A note from Mark Warner:
Daily life in Virginia and around the world has changed dramatically in the last few weeks. I am thinking about every Virginian affected by this pandemic — those on the front lines fighting coronavirus and their families, the children who won’t return to school this year, and the small business owner struggling to stay afloat.
As we all do our part to slow and stop the spread of coronavirus, I’m fighting for you in the Senate, doing my best to make sure that every Virginian benefits from coronavirus stimulus packages.
Finally, I want to say thank you. Thank you to our medical professionals and first responders, but also those who have been deemed essential and are showing up to keep our country running: the grocery store workers, postal workers, folks delivering our food and packages, sanitation workers… the list goes on. We owe it to these folks to follow public health directives, stay home if possible, and do everything we can to slow and stop the spread of coronavirus.
We will get through this together if everyone does their part to slow and stop the spread of the virus. Thank you for your vigilance.
During times like this, it’s critical that everyone stays informed:
What Mark is Doing
Bi-Partisan Congressional Relief Packages
Sen. Warner is working around the clock to make sure that the Senate’s coronavirus response works for every Virginian. You may have heard about the various phases of funding that Congress has passed. Here is what each bill contains:
Phase I: On March 6, 2020, the President signed the first bi-partisan emergency funding bill. This $7.8 billion emergency bill to provide much-needed resources for national coronavirus response, including:
- Federal funding to support Virginia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Funding for masks, medication, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other medical supplies for hospitals and local health care providers.
- Provisions that Sen. Warner personally wrote to increase access to critically important tele-health technology based on his CONNECT For Health Act of 2019, which reduces restrictions on tele-health to protect public health during an emergency.
Phase II: On March 18, 2020, the President signed the second bi-partisan coronavirus relief bill, which focused on the immediate economic impact of the pandemic. This bill included:
- Expanded paid sick leave for many Americans, allowing those suffering from coronavirus to safely distance without financial consequence.
- Expanded unemployment insurance, making it easier for workers who lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to the pandemic to apply for unemployment insurance.
- Funding for other vital programs, including Medicaid, nutrition assistance, unemployment programs nationwide, and increased coronavirus testing at VA medical centers for our veterans.
Phase III: On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). This bi-partisan bill allocates more than $2 trillion in federal funding to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including:
- Direct payments to working Americans: this breaks down into a $1,200 payment for most Americans, and an additional $500 for dependent children.
- An unprecedented investment in our health care system, toward personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies and support for emergency centers. The bill also increases Medicare payments to hospitals and providers and invests in medical research into COVID-19.
- A major expansion of unemployment insurance, creating a long-term lifeline for works struggling during this outbreak. This includes full paycheck replacement for many workers and an extension of benefits. Sen. Warner also personally fought to expand access to unemployment benefits for part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers.
- A rescue plan for small businesses, including loan forgiveness grants for small businesses and non-profits and emergency grant funding to provide immediate relief to small businesses. The bill also includes two programs Sen. Warner personally fought for to keep workers on the payroll at small and mid-sized businesses.
- Emergency appropriations, including support for federal, state, and local public health agencies, FEMA Disaster Relief funding, funding for our transit systems, and grants to support local school systems so they can continue to educate our students. The bill also includes nearly $16 billion to ensure no one who loses their job goes hungry during the pandemic.
- Student loan relief through a tax incentive Sen. Warner authored encouraging employers to create student loan repayment programs.
- A fund to support states, tribes, and local governments pay for new expenses related to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Protections against foreclosures and evictions for Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.
- Built-in transparency and accountability, including real-time reporting of Treasury actions under this legislation, and restrictions on businesses controlled by members of the Trump administration or Members of Congress receiving federal loans or grants.
Phase IV: On April 24, 2020, the President signed the latest bi-partisan coronavirus relief package, aimed at helping small and midsize businesses. This bill included:
- Funding for the Paycheck Protection program, of which $60 billion was earmarked for small lending facilities which serve small businesses across the country.
- Increased funding to support health care providers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and other disaster recovery loans to help small and mid-sized businesses who have seen their revenue impacted by the pandemic.
- Investments in Coronavirus testing and research, which will be critical in determining when we can safely re-open the economy.
Outside of the large Congressional aid packages, Sen. Warner has been working hard to make sure that everyone is cared for through this outbreak. That work includes:
- Sen. Warner co-sponsored the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act, which would expand vote-by-mail and early voting access across the country. Virginia already has vote-by-mail and expanded early voting measures thanks to the hard work of our General Assembly, and Warner wants to make sure that every American has the ability to cast their vote safely and securely.
- Sen. Warner led his colleagues in calling on the CEOs of eight major internet service providers (ISPs) to suspend broadband restrictions and prohibitive fees to accommodate the unprecedented need for teleworking and distance learning. Within days, many of these companies and several other smaller ISPs responded by lifting data caps and waiving fees for their customers.
- Sen. Warner successfully convinced several on gig worker platforms like Uber, Lyft, and Instacart to provide flexibility and increased assistance to their workers affected by the coronavirus.
- Sen. Warner joined a bi-partisan push to ensure that our farmers and rural communities are protected during the pandemic, by suspending pending foreclosures and issuing loan payment deferrals, among other short-term relief provisions.
- Sen. Warner stood with Tim Kaine and other Senate colleagues to ask for funding to support local journalism and media outlets in the next coronavirus relief package.
- Sen. Warner called for funding to support victims of domestic violence and sexual assault during the coronavirus pandemic, following a spike in domestic disturbance resports during stay home orders.
What We’re Doing
We are living through a global pandemic, and the landscape of our state, our country, and our world has shifted a lot in the last few months. In this face of this unprecedented threat to public health, here are the adjustments Team Warner has made to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19:
- We suspended all in-person campaign events. We hope that folks will consider tuning into some of our virtual events in lieu of meeting in person. You can find a listing of upcoming events and other ways to get involved here.
- Campaign staff (and Mark!) are working from home and following physical distancing recommendations.
- We moved our organizing online. Instead of knocking doors, our field team is hard at work on virtual voter registration training and phone and text banking.
- Our mailbox is open. If coronavirus has affected your, your loved ones, or your community, we want to hear from you.
How You Can Help
If you have the means, now is a great time to help your neighbors as we face this difficult and uncertain time together. Here’s what you can do to help your community:
- Stay at home, unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave. This protects your health and keeps our essential workers safe.
- Practice social distancing. If you do need to leave your home, follow physical distancing guidelines, and stay at least six feet away from others.
- Wash your hands regularly and correctly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends at least 20 seconds (about two rounds of “Happy Birthday”). You can find other important hygiene guidelines from the CDC here.
- Support local restaurants by ordering delivery or takeout at a safe distance (and tipping generously!)
- Join us in supporting food banks across Virginia. Together, we’ve already raised $15,000 to support the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, and Mark Warner and Lisa Collis have made additional personal contributions to each of Virginia’s regional food banks. In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to help our neighbors.