Donald McEachin

McEachin Votes in Support of Bipartisan Legislation to Protect Virginians, Clean Up Dangerous PFAS Chemicals

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted to protect Virginians by passing the bipartisan PFAS Action Act of 2021. The legislation, which Rep. McEachin cosponsored, will clean up per- and polyfluoralkyl substances, known as “forever chemicals,” and introduce stronger protections against future pollutants.   

Research shows that exposure to PFAS chemicals can cause life-threatening illness and disease, including multiple forms of cancer, liver disease, asthmas, thyroid dysfunction, infertility and impaired child development. PFAS chemical have been found in communities across the United States, including in Virginia. A new study published last week found that, based on EPA data, an estimated 30,000 industrial sites are known or suspected of using toxic PFAS: twelve times what had been previously estimated.  American servicemembers and their families are also at particular risk of exposure, as more than 400 U.S. military sites are known to have PFAS contamination.

“I was pleased to support this bipartisan legislation to clean up PFAS chemicals in the Commonwealth and throughout the United States,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “This legislation will help ensure Virginians have access to safe drinking water and clean air, accelerate the clean-up of PFAS chemicals, protect our communities and military sites like Fort Lee, and implement stricter protections against these harmful chemicals. No American should have to worry that the air they breathe or the water they drink could make them sick. This legislation is an important step in ending government inaction, protecting Americans’ health, and ensuring every community can enjoy a cleaner, safer future.”

The legislation, which now goes to the U.S. Senate, would:

  • Require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a national drinking water standard for PFOA and PFOS within two years
  • Designate PFOA and PFOS chemicals as hazardous substances within one year and require EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years while designating PFOA and PFOS as hazardous air pollutants within 180 days and requiring EPA to determine whether to list other PFAS within five years.
  • Require EPA to place discharge limits on industrial releases of PFAS and
  • Provide $200 million annually for wastewater treatment.
  • Prohibit unsafe incineration of PFAS wastes and place a moratorium on the introduction of new PFAS into commerce.
  • Require comprehensive PFAS health testing.
  • Create a voluntary label for PFAS in cookware.

McEachin Introduces Resolution Urging Federal Action on Maternal Mortality Crisis

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) introduced a resolution recognizing the maternal mortality health crisis affecting women in Virginia and across the nation. The resolution urges federal action to lower maternal mortality and morbidity rates and mitigate stark race-based disparities in maternal health outcomes.

“As the father to two daughters, the maternal mortality crisis is personal to me. The United States has the highest maternal morbidity rates of any developed country, and the issue impacts women across the nation,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Racial disparities in maternal health outcomes are evidence of long-standing inequities in our health care system and must be addressed. I will continue working with advocates in Virginia and my colleagues in Congress to lower maternal mortality rates throughout the country.”

Rep. McEachin is a proud member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus. The resolution is currently co-sponsored by Reps. Robin Kelly (IL-02), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14).

Read the full resolution here.

McEachin Votes to Expand Access to Basic Reproductive Health Care for Women Veterans

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted in favor of the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act to expand access to basic reproductive health care for women veterans.  

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) grants all women using civilian health insurance access to basic contraceptive services without a co-pay while activity duty servicemembers also have access to contraception without co-pays through TRICARE. However, the VA still requires co-pays for contraception, denying veterans fair access to these essential services.

“Women veterans make incredible sacrifices and risk their lives in service to our country. They should most assuredly have fair access to basic health care services,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Improved access to reproductive health care leads to better physical and mental health outcomes, which is why I was pleased to vote for this legislation to eliminate burdensome co-pays for servicemembers insured under the VA."

This coverage gap unfairly disadvantages female veterans, who now make up the fastest growing group enrolling in VA health care.  This legislation ensures they receive the same access to contraceptive care as civilian women covered under the ACA and active duty women in the armed forces.

McEachin Helps Pass Legislation to Protect Older American Workers from Age Discrimination

Washington, D.C. - Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) helped pass the bipartisan, bicameral Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. The bill aims to increase anti-discrimination protections for older workers and empower them to hold their employers accountable for unfair practices.

The Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. weakened protections against age discrimination. Its ruling mandated that plaintiffs of age discrimination demonstrate age was the sole motivating factor for the employer’s action.

“All Americans should be equally protected under the law. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court's 2009 ruling undermined protections against age discrimination,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “At a time when Americans are working more and longer than they ever have, we must ensure older workers are protected and provide them with a form of recourse in instances of discrimination. The Protecting Older Works Against Discrimination Act will reduce the burden of proof for age discrimination cases and align it with similar standards for other discrimination claims.”

Reports of age discrimination have increased in recent years. According to a 2018 poll conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons, three in five workers over the age of 45 had seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has also seen an increase in complaints of age discrimination. In 2000, there were roughly 16,000 complaints of age discrimination, while in 2017, age discrimination complaints exceeded 20,000.

Read more on H.R. 2062, Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act here.

McEachin Announces Crucial Funding for the Virginia Department of Health

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Virginia Department of Health totaling $823,410. A grant for $223,410 aims to improve access to rural health offices in Virginia, and the other is a $600,000 grant for stroke prevention medical care.

“These two grants help us address critical health-related needs in our district. Every Virginian must have access to affordable, quality health care. Unfortunately, residents in rural communities commonly face difficulties accessing care. The grant funding for rural health offices can help address these challenges and promote better health outcomes,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Strokes are the fourth leading cause of death in Virginia, killing about 3,300 Virginians annually. Tragically, every fifty minutes a Virginian suffers a stroke. These funds will provide much-needed resources to aid in the prevention of this deadly disease.”

McEachin Invites VA-04 Students to Compete in Congressional App Challenge

Richmond, VA – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the start of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge for all middle and high school students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

The annual competition challenges students to create an original software application. The winner will be eligible to have their app displayed in the U.S. Capitol, featured on the U.S. House of Representatives website, and will be invited to attend the #HouseofCode Capitol Hill reception.

“The annual Congressional App Challenge is an exciting chance for students to harness their STEM-related knowledge and potentially develop the next best app. I have been so impressed with previous competitors’ creativity and command of coding software,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Computer science is a burgeoning industry and continues to present new career opportunities. I encourage all eligible students to enter this year’s competition, and I look forward to seeing your innovative apps.”

The Congressional App Challenge is an opportunity for students to compete against their peers and test their abilities in coding and computer science. The competition provides students with the chance to hone their skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines and begin exploring new industries and potential future career paths.

The Congressional App Challenge is open to all students who reside in or attend school in the Fourth Congressional District. Students may begin pre-registering for the event today on the Congressional App Challenge website. Official launch of the competition begins on June 24th. The deadline to submit an app is November 1st.

More information on the Congressional App Challenge is available on Rep. McEachin’s website.

June 1 Update from Congressman Donald McEachin

This past month I hosted a Tri-Cities tele- town hall with Delegate Lashrecse Aird and Dr. Katrina Sephrey, an epidemiologist with the Crater Health District. We were able to share information on access to vaccines as well as up to date statistics on the pandemic. Constituents asked many questions on all kinds of issues and I was glad to be able to provide responses and assistance.  If you missed this one, I will be having other constituent focused events soon.

I also hosted an informational session for students interested in attending one of the US Service Academies with Representatives Luria, Wittman, and Scott. This was an opportunity for high schoolers to hear from representatives of the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Members of these institutions described the admissions process for each of their academies and took questions.

For students who are interested in attending a service academy, the application process is arduous, so we were happy to have the opportunity to ease concerns and respond to questions. I’m eager to see this year’s applicants from our congressional district.

The pandemic has caused many people to struggle with rent. Therefore, I want to make sure that constituents know that some assistance may be available. Please check this website for more information about how to receive help: https://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/rrp

Lastly, with the income tax return deadline just a few weeks ago, many people are wondering about the status of their return. You can find out if your return has been received, if the refund is approved and if your refund has been sent here:https://www.irs.gov/refunds. Additionally, If you have not yet received your payment from the most recent COVID Relief legislation (the American Recovery Act), this link can help find the status of your payment: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

SEEC Vice Chair McEachin Joins Fellow Leaders in Releasing Priorities for American Jobs Plan

Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Vice Chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, joined his fellow SEEC leaders in the coalition’s release of endorsed priorities for inclusion in the American Jobs Plan legislation. This release comes amid discussions of what a bipartisan infrastructure bill could look like.

