Donald McEachin

McEachin Votes to Support Working Families and Stabilize Child Care During COVID-19 Crisis

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today issued the following statement on his votes in favor of the Childcare is Essential Act and Childcare for Economic Recovery Act, legislation to stabilize the child care sector and provide support for working families and providers looking to safely reopen and operate.

"Reliable, safe and available child care is essential for working families, including the frontline workers who are keeping our communities safe and healthy during this pandemic," said Congressman McEachin. "Sadly, our child care system is struggling – decreased revenue, alongside increased expenses associated with necessary safety measures such as social distancing, masks and disinfection regimens, have caused too many to close their doors. Today, I was very pleased to vote for two urgently-needed bills to provide child care relief for families and providers across our country. The Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act ensure that all families have access to child care today and in the future."

McEachin Votes to Pass Historic 60th Consecutive NDAA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today voted to pass H.R. 6395, the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which passed the House by a vote of 295 to 125 and authorizes $732 billion in national defense spending.

“During a time of significant uncertainty, this bipartisan NDAA advances critical support for our servicemembers, improves our nation’s readiness and reasserts the importance of our international alliances and partnerships,” said Congressman McEachin. “This defense bill, which includes a number of provisions that are of critical importance to the Commonwealth of Virginia, promotes a more inclusive military, while responding to our climate crisis and ensuring we will not be caught off-guard by future pandemics like COVID-19. I am proud to stand with my colleagues as we continue the important work of taking care of those in uniform, while promoting a strong national defense.”

Background:

The FY21 NDAA creates a Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fund, directing $1 billion to efforts to proactively increase the country’s ability to prepare for and respond to future pandemics. 

The bill requires the Department of Defense to identify, report on a process, and change the names of all military bases and infrastructure named for individuals who served in the Confederacy within one year and prohibits the public display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense installations.  

The FY21 NDAA has strong provisions to take care of our troops and our military families – authorizing support for a 3.0 percent pay raise, authorizing increased funding to clean up contamination of drinking water on our military bases by PFAS chemicals, continuing to invest in improving the oversight and management of housing for military personnel and their families, making improvements to sexual assault prevention and response programs, and developing several key programs to promote and enhance diversity and inclusion programs in our military.

The bill establishes Chief Diversity Officer reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense as well as establishing a Chief Diversity Officer in each of the military services reporting directly to the Secretary of that service, to include the Coast Guard. The bill also requires the Secretary of Defense to establish a Diversity and Inclusion Council to help develop a strategy to be included in the National Defense Strategy to increase diversity in the military mirroring the US population.

The bill makes corrections to the paid parental leave benefit provided through the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that the FAA, Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain other civilian employees inadvertently omitted from the legislation receive the paid parental leave benefit.

The bill also honors America’s values in many ways, including prohibiting use of DOD funds to provide logistical support to the Saudi-led coalition for strikes in Yemen, limiting the funding under the national emergency military construction authority to prevent its misuse on the President’s wasteful border wall, and not containing any restrictions on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

In addition, the measure also includes several provisions to confront the climate crisis.

Finally, the bill does not authorize an additional Base Realignment and Cloture (BRAC) round in FY 2021.

A summary of the provisions in the FY21 NDAA is available here.

McEachin Announces $10,523,821 Health and Human Services Grants

Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced three grants from the Departmentof Health and Human Services to the Virginia Department of Health, totalling $10,532,821 for immunizations ($6,993,106), tobacco control ($1,539,715), and diabetes and heart disease ($2,000,000.)

"I am so pleased to see these funds coming into our Department of Health to help with such critical issues," said Congressman McEachin. Immunizations, especially during this pandemic, are important to protect our children from other severe,sometimes fatal illnesses. Tobacco addiction leads to many respiratory and lung diseases and most severely, lung cancer. Finally, diabetes and heart diseases are not only major killers of Virignians but also tax the health care system and families struggling with these diseases. These resources will ensure that many more Virignians will be able to access critical health care services needed."

McEachin Condems Use of Tear Gas Against Peaceful, Law-Abiding Protestors in Richmond and Washington, DC

RICHMOND, VA - Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today issued the following statement regarding the unwarranted use of tear gas to dispel peaceful protests in Richmond, VA and Washington, DC.

“Non-violent resistance to demand better from our government is a pillar of our democracy that must be protected and valued at all costs. 

"American citizens exercising their Constitutional rights – among them freedom of speech and assembly – is law and order.  We cannot ask protesters to make themselves heard in a peaceful, constructive way, then tear gas them while they are lawfully assembled.

"Whether in Richmond, VA or Washington, DC, or anywhere in our nation, there is no justification for the use of tear gas against citizens engaging in a peaceful protest, obeying the law. 

"It is alarmingly authoritarian, un-American and utterly unacceptable."

Rep. McEachin Hosts COVID-19: Managing Our Grief, Mental Health, Stress & Trauma

RICHMOND, VA. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) yesterday hosted COVID-19: Managing Our Grief, Mental Health, Stress & Trauma, a virtual event to discuss mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. Congressman McEachin was joined by mental health experts who provided advice and tips for constituents who are struggling with the additional daily stress and worry caused by COVID-19. 

“I am so grateful that these incredible panelists were able to join me this evening to provide much-needed advice for my constituents,” said Congressman McEachin. “This is an incredibly stressful and heartbreaking time for us all, and I wanted to host this event to make sure that my constituents have the tools they need to take care of themselves. Maintaining our mental health is so critical, but it is easy to forget to check in on yourself with so much else going on. I hope tonight was an opportunity for folks to get connected to resources they may need.”

Moderated by Jessica Lark from WTKR, the panel included: Ms. Kathy Harkey, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) Virginia; Dr. Faye Belgrave, Virginia Commonwealth University Professor of Healthy Psychology; Dr. Rebecca Vauter, Virginia Board of Psychology; Mr. Jesse Wysocki, Chief Operating Officer, The McShin Foundation; Ms. Ashley Everette Airington, Children’s Mental Health Policy Analyst, Voices for Virginia Kids; and Ms. Frederika Jones, Interim Executive Director, Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA) of Virginia.

"We are grateful to Rep. McEachin for shining a light on the impact this pandemic has had on the mental health of children and families,” said Ashley Airington. “Supporting and protecting the emotional well-being of our children is critical now, more than ever. The good news is that nurturing relationships between children and their caregivers are the most important factor in developing resilience and overcoming the negative impacts of this collective trauma."

