Sen. Cramer, Banking Committee Republicans Call on President Biden to Withdraw Anti-Police Nominees

Source: United States Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) joined all Republican members on the Senate Banking Committee on a letter to President Joe Biden calling on him to withdraw the nominations of all individuals who have espoused disparaging views on law enforcement or advocated for defunding the police.

“If your Administration is truly serious about distancing itself from radical anti-police movements championed by far-left activists … you should strongly consider withdrawing any of your pending nominees who have advocated for defunding the police or endorsed other policies that would gravely jeopardize the health and safety of law enforcement officials or the communities they serve,” the senators wrote. “At least two such nominees are currently pending before the Senate Banking Committee alone.”

Solomon Greene, nominee for Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Julia Gordon, nominee for Assistant Secretary for the Office of Housing and Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration at HUD, used their Twitter accounts to disparage police officers and advocate for defunding the police. Mr. Greene and Ms. Gordon are set to appear before the Committee on Thursday.

“Mr. Greene and Ms. Gordon’s statements disparaging police officers and advocating for defunding the police are deeply disappointing and call into question their fitness to serve in senior positions in the federal government,” the senators continued. “If your administration wants to be taken seriously in its effort to distance itself from radical anti-police movements, we urge you to withdraw the nominations of Mr. Greene, Ms. Gordon, and any other nominees with disparaging views on law enforcement pending before the Senate and stop nominating any additional anti-police advocates.”

Click here to read the letter.

Sens. Cramer, Rubio Introduce Bill to Target Donations From Foreign Adversaries to American Universities

Source: United States Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

***Click here to download audio.***

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Greater Insight into Foreign Transactions (GIFTs) in Higher Education Act, a bill to target gifts and donations from designated foreign adversaries to American colleges and universities. 

“If a university accepts foreign money or gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know,” said Senator Cramer. “Our bill would improve oversight of foreign funding in higher education by holding universities accountable to ensure their reporting is full, accurate, and transparent.”

“Hostile foreign adversaries, including the Chinese Communist Party, routinely seek to infiltrate our higher education institutions to steal our research and exploit our intellectual property,” said Senator Rubio. “There is absolutely no reason that bad actors should be able to run these foreign influence operations that seek to undermine America. We need to bring greater transparency to donations from foreign adversaries and hold our institutions and the Department of Education more accountable to reporting these transactions in a timely manner.”

The GIFTs in Higher Education Act would help promote transparency in higher education gifts and donations by:  

  • Expanding the current HEA Section 117 disclosure requirements to include faculty, professional staff and all staff engaged in research and development in addition to institutions of higher education.  
  • Requiring gifts and contracts from designated foreign adversary sources to be disclosed within 30 days of the transaction dates if valued at $50,000 or more in a calendar year.  
  • Codifying ‘designated foreign adversary sources’ and establishes a list of ‘designated foreign adversary governments’ that includes China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria, and the Nicolás Maduro regime of Venezuela.  
  • Requiring the Department of Education to publish disclosures within 30 days of submission deadlines.  
  • Making all federal funding to colleges and universities contingent on compliance with HEA Section 117 disclosure requirements.  
  • Directing the Department of Education to work with other federal agencies to improve access to disclosure reports.
Click here for a summary of the legislation.

Sen. Cramer to Introduce Bill Requiring Voter ID in States with Vaccine Passports, Will Offer it As Amendment to Democrats’ Spending Package

Source: United States Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

***Click here for audio.***

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced today he will introduce legislation to require states where there are vaccine passport mandates to also enact voter identification laws.

“If states that take federal money for elections feel the need to make residents verify a piece of information as private as their vaccination status just to return to normalcy, then they should have no problem requiring people to prove they are who they say they are when they go to vote,” said Senator Cramer. “My legislation would ensure those states are being consistent about their identification requirements and shine a light on those who hypocritically oppose Voter ID laws but support vaccine passports.”

The senator plans to introduce this bill as a standalone piece of legislation, as well as an amendment to Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package which will be advanced using the budget reconciliation process. He will be seeking cosponsors for the legislation ahead of its formal introduction.

Statement of Sen. Warner on the Following Report That Facebook Disabled the Accounts of Researchers Looking Into the Network’s Political Ad Practices

Source: United States Senator for Commonwealth of Virginia Mark R Warner

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released the statement below, following a report that Facebook disabled the accounts of researchers studying political ads on the social network: 

“This latest action by Facebook to cut off an outside group’s transparency efforts – efforts that have repeatedly facilitated revelations of ads violating Facebook’s Terms of Service, ads for frauds and predatory financial schemes, and political ads that were improperly omitted from Facebook’s lackluster Ad Library – is deeply concerning. For several years now, I have called on social media platforms like Facebook to work with, and better empower, independent researchers, whose efforts consistently improve the integrity and safety of social media platforms by exposing harmful and exploitative activity. Instead, Facebook has seemingly done the opposite. It’s past time for Congress to act to bring greater transparency to the shadowy world of online advertising, which continues to be a major vector for fraud and misconduct.”