The document reads in part:

“Our coalition uniformly believes that we can and must create millions of good, family-sustaining jobs with an equitable recovery plan that simultaneously protects our communities from the ever-increasing threats of climate change while reducing pollution and injustice in historically burdened communities.”

A link to the full list of coalition priorities can be found here. The document includes just over 12 pages of SEEC priorities for jobs, infrastructure, and recovery legislation. It is organized by committee jurisdiction, with the exception of environmental and economic justice, which is covered in a cross-jurisdictional manner. Coalition priorities include but are not limited to:

  • An energy efficiency and clean electricity standard (EECES) to spur job creation and set us on course towards a clean energy economy, further supported by a responsible buildout of transmission infrastructure, a decade-long platform for clean energy tax credits, and policies to electrify our economy.
  • Surface transportation policies that drive job growth, renew dilapidated infrastructure, and reduce greenhouse gas and other pollution, such as fix it first policies and robust funding to transition freight and public transit fleets to zero-emission vehicles and install a national network of charging infrastructure, among other policies.
  • A focus on equity across all our policies to ensure that this recovery helps address long-standing injustices and creates high-road, family-sustaining jobs as we build a new, clean future that supports all Americans.

McEachin Announces Tools For Vaccine Accessibility

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today highlighted new tools from the White House to help Virginia residents get vaccinated. Virginians sixteen years or older can now input their ZIP code at www.vaccines.gov / www.vacunas.gov or text their ZIP code to GETVAX (438829) / VACUNA (822862) to get help making a vaccine appointment at a nearby location.

“With these new and helpful tools, it’s now easier than ever to find a vaccine near you,” McEachin said.  “Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to crush the pandemic, protect ourselves and our loved ones, and help us start to return to normal.  Every Virginian ages sixteen and up is eligible now, so visit vaccines.gov or text your ZIP code to GETVAX today to make your appointment.”

Right now, more than 90 percent of Americans live within five miles of a vaccine site.  Across the country, there are nearly 40,000 local pharmacies, more than 650 community health centers and hundreds of community vaccination centers and mobile clinics where Americans can get a shot.  These new vaccine finder tools make it quicker and more convenient than ever to make an appointment.

Public health officials are urging every eligible person to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.  The vaccines are safe and effective, providing significant protection against severe illness and helping slow the spread of the virus in our communities.  Studies have shown these vaccines to be remarkably effective, causing an 80 percent reduction in deaths and a 70 percent reduction in hospitalizations among seniors.

“Our own doctors tell us that getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our communities,” McEachin added.  “You’re eligible right now, and there are people waiting to give you a shot – so use these new tools to get yourself, your family and your neighbors a vaccine today.”

Under the leadership of President Biden and Democrats in Congress, the pace of vaccination has quickly ramped up over the last three months thanks to the critical resources delivered by the American Rescue Plan.  As of this week, more than 105 million Americans are fully vaccinated.  More than 147 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including more than 80 percent of seniors, educators, school staff and childcare workers, as well as 90 percent of doctors.

 

McEachin Announces Emergency Broadband Benefit to Help Households Afford Broadband Access

WASHINGTON- Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced the start of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Emergency Broadband Benefit program to help households struggling to afford internet services during the pandemic. The program, which opens for enrollment on May 12, provides up to a $50 per month discount for broadband services, up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal Lands, and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop, or tablet purchased through a qualifying provider.

Eligible households include those where at least one member of the household:

  • Is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or is a participant in certain government assistance programs;
  • Receives free or reduced school lunch or breakfast;
  • Received a Pell grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced job loss or significant income reduction since February 29, 2020;
  • Or meets the eligibility requirements of a participating provider’s existing low income or covid-19 program.