“As we move into a new lifestyle norm, we must have the courage to go forward,” said Frederika Jones,  SAARA Interim Executive Director. “For some, it will be right on the surface of their mindset, but for others it will require reaching deeper within themselves to muster the strength needed to deal with each new day.  Nevertheless, we must stay hopeful because the sun will still shine and as Stevie Wonders sings, ‘Tomorrow Robins Will Sing.’”

“It was an honor and a privilege to be join this diverse panel of experts in their respective fields. We know that COVID 19 is real, causing harm throughout our community and nation [and] we must not forget about those who suffer from substance use disorders or mental health struggles,” said Jesse Wysocki, McShin Foundation Chief Operating Officer. “Having these open talks and panelists of experts to discuss and answer questions is part of the solution, but we must now turn our discussion into action, doing everything we can to continue to have access to services for those with SUD and MH.”

“COVID 19 has impacted the mental health of everyone through disruption in major life events such as unemployment, financial problems, changes in living situations and routines, and changes in the health status of self or loved ones,” said Dr. Faye Belgrave, VCU Professor. “Poor mental health is directly linked to poor physical health so we must always be attentive to our mental health.  Although there are many things we cannot control about COVID 19, there are things we can control.  Let's center ourselves and be mindful of every day mental health care.

FULL VIDEO LINK

May 2020 Update from Congressman McEachin

As I write this, we have entered the second month of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the second month of Governor Northam’s stay-at-home order. Most of us are tired of being at home, tired of being separated from family and friends and frightened of both the virus and the cratering economy.

 In compliance with both state orders and orders in the District of Columbia, my offices are closed, but we are all working remotely.  We are here for you and eager to help.  If you have an issue or a problem with a federal agency, such as a missing tax return, needing a visa or passport, unreceived benefits or issues with mail delivery, my office is happy to help. Just go to my website, mceachin.house.gov, to get started. We are also happy to record your opinion on any news topic.

This past month, while I could not physically be out and around the district, I have hosted several virtual events to inform and assist constituents. We had a roundtable with small business owners to hear directly from them about their concerns and needs. I also had a tele-town hall with experts such a Small Business Association representative, the governor’s workforce development head and Dr. Carey, the Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Services, to help with any and all coronavirus concerns. If you have further questions, feel free to post them on twitter and I will get you answers.

This past week I held a town hall about at home schooling. I know many parents are struggling with this new responsibility and children are struggling with distance learning over the internet. We were fortunate to be joined by Atif Qarni, the Virginia Secretary of Education, Jason Kamras, Richmond Superintendent of Schools and several prominent teachers including Rodney Robinson, former Richmond teacher and national Teacher of the Year.

As this pandemic continues, we are all becoming increasingly aware and appreciative of our frontline and essential workers and the critical jobs they do. Healthcare workers, grocery store employees, farmers, food processing workers, senior center staff, trash collectors, mail delivery persons and many more keep us going in these difficult times.  We thank them and honor their service.

But I know there are many more folks here in our district who are working hard to make a difference, to pay it forward, to help all of us get through this. And while they are most frequently anonymous and not looking for praise, I have started a thank-a-neighbor program. If you know someone in your community who is making a difference during these trying times, we want to be able to shout them out and give them a public thank you. Please submit their name and what they are doing to VA04projects@mail.house.gov.

The Congressional Art Competition for local high schoolers is open until 4:30 PM on May 27th. Please just email a high quality photo of artwork to VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov.

Pre-registration for the Congressional App Challenge, where high schoolers develop apps for phones and computers, is also open now. Once students have signed up they can start coding immediately. Information on all the above programs can be found on my website at mceachin.house.gov.

 

Rep. McEachin Applauds House Passage of the Heroes Act, Benefits for Virginia and Local Communities & Counties

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today applauded the passage of the Heroes Act, the latest legislation to address the continued public health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. The legislation provides urgently-needed support for struggling families and essential workers; funds for testing and tracing measures; key support for frontline workers; and strengthened assistance for the American people.

 

The Heroes Act provides the Commonwealth of Virginia and local communities on the frontlines of this crisis with robust, desperately-needed funding to cover coronavirus-related outlays and revenue loss and pay our healthcare workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers, and other vital workers who keep us safe and are in danger of losing their jobs.

 

“Congress must lead the nation through this crisis with common-sense and compassion,” said Rep. McEachin. “Our lives and the well-being of our communities are threatened if our healthcare, police, fire, EMS, teachers, and other vital workers do not have the support that they need. Passage of the Heroes Act will protect the livelihoods of frontline heroes risking their lives to care for our communities and provide workers and families with relief urgently-needed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

Congressman McEachin worked diligently to ensure that the priorities of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District were included in this legislation, specifically:

  • Coverage for COVID-19 treatment for Medicare beneficiaries;
    • H.R. 6727 introduced by Congressman McEachin holds Medicare beneficiaries harmless for specific COVID-19 treatment services furnished under part A or part B of the Medicare program – (Section 30201)
  • Incentivizing state and local governments to end water shutoffs;
    • The Home Energy and Water Service Continuity follows Congressman McEachin’s May letter to House leadership urging a prohibition of water shutoffs for municipalities and county governments receiving federal COVID-19 relief aid – (Section 190701)
  • Ensuring EPA environmental justice efforts continue during the pandemic; and
    • H.R. 6692 introduced by Congressman McEachin requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to carry out certain programs relating to environmental justice, and for other purposes – (Section 190702)
  • Bolstering emergency funding for colleges and universities
    • Following Congressman McEachin’s April letter to leadership requesting increased funding for universities, the Heroes Act includes more than $10 billion to help alleviate burdens associated with the coronavirus for both colleges and students, including $1.7 billion for HBCUs and MSIs, and $8.4 billion for other institutions of higher education – (Division O – Education Provisions and Other Programs)

The Heroes Act also includes a $90 billion fund to support state and local public education, including $2,020,418 for communities across Virginia.  This funding will help maintain or restore state and local fiscal support for elementary, secondary, and public higher education and can be used to meet a wide range of urgent needs, including summer learning, afterschool programs, distance learning, and emergency financial aid for college students, as well as coordination with public health departments to mitigate the spread of disease.

