Current Position: US Senator since 2009
Former Positions: Governor
Source: Government page
Senator Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 and reelected to a second term in November 2014. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Rules Committees as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Vice Chairman. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a bipartisan leader who has worked with Republicans and Democrats alike to cut red tape, increase government performance and accountability, and promote private sector innovation and job creation. Senator Warner has been recognized as a national leader in fighting for our military men and women and veterans, and in working to find bipartisan, balanced solutions to address our country’s debt and deficit.
From 2002 to 2006, he served as Governor of Virginia. When he left office in 2006, Virginia was ranked as the best state for business, the best managed state, and the best state in which to receive a public education.
The first in his family to graduate from college, Mark Warner spent 20 years as a successful technology and business leader in Virginia before entering public office. An early investor in the cellular telephone business, he co-founded the company that became Nextel and invested in hundreds of start-up technology companies that created tens of thousands of jobs.
Senator Warner, his wife Lisa Collis, and their three daughters live in Alexandria, Virginia.
Prior to his congressional career, Warner was the 69th Governor of Virginia holding the office from 2002 to 2006, and is the honorary chairman of the Forward Together PAC. Warner delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Apart from politics, Warner is also known for his involvement in telecommunications-related venture capital during the 1980s; he founded the firm Columbia Capital.
In 2006, he was widely expected to pursue the Democratic nomination in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections; however, he announced in October 2006 that he would not run, citing a desire not to disrupt his family life. Warner was considered to be a potential vice presidential candidate, until he took himself out of consideration after winning the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Contested by his gubernatorial predecessor, Jim Gilmore, Warner won his first election to the Senate in 2008 with 65% of the vote. Warner won reelection to the seat in 2014, defeating Ed Gillespie, who had previously served as Counselor to the President underGeorge W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee. Warner’s margin of victory—only 17,000 votes—was much narrower than expected.
Early life, education, and business career
Warner was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of Marjorie (née Johnston) and Robert F. Warner. He has a younger sister, Lisa. He grew up in Illinois, and later inVernon, Connecticut, where he graduated from Rockville High School, a public secondary school. He has credited his interest in politics to his eighth grade social studies teacher, Jim Tyler, who “inspired him to work for social and political change during the tumultuous year of 1968.” He was class president for three years at Rockville High School and hosted a weekly pick-up basketball game at his house, “a tradition that continues today.”
Warner graduated from George Washington University, (GW), earning his B.A. in 1977 with a 4.0 GPA and a minor in political science. He was valedictorian of his class at GW and the first in his family to graduate from college. At GW he worked on Capitol Hill to pay for his tuition, riding his bike early mornings to the office of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff (D-CT). When his parents visited him at college, he obtained two tickets for them to tour the White House; when his father asked him why he didn’t get a ticket for himself, he replied, “I’ll see the White House when I’m president.”
Warner then graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor in 1980 and coached the law school’s first intramural women’s basketball team. Warner has never practiced law. In the early 1980s, he served as a staffer to U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). He later used his knowledge of federal telecommunication law and policies as a broker of mobile phone franchise licenses, making a significant fortune. As founder and managing director of Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm, he helped found or was an early investor in a number of technology companies, including Nextel. He co-founded Capital Cellular Corporation, and built up an estimated net worth of more than $200 million. As of 2012, he was the wealthiest U.S. Senator.
Warner involved himself in public efforts related to health care, telecommunications, information technology and education. He managed Douglas Wilder’s successful 1989 gubernatorial campaign and served as chairman of the state Democratic Party from 1993-95. He created four investment funds across Virginia and donated millions to charity, which he later touted in political campaigns.
- Founder and managing director of a venture capital firm.
Capital Cellular Corporation
George Washington University
George Washington University
703 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
180 West Main Street
Abingdon, VA 24210
101 W. Main Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
919 E. Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
8000 Towers Crescent Drive
Vienna, Virginia 22182
1996 U.S. Senate election
He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1996 against incumbent Republican John Warner (no relation) in a “Warner versus Warner” election. Mark Warner performed strongly in the state’s rural areas, making the contest much closer than many pundits expected.He lost to the incumbent, 52%-47%, losing most parts of the state including the north.