Interested applicants should either contact their current provider directly, apply online at getemergencybroadband.org or send an application by mail to Emergency Broadband Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742. Further information can be obtained by calling 833-511-0311

“This program offers an assist for families needing broadband but unable to afford it because of COVID-related impacts,” McEachin said. “Whether it’s for work, for school, for virtual medical visits, or to search for employment, this program will help families. I encourage all those eligible to apply. “

McEachin Announces The 2021 Congressional Art Competition Winners

WASHINGTON- Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced the winners of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition in Virginia’s fourth district. The first-place winner is Ms. Emani Salas, a 10th grade student at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. Her pencil drawing, entitled “Littered Both Ways” will hang in the Capitol for one year. 

Each spring, members of the U.S. House of Representatives sponsor a nation-wide high school arts competition. The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent across the nation in each Congressional district. The winning entry from each district hangs in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

The judges for the competition were all prominent members of the local arts community:  Taekia Glass; local artist with Mending Walls RVA; S. Ross Browne, local artist and owner of Browne Studio; and Bob Riggs, principal of Riggs Ward Design.

“Every year I am absolutely amazed at the talent and creativity of the pieces entered in the competition,” McEachin said. “We received entries from across the district and in a wide variety of artistic mediums. Ms. Salas’ pencil drawing was truly a masterpiece both because of the telling subject matter and the advanced, creative skillset. At first glance, people who have seen the drawing presume it’s a photograph and are shocked to find out it’s a pencil drawing. I know Ms. Salas has a very bright future and I will be so proud to walk by her drawing every day in the Capitol.

“I also want to commend our second and third place winners, Annabelle Starr, from Prince George High School and Katherine Farmer, from Clover Hill High School, as well as all the other students who entered.

“This contest is only possible because of the commitment and dedication of our judging panel. They volunteer their time and talents to review and study each entry. I thank them and truly appreciate their efforts.”

See all the winners and their artwork here

An Update from the Office of Congressman McEachin

We’re 100 days, and by the time you read this, a few more, into the 117thCongress. I wanted to give you a report on my work and that of my three offices In Washington, DC, Richmond and Suffolk.  

Almost a quarter of a million dollars ($239,838.00) has been recovered for constituents in the first 100 days of this year. In the same interval, 183 new constituent service cases, in which we seek help for constituents from federal agencies, were opened and 333 were closed, bringing those to a conclusion for satisfied constituents.

During this short three months plus span, I took almost 500 meetings, attended/organized 29 events, and introduced or led on 18 bills and letters. Moreover, we responded to over 3000 letters while issuing an additional 121 letters of congratulations or condolence. Serving you, my constituents, is the most important and rewarding part of my job.

This past week I also hosted a webinar with prominent experts to help people receive grants and funding to address environmental justice concerns. Environmental justice hazards include everything from toxic waste sites and fume-spewing factories to lack of potable water and homes with dangerous lead paint, all located in the vicinity of minority, rural and/or low-income communities. Working together, we can remedy these ills and save our earth!

Lastly, I wanted to make sure to let you know that if youpaid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 for an individual whose death may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19, you may be able to receive financial assistance. You can apply for up to $9,000 per funeral through FEMA’s dedicated call center at 844-684-6333; TTY 800-462-7585, Monday-Friday, 9 AM ET - 9 PM ET. Online applications will not be accepted. You may apply for assistance for multiple funerals.

Every life lost to this pandemic is a tragedy and the loss of a loved one leaves a void that will never be filled. I can only hope that these available resources, thanks to COVID relief monies, will help ease the financial strain.

McEachin Announces Covid-19 Funeral Relie

WASHINGTON  Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced last week that funding is available for assistance for funeral expenses for a death which was likely the result of COVID-19.

“If you paid for funeral expenses after January 20, 2020 for an individual whose death may have been caused by or was likely the result of COVID-19, you may be able to receive some financial assistance.  You can apply for up to $9,000 per funeral through FEMA’s dedicated call center at 844-684-6333; TTY 800-462-7585, Monday-Friday, 9 AM ET - 9 PM ET. Online applications will not be accepted. You may apply for assistance for multiple funerals.”

