From Sen. Tim Kaine’s office – what a great year, which saw a truly impressive, historic list of accomplishments by Sen. Kaine and the Democratic “trifecta” (White House, Senate, House)!
VIDEO: KAINE TOUTS 2022 ACCOMPLISHMENTS, CALLS FOR ADDITIONAL PROGRESS
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following video touting Congress’ historic legislative wins and his other accomplishments of 2022 and calling for additional reforms before the end of the year. In the video, Kaine highlighted his travel across Virginia to see how legislation he helped pass, including the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, is supporting communities across the Commonwealth.
“Getting around Virginia and seeing investments in infrastructure, seeing support for our colleges and universities, families, small businesses—every zip code in the Commonwealth has been positively affected by these bills,” Kaine said. “And because the infrastructure bill, in particular, goes for years, we’re going to see increased infrastructure investments all across the Commonwealth. Whether it’s road, rail, bridges, whether it’s port improvements, airport improvements, broadband, clean energy, it’s an exciting time to make these investments.”
Kaine discussed how legislation he voted to pass this year will help lower costs for Americans, expand health care access, tackle climate change, make communities safer, and more.
- On the CHIPS and Science Act, a bipartisan bill to boost domestic chips manufacturing and improve U.S. competitiveness: “We also passed a very important bill… to bring domestic chips manufacturing back to the United States… We also want to maintain our lead in the world in research, and the CHIPS and Science Act will help us do that.”
- On the Inflation Reduction Act, historic legislation to lower costs, tackle climate change, lower the deficit, and ensure miners with black lung disease get the benefits they were promised: “…we did a number of reforms in Medicare to control the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs, to negotiate for the price of prescription drugs for the first time. This will help our seniors save money and also save money in the federal budget and the Medicare program.”
- On the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, Kaine’s bill that was signed into law to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral conditions among health care professionals: “How proud I was when we were able to join President Biden in the Oval Office in March 2022 to sign a bill named after Dr. Lorna Breen that is already providing resources across the country to help our health care providers and also educate our health care professionals in nursing schools and medical school so that they’ll know how to get assistance that they need.”
- On the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation to expand benefits for veterans exposed to toxins and burn pits during their service and authorize a new Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient clinic in Hampton Roads: “We passed the PACT Act to provide significant assistance to veterans, particularly those who had been subject to toxic chemicals in burn pits during the Iraq and Afghan wars.”
- On the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first comprehensive bill to reduce gun violence signed into law in decades: “… We know, painfully in Virginia, especially after recent events at the University of Virginia and Chesapeake, that we still have much more to do. But what Congress showed in passing the bipartisan gun safety bill is finally, we’re off the sidelines and willing to take action to keep our communities safer.”
- On the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan bill to ensure same-sex and interracial marriages are recognized by every state: “What we learned this summer, when the Supreme Court threw out 100 years of precedent…was that we hadn’t really protected marriage equality… If we wanted to protect the rights of those all around the country to marry whom they choose, we needed to act as Congress to do so.”
In addition, Kaine celebrated the grand opening of the Silver Line extension, a project he began working on since he was lieutenant governor. Kaine said, “This is the single hardest project I’ve ever worked on in public life… What an exciting day it was because it connects the capital of the free world, Washington D.C., to our largest international gateway airport in Virginia.”
Kaine also discussed his work to confirm the first African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, and his work, along with Senator Mark R. Warner, to push for the surrender and rescue of nearly four thousand dogs from an Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland.
Kaine closed the video by sharing his priorities between now and the end of the year, including the need to pass a defense authorization bill and government funding bill that includes important Virginia priorities. He also paid tribute to the life and legacy of Congressman A. Donald McEachin.
A full transcript of the video is below:
Hey everybody. As 2022 comes to an end, I want to reflect on the year and some of the work that we’ve been doing here in Congress, especially in the United States Senate.
