Earlier today, Sen. Mark Warner held a press availability, at which he had a number of interesting things to say. See below for video and highlights, including:
- On the bipartisan infrastructure package, Sen. Warner said we have an aging water and road infrastructure, that high-speed broadband is a necessity and not just a “nice-to-have,” that we need our power grid to be “smarter and more efficient,” and we “need to create a 21st-century infrastructure for electric vehicles.” So “this issue of infrastructure has been talked about for as long as I’ve been in the Senate, yet we’ve never stepped up and really taken on a once-in-a-generation effort to try to put substantial federal funding into our infrastructure needs.“
- Sen. Warner said he’s “happy to report” that his bipartisan infrastructure group that he’s been “part of since day 1” is “very close to reaching a deal.” An additional $579 billion would go into infrastructure over the next five years – “nearly double the amount that was suggested by the earlier Republican group that had been negotiating with President Biden.” Still some details to work out, but he hopes there will be more “determinative announcements…later today or at the latest by tomorrow.” “Good, significant progress…that I believe will be firmly backed by the Biden White House…a step in the direction of showing that the Senate can function.”
- So that was “the good news piece.” The not-so-good news on S1, the “For the People Act.” Sen. Warner says “there’s no more important component of our democracy than protecting people’s right to vote.” “Unfortunately, particularly after the 2020 election and the Big Lie promulgated by Donald Trump, we are seeing state legislatures across the country, oftentimes controlled by far-right Trump extremists, literally go in and dramatically undermine voting rights in this country.” According to Sen. Warner, this is a “HUGE concern to democracy,” and the “For the People Act…tries to address these issues.” “I’m hopeful that we will be able to move on to this legislation…I’m going to continue to appeal to my Republican colleagues…there is nothing more important to our democracy…that after January 6th…is under assault.” “This is about the heart of our democracy.” Sen. Warner added that he finds it “extraordinarily troubling” to give “partisan local governments or state governments the ability to come in and throw out an election if they don’t like the results.” And he said he finds it “very disheartening” that Republicans won’t even allow a debate on the bill.
- Third, Sen. Warner talked about support to Minor League Baseball…small businesses across the country that are owned not by Major League Baseball.
- Sen. Warner talked about his eulogy tomorrow at the funeral for John Warner, “a great friend” and a “role model.” Sen. Warner said he isn’t sure his friendship with John Warner “could have taken place in today’s environment.” When Mark Warner was governor, he says that John Warner “put Virginia ahead of partisan politics” “any time there was a tough issue.” Mark Warner also noted that John Warner wouldn’t endorse “an extremist candidate, Oliver North.” “I always turned to him for counsel, for advice.” “His passing is a passing hopefully not of an era…[of] put[ting] country and Commonwealth first.” “He was a great Virginian and a true American patriot.”
- On government funding for the Capitol Police, which could run out in August, Sen. Warner said “we need to get our act together and not go through another government shutdown…every member of the Senate, for the most part, paid homage to our Capitol Police officers who protected our lives on January 6th. You can’t say I support our Capitol Police, and then put these guys and gals out on furlough because we don’t get our act together to get government funding in place. Many of the very same people who advance the Big Lie in Congress are the very same people who constantly threaten to shut down the government over debt limits and other kind of end-of-the-fiscal-year antics. I would hope and pray that they would defer this year…Will these same legislators who have shown very little respect for the institution of Congress, will they continue to show that disrespect by trying to cut off funding that will hurt our Capitol Police officers at a critical time near the end of the fiscal year?”