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Shaheen, Bipartisan Group of Senators Warn Polish Government Against Pursuing Legislation that Targets Free Media, Jeopardizes U.S. Investments

Source: United States Senator for New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen

August 04, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, issued the following joint statement with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Helsinki Commission Chairman Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Jim Risch (R-ID) in response to legislation being considered by Poland’s parliament that would infringe on a free, independent media and jeopardize U.S. media investments in Poland:

“The Polish government’s continued democratic backsliding, most recently through efforts designed to undermine independent media and one of the largest U.S. investments in the country, is deeply concerning. As a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, we want to make clear to the Polish government that we are watching these events carefully. We are monitoring legislation under consideration in the Polish parliament that, if passed and signed into law, would discriminate against non-EU companies and likely force out of Poland a major U.S. investor employing several thousand people. This legislation, coupled with Poland’s refusal to renew the license for the firm TVN, continues a troubling trajectory for Poland’s democracy. This is not the way to attract foreign investments and would further undermine media freedoms for which Poles have long fought,” said the Senators.

They continued, “These and other steps, which Poland — a NATO ally and close friend and partner of the United States — has recently taken, do not reflect the shared values that underpin our bilateral relationship. Any decision to implement these laws could have negative implications for defense, business and trade relations. We urge the Polish government to pause before acting on any measure that would impact our longstanding relationship.”



Manchin Announces $3.2 Million From American Rescue Plan To Support West Virginia Airports

Source: United States Senator for West Virginia Joe Manchin

August 04, 2021

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced $3,259,485 from the American Rescue Plan for 10 West Virginia airports. This funding is distributed through the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide economic relief and increase safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

“The American Rescue Plan continues to provide critical relief to the Mountain State. This American Rescue Plan funding will help West Virginia’s regional airports keep passengers and staff safe as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Manchin. “Our regional airports are vital to West Virginia’s economy and serve as a gateway while also supporting the manufacturing industry in the Mountain State. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, I will continue to fight for funding that supports our regional airports while supporting economic development across the state.”

Individual awards listed below:

  •        $1,879,112 – Tri-State/Milton J Ferguson Field Airport
  •        $1,063,373 – Greenbrier Valley Airport
  •        $59,000 – Morgantown Municipal-Walter L Bill Hart Field Airport
  •        $59,000 – Mercer County Airport
  •        $59,000 – Wheeling Ohio County Airport
  •       $32,000 – Eastern WV Regional/Shepherd Field Airport
  •        $32,000 – Fairmont Municipal-Frankman Field Airport
  •        $32,000 – Elkins-Randolph County-Jennings Randolph Field Airport
  •        $22,000 – Upshur County Regional Airport
  •        $22,000 – Appalachian Regional Airport


Senators Markey and Rubio Applaud Commerce Committee Passage of “Secure Equipment Act”

Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey

Bipartisan, bicameral legislation will block technology manufactured by companies that pose a threat to national security

Washington (August 4, 2021) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today applauded the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s markup of their bipartisan legislation, the Secure Equipment Act of 2021. This bill directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules clarifying that it will no longer review or issue new equipment licenses to companies – such as the People’s Republic of China state-backed firms Huawei and ZTE – on the agency’s “Covered Equipment or Services List” that pose a national security threat. The FCC is required to maintain this list under the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019, which laid out detailed criteria for determining what communications equipment or services pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. safety.

In 2020, the FCC adopted new rules to require that U.S. telecommunications carriers rip and replace equipment provided by “covered” companies. While that was an important step, those rules only apply to equipment purchased with federal funding. The very same equipment can still be used if purchased with private or non-federal government dollars. Senators Markey and Rubio introduced the Secure Equipment Act to close this loophole and further prevent identified security threats from having a presence in U.S. telecommunications networks. Subsequently, the FCC initiated a rulemaking that mirrors the lawmakers’ proposal. Today’s legislation builds on the FCC’s ongoing proceeding and ensures that the agency takes timely action on this issue.
“In today’s increasingly connected world, we must animate our technology with our values,” said Senator Markey. “That’s why our bipartisan legislation will keep compromised equipment out of U.S. telecommunications networks and ensure our technology is safe for consumers and secure for the United States. I’m proud to partner with Senator Rubio on this proposal and I thank the Commerce Committee for advancing our bill. I look forward to now fighting for its swift passage by the full Senate.”

“The Chinese Communist Party will stop at nothing to exploit our laws and undermine our national security,” said Senator Rubio. “Chinese state-directed companies, like Huawei and ZTE, have no place in our telecommunications network. This bill would keep compromised equipment from bad actors out of critical U.S. infrastructure. I am pleased that the Commerce Committee advanced this bill, and I look forward to its ultimate passage on the Senate floor.”

Representative Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Representative Steve Scalise (LA-01) have also introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, which was recently advanced by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

 

“The Secure Equipment Act of 2021 will help keep our country safe by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders. These latest efforts align with my efforts to update the Federal Communications Commission’s equipment authorization procedures,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Acting Chairwoman. “I thank Senators Markey and Rubio for their dedication to this issue–having this policy written into the law will send a strong, bipartisan signal that the United States is serious about developing a robust market for secure 5G alternatives.”

