensure Gold Star families have access to the maximum the grant funding available. 

“Our Gold Star families have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and ensuring they have access to a quality college education is the right thing to do,” Kaine said. “Moving these grants under the Pell program will provide more security to Gold Star families and help ease the burden of college costs. As more of our post-9/11 Gold Star children are starting to reach college age, now is the right time to improve the grant system.”  

“College should never be out-of-reach for families who have sacrificed so much for our freedom,” said Tester. “This bill is an important token of our appreciation to the Gold Star families who gave everything for this nation.  We owe it to these children to ensure they have access to a quality education that can help them achieve the best possible future.”  

“The American Legion understands the issues that the younger generation of veterans face today,” The American Legion said. “Ensuring that dependents of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are eligible to obtain financial assistance while attending an institution of higher learning is of great importance to this organization. We applaud Senator Tim Kaine and Senator Jon Tester for addressing this issue and support this piece of legislation.”

While Virginia public universities already offer tuition assistance to dependents whose parents were killed in action or were permanently disabled under the state’s Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP), these funds could be used to offset tuition at private institutions and could also cover additional expenses, including room and board, books, and supplies. Over 500 Virginians have attended or are currently attending college at public universities with assistance through VMSDEP and would qualify for these Pell Grants as well. 

TOMORROW: KAINE TO CONTINUE DISCUSSION OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE CITY OF FRANKLIN AND AT RICHMOND MARINE TERMINAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine will travel to the City of Franklin and the Richmond Marine Terminal (Formerly Port of Richmond)  to discuss the importance of investments in workforce development and infrastructure to promote economic growth.

In the morning, Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, will join Paul D. Camp Community College President Dr. Dan Lufkin for a roundtable discussion with local community workforce development leaders and campus faculty and staff on the need to increase access to affordable higher education. They will also discuss the importance of workforce training and career and technical education (CTE) programs that help students gain experience and training necessary to prepare them for the high paying jobs of tomorrow.

Later, Kaine will travel to the Richmond Marine Terminal (Formerly Port of Richmond) where he will receive an update on investments to deepen the port to allow larger ships and efforts to increase trade. Deepening the port and expanding access will dramatically bolster the container capacity and economic competitiveness of the terminal.

KAINE LEADS BIPARTISAN BILL TO REDESIGN HIGH SCHOOL WITH GREATER CTE FOCUS

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), founding member of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, led U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Todd Young (R-IN) in introducing the CTE Excellence and Equity Act to support re-designing the high school experience to include courses more relevant to the 21st century workforce to better prepare students for future careers. The bill would provide federal funding forpartnerships between school districts, employers, and institutions of higher education in Virginia and other states that integrate high-quality career and technical education (CTE) programs into high schools. These partnerships help students earn industry recognized credentials or credit toward a postsecondary degree or certificate and an understanding of the relevance of coursework in the context of a future career. According to the nonpartisan organization Achieve, nearly 80% of college instructors and 60% of employers indicate that public high schools fall short in preparing students for postsecondary education.

“At schools across Virginia, I’ve seen innovative approaches to deliver high-quality CTE programs to students. This bill would support schools as they redesign coursework to create engaging CTE partnerships between industry and higher education,” said Kaine. “Preparing our students for the careers of tomorrow gives them a better shot at getting hired for good-paying jobs and having the skills needed to excel in them.”

“My top priority in the United States Senate has been to promote policies that help create and foster an environment that leads to job creation and economic growth,” Portman stated.  “Career and Technical Education gives students the opportunity to gain skills and experience to become college and career ready.  The CTE Excellence and Equity Act will benefit millions of high school students across the country by expanding access to high quality CTE programs which lead to college credit, workplace skills, and opportunities for internships and apprenticeship programs.” 

“In Wisconsin, I’ve seen how strong public-private partnerships can meet our workforce readiness challenges effectively and Congress should work across party lines to strengthen these programs,” said Baldwin. “This bipartisan legislation will help us do a better job of supporting career and technical education students so that they are better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of today and tomorrow.”

“As West Virginia undergoes an economic transition and grapples with high unemployment, it is critical that we take steps to equip our workforce with the right skills for today’s jobs. I’m pleased to join with my colleagues to introduce the CTE Excellence and Equity Act, which supports necessary partnerships between higher education and employers and will improve career and technical training in our high schools,” said Capito.

“Strong CTE programs are a critical part of equipping students with the skills they need today to be able to compete in tomorrow’s workforce,” Young said. “This legislation is a positive step forward in closing the skills gap by supporting high-quality CTE programs that are aligned with the needs of our local communities.”

TheCTE Excellence and Equity Act would provide federal funding through a competitive grant programto support innovative approaches to redesigningthe high school experience for students as schools develop curriculum, assess student performance and teach workplace skills through job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships. The bill would amend the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.

“The CTE Excellence and Equity Act provides data and research to address funding support for the much-needed redesign of more equitable CTE high school experiences that will help prepare more students to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said Richmond Public Schools Career and Technical Education Instructional Specialist Jorge Valenzuela. “In order for our students to truly be successful throughout life after high school, CTE must be integrated into the instructional models of school divisions throughout our entire country.”

"Senator Kaine has been a fighter and advocate for the equality and equity of public education his entire career,” said Norfolk Federation of Teachers Thomas Calhoun. “It's no surprise that he is one of the recognized leaders for quality CTE schools in the country!"

“This bipartisan legislation works to address the growing gap between the traditional high school experience and the expectations of higher education and employers by connecting business, school districts, colleges, and others with a stake in the quality of the nation’s high school graduates,” said Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former Governor of West Virginia. “It also provides students with an opportunity to learn by doing, making the high school experience more engaging and more relevant to today’s job market while setting students up for individual success—a key component to the nation’s economic growth.”

Kaine, Portman, Baldwin, and Capito introduced an earlier version of this legislation in the 114th Congress.

The CTE Excellence and Equity Act is supported by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Advance CTE, the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Committee for Children (CfC), the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the National Skills Coalition (NSC), Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

A one-page fact sheet on the CTE Excellence and Equity Act can be found here.

KAINE & WARNER TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION COMMEMORATING TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF VIRGINIA TECH TRAGEDY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark R. Warner will introduce a Senate resolution commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the second deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which claimed 32 lives and injured 17 others. The resolution honors the victims, offers condolences to their families, and recognizes the resilience of the Virginia Tech community in the decade following the tragedy. Kaine was serving as Governor of Virginia when the tragedy occurred.

“As I told members of the Blacksburg community on April 16th this year, ten years later I continue to be in awe of the strength of these families and the entire Virginia Tech community, “said Kaine. “Virginia Tech has set a powerful example of resilience in the face of tragedy, and this resolution recognizes that perseverance and honors the 32 beautiful lives that were lost that day and the 17 individuals who were injured.”

“On that dark day ten years ago and every day since, these families and the survivors have shown incredible courage in the wake of almost unbearable pain and loss,”said Warner. “This resolution remembers those lives lost and recognizes how, in many ways, the huge Virginia Tech community has grown stronger and even closer in the decade since the tragedy.”

Kaine and Warner have long supported improving mental health policy and passing commonsense measures to curb gun violence, including requiring background record checks prior to gun purchases and improving the number and accuracy of records submitted to the national background check system. Last month, Kaine co-sponsored the CDC Research on Firearms Safety or Gun Violence Prevention Act, a bill that would lift the de facto twenty-year ban on research into firearms safety and gun violence prevention at the CDC. 

Earlier today, the Senate unanimously passed Sens. Kaine and Warner’s resolution recognizing the 10th anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy. 

VA MEMBERS URGE CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP TO TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT MINERS BEFORE HEALTHCARE BENEFITS EXPIRE

~ An estimated 10,000 retired coal miners in Virginia are at risk of losing health and retirement benefits in the coming years ~

WASHINGTON – In a letter today, Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Gerry Connolly, A. Donald McEachin, and Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (all D-VA) urged Congressional leaders to take action to protect retired coal miners who risk losing their healthcare benefits as part of negotiations to keep the government funded before the end of the week. Last year, Congress reached a deal to extend government funding and retired miners’ health care benefits until April 28th. In March, retired coal miners and their families began receiving letters notifying them of the impending termination of their health care coverage. 

