Working hard at home and abroad – Royal Examiner
The Warner press office wishes you a happy Friday! It’s been another busy week for Sen. Warner as he addresses key infrastructure announcements electric vehicles and abandoned mining sitesinitiatives for SWVA and Coastal VAconstantly Developments in Ukraineand a push towards a Omnibus Expenditure Invoice. He also made announcements about relief for victims of the Floods in Buchanan Countyattended a hearing with the general surgeonand done national headlines while building momentum to help those affected with their joint student loan issues.
Here is the summary:
MONEY FOR MINES & MOTORS
Surprise surprise, it was another great week for Virginia to get infrastructure funds. This week, Senator Warner announced two big funding wins for Virginia thanks to the bipartisan infrastructure bill he negotiated.
First, he announced $ 22 million reclaim abandoned mining land – which will directly contribute to the creation of local jobs to rehabilitate abandoned mine sites. Specifically, workers will seal dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, and improve local water quality by preventing acid runoff. It’s a move that will reduce pollution, support the climate, halt harmful methane emissions AND provide a positive economic boon to Virginia as the restored lands can be used for vital energy and economic development projects. Sen. Warner said:
“This investment in Virginia mining communities will not only create high-paying jobs, but also revitalize energy communities by reclaiming abandoned, unsafe land for new use.”
But the funding didn’t stop there. Sen. Warner also announced a $106 million investment in electric vehicle charging stations for Virginia as part of the BIL. This money – spread over 5 years, with an initial investment of $17 million – will be used to increase the number of EV charging stations across the Commonwealth, making them more accessible than ever. Sen. Warner said:
“This funding will encourage more Virginians to adopt clean vehicles and help ensure families have access to reliable charging stations when traveling. Promoting electric vehicles is a crucial step in tackling the climate crisis and protecting public health.”
Unfortunately, so does Sen. Warner had to sound the alarm this week over an issue that could prevent Virginia from seeing some of its infrastructure funding. With federal funding expected to expire on Feb. 18, Congress has two options: pass a bridging measure called the Continuing Resolution (CR) or pass a full omnibus spending bill. Because CRs fund programs at preexisting levels, much of the infrastructure funding is not approved and is instead dependent on the passage of comprehensive omnibus legislation. Getting passed as soon as possible is critical to lest Virginia miss out on infrastructure investments.
Sen. Warner wasn’t just urging his peers to pass this law sent a letter to Acting Director of the Bureau of Management and Budget, Shalanda Young, looking for information on exactly which projects will lose funding if a CR is passed, as opposed to an omnibus spending bill. Sen. Warner said:
“If Congress cannot agree on full-year appropriations for fiscal year 2022, Virginia alone could lose approximately $364 million in road and bridge financing and $53 million in transit financing. This is unacceptable and I have repeatedly urged my colleagues to come together and enact an overall budget for fiscal 2022 appropriations rather than wasting these funding opportunities on another CR.”
Sen. Warner continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine, and draws attention to both national security and economic concerns underlying the crisis. In his role as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he led all members in a letter to President Biden asking for full information sharing with Ukraine as she continues to oppose Russia’s armed build-up.
“Vladimir Putin threatens the freedom and security of the Ukrainian people, and they have shown their eagerness to take action to defend their sovereignty, freedom and democratically elected government. To that end, we demand that the United States share information with Ukraine to the maximum extent possible. Russia is the aggressor and we must provide Ukraine with critical intelligence needed to defend their country.”
Sen. Warner continues to receive and has received briefings on Ukraine sponsored a bill aimed at targeted sanctions towards Russia to help resolve the crisis.
TWO IF AT SEA
The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining and Sen. Warner is looking forward to spring. So this week Sen. Warner joined a non-partisan group Request the Department of Labor to provide an additional 44,716 H-2B visas to ensure Virginia seafood processors receive the necessary seasonal worker visas.
The H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Visa Program allows U.S. employers to hire seasonal nonimmigrant workers during peak seasons to supplement the existing American workforce. In Virginia, the fishing industry relies on H-2B workers for tough jobs like shelling oysters and processing crab.
“American companies in industries such as tourism and hospitality, landscaping, trade shows and carnivals, seafood processing, golf courses, reforestation, contractors and horse racing depend on seasonal employment to meet demand in many industries, and companies will be forced to scale back operations , terminating or failing to perform contracts, laying off full-time employees in the United States and, in some cases, ceasing operations entirely. By taking action to release and process additional H-2B visas, seasonal businesses and US workers across the country will avoid these damaging consequences and instead contribute to the American economy.”
It’s far from Sen. Warner to stand in the way of a good seafood meal… he’s committed to providing long-term relief to seasonal fish processors through reform of the H-2B program. The release of these additional visas is an important step in ensuring Virginia fish processors are able to meet their staffing needs in the coming season.
Also on the coast this week, the entire Virginia congressional delegation joined forces to seek $76.9 million in funding for the Port of Norfolk Widening and Deepening project included in President Biden’s budget request for the fiscal year 23 is to be included. As a former governor of Virginia, Sen. Warner has long been an advocate of the Norfolk Harbor project, emphasizing its importance not only to the region but to Virginia’s economy as a whole.
“The Port of Virginia is one of the most powerful economic engines in the Commonwealth. Annually, the port provides more than 400,000 jobs and $100 billion in spending across our Commonwealth and generates more than 8 percent of our gross national product. However, the port’s true reach stretches across the entire Mid-Atlantic to the Midwest and Ohio Valley. The port maintains a balanced container and bulk trade portfolio and serves a robust rail market to and from America’s farmers and manufacturers throughout the Midwest and Ohio Valley.”
Last year, Sen. Warner led the Virginia congressional delegation in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), including in the USACE Fiscal Year 2021 work plan a designation for a Requested a fresh start for the project – a request that was also made in 2020. In December, Senator Warner led members of the Virginia congressional delegation Application for Funding for the Port of Norfolk through the resources made available to USACE through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). granted by USACE on January 19, 2022.
HELP FOR HURLEY: Sen. Warner announced this week that after advocating for more federal assistance to victims of the Buchanan County floods, affected individuals and businesses will be able to apply for assistance through the Small Business Administration.
STUDENT LOANS: Momentum continues to build for Sen. Warner’s bipartisan, bicameral Joint Consolidation Loan Separation Act Article coming out in NPR this week on those who would be positively impacted by its passage.
HEALTHY HEARINGS: Sen. Warner attended a hearing with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and discussed his DETOUR Act, mental health resources during the pandemic, and more.
POSTAL SERVICE: Sen. Warner offered a statement of support USPS Reform Act which passed the House of Representatives this week and will soon be submitted to the Senate.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Sen. Warner was Post to a thread all month long highlighting the contributions and living history of black Americans.
Next week, the Senate will meet and conduct more nominations and hearings, and possibly vote on the USPS bill. Sen. Warner also expects to receive further information on the development of the situation in Ukraine.