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

      While last week afforded me the opportunity to meet virtually with a number of constituent advocacy groups and honor a local VFW post on the House Floor, the legislative initiatives pushed were far less positive. Instead of dealing with the situation at our southern border, the House passed immigration-related legislation that does nothing to improve the crisis and instead slows legitimate trade and travel and threatens our national security. Further, the Majority continued their attempts to consolidate power by passing a long-held priority to make Washington, DC a state, which would likely add two Democrats to the Senate. Additionally, the ridiculous Green New Deal was once again introduced in Congress, which could cost $93 trillion dollars if implemented and would fundamentally change our way of life. It's time to put partisan legislation like this aside and work to find realistic solutions to our Nation's most pressing issues.

     Further, last week, twelve Americans did their duty as jurors, evaluated the evidence, and came to a unanimous decision in the case of Derek Chauvin. I respect the jury process and the verdict they reached, and I hope the outcome helps bring closure to the Floyd family. This case highlighted the need to reform policing practices while opposing efforts to defund the police, and I hope Congress can come to a bipartisan consensus as how best to achieve that goal. Click here for more of my comments on the matter.   

Border Crisis:

     As has been noted in this column over the past two months, there is a crisis at our southern border. Unfortunately, instead of taking steps to remedy the situation, House Democrats this week passed legislation related to immigration that does nothing to address the worsening crisis.  

     One such bill that was passed was the Access to Counsel Act, which prioritizes non-citizens over the American people. This bill would substantially slow legitimate trade and travel by providing every individual that undergoes a routine secondary screening at a port of entry a right to counsel – a right which is already guaranteed should a screening turn from simple questioning regarding the admissibility of people or goods to an interrogation relating to a criminal offense. Not only would this cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but considering Customs and Border Protection conducts about 17 million secondary screenings a year, it would severely limit agents’ ability to ensure efficient and thorough inspections of all travelers and create unnecessary delays.  

     Additionally, Democrats continued to unravel effective policies by passing the NO BAN Act. The bill shifts the authority to deny entry to non-citizens whose entry would be detrimental to national interests to the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State and away from the President. This would limit the Commander-in-Chief's ability to act quickly and decisively to keep our country safe. Further, the NO BAN Act places dangerous limitations on 212(f) authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act by allowing it only to be used “to address specific acts implicating a compelling government interest,” in “the least restrictive means,” and with a presumption in favor of the alien being granted a waiver of exclusion and thus being allowed to enter the country. And finally, the bill's vaguely worded language is a gift to the trial lawyers and invites lawsuits against the federal government. This legislation threatens our national security and, like the Access to Counsel Act, does nothing to address the actual immigration crisis our country is facing. 


Democrat Power Grab:

     Last week, the House passed H.R. 51, which if signed into law would make Washington, DC a state. This resolution is yet another attempt by the left to consolidate power and add two new Democrats to the Senate. Every American deserves to have an equal voice in Congress, which is why I support the DC-Maryland Reunion Act. This bill would transfer the residential portions of DC back to Maryland, which is what had previously been done with Arlington and Virginia. This bill would give current DC residents full voting rights as new Maryland residents, avoiding any need for a 51st state.


Green New Disaster:

     If somehow the policy initiatives called for in the Green New Deal were to be implemented, it could cost $93 trillion dollars over the next ten years, which is more money than the Federal Government has spent combined since 1979. In the name of “climate justice,” this outrageous proposal would crush jobs, cost an average American household nearly $700,000 through 2029, provide paychecks for people unwilling to work, abolish airplanes, cows, and fossil fuels, and would require the rebuilding or retrofitting of “all existing buildings” in America. Moreover, it calls for a ban on affordable energy that heats our homes and the elimination of 99% of cars that aren’t “zero-emission vehicle[s].” The resolution is a preposterous plan that even Speaker Pelosi has called, "the green dream or whatever they call it." 

     While most recognize that this plan will never actually come to fruition, it highlights the left's belief that rather than seeking energy independence through non-government innovation and the free-market, it plans to continue looking to the government as opposed to the private sector to address our Nation's energy needs. I am a supporter of an “all of the above” energy strategy to meet the current global energy need. Wind, solar, nuclear, hydro, natural gas, renewable nanotechnologies, and fossil fuel usage should all be encouraged, and I am optimistic that consumers will have clean, safe, and reliable choices well into the future. The Green New Deal is a distraction to the discussion of envisioning a 21st Century America that is energy independent, leading in clean energy through private sector innovation, with a prosperous free-market economy offering opportunity for all.


VFW Post 632:

     Last week I took to the House Floor to honor the Rion-Bowman VFW Post in Harrisonburg, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Founded in 1921, VFW Post 632 was the first Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter founded in the Shenandoah Valley and is one of the oldest in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Combat veterans of every conflict since World War One have called this post home, and it has been led by 73 dedicated commanders over the years. The current Senior Vice Commander Christopher Rexrode noted the significance of celebrating this milestone during the pandemic, which has forced far too many veterans’ clubs across the country to close. He is thankful his post has been able to keep its doors open and continue serving as a place for veterans to gather, connect, and share experiences and comradery on a daily basis. I offer my congratulations to VFW Post 632 on this achievement, and I wish them another 100 years of success. 


Constituent Meetings:

     Regardless of whether I'm in Washington or home in the Sixth District, I always make time to meet with constituents. Last week I met with a number of Sixth District residents to discuss the issues that matter most to them. Among the many groups I met with last week were Finseca, the Long COVID Alliance, LeadingAge, Farm Credit of the Virginias, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative. As the Commonwealth begins to reopen, I look forward to meeting with constituents in person again. If you would like to schedule a meeting with me or my staff, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of my offices listed at the bottom of this page. 

Farm Credit of the Virginias
National Community Pharmacists Association
Long COVID Alliance
Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative

COVID-19 Updates:

    As of April 26, 2021, Virginia has had 654,929 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 10,706. Further, according to the VDH's COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard, as of April 26th, 3,664,745 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 2,445,766 people are fully vaccinated.


     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.