I’ve been all over Virginia, and particularly hitting the road to see about the investments that we’ve made in the American Rescue Plan, and the infrastructure bill, and the Inflation Reduction Act. The Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act were pieces of legislation that only passed by one vote in the U.S. Senate, so I feel like everything in there I own and I’m proud of it.
Getting around Virginia and seeing investments in infrastructure, seeing support for our colleges and universities, families, small businesses—every zip code in the Commonwealth has been positively affected by these bills. And because the infrastructure bill, in particular, goes for years, we’re going to see increased infrastructure investments all across the Commonwealth. Whether it’s road, rail, bridges, whether it’s port improvements, airport improvements, broadband, clean energy, it’s an exciting time to make these investments.
I’m particularly proud that in the infrastructure, Inflation Reduction Act, Virginia is rocketing ahead as a leader in clean energy. We were one of the worst states in the country in solar energy just 10 years ago. And now we moved into top 10 status. And we’re the leader in American states in developing offshore wind, with the first manufacturing of offshore wind components being done in Portsmouth to support offshore wind developments off Virginia Beach and also off the Outer Banks in North Carolina. So it’s exciting and appropriate, as Virginia is affected by climate change, whether it’s extreme weather events in Appalachia or sea level rise in Hampton Roads. We’re not just experiencing it, but we’re also leading in strategies to deal with climate change.
We also passed a very important bill, the CHIPS and Science Act, to bring domestic chip manufacturing back to the United States. We have a sizable chip manufacturing facility in Prince William County already, but we want to do more. And we also want to maintain our lead in the world in research, and the CHIPS and Science Act will help us do that.
We did a number of things to help our health and safety. In the Inflation Reduction Act, for example, we did a number of reforms in Medicare to control the cost of insulin and other prescription drugs, to negotiate for the price of prescription drugs for the first time. This will help our seniors save money and also save money in the federal budget and the Medicare program.
I worked for a long time on a bill to provide mental health resources to our frontline health care workers, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named in honor of a Charlottesville-native physician who died early during COVID as she was leading an emergency room in New York City. She got COVID, really wanted to get back to treating patients, probably came back too soon, and then that put her in a very difficult place in terms of her own mental health. And sadly, she died by suicide in April of 2020. But her sister and brother-in-law picked up the mantle, Corey and Jennifer Feist, and have worked really hard to help make sure all of us understand that the mental health issues facing society at-large also face, in a particular way, our frontline health care providers. How proud I was when we were able to join President Biden in the Oval Office in March of 2022 to sign a bill named after Dr. Lorna Breen that is already providing resources across the country to help our health care providers and also to educate our health care professionals in nursing schools and medical school so that they’ll know how to get assistance that they need.
We passed the PACT Act to provide significant assistance to veterans, particularly those who had been subject to toxic chemicals in burn pits during the Iraq and Afghan wars.
We passed a bipartisan gun safety bill—one of the first gun safety bills that Congress has done in decades to try to keep our community safer. Now, we know painfully in Virginia, especially after recent events at the University of Virginia and Chesapeake, that we still have much more to do. But what Congress showed in passing the bipartisan gun safety bill is finally we’re off the sidelines and willing to take action to keep our communities safer.
Other historic events during the year that I’m proud of was the confirmation of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson on the U.S. Supreme Court. I started law school—many of you know as a civil rights lawyer—I started law school in the fall of 1979, and at that time, when I started law school, the only woman justice was a white marble statue on the front steps of the Supreme Court. There were no members and there never had been any women members on the Court. And to be in a position now where there are four of the nine members of the Supreme Court are women shows that, you know, we’re not perfect and we always are impatient about the pace of progress, but progress is very real. And Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s ascension to the Court from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals was a really historic day.
