News From Congressman Ben Cline
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Sixth District Perspectives
with Congressman Ben Cline

          It was a great week in Virginia's beautiful Sixth District. I had the pleasure of spending the past few days crisscrossing the District meeting area residents, business owners, medical professionals, farmers, researchers, and more to hear about the issues most important to them and how Congress can be of assistance. Further, I wrote to the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee urging her to protect the unborn and also cosponsored legislation barring the federal government from implementing a "Vaccine Passport" program. While I enjoyed connecting with constituents, I will return to Washington with a fresh perspective from my tours around the District and continue fighting for those I am honored to represent.    


     Our country is at a crossroads and facing challenges on several fronts. From the crisis at our border to the COVID-19 pandemic to out of control deficit spending, it is time President Biden reach across the aisle and work to find realistic solutions to the issues most concerning to the American people. I joined WFIR last week to discuss a number of these matters with Roanoke's own Gene Marrano and Joey Self. 


COVID Passports:

     In the simplest of terms, a "Vaccine Passport" or "COVID Passport" is proof that an individual has been vaccinated against COVID-19. There have been disturbing talks of mandating vaccine passports moving forward in the form of an app on individuals' phones, which would be required to travel or enter a place of business. While the Biden Administration had initially supported this proposal, they announced this week that the federal government would not participate in this sort of program following significant uproar from the American people. While I encourage folks to get the COVID-19 vaccine to help reopen our economy and schools more quickly, doing so is a personal choice. Requiring individuals to carry documentation of a vaccination would serve as a backdoor way to mandate folks get inoculated. Further, a person’s medical history should never be made public, and requiring vaccine passports would essentially do just that. This sort of app in the hands of big tech endangers individuals’ data privacy and potentially violates HIPAA. That is why I joined my colleagues in introducing H.R. 2384, the No Vaccine Passports Act. This bill states that no federal agency may issue a vaccine passport, vaccine pass, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the COVID-19 vaccination status of a citizen of the United States to a third party, or otherwise publish or share any COVID-19 vaccination record of a citizen, or similar health information.

Hyde Amendment Protections:

     The Hyde Amendment prohibits any federal funds from being used to perform an abortion, and since its first inclusion in an appropriations bill in 1976, it has protected nearly 2.5 million lives. Sadly, in a December hearing on the Hyde Amendment, incoming Appropriations Chairwoman DeLauro stated, “While the Labor, HHS, Education bill has carried the Hyde Amendment every year since 1976 this is the last year.” This is unacceptable and by attempting to remove the amendment Democrats are coercing taxpayers to use their hard-earned dollars to fund abortions. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for the unborn and for the protection of the Hyde Amendment. I recently joined my colleagues in writing to Chairwoman DeLauro urging her to include Hyde protections in the upcoming Labor-HHS Appropriations bill here.  


Rockbridge Health Vaccine Clinic:

     Last Monday, our country began to celebrate National Public Health Week, which in part recognizes the tremendous efforts of our frontline workers who have been essential to combatting COVID-19 throughout the past year. The tireless work of our doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals will never be forgotten as they put the wellbeing of others before themselves. Last week, I visited a vaccine clinic in Buena Vista hosted by the Valley Program for Aging Services and the Rockbridge Area Health Center to thank our frontline workers. Our community appreciates their work to vaccinate those who wish to receive one and to bring about an end to the pandemic.  



     BWX Technologies in Lynchburg is a member of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition, which plays an important part in both supporting our local communities and our brave men and women in uniform. Not only do companies like BWXT support civilians through economic opportunities, but their work is so critically important to ensuring the safety and security of our Nation by providing vital equipment to the US Military. BWXT, for example, manufactures naval nuclear reactors, research reactors, and specialty advanced reactor fuels such as TRISO for the US Navy. Last week, I enjoyed the opportunity to join a bipartisan congressional delegation to see firsthand how they are working protect our servicemembers and make Virginia the "Arsenal of Democracy".  

Mack Trucks:

     Last year, Mack Trucks opened a new facility in Roanoke County which invested $13 million into our local economy and created nearly 250 good-paying jobs. Last week, I enjoyed touring the factory with Congressman Morgan Griffith to see firsthand the production of the company’s new line of medium-duty trucks, the Mack MD Series. Our region serves as a lucrative place for businesses to establish roots, while offering a talented pool of workers. The doors of Virginia's Sixth District are always open for business. 


COVID-19 Update:

    As of April 12, 2021, Virginia has had 635,552 total cases of COVID-19, including confirmed lab tests and clinical diagnoses, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The current death toll in the Commonwealth stands at 10,472. Further, according to the VDH's COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, as of April 12th, 3,127,260 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 1,817,033 people are fully vaccinated. 

     Further, beginning April 19, every adult in the United States will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is two weeks prior to the original date that had been established of May 1. To preregister for your vaccine, click here.


     Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431. 

     For the latest updates from Washington and across the Sixth District, please follow my Facebook and Twitter pages.