In his latest press availability (see video, below), Sen. Mark Warner talked about several topics – his strong opposition to anti-abortion language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) coming over from the Republican-controlled U.S. House (“the idea that we’re going to restrict [women servicemembers] access to healthcare is a bridge too far…we’re going to lose women volunteers…weakens our national security…[it’s] just untenable“]; rare “great news” from the House of Representatives, which last night “defeated an amendment that would have started to micromanage the number of airplanes that go into National vs. Dulles vs. other regional airports“; long waits to get a passport because of “pent-up demand” and also a hiring freeze put in place in the passport office by the Trump administration; the “Freedom to Vote Act,” which will “create a national holiday on election day…automatic voter registration…same-day registration…early voting“; legislation to make it easier for widows to get Black Lung benefits; “Barbie” vs. “Oppenheimer” (tongue in cheek, Warner said “I’m just going to politically punt and say I’m in support of both the ‘Barbie’ film and the ‘Oppenheimer’ film”); etc.
- On Sen. Tim Kaine’s amendment “to explicitly prohibit any President of the United States from withdrawing from NATO without Senate approval or an Act of Congress,” Sen. Warner called the amendment “spot-on.” Accorfding to Sen. Warner: “We had a NATO that prior to Biden going into office was frankly on its last legs; we have seen NATO grow stronger…stood tall against Russian aggression. We need to make sure that on a going-forward basis some administration doesn’t willy-nilly take the United States out of NATO. Our country is stronger being in NATO.”
- On Virginia’s underfunding of public education, Sen. Warner said: “Remember, there was a recent JLARC study that showed that, unfortunately, Virginia with its Standards of Quality model is underfunding public education compared to a whole host of other states around the country. I remember when I was governor, Virginia was ranked THE best state in the country for public education from pre-school all the way through graduate school because we invested in education…that was by Education Week. I don’t want to micromanage what’s going on in Richmond right now, but if we’ve got a $5-$6 billion surplus, most of that from one-time money that came from the federal government from COVID relief, my goodness, I can’t think of a better use than both bonuses for teachers to stay in teaching…but also as we compete against teachers from around the country, using some of those funds for a one-time signing bonus would make a lot of sense…I know folks are always willing to say we want to invest in education. Well, we’ve got huge surpluses; if we don’t invest now, when will we?”
- Finally, Sen. Warner said the following regarding the worsening climate crisis: “I hope you can stay cool…[one would] be hard-pressed to have anybody in elective office these days deny that our climate is changing and deny that we’re going through some of the hottest times in our life. I think that’s taking a toll on nation-states that are virtually becoming uninhabitable. And the scary thing, unless we do something about it, this could be the last ‘cool’ summer we have in terms of what the future may hold.”