 

In addition to resources for our state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, the Heroes Act provides transformative, far-reaching support to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people and the life of our democracy.

  • Provides strong support for our heroes by establishing a $200 billion Heroes’ fund to ensure that essential workers across the country receive hazard pay.  
  • Commits another $75 billion for the testing, tracing, and treatment we need in order to have a science-based path to safely reopen our country and helping ensure that every American can access free coronavirus treatment.
  • Puts money in the pockets of workers with a second round of direct payments to families up to $6,000 per household, new payroll protection measures to keep 60 million workers connected with their paychecks and benefits, and extending weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January.
  • Supports small businesses by strengthening the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities, nonprofits of all sizes and types, and responds flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for COVID-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • Ensures further support for Virginians and all Americans, including for:
    • Health security – with COBRA subsidies and a special enrollment period in the ACA exchanges for those without insurance.
    • Workplace security – requiring OSHA to ensure that all workplaces develop science-based infection control plans and preventing employers from retaliating against workers who report problems.
    • Housing security – with $175 billion in new supports to assist renters and homeowners make monthly rent, mortgage and utility payments, and other housing-related costs.
    • Food security – with a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs that help families put food on the table.  
  • Protects the life of our democracy with new resources to ensure safe elections, an accurate Census, and preserve the Postal Service. 

 

“We cannot pause while so many families in our communities are struggling,” continued Rep. McEachin. “We have a responsibility to do what is necessary now to protect the health and well-being of all of our communities. With the Heroes Act, House Democrats honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes and meet the needs of the American people today and through the coronavirus crisis.”

McEachin Announces Support for Farm to Food Bank Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced his sponsorship of the Farm to Food Bank Enhancement Act, a bill to expand support for donations of agricultural products to food banks through USDA’s Farm to Food Bank program and cover up to 100 percent of administrative costs for any harvesting, processing, packaging, and transportation costs needed to get produce to food banks.

“Around the country and right here in my district, lines for food banks are inordinately long," said Congressman McEachin. "With unemployment in double digits and rising, many Americans are struggling to find and pay for healthy, fresh food to feed their families. State budgets are cratering, and this legislation will help ensure that food banks have sufficient agricultural foodstuffs for the increasing number of Americans who go to a food bank for help at no costs to localities or states."

 

Rep. McEachin Thanks Emporia Constituent Mia Moore for Providing Childcare During Pandemic

RICHMOND, V.A. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today continued his Thank-A-Neighbor program by highlighting the work of Mia Moore, Owner of CareKids Childcare Center in Emporia. Ms. Moore has continuted to provide childcare to parents who are still working,and has been flexible with families experiencing financial burden. She has also been assisting in providing meals for students in the Emporia-Greensville area while schools have been closed.

“I am very grateful that people like Ms. Moore are so willing to share their resources with people in their communities,” said Congressman McEachin. “Many families are facing tough decisions during this time, and I am thankful that Ms. Moore has been able to keep the doors of CareKids Childcare Center open, so that our essential workers know that while they are at work, their children will be taken care of. ” 

“I’ve been in situations where I needed help. I’m blessed now in many ways. So, anytime I’m ini a position to bless somebody else, I choose to do that simply because I know there are people who are in situations and they just need help,” said Mia Moore, Owner of CareKids Childcare Center. “Being able to help others is a blessing to me.” 

Congressman McEachin launched the Thank-A-Neighbor program in early April to celebrate residents of Virginia’s fourth congressional district who are going above and beyond to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Constituents of Congressman McEachin can nominate someone for Thank-A-Neighbor by emailing VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov

April, 2020, Update from Congressman Donald McEachin

These are incredibly challenging and scary times. We are all having to make great sacrifices to ensure that we defeat COVID-19 as quickly as possible. This means some parents are out of work, children are home from school, and families are isolating from one another to conquer this viral enemy.  I want you to know that while my staff and I are working remotely, we are all still hard at work and we are still here for you.

Most importantly, I want to update you on the legislation Congress recently passed to help people across the country during this pandemic. I was so pleased to be part of advocating for and passing the stimulus bill to help American families and business owners.

Our goal for this legislation – my goal – is to help people. Unfortunately, many Virginians are out of work, some are ill, and small business owners are trying to figure out how to make sure their business survives this pandemic. This bill will make a real difference to struggling families, suffering small businesses, and our overwhelmed health care system. This legislation will:

  • Give hospitals money to help them purchase desperately needed equipment and pay for free testing, which is desperately needed across the country.
  • Provide almost $400 billion for small businesses to survive these trying times. Businesses that maintain employees will be able to turn loans into grants, which will both help businesses stay afloat and keep more workers on the job.
  • Provide $260 billion for unemployment benefits so that out-of-work Americans will know they can pay rent and bills while they must stay home. The unemployment benefits include part time workers and gig workers and increases the benefits currently available.
  • To apply for this, contact the Virginia Unemployment office. Their telephone number is 1-866-832-2363 and they are available 8:15am to 4:30pm. More information is available on their website:  www.vec.virginia.gov.
  • Provide direct stimulus money to the vast majority of Americans. Individuals making less than $75,000 annually will receive $1200 and couples who file jointly and make under $150,000 combined income will receive $2400. Families will receive $500 for each child.  Those who make between $75,000 and $99,000 annually will receive a diminished amount on a sliding scale. This money will allow for folks to buy groceries, pay bills and hopefully ease some of the financial burden this outbreak has placed on individuals.

Our goal is to protect American families, keep Americans safe, while doing what we can to stimulate the economy. Please know that this is not the end. We recognize this is going to be a long haul and we will be vigilant. Protecting the future of this great nation and all Americans is our singular goal. I expect we will see additional legislation to help Americans and to ensure our economy comes back.

Additionally, researchers all over this country and around the world are working diligently to find a vaccine to offer protection from the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, that is a prolonged process as vaccines require 12 to 18 months of development and testing. We certainly do not want to inject a healthy person with medication that could be harmful. At the same time, research is ongoing for therapeutics that will address the virus, mitigate its impacts, and diminish its severity. Because those medications are given to persons already quite ill and struggling, they do not require as much testing to be approved. When an individual is quite ill, taking chance on a novel drug is the compassionate and humane course if it can potentially save a life or ameliorate the outcome.

