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Video: Sen. Mark Warner on the Importance of Getting “Build Back Better” Done; the “Absolute, Urgent” Need for Congress to Protect Voting Rights; Reforming the Filibuster; Everyone Getting Vaccinated

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See below for video of yesterday’s “press availability” with Sen. Mark Warner.  A few highlights include:

  • “The whole Build Back Better program we’re not going to get it done before Christmas. Part of that is because there’s still outstanding issues with a couple of my friends on the Democratic side in terms of the substance, but also even if we had all those issues resolved the intricacies of what’s called reconciliation…the parliamentarian has not finished all her rulings on the parts that have even been agreed to so just process-wise we couldn’t get it done before Christmas. My hope is we can come back and get this resolved. I understand particularly Senator Manchin some of his concerns that we ought to be doing, and I frankly echoed some of these concerns last summer that I wish this initiative had been more targeted to fewer programs with a longer time horizon rather than a whole wish list of programs that some of which we could only do for a year or two. So I think there will be a bit of a time out on this and maybe some rethinking, but there clearly is the need to get this done…I think this is both morally the right thing to do and one of the many tools we could use to try to drive down inflation.”
  • “…the absolute urgent need for Congress to step up and put in place basic federal protections in terms of our voting process. We have seen state after state start to roll back access to the ballot box. We’ve seen shortening of voting times in many states – that concerns me greatly. But what even concerns me more is certain states like Georgia and others who seem to be on this path where they’re literally taking the ability for a non-partisan or bipartisan independent commission to oversee the vote counting and the certification of the votes and turning that over to a partisan entity. That would be a recipe for disaster, frankly. It would mean our very structure of democracy that I’ve grown up with, that you fight hard for your candidate but then the votes are counted fairly in an independent way assessed and and certified that could be up for grabs...I still remember when expanding voting rights was a bipartisan issue; that is not the case in today’s United States Senate. So I am working with some of my colleagues to say is there a path forward…that we actually enforce the filibuster, and what I thought was the rules of the filibuster before I came to the Senate, that if you want to filibuster a bill you’ve got to stand up and speak…We could have a once a year process where a critical issue as long as there was appropriate amendment process and still a requirement for a speaking filibuster. But where you could end up having a path to make sure that voting rights, which I think are extraordinarily important and under assault get protected, I strongly support that and again there’s active conversations on that.”
  • I’m very worried about the Omicron variant. I heard from Dr. Fauci that the rate of penetration into the community is doubling every two days. And that just could mean that literally over the next three weeks, particularly as people get together around the holidays, that we could see a massive wave of Covid hit in January…Now the good news is that Omicron – if you’ve got your vaccines, if you’ve got your boosters – seems to not have nearly the same negative effects. So we can get through this. But again, I just urge everyone, if not for yourself do it for your your neighbors, your families, your loved ones. If you don’t have a vaccination, go get vaccinated. The level of severity of the virus, even Omicron, if you are unvaccinated is exponentially higher. So do the right thing.”

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