 Find more information from FEMA HERE

“Every life lost to this pandemic is a tragedy and the loss of a loved one leaves a void that will never be filled. I can only hope that these available resources, thanks to COVID relief monies, will help ease the financial strain.”

McEachin Announces Nearly $400,000 in School Funding from American Rescue Plan

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced $398,399 in funding from the American Rescue Plan to support public schools in the district as they reopen classrooms safely for students and staff.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken away valuable, in-person learning from our students while leaving many schools struggling to support themselves,” McEachin said. “The American Rescue Plan is an opportunity to help get our students and teachers back in the classroom while also ensuring their safety. I am glad we passed this historic bill so that we may finally turn our attention to restoring our homes, businesses and schools.”

Below is a breakdown of grants received by each district:

Charles City County Public Schools

$1,312

Chesapeake City Public Schools

$49,327

Chesterfield County Public Schools

$57,817

Colonial Heights City Public Schools

$4,689

Dinwiddie County Public Schools

$6,537

Emporia City Public Schools

$3,624

Greensville County Public Schools

$3,967

Henrico County Public Schools

$75,560

Hopewell City Public Schools

$12,121

Petersburg City Public Schools

$23,994

Prince George County Public Schools

$4,820

Richmond City Public Schools

$118,556

Southampton County Public Schools

$4,172

Suffolk City Public Schools

$26,485

Surry County Public Schools

$1,508

Sussex County Public Schools

$3,910

 

An Update from the Office of Congressman McEachin

This past month I hosted a series of open forums for my constituents. One of these was a telephone town hall to address tax questions and concerns. As you may have heard, both the federal government and the commonwealth of Virginia have extended the tax deadline until May 17, 2021 for 2020 taxes. With the impact of COVID-19 and relief measures passed by Congress, this is a much-needed extension as taxes have unfortunately become more complicated. I was pleased that Craig Burns, the Virginia Tax Commissioner, and Kimina Harris, a representative of the Taxpayer Advocacy Service, joined us to provide informative answers and offer resources for further information.

In another forum hosted last month on Zoom, we discussed COVID-19 and the vaccination process with Dr. Danny Avula who was selected by Gov. Northam to oversee the process. If you have not yet joined us, I hope you can participate in a future event soon as I continue to host them this year. I would like to use these as an opportunity to hear your concerns and answer your questions. My hope is that we can begin in-person town halls soon as people get vaccinated and the pandemic recedes.

My staff and I are also eager to attend events and hear from you regarding pending issues. You can still voice your opinions on issues at any time by going to my website, mceachin.house.gov to share your thoughts. To invite me or a member of my staff to an event, virtual or in person, or if you are having a problem with a federal agency, please fill out the request form on our website and a constituent services representative will contact you promptly.

Unfortunately, postal issues are still plaguing the district. I have written to the US Postal Service Board of Governors to strongly recommend that Postmaster Louis deJoy be replaced. During his tenure, mail delivery has unaccountably and unacceptably slowed tremendously. These mail slowdowns are simply unacceptable, and I intend to stay intimately involved in resolving this ongoing problem.

In the meantime, President Biden has filled the three vacancies on the USPS Board of Governors. I am hopeful these new members will address the post office and its performance deficiencies with new eyes and implement much needed improvements.

Rep. McEachin Announces 2021 Congressional Art Competition

 

RICHMOND, VA – Today Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the opening of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition. All high school students (grades 9-12) who are residents of Virginia’s fourth congressional district are invited to submit an original work of art to compete for an opportunity for their artwork to hang in the US Capitol for one year.

“The annual Congressional Art Competition is something my team and I look forward to each spring,” said Congressman McEachin. “Each year we receive so many wonderful submissions, which truly showcase the immense, promising talent of our students. This event is a fantastic opportunity for our students to express themselves creatively, and I am looking forward to reviewing the artwork with our panel of judges.”

Students should submit a high-resolution photo of their original artwork and a completed 2021 Student Information and Release form by 4:30PM on Monday, April 26, 2021 to VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov with the subject line “Art Competition.”