“This nation was built on the backs of our workers. Let us not forsake them. We implore you to immediately pass a permanent health care fix for the miners and commit to working with us to finding and passing a solution for the imperiled 1974 Pension Fund,” the members wrote.

Retired miners are facing uncertainty because the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) 1974 Pension Plan is severely underfunded, still reeling from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and a series of bankruptcies in the coal industry.

The Virginia Congressional members pressed for the inclusion in negotiations of the Miners Protection Act, bipartisan legislation which would transfer federal funds to shore up the underfunded health insurance and pension plan.

“Anything less is merely an extension of the ongoing uncertainty and agony that these men and women have been carrying for years. Anything less is an unacceptable and tragic failure of this body to keep its word to the men and women who powered our nation to prosperity at the risk of their own health and lives,” the members added.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.

April 25, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell                              
Senate Majority Leader                                               
The Capitol S-230                                                       
Washington, DC 20510                                              

The Honorable Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader
The Capitol S-221
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Paul Ryan                                          
Speaker of the House of Representatives                   
The Capitol H-232                                                      
Washington, DC 20515                                              

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi  
House Minority Leader
The Capitol H-204
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi,

As you know, at the expiration of the current continuing resolution, 22,600 of our nation’s retired coal miners will lose their healthcare benefits.  In March, these miners received letters notifying them of this impending termination and, sadly, it is not the first such letter they have received.  

Virginia is home to nearly 10,000 UMWA beneficiaries whose benefits are at risk in the coming years, many of whom will soon suffer the anguish and fear that comes with the loss of these life-saving benefits. 

While the continuing resolution included a four-month extension of benefits, it did so using remaining funds in the existing Voluntary Employee’s Beneficiary Association (VEBA) plans.  The “extension” was essentially a transfer of funds already belonging to these miners.  In fact, it shortened the timeline for 6,500 of these miners who would have otherwise received healthcare benefits through July.  Additionally, the pension fund that these miners and their widows rely on for life’s basic necessities will reach the point of no return this year if Congress does not act to shore it up.

This bill is simple – it is the continuation of a longstanding commitment by our government to lifetime health and retirement benefits for our miners.  The Krug-Lewis Agreement was signed in 1946 at the White House in front of President Truman by UMWA president John L. Lewis and Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug.  While the agreement itself was not drafted in perpetuity, Congress essentially codified the promises made in that agreement by subsequently passing the Coal Act. 

The Coal Act and its 2006 amendments re-committed the government to the health and retirement security of our nation’s miners and their families.  In fact, prior to passage of the 1992 Coal Act, the Dole Commission (appointed by President George H.W. Bush) issued a report stating that, “The UMWA Health and Retirement Funds is as much a creature of government as it is of collective bargaining. There is a line running from the original Boone Report to the present system. In a way, the original Krug-Lewis agreement predisposed, if not predetermined, the system that evolved.” 

The Miners Protection Act is a responsible, bipartisan solution to an immediate problem that is fully offset and has gone through regular order.  As Congress considers a continuing resolution to keep the government running, we fully expect that such a vehicle will include the permanent health care fix for our nation’s retired miners as promised at the end of 2016 and proposed in the Miner’s Protection Act.

Anything less is merely an extension of the ongoing uncertainty and agony that these men and women have been carrying for years.  Anything less is an unacceptable and tragic failure of this body to keep its word to the men and women who powered our nation to prosperity at the risk of their own health and lives. 

This nation was built on the backs of our workers.  Let us not forsake them.  We implore you to immediately pass a permanent health care fix for the miners and commit to working with us to finding and passing a solution for the imperiled 1974 Pension Fund.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                  

Mark R. Warner                                                        
United States Senator            

Tim Kaine
United States Senator

Gerry Connolly
United States Representative

A. Donald McEachin  
United States Representative

Robert C. “Bobby” Scott
United States Representative 

ON 400TH ANNIVERSARY OF POCAHONTAS’ BURIAL, WARNER & KAINE INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO GRANT FEDERAL RECOGNITION FOR SIX VIRGINIA INDIAN TRIBES

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’ burial, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine introduced legislation to federally recognize six Virginia Indian tribes, which include descendants of Pocahontas’ Virginia Powhatan tribe. The Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017 would grant the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government.

Coinciding with the anniversary, Upper Mattaponi Chief Ken Adams, Chickahominy Chief Stephen Adkins, and Rappahannock Chief Anne Richardson traveled to England to participate in a series of events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Pocahontas’ death. On Tuesday, there will be a plaque dedication ceremony at the church where Pocahontas is buried.

“Four hundred years after the death of Pocahontas, our country continues to do a disservice to her descendants by failing to recognize the major role Virginia’s tribes have played in American history and the fabric of our nation,” said the Senators. “These six tribes have treaties that predated the United States, but because of this historical quirk and the systematic destruction of their records, they have been denied federal recognition and the services that come along with it. Congress can fix this injustice by passing our bill and granting these tribes the federal recognition they deserve.”

Federal recognition would allow Virginia’s tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government. Further, it would allow tribes to:

  • Compete for educational programs and other grants only open to federally recognized tribes;
  • Repatriate the remains of their ancestors in a respectful manner. Many of these remains reside in the Smithsonian, but without federal status there is no mandate to return the remains; and
  • Provide affordable health care services for elder tribal members who have been unable to access care.

The bill has passed the House of Representatives in two previous Congresses. Kaine and Warner introduced two previous versions of the bill in the 113th and 114th Congress. Both passed out of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs but never were brought to the floor for a vote.

Students lobby Kaine’s office over Trump’s budget proposals

By Jessica Nolte, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – After President Donald Trump proposed slashing the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, students with the group Environment Virginia urged Sen. Tim Kaine to fight back.

Trump’s budget would cut funding for the EPA by about a third and eliminate federal funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The proposed budget cuts followed Trump’s selection of Scott Pruitt as administrator of the EPA. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA more than a dozen times and has questioned whether humans are responsible for global warming.

About a dozen students from Virginia Commonwealth University visited Kaine’s Richmond office Thursday afternoon to protest the Trump administration’s actions that they say will hurt the environment. The students met with John Knapp, Kaine’s state director.

“There’s a lot of energy out there, and it’s good. It’s exciting, and it’s good for our democracy,” Knapp said.

The students aren’t the only Virginians worried about the impact of Trump’s budget. State Democratic officials also have expressed concerns.

“Eliminating federal support to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, doing away with the Appalachian Regional Commission and slashing investments in community development, affordable housing, home weatherization, and heating assistance will do significant harm to Virginia families and our economy,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement Thursday.

Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who hopes to succeed McAuliffe as governor, also criticized the budget. “I am particularly disappointed by the total elimination of funding to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. As an Eastern Shore native, I know protecting the bay has both economic and environmental impacts.”

VCU students also are concerned about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which the energy giant Dominion hopes to construct through Virginia. Dominion says the interstate pipeline would transmit natural gas to multiple public utilities and serve the “growing energy needs in Virginia and North Carolina.” McAuliffe supports the project.

During the meeting with Knapp, Crystal Bishop, an intern for McAuliffe in constituent services, said she has received a lot of calls with concerns about the pipeline, which spawned protests in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Bishop also shared her concerns over the state of recycling in Virginia. She said she comes from Montclair, a community in Prince William County that does not have easy access to recycling. There’s a wide discrepancy in access to recycling across Virginia, Bishop said.

Bishop said her concerns grew after she spent time in Belgium, where even the tiniest piece of trash is recycled.

