September 17, 2021 Newsletter
This week, I wanted to share some important happenings in our district, including our Service Academy Day tomorrow at 11AM. I also wanted to share information about the success of employment, vaccines, and advancing infrastructure in the Commonwealth thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
As we return to work on Capitol Hill after recess, I also wanted to highlight important pieces of legislation, including the anniversary of the Violence Against Women's Act and the Device Access for Every American Act, which I recently introduced.
Finally, last week was the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. During this time, we not only remember and honor the lives lost that day but reflect on what we have in common as Americans and global citizens.
I was proud to support President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to deliver relief to communities during the ongoing pandemic. Thanks to his leadership and the support of my colleagues and I, true measurable progress has been made in Virginia since it passed. Over 5,000 jobs have been created and nearly 4 million Virginians received direct payments of up to $1400. Unemployment has fallen from a rate of 5.4% to 4.2% in July while average hourly earnings have increased by almost a dollar.
Moreover over 75% of Virginians are vaccinated with at least one short, which is critically important, especially as the Delta variant continues to rise and worsen.
We are now working to pass historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure. My colleagues and I are fighting to modernize “traditional infrastructure,” such as our roads, bridges, tunnels, and water systems, as well as invest in “new infrastructure.” We are focused on expanding our nation’s broadband infrastructure, investing in environmental justice priorities and climate resilient infrastructure, helping families with childcare, making higher education more affordable, and lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs. We have a historic opportunity to pass comprehensive legislation to truly Build Back Better, and I will continue advocating for these important priorities.
Last week was the twentieth anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Nearly three thousand Americans died in the tragic attack on our shores. We remember all the victims of that day – those traveling on the hijacked planes, working in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and the heroic firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and emergency personnel responding to the attacks.
After 9/11, the country came together and tried to put partisanship aside to make a better nation and world for our children. On the twentieth anniversary, let us renew those efforts and focus on what we have in common as Americans and global citizens. It is a solemn reminder to recommit to working towards a more peaceful, just, and caring world.
This Saturday, September 18, I will be hosting a joint virtual Service Academy Day with my colleague and friend, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, from Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. This event will provide young people with the opportunity to learn more about the exceptional opportunities provided by our nation’s military academies. The five academies include the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Nominations to U.S. Service Academies can be made by the President, Vice President, or a Member of Congress. Nominations are required for all but the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, to which appointments are made on the basis of an annual nationwide competition.
At our virtual Academy Day session, representatives of academies will be present to answer questions and explain both the process and the academies. And Congresswoman Spanberger and I will bring greetings. For more information, please visit my website. To participate, please sign up here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining.
In today’s world, access to connected devices, like computers, laptops, and tablets, is imperative. Whether it’s for remote work, job hunting, education, or tele-health services, Americans need access to these important devices to compete and succeed in the 21st century. That’s why I am so pleased join Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) in introducing the Device Access for Every American Act. This legislation would provide a voucher up to $400 to help low-income Americans purchase a connected device.
While computer access is nearly ubiquitous for high-income households, 11 percent of American households do not have a computer or tablet. Moreover, 1 in 3 African American and Hispanic households lack access to a computer in their homes – twice the number of white families and 4.4 million households with students lack consistent access to a computer at home. By helping these families get computers and get connected, we can reduce and potentially eliminate the digital divide, providing opportunities for success to so many more Americans.
This week was the 27th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was originally signed by President Clinton and became law on September 13, 1994. VAWA is one of our nation’s most powerful tools in combatting sexual and domestic violence.
The original 1994 legislation, introduced and initiated by then-Senator Biden, was ground-breaking as the first comprehensive legislation to try to address the epidemic of violence directed at women. The legislation lapsed at the end of 2018 after partisan disputes over transgender issues and guns. House Democrats are working to take action against the ongoing violence against women. That’s why we passed the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in March. This historic legislation has changed the landscape, offered long-needed protections and redress for victims, and changed public perception and understanding of violence against women.