For additional information, competition rules and forms, please visit https://mceachin.house.gov/services/art-competition

McEachin to VDH on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Concerns: “These Issues Must be Addressed Immediately”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) sent a letter to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) regarding VDH's COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration efforts throughout the commonwealth. The letter commended VDH for its ongoing work, but also advocated for improvements to its coordination efforts in rural communities and communities of color.

McEachin noted that the Crater Health District, located in his congressional district, has received the sixth-lowest amount of vaccines of Virginia’s 35 health districts and cited similar concerns with vaccine administration in communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. In Richmond, there were initially no vaccination sites in the predominantly Black and Latino communities south of the James River.

“While I appreciate the work you have already done and will continue to do, it is clear that these issues must be addressed immediately,” said McEachin. “Every vaccine that goes unused could save a grandparent’s life, a teacher’s life, or a frontline worker’s life – and we must do everything in our power to protect as many Virginians as possible. With new variants of the virus and the potential for case numbers to continue to rise, families, seniors, teachers, and frontline health workers across the Commonwealth are understandably terrified, and we must work to instill confidence in our state and local departments of health.”

McEachin’s letter to the Virginia Department of Health can be found here.

***ATTENTION MIDDLE SCHOOLERS***Rep. McEachin Announces Second Black History Month Essay Contest

 

RICHMOND, VA  Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced his second Black History Month Essay Contest for middle and high school students (grades 6-12) residing in Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. Students will write about a current leader or activist whom they believe will become an important figure in Black history.

 

“Last year, I was deeply moved to read what Black History Month meant to participants in our inaugaral Black History Month essay contest,” said Congressman McEachin. “After witnessing a year of historic protests and national conversations about race relations in America fueled by young people, I look forward to reading about the next generation of leaders our students feel are making a lasting impact in the Black community.”

 

Middle school students should submit an essay 350 to 500 words in length and high school students should submit an essay 500-750 words in length, along with their full name, address, school name and grade level to VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov no later than February 15, 2020. Winners will be notified individually and announced on Congressman McEachin’s social media pages in February.

McEachin, Eshoo Reintroduce Legislation to Make Election Day a Federal Holiday

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives A. Donald McEachin (D-VA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) reintroduced the Election Day Holiday Act, legislation to make Election Day a federal holiday.

"As demagogues and bad actors attempt to overturn the will of the American people and undermine a fair, accurate and complete count in the November election, we must insist with renewed fervor that every voter’s voice is heard, starting with improving access to the ballot box,” said Congressman McEachin. “Our vote is the most powerful non-violent tool we have to create a more perfect union, and I am pleased to reintroduce the Election Holiday Act to make this cornerstone of our democracy more accessible to everyone.”

“People should not be forced to choose between their job or family in order to exercise their right to vote,” said Rep. Eshoo. “As we see communities nationwide disenfranchised by voter suppression tactics, it’s more important than ever that we reaffirm our commitment to the right to vote and ensure every voice is heard. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and Congress must make it easier to vote, not harder."

U.S. voter turnout is consistently among the lowest of all established democracies around the world. A 2014 study found that among those who didn’t vote, 35 percent didn’t have time to do so because of work or school.

Reps. McEachin and Eshoo first introduced the Election Day Holiday Act in the 115th Congress with 30 cosponsors.

McEachin Statement on House Passage of National Apprenticeship Act of 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today released the following statement on the House passage of the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, legislation to invest more than $3.5 billion over five years to create nearly 1 million additional apprenticeship opportunities in the United States:

"As our nation builds back  from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 crisis, it is critical that we provide opportunities to get more people back to work safely.

“Today I was pleased to support the reauthorization of the bipartisan National Apprenticeship Act, legislation that will accelerate our economic recovery by expanding access to apprenticeship opportunities which will connect workers across our country to stable, good-paying jobs. Together, we will secure these vital pathways for Americans of all backgrounds to gain the knowledge they need to compete in a global, 21st century economy."

About the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 

During a time of record unemployment, H.R. 8294, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, invests more than $3.5 billion over 5 years in expanding opportunities and access to Registered Apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeships. The proposal would create nearly 1 million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. It would also yield $10.6 billion in net benefits to U.S. taxpayers in the form of increased workers productivity and decreased spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance.