Knapp encouraged the students to stay active. He said:

  • Individual voices do matter. Knapp urged individuals to call their representatives. Elected officials do listen, he said. A lot of people get discouraged when the phone lines are busy, but that means people care and are making their voices heard. If you cannot get through, email the office, Knapp said.
  • Collective voices matter. Knapp told individuals to find an organization that supports what they believe in.
  • Voting in state elections is crucial. No matter what your opinion or political affiliation, voting in this year legislative, gubernatorial and other elections is sure to send a message to D.C., Knapp said. Only Virginia and New Jersey are holding statewide elections this year.
  • People should run for office or get involved by working for someone with a platform they support.

KAINE LEADS BIPARTISAN EFFORT TO RAISE THE QUALITY OF CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION, HOSTS CAREER TECH FAIR

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Todd Young (R-IN), co-chairs of the Senate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation to raise the quality of CTE programs at schools in Virginia and across the country. The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act amends the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to better meet the needs of a 21st century workforce and ensure students have access to the highest-quality CTE programs. Kaine, who introduced an earlier version of the legislation in the 114th Congress, has traveled across Virginia to visit career and tech education programs. Later today, Kaine will co-host the Senate CTE Caucus’ 3rd annual Career and Technical Education Fair where students from Virginia, Ohio, and Wisconsin will showcase and demonstrate projects that highlight how real-world problem solving skills and CTE are preparing America’s future workforce to meet real-world challenges.

“Programs that give kids the skills in high school to prepare them for post-secondary education and employment can yield benefits after graduation and later in students’ careers,” said Kaine. “This bipartisan bill helps workers and the economy by equipping more students with skills needed to get a job in an in-demand field in their state and ensuring employers have access to a skilled workforce.”

“Career and Technical Education makes our kids job-ready on graduation day, giving them skills that are in demand and a running start on their careers,” said Portman. “Our bipartisan legislation would improve the quality of CTE programs so that these kids get a better education using the equipment and the standards of today’s industry. That’s good for our economy because it would help us keep skilled jobs from going overseas. It’s good for employers, who are looking for skilled workers, but most of all it’s good for thousands kids in Ohio and across the country, because it will help them get good jobs and live out their God-given potential.”

“I’ve heard firsthand from students, businesses and manufacturers in Wisconsin and it’s clear that we need to do more to support career and technical education so people are better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Senator Baldwin. “Career and technical education has shown to be one of the most effective ways to respond to our workforce readiness needs and create shared prosperity. Our bipartisan effort will support Wisconsin’s career and technical students and provide companies with the skilled workforce they need to create stronger growth for our economy.”

“Strong CTE programs are a critical part of equipping students with the skills they need in tomorrow’s workforce,” said Young.  With almost half of employers nationwide experiencing a lack of skilled workers, this legislation is a positive step forward in closing the skills gap and addressing the needs of our local communities.”

Kaine, who grew up working in his dad’s ironworking shop and later spearheaded the creation of Governor’s Career and Technical Academies in Virginia – now Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academies – has made improving and strengthening access to CTE a top priority in the Senate. The Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would allow states and localities to use Perkins grant funding to establish CTE-focused academies like the Governor’s Academies in Virginia established by then-Governor Kaine. The bill encourages schools to incorporate key elements of high-quality CTE programs and promotes partnerships between local businesses, regional industries and other community stakeholders to create work-based learning opportunities for students.   

Numerous career and education groups support the Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, including the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), the National Academy Foundation (NAF), and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

A full fact sheet on the bill can be found here.

SENS. WARNER, KAINE URGE PRESIDENT TRUMP TO RECONSIDER CHESAPEAKE BAY PROGRAM CUTS

~ Published reports say Trump has proposed 93% Bay funding cut ~

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) wrote to President Trump today to urge him to reconsider steep budget cuts within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program. Several recent published reports indicate the Trump Administration will recommend cutting the Bay program from $73 million annually to $5 million. The Senators, both of whom were Virginia governors, each played vital roles managing Virginia’s multi-year, multi-state Bay restoration efforts.   

“The Chesapeake Bay is an essential economic engine in our region, supporting thousands of jobs in the fishery and tourism industries and generating millions in revenue each year. We have worked tirelessly to improve the health of the Bay to ensure that these industries will continue to grow and flourish for years to come,” the Senators wrote. “While we’ve seen real improvements in the health of the Chesapeake Bay in recent years, we are deeply concerned about the potential consequences of such a significant and jarring cut in funding.”

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

March 8, 2017

The Honorable Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write today to express our deep concerns over recent reports indicating your Administration is proposing significant funding reductions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to published reports, this includes draconian cuts in the Chesapeake Bay Program – a multi-year, multi-state partnership with the federal government to restore the largest estuary in the United States. We believe these cuts would be incredibly shortsighted and would endanger the years of progress that have been made in restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

We are both former Governors of Virginia, and are proud to continue our service in the United States Senate. The Chesapeake Bay is an essential economic engine in our region, supporting thousands of jobs in the fishery and tourism industries and generating millions in revenue each year. We have worked tirelessly to improve the health of the Bay to ensure that these industries will continue to grow and flourish for years to come.

The Chesapeake Bay Program was formed in 1983 in a collaborative effort among Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the federal government. Since then, New York, West Virginia, and Delaware have joined the effort to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay. Through this program, EPA supports the cleanup of the Bay by fostering collaboration among the regional partners and the federal government and coordinating the science, research, and data collection needed to support such an ambitious project. Two thirds of the funding supported by the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program is distributed directly to the states through grants.

Since the implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Program in 1983, we’ve witnessed tremendous improvements in the health of the Bay. The latest “Bay Barometer” report released earlier this year indicated that years of collaboration, funding, and hard work are paying dividends. Among other highlights, the report stated that underwater grasses in the Bay are at record levels and that the blue crab population has made a remarkable comeback in recent years. Continued funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program is essential to making sure we are able to build on this progress.

While we’ve seen real improvements in the health of the Chesapeake Bay in recent years, we are deeply concerned about the potential consequences of such a significant and jarring cut in funding.  To ensure our goal of restoring the Chesapeake Bay, we urge you to include at least $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay Program in your Fiscal Year 2018 budget request. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

MARK R. WARNER , United States Senator  

TIM KAINE, United States Senator

KAINE MEETS POPE FRANCIS IN VATICAN CITY, DISCUSSES GLOBAL REFUGEE AND MIGRANT CRISIS

VATICAN CITY – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine attended a general audience with Pope Francis in Vatican City and spoke with the Pope about the Holy See’s work to address the global refugee and migrant crisis. A photo of the meeting is attached and included below.

“I had a chance to visit with Pope Francis to discuss the global crisis of refugees and migrants which is relevant around the world and to my work in the Senate,” Kaine said. “As the Pope stated so clearly yesterday, it is a 'moral imperative' to protect and defend the 'inalienable rights' of refugees and respect their dignity, especially by adopting just laws that protect those fleeing dangerous or inhumane situations.”

“The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and the Holy See is tremendously important and the work we are doing together to address issues such as refugees, human trafficking, conflict resolution and reconciliation helps us advance peace in the world, as we try to end suffering and cooperate on issues of common good,” Kaine continued.

In Vatican City today, Kaine also met with the Foreign Minister of the Holy See Archbishop Paul Gallagher, participated in a discussion focused on Latin American issues with Vatican officials, and met with the Jesuit Refugee Service to discuss its work with refugees and asylum seekers. 

Photo taken by Paul Haring of Catholic News Service:

WARNER, KAINE REINTRODUCE BILL TO HELP “BLUE WATER” VIETNAM VETERANS

~ Bipartisan legislation would require V-A to provide benefits to veterans exposed to Agent Orange ~

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that thousands of Navy veterans from the Vietnam War – known as “Blue Water” veterans for their service in waters off the coast –are eligible to receive disability and health care benefits they have earned for diseases linked to Agent Orange exposure. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act would clarify the existing law so that Blue Water veterans, who are currently excluded from receiving these benefits, are covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (V-A) if they served within “territorial seas,” or approximately 12 miles offshore of Vietnam. The bill would also make it easier for the V-A to process these veterans’ claims for service-connected health conditions and alleviate a portion of the V-A’s backlog by extending presumptive coverage of Agent Orange benefits to these veterans.