 

“I applaud Senator Rubio and Senator Markey for their leadership and work to secure America’s communications networks,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said. “Their legislation would help ensure that insecure gear from companies like Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese state-backed entities can no longer be inserted into America’s communications infrastructure. This gear poses an unacceptable risk to our national security, and their bipartisan legislation would ensure that the FCC closes the loophole being used today by Huawei and others on the Covered List to be a part of our networks. I am very pleased that this legislation has advanced out of Committee and look forward to its consideration by the full Senate.”

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Markey, Warren, Heinrich Introduce Resolution Memorializing Those Lost to and Suffering from COVID–19

Source: United States Senator for Massachusetts Ed Markey

Resolution would designate the first Monday of March as “COVID–19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day”

Washington, D.C. – United States Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced a resolution to memorialize those lost to the COVID–19 virus and recognize the suffering of COVID–19 survivors. The resolution would designate the first Monday in March as “COVID–19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day.”

“More than 613,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, including more than 18,000 people in Massachusetts. Families across the country have mourned the loss of a loved one, buried a friend, or coped with the death of a partner because of this horrific disease. We owe these families the honor and recognition they deserve, and by marking COVID-19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day, we will annually remind ourselves of the deadly cost of this pandemic while reaffirming our commitment to getting through this crisis together,” said Senator Markey.

“Our hearts hurt from everything and everyone that this pandemic has stolen from us, and that’s why I’m introducing this resolution with Senators Markey and Heinrich — to remember the family, friends, and neighbors we loved and those who continue to be affected by this unprecedented pandemic,” Senator Warren said

“New Mexicans have lost 4,415 family members and friends to COVID-19 already, and the loss grows each day,” said Senator Heinrich. “We need this official memorial day to honor the memory of those we’ve lost, acknowledge the continuing grief felt by their loved ones, and recognize those still coping with the long-term effects of the virus. I’m proud to be a part of the effort to make this happen.”

Nearly thirty five million people have been infected in the United States, and more than 600,000 have tragically lost their lives. COVID–19 has had a disproportionate impact on low-income communities and communities of color, with higher infection and fatality rates, exacerbating inequities already prevalent in our systems that must be addressed. 

The resolution is supported by the advocacy organization, Marked By COVID. 

“As President Biden said, ‘To heal, we must remember,’” said Kristin Urquiza, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Marked By COVID, the nonprofit leading the grassroots COVID Memorial Day charge. “At our core, those most harmed by COVID want two simple things: we want our loved ones to be remembered, and we want to spare others from this pain. It feels especially meaningful that Senator Warren and Representative Stanton–both marked by COVID themselves–are championing this work along with Senators Markey and Heinrich; by designating a permanent COVID Memorial Day, we are forever safeguarding the legacies of people like Charles Krebbs, Mark Urquiza, Isabelle Papadimitriou, Dr. Gaye Snyder, Rami Samman, Genevieve Martinez, Mike Horton, Carlos Rangel, Earla Dawn Dimitriadis, and Senator Warren’s brother Donald Reed Herring in our collective, public memory.” 

Representative Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) introduced this resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Sen. Moran Announces New Investments to Help First-Generation College Students in Kansas

Source: United States Senator for Kansas – Jerry Moran

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of the Senate Appropriations Committee – today announced four U.S. Department of Education grants totaling $1,718,945 for higher education institutions in Kansas. The grants will support the Federal TRIO Talent Search Program over the next five years to identify and assist students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the potential to succeed in higher education, often as first-generation college students.

“As a first-generation college student, I recognize the challenges and uncertainties many students face when considering pursuing a college education,” said Sen. Moran. “TRIO programs are a proven and effective tool for helping disadvantaged students earn a college degree, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over TRIO, I will continue to support programs that help our next generation of Kansans.”

Grant recipients:

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Sens. Moran, Peters Introduce Bill to Support Teachers at Military Impacted Schools

Source: United States Senator for Kansas – Jerry Moran

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) introduced legislation this week that would allow certain teachers working in Military Impacted School Districts to be eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program allows highly-qualified STEM teachers who teach in low-income areas to be eligible for $17,500 in loan forgiveness after five years of teaching. The Defense Community Teacher Support Act would allow teachers from Military Impacted School Districts to be eligible for this program.

“Military service is family service, and our teachers are an integral part in helping the children of our servicmembers adjust to a new learning environment each time they move,” said Sen. Moran. “This legislation will help lessen the financial burden of student loans on our teachers and bring high-quality teachers to serve in schools on or near our military bases.

To make certain military spouses are able to utilize this program, teachers do not need to teach for five years at the same school but are required to teach for five consecutive years in a Military Impacted School District to be eligible for the program.

Three school districts in Kansas would be eligible for this expansion – two support Fort Riley and one supports Fort Leavenworth.

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