By increasing investments in the national apprenticeship system, the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 will begin to bring America’s investments in apprenticeship more in line with countries around the world. The U.S. spends only about 0.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on workforce training and employment programs, while our peer industrialized nations spend roughly six times as much as a share of GDP.

This legislation is critical to expanding the nation’s workforce development system during our nation’s deepest economic decline since the Great Depression and to increasing diversity within the national apprenticeship system. This legislation does not authorize or fund the Trump administration’s “industry-recognized apprenticeship programs” (IRAPs).

Rep. McEachin Hosting Virtual Education Listening Session with Virginia Education Secretary Atif Qarni

 

RICHMOND, VA – On Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30PM, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) will host a Virtual Education Listening Session on Zoom. Congressman McEachin and Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni will hear from parents and teachers from Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District about their experiences with virtual education this school year.

“I have heard from parents and teachers across my district about both the difficulties and unexpected advantages they are experiencing with virtual learning this school year,” said Congressman McEachin. “I am eager to hear more from educators and parents about their needs and to find additional opportunities for me to help at the federal level.”

     Who: Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04)
                 Secretary Atif Qarni, Virginia Secretary of Education
                 Parents and Teachers from VA04

      What: Virtual Education Listening Session

      When: Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 6:30PM

      Where: Zoom, Register at: https://bit.ly/VA04VELS

Rep. McEachin Calls for Parent and Teacher Feedback on Virtual Learning

RICHMOND, V.A. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today announced an online form which parents and teachers can use to submit feedback and share their virtual learning experiences with him. Most school systems in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District are wrapping up their first month of virtual learning next week and while some will continue virtually, others may return to in-person learning.

“I know there have been challenges adapting to online learning this school year, and I want to hear from parents and teachers about what is going well and what could be improved,” said Congressman McEachin. “If there is an opportunity for me to help at the federal level, I want to make sure I know about it, whether that is through additional relief funding for school systems, legislation to expand access to child care, or grants for technology and broadband expansion. We must keep our students and educators safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that we are providing the best learning environment possible during this challenging time.”

Parents and teachers can submit their feedback online at https://bit.ly/VA04OnlineEd

School districts within Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District include: Charles City County, Chesapeake, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Dinwiddie, Emporia, Greensville, Henrico, Hopewell, Petersburg, Prince George, Richmond, Southampton, Suffolk, Surry and Sussex.

McEachin Statement on House Passage of Strength in Diversity Act

RICHMOND, V.A.  Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) today released the following statement on the House passage of the Strength in Diversity Act, legislation he co-sponsored to support local communities in thier efforts to desegregate public schools:

 

"More than 60 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, school systems across our country are more segregated today than at any time since the 1960s. This is unacceptable (or whatever word choice you think is best) and we must do more to make education a more diverse and inclusive experience. 

 

"Today, I was pleased to join my House colleagues in passing the Strength in Diversity Act, which will take meaningful steps toward fulfilling the promise of equity in education. This bill provides critical funding to support school districts’ efforts to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity in the classroom and across school district lines. 

 

"Together, we can move our communities beyond compliance solely with the letter of the law and towards continued progress in increasing diversity in schools and ensuring an equitable learning experiences for all students."

 

 

About the Strength in Diversity Act

The Strength in Diversity Act helps fulfill the promise of equity in education by offering support to districts that are developing, implementing, or expanding school diversity initiatives. The bill:

  • Establishes a grant program that provides federal funding to support voluntary local efforts to increase diversity in schools. Grants could fund a range of proposals, including (but not limited to):
    • Studying segregation, evaluating current policies, and developing evidence-based plans to address socioeconomic and racial isolation.
       
    • Establishing public school choice zones, revising school boundaries, or expanding equitable access to transportation for students.
       
    • Creating or expanding innovative school programs that can attract students from outside the local area. 
       
    • Recruiting, hiring, and training new teachers to support specialized schools.
  • Supports the development and maintenance of best practices for grantees and experts in the field of school diversity.
     