“Virginia is home to many Vietnam veterans who honorably served their country and paid a high price after being exposed to Agent Orange,” said Sen. Warner. “We should not be discriminating against this group of heroes simply because of how and where they served. They fought just as hard, risked just as much, and deserve to get the benefits they earned.”

“Thousands of Blue Water Navy veterans in Virginia are still facing serious health conditions from exposure to Agent Orange and our country needs to ensure they can access the benefits they deserve,” said Sen. Kaine. “I’m proud to continue my efforts with Senator Warner and a bipartisan group of our colleagues to advocate on behalf of Blue Water veterans and I hope Congress will swiftly pass our bill.”

“VVA strongly supports justice for Blue Water Navy Vietnam veterans! This bill would complete the obligation to those who served in the bays, harbors, and territorial seas of the Republic of Vietnam during the period beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975 by recognizing exposure to the toxin Agent Orange and ensuring eligibility for all related Federal benefits that come with such presumption under the Agent Orange Act of 1991,” said John Rowan, National President and CEO of Vietnam Veterans of America.

“The VFW strongly agrees with the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that it is arbitrary and capricious for veterans who have served aboard ships in the coastal waters of Vietnam to be denied presumptive benefits associated with Agent Orange exposure. For this reason, we support your legislation which would end this injustice and ensure Blue Water Navy veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve,” said Raymond Kelley, Director of VFW National Legislative Service.

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military sprayed approximately 20 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam to remove jungle foliage. This toxic chemical had devastating health effects on millions serving in Vietnam.

In 1991, Congress passed a law requiring the V-A to provide presumptive coverage to Vietnam veterans with illnesses that the Institute of Medicine has directly linked to Agent Orange exposure. However, in 2002, the V-A decided that it would only cover Veterans who could prove that they had orders for “boots on the ground” during the Vietnam War. This exclusion prevents thousands of sailors from receiving benefits even though they had significant Agent Orange exposure from drinking and bathing in contaminated water just offshore.

Sens. Warner and Kaine have been pushing for the V-A to soften its position on benefits for Blue Water veterans. Last year, they wrote to the department requesting the V-A to reconsider the unnecessary burdens it has placed on this group.

In addition to Sens. Warner and Kaine, the legislation is sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act was previously introduced in the 114th Congress.

KAINE, WARNER, BOOKER & BLUNT REINTRODUCE COMMISSION TO RECOGNIZE 400 YEARS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY

2019 marks 400 years since first documented arrival of Africans to America by way of Point Comfort, Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Roy Blunt (R-MO) reintroduced the bipartisan 400 Years of African American History Act – legislation that would establish a commission to plan programs and activities in 2019 across the country to recognize the arrival and influence of Africans in America. Kaine and Warner were the lead sponsors in the Senate when a version of this bill was introduced last Congress.

Similar commissions have been established to recognize English & Hispanic heritage, including the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida. This commission would be charged with recognizing and highlighting the resilience and contribution of Africans and African Americans since 1619, as well as acknowledging the painful impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination have had on our nation’s history.

“I’ve been lucky to be a part of federal commissions that were established to study and celebrate English and Hispanic history, and there is no reason a similar one shouldn’t exist to celebrate the contributions of Africans and African Americans to our history,” said Kaine. “We need to share the stories that explain who we are as a nation.  This commission will help do that and hopefully further enrich our understanding of the journey and history of our country.”

“This commission will mark 400 years of rich African American history, including both the immeasurable contributions of African Americans to our diverse culture and their resilience in the face of injustice during slavery and in the decades of racial discrimination that have ensued,” said Warner. “It is my hope that it will serve as a testament to the lessons in racial diversity that we have learned as a country and bring to light those that we may still need to overcome.” 

“The story of our great nation cannot be fully told without the rich history of African Americans,” said Blunt. “I am proud to support the creation of a commission to celebrate 400 years of African American culture. America is a better nation when all our citizens learn more about our history.”

“African American history is American history; the black experience is the American experience. The commission established by this bill would shed light on the lives, events, atrocities, discoveries, and accomplishments that have shaped that experience and, in doing so, promote a deeper understanding of the beauty and fullness of our nation’s heritage” said Booker. “The commission will also be tasked with highlighting the ongoing struggle to fulfill the promise of liberty and equality on which this nation was founded—a struggle that began four hundred years ago, when the first slaves were brought to Point Comfort, VA.”

Virginia Representatives Bobby Scott and Don Beyer, along with G. K. Butterfield, Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, led the introduction of similar legislation that passed the House of Representatives last Congress. The Senate version of the bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last year, but was not voted on by the full Senate before the end of the 114th Congress.

Virginia Senators React to Confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

KAINE REACTS TO BETSY DEVOS CONFIRMATION VOTE ON FACEBOOK LIVE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine reacted to a Senate vote confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education on Facebook Live today shortly after leaving the Senate floor. Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, offered thanks to the tens of thousands of Virginia constituents who called his office, wrote letters and sent emails through his Senate website to express their deep concern about the DeVos nomination over the past few weeks.

“I do want to thank all of you. More people contacted my office about her nomination than any other topic in my four years in the Senate,” Kaine said. “The stories that you shared and your energy will help us in the HELP Committee on oversight to make sure she doesn’t do things that will harm our kids.”

You can watch Kaine’s Facebook video here.

STATEMENT OF U.S. SEN. MARK R. WARNER 

~ On confirmation of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education ~

WASHINGTON— U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) released the below statement after Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate to confirm Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education. Yesterday, Senator Warner spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in opposition to the nomination. Video of that speech is available here.Audio is available here.

“The Senate voted today by the most narrow margin in its history to confirm a Secretary of Education who does not demonstrate a firm grasp on even the most basic education policy principles.

“Since Ms. DeVos’ nomination, tens of thousands of my constituents have expressed serious concerns about her focus on charter schools and voucherizing federal education dollars. Educators and parents of students with special needs are rightfully concerned, as am I, about Ms. DeVos’ lack of understanding or even awareness of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

“During her confirmation hearing, she demonstrated a similar lack of awareness of federal education policies related to campus sexual assault and school safety.

“While I did not support Ms. DeVos’ confirmation, I intend to hold her accountable for serving our students’, teachers’, parents’, and school leaders’ best interests, and I look forward to looking for areas of agreement where possible.”

Sen. Warner previously announced he will vote against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, Health & Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Price, Treasury Secretary nominee Steve Mnuchin, and OMB Director nominee Mick Mulvaney.

Virginia Senators Respond to Budget Vote Beginning ACA Repeal

The United States Senate has begun the process of repealing the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, that some have called Obamacare. Instead of doing this in the light of day and allowing any form of debate, the Republican led Senate has used the Budget Amendment process to stifle debate and prevent a Democratic filibuster.

Repealing the ACA with no suitable replacement would cause major job losses in every state and contract the economy to the point that, according to some economists, we could be driven back into recession. One study puts the job losses at three million and $1.5 Trillion in lost gross state product.

Virginia job losses are expected to be around 52,000. If the ACA is repealed, Virginia will likely loose $39 Billion in gross state product, $53 Billion in business output and $923 Million in state and local tax revenue. These losses will be on top of what the state has already lost in the last few years when they refused to expand Medicaid.

There is bipartisan support for slowing the repeal process down while alternate plans are developed. Currently the only replacement plan offered by the Republicans is Healthcare Savings Accounts.

Many people who have insurance through the Marketplace can only afford it with the subsidy that they receive. These subsidies have been the catalyst for job growth in the insurance and healthcare industries. Many rural hospitals have only survived because of the ACA and the expansion of Medicaid in some states.