Please know that this is not the end. We recognize this is going to be a long haul and we will be vigilant. Protecting the future of this great nation and all Americans is our singular goal. I expect we will see additional legislation to help Americans and to ensure our economy comes back.

 I want to thank all the health care professionals, first responders, grocery and pharmacy workers, mail deliverers, garbage collectors, and all the others who continue to diligently do their jobs for the sake of all Virginians.

Lastly, let me reiterate that my office and I are here to help. If you need help with a federal agency or have a question about the bill, please go to my website at mceachin.house.gov.

McEachin and Spanberger Bring FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to Central Virginia for a Conversation on Rural Broadband

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) today co-hosted a Conversation on Rural Broadband with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, local officials, community leaders, and broadband advocates to discuss federal solutions to barriers expanding broadband access to unserved areas. Held at Prince George Central Wellness Center in central Virginia, the roundtable was moderated by Jeffrey Stoke, Deputy Administrator of Prince George County, and included leaders from the Prince George Electric Cooperative, VCTA The Broadband Association of Virginia and the Office of the Governor of Virginia.

A member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Congressman McEachin last week led 22 of his committee colleagues in issuing a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai outlining their concerns that last-minute language changes to the commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order might inadvertently undermine the ability of states, including Virginia, to effectively provide their residents with accessible, reliable broadband infrastructure. Building on that work, today’s roundtable discussion centered around the critical importance of access to high-speed internet and provided participants with the opportunity to voice their concerns and connect on solutions to mitigate communities’ lack of access.

 “The problems we face in Washington working to ensure every community has access to the high-speed internet needed to grow small businesses, create good-paying jobs, and promote digital equity are complex and cannot be tackled successfully in silos,” added Rep. McEachin. “Today’s conversation with rural broadband experts and stakeholders from Prince George County proves the power and possibility of solution-building between federal, state, and local government, and offers a successful blueprint for future collaboration to provide broadband to unserved and underserved communities throughout the country.”

“Access to opportunity in America shouldn’t be dictated by zip code. In the digital age, fast and secure internet access is a necessity for Central Virginia families, students, and businesses—but in many of our rural Virginia communities, unreliable high-speed broadband internet drastically limits the scope of opportunities for growth and success,” said Spanberger. “Today’s conversation on rural broadband in Congressman McEachin’s district was an opportunity to put our heads together and discuss how we can expand broadband access here in Central Virginia. I’d like to thank the many local and state officials who joined for today’s conversation, and I’d especially like to thank Commissioner Starks for coming to our region to share the FCC’s perspective on current broadband issues—like the need for strengthened investment in local infrastructure and updated broadband connectivity maps. At a time when infrastructure remains a key topic of conversation on Capitol Hill and within the administration, these community conversations emphasize the importance of keeping up the drumbeat on connecting our rural communities and closing the digital divide.”

Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has worked to expand high-speed broadband internet access across Central Virginia’s rural communities, including through the work of the FCC. Last year, Spanberger introduced and passed an amendment to improve FCC broadband internet data. In August 2019, Spanberger hosted her 2019 Rural Broadband Summit in Louisa County to hear about how a lack of reliable broadband internet access is impacting families, farmers, first responders, and small business owners across Central Virginia.

“I was pleased to work with my colleague, Congresswoman Spanberger, to bring together federal, state, municipal and industry leaders for this critical conversation on rural broadband” said Congressman McEachin. “Too frequently, constituents across the country struggle to ensure their voice is heard and their needs are addressed in Washington, and at the same time, Washington acts without engaging with impacted communities. Facilitating connections is where we do our best work,” McEachin continued. “Today’s roundtable discussion is another example of delivering that access for the people of Virginia’s Fourth District.”

February 2020 Update from Congressman McEachin

This month I was pleased that a member of my staff could attend the American Legion meeting in Emporia. While I cannot be everywhere, it is important for my staff to be at community and organization meetings. They are my eyes and ears throughout the district and they uniformly report how much they learn from and enjoy interacting with constituents. My office and I are eager to continue to be active and involved in the community. Please let us know about any events in which we can participate and be helpful. The nature of Congress is that I spend significant time in Washington, DC, but when possible, I want to be in the district, meeting and interacting with residents. You can request my attendance or invite a staff member by filling out this form: https://mceachin.house.gov/contact/request-appearance.

I am also pleased to continue helping my constituents with federal issues. Tax season is now upon us and I know many of you, like me, are starting to think about preparing your taxes and making sure you do not miss the April 15th deadline to file. If you choose to use a professional preparer, please make sure to check their qualifications, history and ask in advance about any fees. To speed up the process, ask them to eFile and, if possible, request direct deposit for your refund. Please also consider the below helpful information before filing:

  • Active duty military members can prepare and file using brand name tax preparation software for free. This is a service provided by the IRS to thank our men and women in uniform.
  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who made $56,000 or less in 2019, persons with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to those who qualify.
  • In addition to VITA, the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

As always, if you have an issue or a problem with a federal agency, such as a missing tax return, needing a visa or passport, unreceived benefits or issues with mail delivery, my office is happy to help. Just go to my website, mceachin.house.gov, to get started.

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January 2020 An Update from Congressman McEachin

Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were peaceful and blessed, filled with family and friends. 

Last month we ran a photo contest where I asked constituents to take pictures of our beautiful fourth congressional district. We received many entries, with a range of subjects, from beautiful scenes to stunning animal shots. I am thrilled to announce Ann Jacobson from Chesapeake was our grand prize winner with an amazing water scene. I certainly wanted to get out on the water after seeing it!

Second Place was Steven White of Suffolk, Third Place was Roan Tierney from Richmond and the People’s Choice Award went to Caleb Thompson, also of Richmond. I want to thank all the wonderful constituents who entered. I was so impressed with the quality and range of photographs. 

On a more serious note, next month is Black History Month and we need to make sure all our children are learning about diverse people and cultures that contribute to our community, our Commonwealth and our country. With that in mind, I am hosting a Black History Month essay contest.  The Contest is open to middle and high school students (grades 6-12) residing in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. Students should submit their completed essays to VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov. The deadline for submissions is February 6, 2020. Middle school students (grades 6-8) should submit an essay 350-500 words in length. High school students (grades 9-12) should submit an essay 500-750 words in length. Essays should answer the question, “What Black History Month Means to Me.” Winners will be notified individually and announced on social media in February, and I will enter the winning essays into the Congressional Record. 