  • Makes available grant funding to school districts, independently or in collaboration with neighboring districts, as well as regional educational authorities and educational service agencies.

The Strength in Diversity Act is endorsed by: American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD); Center on Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity – Rutgers Law School; Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice – Harvard Law School; Integrate NYC4me; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Legal Defense Fund, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP-LDF); The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Magnet Schools of America; National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP); National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP); National Coalition on School Diversity (NCSD); National Education Association (NEA); National Women’s Law Center (NWLC); New York Appleseed; the Office of Transformation and Innovation at the Dallas Independent School District; Poverty & Race Research Action Council; The School Superintendents Association (AASA); Unidos; and the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation.
 

McEachin, Davis, Watson Coleman Introduce Legislation to Protect Patients from Increased Prescription Drug Costs During COVID-19 Pandemic

Legislation Would Delay Implementation of 2021 NBPP

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13), and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) introduced a bipartisan bill to protect patients from increased out-of-pocket prescription drug costs during the COVID-19 pandemic. H.R. 7647, the Preserving Patient Savings on Drug Costs Act, stops insurers from instituting costly copay accumulator programs by delaying the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) 2021 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameter (NBPP) rule from going into effect until a year after the COVID-19 public health emergency has lifted.

“Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle agree: there shouldn’t be additional barriers to access lifesaving and much-needed prescription drugs, especially in the middle of a pandemic,” said Congressman McEachin. “As households across the country continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we must do more to support those who depend on copay assistance to offset soaring prices at the pharmacy counter and ensure prescriptions remain accessible to all patients who need them.”

“Making prescription drugs more affordable for everyone is one of my top priorities and a bipartisan goal shared by our fellow lawmakers in Congress,” said Rep. Davis. “Patients should not face even more financial barriers to receiving the drugs they need to stay healthy, especially during this pandemic, and particularly for those with chronic conditions who are vulnerable to COVID-19. I’m proud to join Congressman McEachin and Congresswoman Watson Coleman in introducing this bipartisan legislation so we can provide financial relief and promote the health of patients while this pandemic continues.”

“In a time where the cost of lifesaving and critical medications are a challenge for so many families, we can’t afford to remove one way that consumers can keep their costs down,” said Rep. Watson Coleman. “We’re in the midst of a pandemic, with families who’ve lost work and are struggling just to make ends meet. Now is not the time to add new healthcare costs to their plates, and I’m proud to work alongside my colleagues to make sure we fix this.”

Historically, when a patient has utilized cost-sharing assistance at the pharmacy counter, the amount has counted towards a patient’s deductible and maximum out-of-pocket limit, thereby lowering patient’s overall out-of-pocket spending. In June, HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar, II finalized the 2021 NBPP rule, reversing that policy and allowing health insurers to omit certain prescription drug coupons from counting toward a patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket limit. The AIDS Institute recently released a report showing that health plans on the individual market in 33 states and the District of Columbia have widespread use of copay accumulators, reinforcing that the proposed changes would lead to increased financial burdens on patients across the United States.

The Preserving Patients Savings on Drug Costs Act would delay the 2021 NBPP rule until a year after the COVID-19 health emergency is lifted, allowing more time for patient input and discussion on the negative impact of copay accumulator programs.“Now is not the time to allow insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers to make it harder for people to get the medications they need to stay healthy.

The COVID-19 pandemic is already increasing financial stress for millions; people living with and at risk of HIV, hepatitis and other chronic conditions cannot face additional cost burdens for accessing their medications,” says Rachel Klein, Deputy Director of The AIDS Institute. “This legislation is extremely important to ensure that patients who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 are not put at even greater risk to their health or their financial security.”

The legislation builds on a March letter led by Reps. McEachin, Davis, Watson Coleman and Joyce signed by more than 70 Members of Congress to Secretary Azar expressing strong opposition to the 2021 NBPP rule.

“We thank Reps. McEachin and Davis for their continued leadership on this issue. They continue to be a strong voice for patients living with chronic conditions in Congress, and we encourage other Members of Congress to sign on as cosponsors of this legislation,” says Michael Ruppal, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. 

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.

 

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