KAINE STATEMENT ON 2017 BUDGET VOTE TO REPEAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on last night’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution vote to begin a fast-track process of repealing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a replacement:  

“Last night, Senate Republicans moved our country one step closer to health care chaos. I voted against the budget resolution because I believe it’s health care malpractice – as well as economic malpractice –  to jumpstart a legislative process that would result in hundreds of thousands of Virginia families being kicked off their insurance coverage with no plan for a replacement in sight. We should be working to fix our health care system, not break it.”

STATEMENT OF U.S. SEN. MARK R. WARNER

~ On Senate vote to proceed with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a viable replacement~

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement today on the 51-48 FY 2017 Budget Resolution vote by the Senate, which would begin the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without providing a viable replacement:

“Anybody who thinks it is a good idea to repeal the ACA without even the hint of a viable replacement plan does not understand how markets work. The uncertainty created by this flawed, political strategy will fundamentally destabilize the healthcare system. More than 20 million Americans will be left in the lurch, including nearly 700,000 Virginians. There is a smarter way to do this, and I have long advocated for targeted, commonsense improvements to the ACA that will reduce costs and ease requirements on employers. But this “show vote” to repeal it without a plan to replace it is bad for businesses, bad for Virginians, and will bring chaos to the healthcare market.”

WARNER, KAINE PRAISE FINAL PASSAGE OF BIPARTISAN WATER INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

Legislation authorizes new water infrastructure in Virginia and maintains resiliency efforts in Hampton Roads

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine applauded final passage of the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), also known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes water infrastructure projects across the nation. This bill makes investments in harbor dredging, maintenance of locks and dams, flood control, ecosystem restoration and other water-related priorities. Additionally, the bill includes a package of measures to address the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, as well as steps to lessen risks for similar communities across the country with aging drinking water infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ biennial infrastructure report card gives Virginia an overall grade of C- for the state of its water and transportation infrastructure.

“We voted for this bill because it makes overdue investments in many priorities important to Virginia – dredging and port infrastructure, restoration of important ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay, and resilience to flooding and sea level rise for large coastal communities like Hampton Roads and small rural ones like Chincoteague. This bill also devotes emergency funding to deal with lead-contaminated drinking water for the people of Flint, Michigan. We appreciate the inclusion of Virginia provisions we authored and applaud the bipartisan vote on this commonsense infrastructure bill,” the Senators said.

The following list includes several provisions for which Warner and Kaine advocated that were included in the final bill:

  • A study of Chincoteague Island evaluating the perennial flooding and erosion challenges facing the region and examining options of how to fix these issues, how much they would cost, and how much the federal cost-share would be. With nearly 2.3 million visitors last year, Assateague Island National Seashore and the adjacent Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge are premiere tourism destinations on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Extreme weather events have occurred frequently in recent years, including last January’s blizzard that caused some $725,000 in damage and nearly destroyed the recreational beach parking lot. 
  • Reauthorization and funding increase for the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Restoration Program, a successful public-private partnership among the Army Corps of Engineers, states, localities, and groups like The Nature Conservancy. This program has helped reverse years of declining oyster populations in the Bay by supporting oyster reef projects in key Virginia locations, such as the Rappahannock, Lafayette and Piankatank Rivers. The additional funds authorized in this provision will help Virginia and other Bay watershed states reach the 2025 pollution reduction goals laid out in the Chesapeake Bay Agreement.
  • Section 4013 updates an existing coastal resiliency program to prioritize federal funds for projects in communities threatened by sea level rise while creating an interagency working group to coordinate data on sea level rise across federal agencies. It also requires federal consultation with state organizations working to coordinate resilience investment across federal, state, regional, and local bureaucratic entities. This will promote more informed decision-making about sea level rise planning in key regions like Hampton Roads, while ensuring that resilience-related grants from multiple agencies are serving complementary objectives. This provision will also provide formal federal backing for state-sponsored task forces like the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency – an interagency, cross-jurisdictional clearinghouse for Hampton Roads sea level rise planning co-led by Old Dominion University and William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

WARNER & KAINE ANNOUNCE LEGISLATION TO EXPAND PETERSBURG NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD EXPECTED TO BECOME LAW

~ Senators, Congressmen applaud inclusion of legislation to triple the size of key Civil War site in must-pass defense authorization bill ~ 

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that legislation to add more than 7,000 acres to the Petersburg National Battlefield is on track to be approved by Congress as soon as next week.

Text of the annual defense authorization bill released by a congressional conference committee includes legislation sponsored by the two Virginia Senators authorizing the National Park Service to acquire additional historic land sites related to the Siege of Petersburg, the longest military event of the Civil War. The National Defense Authorization Act is expected to pass the House of Representatives on Friday, with the Senate projected to follow suit early next week.

“The Petersburg National Battlefield bore witness to the longest sustained siege in our nation’s military history and draws visitors from all across the country, injecting millions of dollars into the local economy every year,” said Sen. Warner. “Expanding the park will encourage tourism to the region while preserving this important piece of American history for future generations. After working on this legislation for several years now, it’s great news that we are so close to seeing it a reality.”

“The NDAA ensures that the Petersburg National Battlefield will become the nation's largest protected battlefield,” Sen. Kaine said. “This hallowed ground bears witness to one of the longest, hardest and most decisive contests of the Civil War.   The stories of all the combatants--including more than 16,000 African-American troops--will now be more accessible to the current generation.  I thank my colleagues for their support and acknowledge the work of my predecessor Jim Webb in getting us to this day.”

“After working for years with my colleagues to secure the expansion of the Petersburg National Battlefield Park, I am proud to be able to say that we have protected these hallowed grounds and ensured that the lands and history of this battlefield will be preserved for future generations,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), who introduced the legislation in the House.  

"Having worked toward this goal for years, I am pleased to see this important legislation being made into law during my final weeks in office,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), who sponsored the House legislation. “The Petersburg area contains so much of history and heritage, and I thank my colleagues in both parties and both chambers for their efforts to protect it.”

The Petersburg National Battlefield – which injects more than $10 million into the local economy annually – currently protects over 2,500 acres of battlefield and historic buildings that were involved in General Ulysses S. Grant’s 10 month Siege of Petersburg, Virginia in 1864-1865. During the Civil War, Petersburg was an important supply post for General Robert E. Lee’s army and the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia. General Grant’s victory over Lee’s army at Petersburg in March of 1865 directly precipitated Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. This was the longest siege in American military history and was an important event for the United States Colored Troops (USCT) as over 16,000 African-American soldiers served in battle.

In 2005, the National Park Service recommended modifying the Petersburg National Battlefield to include 7,238 acres of significant core battlefield land. The land identified for inclusion was the site of 18 major battles during the Civil War and are in danger of being lost to development. These sites are not currently protected within the National Battlefield and have been identified by the Civil War Trust as one of the most endangered group of historic battlefields in the country. The Petersburg National Battlefield Boundary Modification Act does not spend any money, only authorizes the National Park Service to acquire the land. The legislation also authorizes one small land transfer between Fort Lee and the battlefield.

The acquisition – through purchase or donation of the land – would make the Petersburg National Battlefield the largest Civil War historic battlefield in the nation. Several nonprofits, including the Civil War Preservation Trust, already acquired key acreage that will be turned over to the National Park Service to expand the Battlefield.

In August of this year, Sen. Warner joined the National Park Service on a tour of Grant’s Headquarters at the Petersburg National Battlefield. Photos from that visit are available for media use here.

Sen. Kaine’s bill to reauthorize and expand the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program was signed into law in 2014, and his bill to create a National Park Service commission honoring 400 years of African American history has passed out of committee and is before the full Senate.

WARNER, KAINE ANNOUNCE NEARLY $9.5 MILLION TO HELP ALLEVIATE VETERAN HOMELESSNESS IN VIRIGINIA

~ Funds will continue effort to assist low-income homeless and at-risk veterans and their families ~

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V-A) will award $9,476,756 to housing authorities and nonprofit organizations to help ongoing efforts in the Commonwealth to prevent veteran homelessness and provide stable housing for low-income veterans and their families.