I look forward to reading each of these essays. I am sure I will be inspired and will learn new things.

Please let my office know about any events in which we can participate and be helpful. The nature of the job is that I spend significant time in Washington, DC, but when possible, I want to be in the district, meeting and interacting with residents. Please request my attendance or invite a staff member by filling out this form: https://mceachin.house.gov/contact/request-appearance.

I am interested in and eager to hear your opinion on topics of the day. Please feel free to contact me at this link: https://mceachin.house.gov/contact/email. I promise I will get back to you, but please be patient. We receive hundreds of emails and calls on many days. I want to make sure I provide timely, informative answers.

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December 2019 Update from Congressman Donald McEachin

This is a big month for our office. We have passed the $2 million dollars in returning money to constituents from federal agencies. Whether it’s a never-received tax refund or missed benefits from the VA or absent Social Security checks, our office is diligent and devoted in trying to ensure my constituents get what they are owed. This milestone, over $2 million back to VA-04 residents, is an important part of my service as your Congressman.

If you have an issue or a problem with a federal agency, such as the examples listed above, my office is happy to help. Just go to my website, mceachin.house.gov, to get started. We are also happy to record your opinion on any news topic.

It’s also an important month because, having had surgeries recently, I am able to return Washington, DC and to being out and about in the district.  This recent illness has shown me, yet again, how critical access to affordable quality healthcare is for ALL Virginians. I go back to work recommitted to ensuring available health care, without regard for pre-existing conditions and with reasonably priced prescription drugs. Health care should never be a choice between paying a bill or a prescription. I am determined to advocate every day for affordable and quality care.

Please let my office know about any events in which we can participate and be helpful. The nature of the job is that I spend significant time in Washington, DC, but when possible, I want to be in the district, meeting and interacting with residents. Please request my attendance by filling out this form: https://mceachin.house.gov/contact/request-appearance.

I hope you and yours have a lovely and peaceful holiday season, filled with the blessings of friends and family.

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McEachin Announces 2019 Congressional App Challenge Winner

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the winner of the 4th District’s 2019 Congressional App Challenge – Amayr Babar, Ali Houssain Sareini, and Pete Ngwa, all seniors at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, won with their application “KAMI.”

“I am so proud of Amayr, Ali, and Pete for their hard work to create an app that not only helps patients with Alzheimer’s, but also eases the workload of nurses and other healthcare professionals,” said Congressman McEachin. “I know that these students have a bright future ahead of them with such dedication to computer science.”

“As leaders, innovators, and visionaries, we strive to utilize our passion for app development to bring groundbreaking mobile solutions to the medical field. KAMI validates that the symbiosis between medicine and software is the future of healthcare, and we plan to be at the forefront of innovation to provide available and cost-effective healthcare within an ever-growing digital age,” said Babar, Sareini, and Ngwa.

The Congressional App Challenge is the most prestigious competition that acknowledges students for their command of computer science. The students will represent Virginia’s 4th Congressional District at the federal level, and will have the opportunity to demo their app at the United States Capitol in Spring 2020.

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McEachin and Baldwin Re-Introduce Legislation to Make Healthcare More Affordable for Young Adults

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the beginning of the 2020 Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) re-introduced the Advancing Youth Enrollment (AYE) Act to help more young Americans afford healthcare by increasing tax credits and, thereby, reducing coverage costs. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Senate companion.

“It is imperative that young Americans have affordable, comprehensive healthcare,” said Congressman McEachin. “Between soaring housing costs, crushing student debt, and job insecurity, young people often have a hard time affording adequate health insurance. I am re-introducing the AYE Act with Senator Baldwin to reduce healthcare costs so that millions more Americans, including individuals with chronic and pre-existing conditions, will be able to afford the high-quality healthcare plans they need. By incentivizing young adults to participate in the individual marketplace, the AYE Act will not only get more young people covered, but also help older enrollees by stabilizing the marketplaces and reducing premiums for everyone.”

 “More Americans are uninsured today than when President Trump took office and his administration continues to make it harder for people to get the quality, affordable health care coverage they need. My legislation will help reduce health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for young adults and make it easier for them to get quality, affordable health care coverage,” said Senator Baldwin. “As Americans begin signing up for quality health care coverage this week through the Affordable Care Act, we can do more to expand access and lower costs. Making health care more affordable for younger adults with targeted tax credits can help ensure that they sign up for quality coverage, which will help strengthen the Marketplace and help lower costs for all.”

 “Every day, we hear from young people who understand the importance of getting covered to protect themselves and their health, but are struggling to make ends meet. We know that young people are uninsured at higher rates, have lower incomes, and tend to struggle with navigating the complexities of health insurance more than their older counterparts. By making coverage even more affordable for young people, we can improve coverage rates and affordability for the nation’s most uninsured age group. By bringing more young people into the individual market, the AYE Act is a smart solution to improving affordability, and strengthening the ACA for everyone,” said Erin Hemlin, Health Policy and Advocacy Director, Young Invincibles.

“The Advancing Youth Enrollment (AYE) Act is smart, badly needed legislation that will help young adults afford the health coverage they need, especially during the crucial years when they are starting families,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director and CEO of MomsRising, the online and on-the-ground organization of more than one million mothers and their families. “When adults have health insurance, they can more easily get the preventive, routine and other care they need, which helps them to better care for their children. It is deeply concerning that in both 2017 and 2018, the rate of young adults without health insurance increased. The AYE Act can help reverse that by making health insurance plans more affordable for young people, many of whom are just joining the workforce, have low incomes, and are starting families. We commend Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) for introducing and championing this bill.”

All Americans who buy coverage through an ACA marketplace would ultimately benefit from the AYE Act. This bill would strengthen premium assistance tax credits under the ACA to reduce healthcare costs for Americans under 35, enabling more young people to get covered. Current law caps premiums, as a percentage of income, for low- and middle-income families and individuals who buy health insurance plans through an ACA exchange. The AYE Act would lower those caps by an additional 2.5 percent for those under the age of 30; that reduction would be phased out in 0.5 percent annual increments for those aged 31-34.

With year-after-year increases in marketplace premiums around the country—thanks in large part due to the Trump Administration’s cutting ACA enrollment outreach, shrinking the enrollment window, and repeal of the individual mandate—the AYE Act would help stabilize the marketplace and decrease premiums for everyone.

