STATEWIDE — In a Sept. 23 press conference, Senator Mark Warner discussed a list of actions that he and his Democratic colleagues will be taking in the upcoming days.
One of the key items of importance was the Senator’s desire to make sure the government does not shut down next week. As it currently stands, the government is supposed to run out of funding by Sept. 30 if no action is taken by Congress.
“We have to make sure that we don’t shut down the government,” said Warner.
Another matter of importance for Senator Warner was the debt ceiling which is currently a topic of great contention from both sides of the aisle. Warner argues that if the government fails to vote to raise the current debt ceiling it could result in negative impacts not just for Virginia, but on the U.S. economy as a whole.
Back in March 2021, the gross federal debt had reached over $28 trillion.
”The debt ceiling is paying for bills that have already incurred. We’re simply going to pay down the 5 trillion-plus dollars we spent under the trump administration that all my republican colleagues voted for,” said Warner. “If we don’t do that, it will shock the markets. You can potentially see interest rates go up. At the governmental level, if interest rates go up one concise point that adds to the debt payments we make.”
Warner also discussed the need to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill has already been passed by the senate but must now make its way through the house of representatives before it reaches President Joe Biden’s desk.
“It’s something that will make record investments, not only in roads and clean water but also resiliency,” said Warner, “We’ve got a lot of places around Virginia particularly in Hampton roads that need that additional resiliency.”
Another key motivation behind the bi-partisan infrastructure bill is to help promote broadband connection in more parts of Virginia and the United States.
The senator expressed the need to tackle the tax code so that it can improve investments in childcare, bringing down the price of prescription drugs, and so that it ensures universal pre-kindergarten.
“A lot on our plate. All of these are wrapped together and we have to get them resolved literally in the upcoming days,” said Warner.
Towards the end of the press conference, Sent. Warner discussed a piece of legislation called, “The Lift Act”. It was introduced by Senator Mark Warner, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA), alongside Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). The bill specifically targets low-income, first-time homebuyers by offering a twenty year mortgage for roughly the same monthly payment as a traditional thirty year loan.
“We have too many first-generation, first-time homebuyers that are falling behind,” said Warner. “A home is where you can build up equity, where you can borrow against if you want to send your kid to college or start a business. In the Liftup program, we would provide for qualified first-generation, first-time homebuyers ”
Finally, Senator Warner explained that he and many other colleagues put forward a continuation plan for the Coal Excise Tax. The tax helps fund the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund and was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.