On the Issues

Jobs and the Economy

Sen. Warner is committed to making sure that Virginians have the tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing economy and job market. As Virginia’s governor and now as Virginia’s senior senator, he has worked to expand opportunities for small businesses and ensure that workers have access to training opportunities. Sen. Warner has also worked hard to make sure that the rapidly growing number of gig economy workers and independent contractors in Virginia and across the country are adequately supported by our social safety net and have fair access to the benefits they need.

Support for Small Businesses

In 2017, Sen. Warner co-sponsored the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. This bi-partisan measure cut federal red tape, making it easier for community banks to lend to  consumers, farmers, and small businesses. The Bipartisan Policy Center lauded this bill’s “real bipartisan support,” and called it evidence that “old-fashioned legislating isn’t dead.”

Gig Workers and Independent Contractors

For years, Sen. Warner has been telling anyone who would listen that we need to do more to protect American workers, that our system was increasingly leaving millions of workers behind. He continues to advocate for aid for gig economy and contingent workers when negotiating coronavirus relief packages. Sen. Warner successfully got several large gig economy companies, including Lyft and Uber, to expand their sick leave policies and protect their workers during the global coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Warner is also pushing innovative portable benefits legislation that will help patch these holes in our social safety net that prevent millions of workers from accessing unemployment insurance, healthcare, sick leave, and other basic benefits. Since 2017, he has been the lead Senate sponsor of the Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act, which would establish a fund allowing states, local governments, and nonprofits to test and implement portable benefit models to reflect the growing number of independent contractors in our workforce. In 2020, Sen. Warner and Rep. Suzan DelBene introduced legislation to establish a fund for states to modernize their Unemployment Insurance (UI) technology systems and implement portable benefit programs.

Training and Opportunities

Sen. Warner is an outspoken advocate for increased investments in American workers. He believes it is crucial that we adequately equip our workforce by increasing employee training opportunities. Thanks to Sen. Warner’s advocacy, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed new guidelines on modernizing the reporting and disclosure practices around human capital management strategies in 2019.  

Opportunity Zones

Sen. Warner worked hard to incorporate legislation to create economic opportunity zones in the latest tax package to support economically distressed areas. Already, hundreds of Virginia’s communities most in need have successfully gained opportunity zone status. The program will be a significant economic driver for the commonwealth and Warner is proud of his work to make it possible.