Support for the legislation includes Young Invincibles, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, MomsRising, Community Catalyst, ACA Consumer Advocacy, Out2Enroll, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Texas, the Hemophilia Federation of America, Black Women's Health Imperative, National Council of Jewish Women, Center for Public Policy Priorities, and ACASignups.net.

Full bill text can be found here.

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McEachin Announces District Photo Contest

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced a photo contest for residents of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

“We are very excited to announce this opportunity for the people of my district,” said Congressman McEachin. “I know that there are many talented photographers throughout the Fourth District, and I look forward to sharing the beautiful scenes they capture. Selected photographs will be featured on my website, social media, and in my Richmond, Suffolk and Washington, D.C. offices.”

Constituents may enter the contest by emailing their high-quality photos to VA04.projects@mail.house.gov by December 1, 2019. Please include your name and locality of residence. Photos must be submitted by the original photographer. By submitting your photo, you authorize our office to display your photo online and/or in our Washington, D.C., Richmond, V.A., and Suffolk, V.A. offices and waive whatever rights you may have in the photo. Any photo of a minor must be submitted by a parent/guardian of the minor, who agrees by submitting the photo to the same conditions in the previous sentence. Submitting a photo does not guarantee that it will be published.

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October, 2019 Update From Congressman McEachin

 

This month we are very excited to announce a special opportunity for the young people of my district, Eco Heroes. Participating students will complete a series of environmentally focused challenges to learn more about the importance of being eco-friendly in our daily lives. This is an opportunity for youngsters in our district to show their passion and be Eco Heroes.

I am very concerned about the environment and the future health of our planet. I have been so impressed by the work, commitment and passion shown by youth around the world to improve the environment, particularly after the Youth Climate Strike. Greta Thunberg and her dedicated climate army are an inspiration to all of us. This program emphasizes the small and easy ways you can make a difference and is open to elementary school students in Virginia’s fourth congressional district.

To register yourself, your child or another youth in your life send an email to va04.projects@mail.house.gov before October 14th. For those who successfully complete the program, I will be hosting a reception for them with their parents and they will each receive a certificate. I hope to meet many, many young EcoHeroes so join the program and become a Fourth District Eco Hero!

Just a reminder - If you have an issue or a problem with a federal agency, my office is happy to help. Just go to my website, mceachin.house.gov, to get started. We are also happy to record your opinion on any news topic. Additionally, my office will be participating in the Grand Opening of Freedmen’s Point on October 15th in Hopewell so please feel free to say hello to them or express any concerns.

-Congressman A. Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District

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McEachin Announces New Eco Heroes District Program Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced a new environmental program, Eco Heroes, for elementary school students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. Participa

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced a new environmental program, Eco Heroes, for elementary school students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. Participating students will complete a series of environmentally focused challenges to learn more about the importance of being eco-friendly in our daily lives.

“We are very excited to announce this special opportunity for the young people of my district,” said Congressman McEachin. “I am very concerned about the environment and the future health of our planet. I have been so impressed by the work, commitment and passion shown by youth around the world to improve the environment particularly after last week’s Youth Climate Strike.  This is an opportunity for youngsters in our district to show their passion and be Eco Heroes and I look forward to seeing their great efforts."

Students can register by emailing VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov until October 14, 2019. Participants will be recognized at a ceremony with local environmental leaders in Spring 2020. Any students needing resources to participate should contact Congressman McEachin’s Richmond office at 804-486-1840.

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September Update From Congressman McEachin

This summer, we were happy to host a “Mobile McEachin” in Emporia. This is where a staffer travels to the locality to provide easier and more efficient service for constituents. We were excited to meet folks from Emporia and be able to offer help. Until we are there again, if you need assistance with a federal agency, please contact my office at mceachin.house.gov.  We are also happy to hear your opinions on issues of the day.

On September 28th, from 10 am to noon at Capital One, West Creek Commons, 15000 Capital One Drive, Richmond, 23238, I will be hosting, with Congresswoman Spanberger a Service Academy Day for students interested in attending one of the five service academies – US Coast Guard Academy, US Air Force Academy, US Merchant Marine Academy, US Naval Academy at Annapolis and US Military Academy at West Point. This is a great opportunity to learn about the academies and the application process. Our academies train leaders of the next generation.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel my August town hall in Emporia because of dangerous threatening weather. I was very disappointed not to have the chance to dialogue with folks, but safety is paramount. I plan to be back soon.

-Congressman A. Donald McEachin represents Virginia’s 4th Congressional District

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McEachin Announces Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, one for $159, 551 to the American Civil War Museum Foundation for a summer program for teachers' professional developed. The second grant is awarded to the Library of Virginia for $324,958 to restore and digitize historic American newspapers.

"I am thrilled to see these monies come into Virginia. As we all know, the Civil War is an important, but sometimes difficult and fraught subject to teach. Teachers, like everyone else, bring the biases of their upbringing and location. This program can help sift through that so the legitimate historical information can be imparted and then shared with students,” said Congressman McEachin. “Newspapers are struggling and all too many are dying. This grant will allow the Library of Virginia to help ensure that history, as it happened, through local newspapers can be preserved and appreciated. 

Both of these grants will help ensure a better, more objective and more accurate understanding of our history."

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McEachin Announces “For the People” August District Work Period Events

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin has spent the past 200 days working to lower health care costs, protecting our environment, increasing paychecks by rebuilding American and restoring ethics and integrity in our government to deliver progress to the people of Virginia’s fourth congressional district. He will be holding events to discuss his vision for the country, give legislative updates, and hear directly from his constituents on what matters most to them. Congressman McEachin issued the following statement:

"After spending several months advocating and passing good policy For The People, I am very excited to be coming home with extended opportunity to meet with constituents,” saidCongressman A. Donald McEachin. “We have events planned all over the district - a town hall about gun violence in Petersburg with special guest, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, another town hall with Congressman Scott in Chesapeake and a town hall in Emporia about healthcare. I will also be doing several book drops at libraries in the district and I will also meet with constituents in Surry to discuss food deserts, an issue in which I have introduced bicameral legislation with Senator Warner.

“I plan to be all over the district to hear the concerns of my constituents and share information about the first seven months of this Congress. It will be a busy time and I look forward to being out around the district for an extended period.”