“Our country has a duty to honor our commitments to support the men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform, and these federal funds will support state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations,” said Sen. Warner. “This funding also adds additional support to Governor McAuliffe’s successful efforts to end veteran homelessness in Virginia by working to provide shelter, stable housing and employment opportunities before veterans fall through the cracks.”

The following Virginia organizations will receive funding:

United States Veterans Initiative will receive $2,020,000 in funding to support the following communities:

o   City of Alexandria; Counties of Fairfax and Arlington

Friendship Place will receive $2,020,000 in funding to support the following communities:

o   City of Alexandria; Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William

Housing Counseling Services will receive $1,036,721 in funding to support the following communities:

o   City of Alexandria; Counties of Fairfax and Arlington

Volunteers of America Chesapeake will receive $824,830 in funding to support the following communities:

o   City of Alexandria; Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William

Operation Renewed Hope will receive $476,821 in funding to support the following communities:

o   City of Alexandria; Counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William

Virginia Supportive Housing will receive $1,234,458 in funding to support the following communities:

o   Cities of Richmond, Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Emporia and Charlottesville; Counties of Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, Goochland, Powhatan, Charles City, New Kent, Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Surry, Sussex, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Nelson, Greene and Louisa

Total Action Against Poverty In Roanoke Valley will receive $367,781 in funding to support the following communities:

o   Cities of Roanoke and Franklin; Counties of Botetourt, Bath, Alleghany, Craig, Rockbridge, Montgomery, Highland, Augusta, Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell

Virginia Beach Community Development Corporation will receive $815,048 in funding to support the following communities:

o   Cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Franklin; Isle of Wight County

Hampton Roads Community Action Program, Inc. will receive $269,185 in funding to support the following communities:

o   Cities of Newport News, Hampton and Williamsburg; Counties of James City and York

STOP Incorporated will receive $411,912 in funding to support the following communities:

o   Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach; Counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, Northampton and Accomack

The organizations receiving these grants will continue to provide eligible veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance obtaining V-A and other benefits, which may include health care, income support services, financial planning, child care, legal services, transportation, housing counseling, among other services. This funding was made available through the V-A’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which helps thousands of very low-income veteran families around the nation who are permanently housed or transitioning to permanent housing. More information on this announcement can be found here.

In Miami, Tim Kaine Joins the Democratic Ticket

At a rally in Miami on Saturday, Hillary Clinton introduced her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, one of the most qualified vice presidential candidates in history. She applauded his lifelong commitment to public service: his work with missionaries in Honduras; as a civil rights lawyer and his leadership as city council member, mayor of Richmond, Governor of Virginia, and U.S. Senator. Throughout his career, he has brought people together to deliver for those he represents. “And that’s why I am so thrilled to announce that my running mate is a man who doesn’t just share those values, he lives them.” Clinton said.

Kaine agreed with Clinton that we must build an economy for all, not just those at the top and that when Americans stand together we are stronger together. “And I know that because Hillary knows that we’re stronger together; we’re stronger when we work together, when we grow together, when we pull together […] So I could not be any more honored to stand by Hillary’s side in this very important campaign.” Kaine said.

KAINE, WARNER, SCOTT, MEMBERS VA DELEGATION & CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS APPLAUD HOUSE PASSAGE OF BILL TO RECOGNIZE 400 YEARS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Representative Bobby Scott applauded unanimous House passage of a bipartisan bill that would recognize the resilience and contributions of African Americans to the United States since 1619. Kaine and Warner introduced the Senate version and Scott the House version of the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act in February. The bill would establish a commission to plan programs and activities across the country in 2019 to highlight the arrival and influence of Africans in America.  

Today’s House-passed bill was introduced by Virginia Representative Bobby Scott, and cosponsored by Representatives Scott Rigell, Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Barbara Comstock, Rob Wittman, and Randy Forbes, as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Chairman G.K Butterfield and Congressman John Lewis.

The commission  would be charged with recognizing and the resilience and contribution of African Americans since 1619, as well as acknowledging the painful impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination have had on our nation’s history. Similar commissions have been established to recognize English & Hispanic heritage, including the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida. Kaine testified in support of this bill in front of the a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee this month.

“This bill is so connected to our country’s history and heritage, and we are excited that it is one step closer to final passage,” Sen. Kaine said. “Every dimension of American life, across generations, has been influenced by African Americans. We need to tell that story – in its tragedy and triumph- as we approach the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans at Point Comfort, Virginia. We will continue to work to advance this bill in the Senate in the coming months.”

“I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing this bill,” said Rep. Scott.  “The history of Virginia and our nation cannot be fully understood or appreciated without knowing about the first Africans who arrived at Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619.  The commission established by this bill will be charged with the important task of planning, developing and implementing a series of programs and activities throughout 2019 that fully tells the story of African Americans, their contributions to the fabric of our nation, and their resilience over the last 400 years.”

“We cannot move forward as a country unless we recognize the injustices that occurred in our past,” said Sen. Warner. “The creation of this commission is an opportunity to institutionalize the contributions made by African Americans in our country, and a monument to their resilience in the face of adversity. It is my hope that this legislation paves the way for future efforts to honor the important role African Americans have played in our history, and highlight ways we can work together to forge a path towards a better future.”

“Understanding our 400 years of African-American history is crucial to understanding our national story: what we got right, what we got horribly wrong, and what we still have to accomplish,” said Rep. Beyer. “This bill will help us grapple with that history, and I thank my friends Bobby Scott and Tim Kaine and my other Virginia colleagues for putting it forward.”

“As a student of history, I can’t help but look to the lessons of the past when contemplating the future. In addition to being reminded of the ramifications of slavery in our nation, I can recall state constitutional provisions that led to segregation policies which extended into my childhood, when I attended segregated schools in the first and second grades. Additionally, one of my favorite teachers, my sixth grade teacher Mrs. Spurlock, had previously taught in the segregated system. I appreciate this bill’s efforts to highlight the immeasurable influence of African Americans such as Mrs. Spurlock, and am honored to support the legislation,” said Rep. Griffith.

“I am pleased the House passed this bipartisan, bicameral bill,” said Rep. Rigell. “The ‘400 Years of African-American History Commission’ will help our nation to properly reflect upon the significant contributions African-Americans have made to our country, and the struggles they have endured during our history. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important bill and send it to the President’s desk for signature immediately.”

“I am pleased the House passed this legislation to create a commission that will tell the important story of the significant contributions made by African-Americans to our Commonwealth and the country.  We cannot tell the whole story of America without including the first African-Americans who arrived to the shores of Virginia in 1619 to Point Comfort.  I look forward to the work this commission will do in educating our entire community and hope the U.S. Senate will pass this quickly,” said Rep. Comstock.

"This bipartisan legislation honors 400 years of African American contributions here in the U.S.,” said Rep. Wittman. “The men and women who first arrived in Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619 faced adversity of every kind and at every turn, and their perseverance carried them as they shaped our national heritage. Theirs are stories that deserve to be told, and the commission that this legislation will create provides necessary tools to make sure that future generations can benefit from learning about their vigilance. I want to thank my Virginia colleagues in both the House and Senate for their hard work on this bill, and I look forward to their continued support."

“2019 will mark 400 years since the first documented arrival of Africans by way of Point Comfort, Virginia. It’s time for our nation to commemorate the contributions and resilience African Americans have made throughout history. I am pleased to have been a part of the introduction of H.R. 4539, which, when passed, will establish a commission to highlight the influence and contributions African Americans have made in our country since 1619. It will also recognize the painful impact of slavery 400 years ago, as well as the racial discrimination and oppression that continues today. I congratulate Congressmen Bobby Scott and Don Beyer on House passage of H.R. 4539. I also thank U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner for sponsoring the Senate companion, and Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, for supporting this Act,” said Rep. Butterfield.