Last month, we cut a ribbon—Mark Warner and I and officials all throughout Northern Virginia and DC with Secretary Pete Buttigieg—extending the Metro Silver Line all the way to Dulles Airport and beyond. This is the single hardest project I’ve ever worked on in public life. I started when I was lieutenant governor, and then I had a chapter as governor, and now I’ve had a chapter as senator to plan, finance, put under contract, design, and then ultimately construct the Silver Line in two phases—the first to Wiehle Avenue and the second now to Ashburn, all the way past Dulles into Loudoun County. What an exciting day it was, because it connects the capital of the free world, Washington D.C., to our largest international gateway airport in Virginia.
And then just in recent days, we’re finishing the year strong.
We passed in the Senate, the Respect for Marriage Act, which was one of the reasons I ran for the Senate in 2012. I had been in office for 16 years at the local and state level when a Senate seat surprisingly came open. And I had no intention of running for the Senate, but I asked myself whether I had any unfinished business in public life. And there were two areas where I’ve felt like ‘yeah, I fought for things, and I haven’t achieved them.’ One was marriage equality, and the second was recognition of Virginia tribes. Well, we got Virginia tribes recognized—seven—by 2018, and we thought we had achieved marriage equality in the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court in 2015. What we learned this summer, when the Supreme Court threw out 100 years of precedent, interpreting the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment was that we hadn’t really fully protected marriage equality. We couldn’t rely on the Supreme Court to be good to its centuries-old precedent, and if we wanted to protect the rights of those all around the country to marry whom they choose, we needed to act as Congress to do so. How exciting it was to be on the floor and be a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act.
And now, there were some things this year that happened—and this is always the case—where it’s sort of less about legislation and more things that just pop up that you never would have imagined and that you get attention for sometimes even if you don’t deserve it.
The thing I probably got most attention for this year was at the beginning of the year when I got stuck on Interstate 95 for 27 hours with a Dr. Pepper and an orange. And that kind of Where’s Waldo journey as people were trying to figure out where I was got me a lot of attention, and it also got a lot of people sending me gifts of more oranges and more Dr. Peppers, which I heartily appreciated.
Also, later in the year, Senator Warner and I leaned hard against a really crummy and poorly-run facility in Cumberland County that was abusing animals– a puppy mill that was called Envigo—and there were about 4,000 beagles there that were abused. And we succeeded in pressuring the FDA enough that the FDA eventually closed the facility down. Those 4,000 beagles then had to find homes. And people all over the United States—the governor of New Jersey, Harry and Meghan, English royalty—adopted beagles, and that became a big story. And a family in Williamsburg adopted this little guy behind me and named him Tim. And they brought him to an event on the Eastern Shore that I was doing and I got a chance to meet him, so he has a happy home.
We’ve got more work to do between now and year end. We’ve got a defense bill that includes a pay raise for our service members and support for Virginia’s defense community during a time when the U.S. is heavily involved in backing up Ukraine and the land war in Europe against an illegal invasion by Russia. It’s important that we have strong defense. And we’re working on a government funding bill that includes resources for very important Virginia priorities—supporting educational institutions and nonprofit organizations, other key priorities around the state.
So this is the first year in 10 years in the Senate I’ve made no Christmas plans. I’m kind of counting on the fact that we could be here very, very late. If we get a few days off around the holidays, I’m not going to complain. But we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks.
I hope all of you over the holiday season have a chance to just think back over the year, count blessings, remember friends lost during the year. This is a time of year where we can sometimes be a little lonely as we think about people we’ve lost. One dear friend that I’ve lost recently is our Congressman Donald McEachin, who has been a friend of mine since we were in our 20s, who passed just a few days ago and will not easily be replaced. In fact, he will have a successor but he won’t have a replacement in the House. He was my Congressman and my friend, and he and his wife Colette, we’re really thinking about them at the holiday time. But it’s also a time to be together, to recharge your battery, to tell funny stories and laugh about the events of the year and to think with optimism and hope about 2023. I hope all of you have a great holiday season. I wish you a new year, and I’ll see you out on the road!