August 7th at 6:30pm: Emporia Health Care Town Hall in cooperation with the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, City of Emporia, and local health care experts City Council Chambers;Municipal Building,  201 S. Main St. Emporia, VA 23847

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McEachin Votes in Support of the Raise the Wage Act

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted for House passage of the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, legislation he cosponsored to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. The bill will gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over a six-year period. Additionally, the act would phase out the subminimum wage for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities. To keep up with inflation, the Raise the Wage Act indexes future minimum wage increases to median hourly wage growth.

"Establishing a livable wage is a positive step forward for economic justice in this country,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “No American should be struggling to live about the poverty line while working full-time. Since coming to Congress, I have consistently advocated for raising the minimum wage, and this legislation will help address inequality and ease financial burdens on hardworking individuals in Virginia and across our country. I will continue to fight for fairer wages for all Americans.”

  • The Raise the Wage Act could increase wages for more than 30 million American workers, according to independent economic analysis from the Economic Policy Institute. Even the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) more cautious estimate of a similar proposal indicated as many as 27 million workers could see a wage increase.
  • The Raise the Wage Act could lift 1.3 million Americans out of poverty, including 600,000 children, according to the CBO’s recent report.
  • The Raise the Wage Act also helps secure equality and fairness for women by giving an estimated 23 million working women a raise and helping narrow the gender wage gap that disproportionately impacts women of color.

The federal minimum wage was last raised a decade ago. Since then, workers have struggled keep up with the increasing costs of housing, healthcare, and education while the minimum wage has remained stagnant. The Raise the Wage Act accounts for changing market prices to give more Americans access to baseline financial stability. It is time to ensure that all Americans who work 40 hours a week are able to live above the poverty line.

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McEachin Introduces Legislation to Honor Members of the Armed Forces Who Have Died in the Line of Duty

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the introduction of H.R. 3615, the Honor and Remember Flag Recognition Act to honor members of the Armed Forces who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This legislation will designate the Honor and Remember Flag as an official symbol to acknowledge all such servicemembers. It would require the flag to be displayed at civically important locations, from the U.S. Capitol to national cemeteries to local post offices, and on major holidays such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. Congressman McEachin introduced the legislation at the request of Mr. George A. Lutz, a constituent whose son Cpl. George Anthony “Tony” Lutz II, was killed in 2005 while on duty in Fallujah, Iraq.

“The Honor and Remember Flag should be a nationally recognized symbol,” saidCongressman A. Donald McEachin. “This flag should fly as a form of remembrance and as a sign of our respect for all servicemembers who have given their lives in the line of duty. I am deeply grateful for the sacrifices our men and women in the military—and their families— make to keep us safe at home and abroad. I am proud to have worked with Mr. Lutz on this legislation. Displaying this flag is just one of many ways we can honor the service of our servicemembers, including his son.”

I am so grateful to Rep. McEachin for his belief in this important legislation,” said George Lutz. “With the recognition of the Honor and Remember Flag our nation will embrace a specific and collective expression of appreciation to each fallen family member, friend and comrade left behind."

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McEachin Applauds Announcement of Needed Improvements to Ettrick Amtrak Station

Richmond, Va. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin today issued this statement on the news that the Commonwealth Transportation Board has included $5.7 million to upgrade and repair the Ettrick train station.

“For years I have advocated that these upgrades happen and that Ettrick be the permanent site for the new, modernized and larger Amtrak station,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “This is an outstanding first step. I have written numerous letters asking for Ettrick to be the chosen site and supported a grant request for monies for these improvements. Moreover, I have met with local officials, Amtrak officials and community members to try and facilitate this decision.

“I want to commend the community and Chesterfield County officials for their unceasing efforts to make this happen.

“Ettrick, as I have said, is the best location for the new Amtrak station. A station is already on the site and will now be upgraded. Usage of that station and Amtrak has only grown and the present station was clearly too small and outdated. Locating Amtrak permanently in Ettrick not only serves the community, fits into the County’s extensive plans for the area, but also serves Virginia State students.

“Let me reiterate how pleased I am to see this and to thank everyone involved for working together to make it happen,” Congressman McEachin concluded. 

Background: http://villagenewsonline.com/2019/07/02/funding-approved-for-ettrick-train-station/

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McEachin & Olson Lead Bipartisan Bill Cracking Down on Robocall Violators

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, a bipartisan group of House members led by Congressman A. Donald (D-VA) McEachin and Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced the Locking Up Robocallers Act of 2019, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide evidence of unlawful robocall violations to the Attorney General. This would strengthen enforcement of current robocall laws aimed at ending the scourge of predatory robocalls.

The bill was introduced by Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA), Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX), with original co-sponsors Congressman Andy Kim (D-NJ), Congresswoman Susan Brooks(R-IN), Congressman Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) and Congressman David Kustoff (R-TN).

“Robocalls can be a nuisance or even predatory,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin.“This bill will allow for greater transparency and oversight over the enforcement of robocaller infractions which is desperately needed at a time when robocalls are on the rise. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will help protect Virginians and all Americans from these unwanted calls.”  

"The constant interruption from unwanted and illegal robocalls disrupt and aggravate all Americans," said Congressman Olson. “The Locking Up Illegal Robocallers Act will provide important information to the Department of Justice, so they can fully prosecute criminals who engage in deceptive and illegal robocall practices. I'm proud to work on this bipartisan issue to help Texans hang up on harassing robocalls. I thank my colleagues for helping on this critical issue and hope we can pass it on the floor soon.”

“These robocalls aren’t just annoying, they’re a tool for fraud aimed at members in our community and they must be stopped,” said Congressman Kim. “I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to bring this solution to the table. I look forward to working together to get this passed into law and give New Jersey residents the relief from this predatory behavior they deserve.”

Robocalls are disruptive and often prey on our communities’ most vulnerable populations in hopes to capitalize off of their private and personal information,” said Congresswoman Brooks.“With these kinds of scams on the rise, we must do more to protect consumers by ensuring those who violate the law are prosecuted. The Locking Up Illegal Robocallers Act is a bipartisan bill we can all support that works to diminish the dangerous telemarketing scams Hoosiers and people across the country face daily by better providing law enforcement the information they need in order to put a stop to fraudulent robocalls.”