The bill is supported by the National NAACP, National Urban League and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The full text of the Senate legislation can be found here.

KAINE APPLAUDS INAUGURAL CLASS OF CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine addressed the first class of 20 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Presidential Scholars, who were recognized for their outstanding scholarship and accomplishment in CTE fields. In 2014, Kaine, founding co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, led a successful bipartisan effort to expand the Presidential Scholars program to include fields in CTE.

“For too long, CTE has been stigmatized as a second-class educational field, but today’s CTE Presidential Scholars demonstrate the current renaissance of interestin career and technical fields,” said Kaine. “I applaud the Administration for highlighting the inspiring work of some of our country’s brightest students in both CTE and other academic fields. America’s future success depends on how well we invest in the education of our next generation of leaders, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress on ways to increase access to CTE programs nationwide.”

In addition to successfully urging the Obama Administration to recognize CTE as a Presidential Scholars field, Kaine authored various CTE-related provisions that were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the bipartisan rewrite of No Child Left Behind. Some of the provisions added CTE as a core academic subject and called for integrating CTE into school curriculums and teacher professional development.

This year, 161 Presidential Scholars, including three Virginians, were also recognized for their outstanding work and achievements in various educational fields. Created in 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of the nation's top-performing students with the prestigious award given to honorees during the annual ceremony in D.C. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.

KAINE, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL MAKE CASE FOR COMMISSION TO RECOGNIZE 400 YEARS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY IN SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine testified in support of the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, bipartisan legislation introduced last February that would establish a commission to plan programs and activities across the country in 2019 to recognize the arrival and influence of Africans in America. Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director for Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science at the Department of Interior, also testified in support of the commission. Her testimony can be found here.

 “Every dimension of American life—business, academics, law, military, spirituality, culture, diplomacy, government, medicine, social justice, innovation—has been profoundly influenced by countless generations of African Americans,” Kaine testified.  “And it is important that we tell that story – in all its pain and triumph—as we approach 2019. Congress saw fit through the creation of a federal commission to affirm that our English roots matter.  Congress saw fit through the creation of a federal commission to affirm that our Hispanic roots matter.  I have introduced this bill in the belief that Congress should also affirm through the creation of a federal commission that our African roots matter.”

This commission would be charged with recognizing and highlighting the resilience and contribution of African Americans since 1619, as well as acknowledging the painful impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination have had on our nation’s history. Similar commissions have been established to recognize English & Hispanic heritage, including the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida.

The bill is supported by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Virginia Congressmen Bobby Scott (D-VA), Scott Rigell (R-VA), Randy Forbes (R-VA), as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Congressman John Lewis (D-GA). It has also been endorsed by the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Kaine’s full testimony, as prepared for delivery:

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today. The year 2019 will mark 400 years since the arrival of twenty Africans at Point Comfort, Virginia (current day Hampton, Virginia).  These Africans were forcibly sold into slavery, captured by the English from a Portuguese slave ship and brought to Virginia.  Their arrival was the beginning of the slave trade in America, which led to a total slave population of nearly 4 million by the Civil War.

The history is a tragic and painful one, but also a history of triumph over adversity.  For nearly 250 years after Point Comfort, most African Americans were held in slavery and even free blacks were not accorded basic legal rights of citizenship.  For the next 100 years, from the end of the Civil War to the passage of major civil rights legislation in the 1960s, free African Americans were burdened by second-class citizenship in voting, housing, employment, education, access to public accommodations and other basic areas of life.  It has only been in the last 50 years that African Americans have enjoyed full legal equality as American citizens, though huge social disparities exist to this day.

Despite this tragic history, the contributions of Africans and African Americans to who we are as a nation are remarkable.  Every dimension of American life—business, academics, law, military, spirituality, culture, diplomacy, government, medicine, social justice, innovation—has been profoundly influenced by countless generations of African Americans.  And it is important that we tell that story – in all its pain and triumph—as we approach 2019.

When I served as Governor of Virginia, we held a major commemoration of 400 years of the English roots of America, recognizing the founding of the Jamestown Colony in 1607.   Congress passed a resolution establishing a federal commission to assist in events and educational materials appropriate to that important anniversary.  And last year, as Honorary Chair of the U.S./Spain Council, I participated in events commemorating 450 years of the Hispanic roots of America, recognizing the foundation of St. Augustine, Florida in 1565.  Again, Congress passed a resolution to establish a federal commission to assist in events and educational materials appropriate to that important anniversary.

In February, I introduced the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, S. 2548.  This legislation would establish a commission to plan programs and activities across the country in 2019 to recognize this historic moment.  A companion measure was introduced in the House by Congressman Bobby Scott.  The bill has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.  The House measure is supported overwhelmingly by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. G. K. Butterfield and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.  The bill also received support from the National NAACP, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights and the National Urban League.

Congress saw fit through the creation of a federal commission to affirm that our English roots matter.  Congress saw fit through the creation of a federal commission to affirm that our Hispanic roots matter.  I have introduced this bill in the belief that Congress should also affirm through the creation of a federal commission that our African roots matter.

I urge the committee to consider this legislation swiftly so it can be brought before the full Senate.  The year 2019 is fast approaching, and this legislation needs to be enacted into law this year.

KAINE INTRODUCES TWO AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE-FOCUSED AMENDMENTS TO DEFENSE BILL

Kaine amendments include measure to revise and sunset the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force & ISIL-specific authorization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, introduced two amendments to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) focused on the war against ISIL. The first measure, encourages a revision of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed in the wake of September 11, 2001 by sunsetting the 2001 AUMF two years after the new Administration takes office, and requiring the new Administration to propose legislation to modify or repeal it.  The second is a reintroduction of the bipartisan, ISIL-specific authorization Kaine introduced with U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) last year. A companion version of the Kaine-Flake AUMF was also introduced in the House of Representatives last December.

“Nearly two years into an executive war against ISIL, the unwillingness of this Congress to authorize the war not only shows a lack of resolve, it sets a dangerous precedent,” said Kaine. “It’s not hard to imagine a future president using this inaction to justify the hasty and unpredictable initiation of military action against new enemies on new fronts without the permission of Congress. Short of passing an ISIL-specific authorization this year, it’s my hope that we can revise the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force – a broad, open-ended measure passed just days after September 11, 2001 – to better tailor the U.S. fight against terrorism and non-state actors globally, as well as clarify our mission for the American people and those servicemembers we are asking to risk their lives.”

Key provisions of the Kaine amendment to revise the 2001 AUMF:

1) Requires the President to submit to Congress proposed legislation that refines, modifies, or repeals the 2001 AUMF by September 20, 2017;

2) Provides for certain expedited Congressional procedures to quickly begin debate on such legislation;

3) Necessitates that a new Administration detail to Congress its comprehensive strategy to protect Americans from Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, ISIL, and other transnational terrorist organizations that threaten the U.S. national security and specify the military actions that are being taken to address this threat including the specific entities and geographic location of operations;

4) Requires greater transparency of the military actions the U.S. is currently conducting in foreign countries, including the list of organizations, persons, or forces being targeted and the legal justification being relied upon for such action;

5) Repeals the 2001 AUMF on January 1, 2019. 

The Kaine-Flake amendment would authorize the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against ISIL based on the following key provisions:

1) A narrow purpose to protect the lives of U.S. citizens and to provide military support to regional partners in their battle to defeat ISIL.  The amendment also specifies that the use of significant U.S. ground troops in combat against ISIL, except to protect lives of U.S. citizens from imminent threat, is not consistent with such purpose;

2) A sunset after three years unless reauthorized;

3) A repeal of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for Use of Military Force;

4) A clause to make this authorization the sole statutory authority for U.S. military action against ISIL (rather than the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force).

WARNER, KAINE ANNOUNCE MORE THAN $736,000 TO RELIEVE VETERANS’ HOMELESSNESS IN VIRGINIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) are awarding $736,284 to Virginia housing authorities and local VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) to help homeless veterans find affordable and stable housing.