“Upstate New Yorkers are fed up with intrusive and unwanted robocalls,” said Congressman Brindisi. “These calls aren’t just annoying, they are dangerous and can scam hard-working Americans out of time and money. I'm proud to support the bipartisan Locking Up Robocallers Act to make sure law enforcement officials have the information they need to put an end to these scam calls and financial frauds”

“I have heard from countless people throughout West Tennessee who are tired of the endless stream of harassing robocalls,” said Congressman Kustoff. ““Robocalls are illegal, abusive, dangerous and anyone with a phone can fall victim to them. I look forward to getting this bipartisan legislation passed into law and finally put an end to these scams.”

According to the FCC, they receive over 200,000 complaints a year from residents receiving predatory robocalls. Another FCC report shows that an estimated 26.3 billion robocalls were made to mobile phones and more than 47 billion were made in total to phones in the U.S. in 2018.

“Every day, Americans’ phones are flooded with unwanted robocalls, often originating from scammers,” said NCTA, the internet and television association who has endorsed the legislation. “Both the Locking Up Illegal Robocallers Act and the Ending One-Ring Scams Act take important actions to alleviate illegal robocalls and keep consumers safe from harmful schemes. While combatting robocalls is a complex challenge, we look forward to working with House members on passage of these two pieces of legislation.”

The full text of the bill can be found by clicking here.

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Rep. McEachin Leads Members of VA Congressional Delegation in Letter Opposing Seismic Airgun Blasting and Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) led a letter, signed by every Democratic member of the Virginia Congressional Delegation, expressing opposition to the five Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) permits issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last November, and requesting the Trump Administration revoke these IHAs and refrain from issuing seismic airgun survey permits off the coast of Virginia. The letter also expresses opposition to the inclusion of the Commonwealth’s offshore area in the final 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

“Virginians have too much to lose when we prioritize polluters’ profits over the health and safety of our ocean and coastal communities,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Seismic airgun blasting can devastate marine life, including endangered species and essential fish stocks. History has shown us that offshore drilling accidents can irrevocably harm coastal communities’ economies, public health and marine life – and compromise military activities that are important to national security. The potential toll from an oil spill—in terms of damages, injuries, deaths, and other harms—is incalculable. I urge the administration to listen to Virginians, who have expressed vehement opposition to all forms of oil and gas exploration off Virginia’s coast.”

“In Virginia alone, more than 20 communities have officially voiced their opposition to seismic surveys and offshore drilling, including Virginia Beach and Norfolk – Virginia’s most populous cities. The Commonwealth has a diverse and robust economy based on sectors like tourism, recreation, aquaculture, deepwater port commerce, and Department of Defense infrastructure. Moving forward with seismic testing and offshore drilling could threaten these critical engines of Virginia’s economy, along with the valuable ecosystems along the coast and within the Chesapeake Bay. These shores, and the ecosystems and jobs they support, are simply too vital to the Commonwealth to risk,” wrote the Members of Congress. “Our constituents remain concerned with the administration’s efforts to open the Commonwealth’s offshore area to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Accordingly, we again request that the Department of Commerce revoke these IHAs, and that the Department of the Interior deny all pending seismic survey permits for the Atlantic.”

“Assaulting our ocean with seismic airguns in search of dirty and dangerous offshore oil is reckless and wrong,” saidDiane Hoskins, Offshore Drilling Campaign Director of Oceana. “Today’s letter calls on President Trump’s administration to do the right thing and protect Virginia from the harms associated with offshore drilling. Seismic airgun blasting threatens serious injury and even death to whales, dolphins and other marine life.  This dangerous blasting is being proposed so that companies can come in and drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic coast. Local communities and businesses up and down the East Coast have objected to expanded offshore drilling activities, like seismic airgun blasting.”

Full letter text is available here.

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Rep. McEachin Cosponsors Democratic Priority H.R. 1 – ‘For the People Act’

H.R. 1 includes language derived from Rep. McEachin’s ‘Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2018’ and ‘Election Day Holiday Act’

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) proudly co-sponsored H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2019” – a Democratic legislative priority that includes voter protection and access language derived from two bills he co-introduced in the 115th Congress.

H.R. 1 includes voter protection language derived from Rep. McEachin's “Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2018,” co-introduced with Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10), and voter access language derived from “Election Day Holiday Act,” co-introduced with Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18).

“No person should be deceived as they seek to cast their vote in an election, and all those who wish to vote should have the time they need to do just that. Our democracy depends on the involvement of our citizens, and the right to vote is the most basic form of participation,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Democrats are and have been committed to making it easier for the American people to exercise their right to vote. Just this past November, we saw well-documented election fraud in a North Carolina congressional race. We must pass federal legislation that will ensure security and integrity in our elections and make it easier for Americans to participate in our democracy.”

Congressman McEachin is proud to see language from his bills included in the sweeping package of pro-democracy and anti-corruption reforms to be passed in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

Background:

As introduced in the 115th Congress, the “Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act of 2018” (H. R. 6607) aims to prohibit disinformation regarding elections—including disinformation about political endorsements or an individual’s eligibility to vote—and it would forbid intentional efforts to “hinder, interfere with, or prevent another person from voting, registering to vote, or aiding another person to vote or register to vote.” Violators would face a fine of up to $100,000, a prison sentence of up to 5 years, or both. The bill would also empower the Attorney General to take corrective action in the face of disinformation campaigns, and it would enable those affected by such campaigns to seek preventive relief in federal court.

As introduced in the 115th Congress, the “Election Day Holiday Act” (H. R. 6880) would require the federal government to treat Election Day as a holiday and urge private employers to do the same.

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Donald McEachin Installed as Vice-Chair of the Sustainale Energy and Environment Coalition

WASHINGTON — Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued this statement following his installation as a Vice-Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC):

“Scientific reports, record breaking natural disasters, and my constituents – especially our courageous young people – have made it crystal-clear: the time to act on climate is now. As members of SEEC’s leadership team, we will take bold steps together to address our climate crisis. We will encourage our national transition to a clean energy economy; promote the creation of well-paying green jobs; and advocate for strong environmental protections, all while fighting to address long-standing environmental injustices. I am confident that in the new Democratic Majority, SEEC members will help lead our colleagues and our country toward a more sustainable future. I am excited and honored to be part of the leadership that will help make that happen.”

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