“We owe our veterans the best-quality care and support in their communities and we are pleased to see governments at all levels working together to address it,” the Senators said. ”Today’s federal funding will help Virginia’s heroes access safe and affordable housing.”

The following VAMCs will receive funding:

  • Hampton VA Medical Center andNorfolk-VA Beach Community-Based Outpatient Clinic will receive $410,244;
  • Washington, DC VA Medical Center(Fairfax & Prince William Counties) will receive $194,256;
  • Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Centerin Richmond will receive $98,280 and;
  • Salem VA Medical Centerwill receive $33,504.

HUD-VA Supportive Housing (VASH) provides critical housing and services to veterans experiencing homelessness. This effort also includes HUD’s Homeless Assistance Programs, as well as VA’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) and Grant and Per Diem (GPD) programs. More information on today’s announcement can be found here.

WARNER & KAINE ANNOUNCE $2.6 MILLION FOR GREENSVILLE COUNTY PUBLIC SERVICES

Federal grant expected to create 1,191 jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced that the Greensville County Water and Sewer Authority will receive $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) for infrastructure improvements to support development of the Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center in Greensville County.

“We are pleased to see the federal government partner with local authorities to provide Virginians with better public services while creating jobs for Greensville County,” said Warner and Kaine.

The Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center is one of Virginia’s primary mega-site developments. The improvements will help strengthen and enhance diversification of the region’s advanced manufacturing cluster, boost new commercial and industrial development, and create opportunities for job creation in the region. According to the EDA, the project is expected to create 1,191 jobs.

WARNER & KAINE INTRODUCE NDAA AMENDMENT TO BLOCK COMMISSARY PRIVATIZATION

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine today introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prevent the Department of Defense (DoD) from privatizing commissaries at five major installations until a study, requested in last year’s NDAA, to assess the costs and benefits of privatization is completed and properly taken into consideration by Congress.

“It would be imprudent for Congress to authorize this privatization of commissaries – possibly jeopardizing an important benefit for our military men and women, their families, as well as retired servicemembers – before receiving the thorough study on the potential impacts as requested in last year’s NDAA,” said Warner and Kaine.

The following Senators joined Warner and Kaine in introducing the amendment: U.S. Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), Edward Markey (D-MA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), David Vitter (R-LA), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

The Senate’s NDAA for Fiscal Year 2016, as passed out of committee on May 14, 2015, included language that sought to launch a pilot program to begin the privatization of military commissaries at five locations. Specifically, the amendment:

  • Required a study on the impact privatizing commissaries would have on military families before a pilot program could be implemented and would look at modifications to the commissary system, common business processes, privatization in whole or in part, analysis of different pricing constructs and impacts on MWR programs.
  • Required a comptroller-general assessment of the plan no later than 120 days after the report is submitted.

The amendment was adopted on the Senate floor and included in the final NDAA signed into law by the President last year.

The requested study is currently underway but has not been completed at the time of this press release. This year’s amendment would block language in the Senate bill that, once again, seeks to begin the process of privatization, and would restrict any such action until completion of the study and thorough review by Congress.

The following 43 organizations are opposed to the privatization language currently in the bill:

  • Air Force Sergeants Association
  • American Federation of Government Employees
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Teamsters
  • American Legion
  • American Logistics Association
  • American Military Retirees Association
  • American Military Society
  • American Retirees Association
  • American Veterans
  • Armed Forces Marketing Council
  • Army and Navy Union
  • Association of the United States Army
  • Association of the United States Navy
  • Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
  • Fleet Reserve Association
  • Gold Star Widows
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
  • Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
  • Military Officers Association of America
  • Military Order of Foreign Wars
  • Military Order of the Purple Heart
  • National Association for Uniformed Services
  • National Defense Committee
  • National Guard Association of the United States
  • National Industries for the Blind
  • National Military Family Association
  • National Military and Veterans Alliance
  • Naval Enlisted Reserve Association
  • Military Partners and Families Coalition
  • Reserve Officer Association
  • Society of Military Widows
  • The American Military Partner Association
  • The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits
  • The Flag and General Officers Network
  • The Retired Enlisted Association
  • Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
  • Uniformed Services Disabled Retirees
  • United States Army Warrant Officers Association
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Vietnam Veterans of America

KAINE APPLAUDS VIRGINIA WINS IN 2017 DEFENSE BILL, CALLS FOR TRANSPARENT APPROACH TO DOD REFORM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the Committee’s Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes a number of provisions he advocated for to benefit Virginia’s shipbuilding industry and defense community. The bill was reported out of committee today and will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

“I’m proud this bill includes many provisions that will benefit Virginia’s hardworking defense community, including support for our servicemembers and their families and funding to maintain our carrier fleet and bolster the shipbuilding industry. Virginia is one of the states most connected to the military – through our servicemembers, military families, veterans, contractors and infrastructure – and ensuring that our national defense policies fuel continued growth for the Commonwealth is one of my highest priorities.

“While I appreciate Chairman McCain’s goal of making the Department of Defense more efficient, I’m concerned by the process that led to department reforms in this year’s NDAA, which were proposed without full input of stakeholders in the defense community or any other outside agency. During Committee debate, I offered an amendment that would create a commission to study many of the challenged areas in the Department of Defense and propose reform recommendations for Congress to consider and debate. I was disappointed that my proposal wasn’t adopted, but following my suggestions, Committee leadership made improvements to reduce the severity of some proposals and potential career impacts across the Department of Defense and the services. I still have serious concerns about some of the provisions in the bill. As the bill heads to the Senate floor, I’ll keep urging my colleagues to get the public’s input before making far-reaching reforms that could inadvertently dilute our military capability and deter talented young individuals from contemplating a career in the greatest military in the world.”

During Committee debate, Kaine offered an amendment that would have empowered a Commission to study the Department of Defense, the Combatant Commands and various other internal staff functions of the Department and then make reform recommendations. Read his full remarks here.

The following list includes many of the programs and provisions Kaine advocated for during the markup process that were included in the final bill:

Supports Shipbuilding: Provides funding for research, procurement and sustainment of an 11-carrier fleet. The bill continues to fund construction of the USSGerald R. Ford (CVN 78), USSJohn F. Kennedy (CVN 79) and research and purchasing of the future USSEnterprise (CVN 80). Additionally, the bill funds the refueling and complex overhauls (RCOH) of the USS George Washington (CVN 73) and the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). The bill also authorizes full funding for the Virginia-class and Ohio-classsubmarine programs, the LHA-8 amphibious assault ship and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The bill ensures the strength of Virginia shipyards by supporting the President’s budget request for Navy Operations and Maintenance account.

Improves Credentialing Process for Servicemembers: The authorization includes a provision Kaine introduced to continue to reduce veterans’ unemployment by ensuring that servicemembers receive high-quality accredited credentials that will prepare them for a successful transition to civilian employment. Building off of previous credentialing victories, the bill expands the scope of authorized credentials to additional skills servicemembers acquire throughout their service.

Bolsters DoD-Virginia Tech Industry Relationship: The bill included a Kaine provision to permanently authorize the Information Technology Exchange Program (ITEP) which exchanges best practices and IT personnel between the Department and the private sector. The provision encourages greater outreach to private sector partners in Northern Virginia and other high density technology hubs.

Puts Committee on Record Against Sequestration: Kaine put the Committee on record denouncing the shortsighted, non-strategic and across-the-board sequestration cuts and their harmful impact on our national security. Kaine’s amendment states the Committee’s belief that these methods remain an unreasonable and inadequate budgeting tool to address deficits and debt and that relief from sequestration should come for both defense and non-defense programs.

No BRAC Round: The bill rejects the Department of Defense proposals for a new Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) round.

Authorizes Military Construction (MILCON): The committee authorizes $59.2 million in critical military construction projects throughout the Commonwealth.

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