Governor of Virginia
In 2001 Warner campaigned for governor as a moderate Democrat after years of slowly building up a power base in rural Virginia, particularly Southwest Virginia. He defeated Republican candidate Mark Earley, the state attorney general, in a “Mark versus Mark” election, with 52.16 percent, a margin of 96,943 votes, and also Libertarian candidate William B. Redpath. Warner had a significant funding advantage, spending $20 million compared with Earley’s $10 million.
Warner also benefited from dissension in Republican ranks after a heated battle for the nomination between Earley, backed by religious conservatives, and then-lieutenant governorJohn H. Hager, some of whose supporters later openly backed Warner. In the same election, Republican Jerry Kilgore was elected attorney general, and Democrat Tim Kaine was elected lieutenant governor. In his campaign for governor in 2001, Warner said that he would not raise taxes.
After he was elected in 2002, Warner drew upon a $900 million “rainy day fund” left by his predecessor, James S. Gilmore, III.Warner campaigned in favor of two regional sales tax increases (Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads) to fund transportation. Virginians rejected both regional referendums to raise the sales tax.
In 2004, Warner worked with Democratic and moderate Republican legislators and the business community to reform the tax code, lowering food and some income taxes while increasing the sales and cigarette taxes. His tax package effected a net tax increase of approximately $1.5 billion annually. Warner credited the additional revenues with saving the state’s AAA bond rating, held at the time by only five other states, and allowing the single largest investment in K-12 education in Virginia history. Warner also entered into an agreement with Democrats and moderate Republicans in the Virginia Senate to cap state car tax reimbursements to local governments.
During his tenure as governor, Warner influenced the world of college athletics. “Warner used his power as Virginia’s governor in 2003 to pressure the Atlantic Coast Conference into revoking an invitation it had already extended to Syracuse University. Warner wanted the conference, which already included the University of Virginia, to add Virginia Tech instead — and he got his way.”
Warner’s popularity may have helped Democrats gain seats in the Virginia House of Delegates in 2003 and again in 2005, reducing the majorities built up by Republicans in the 1990s. Warner chaired theNational Governors Association in 2004-05 and led a national high school reform movement. He chaired the Southern Governors’ Association and was a member of the Democratic Governors Association. In January 2005, a two-year study, the Government Performance Project, in conjunction with Governingmagazine and the Pew Charitable Trust graded each state in four management categories: money, people, infrastructure and information. Virginia and Utah received the highest ratings average with both states receiving an A- rating overall, prompting Warner to dub Virginia “the best managed state in the nation.”
Kaine and Kilgore both sought to succeed Warner as governor of Virginia. (The Virginia Constitution forbids any governor from serving consecutive terms; so Warner could not have run for a second term in 2005.) On November 8, 2005, Kaine, the former mayor of Richmond, won with 52% of the vote. Kilgore, who had resigned as attorney general in February 2005 to campaign full-time and who had previously served as Virginia secretary of public safety, received 46% of the vote. Russ Potts, a Republican state senator, also ran for governor as an independent, receiving 2% of the vote. Warner had supported and campaigned for Kaine, and many national pundits considered Kaine’s victory to be further evidence of Warner’s political clout in Virginia.
On November 29, 2005, Warner commuted the death sentence of Robin Lovitt to life imprisonmentwithout the possibility of parole. Lovitt was convicted of murdering Clayton Dicks at an Arlington pool hall in 1999. After his trial in 2001, Lovitt’s lawyers stated that a court clerk illegally destroyedevidence that was used against Lovitt during his trial, but that could have possibly exonerated him upon further DNA testing. Lovitt’s death sentence would have been the 1,000th carried out in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment as permissible under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution in 1976. In a statement, Warner said, “The actions of an agent of the commonwealth, in a manner contrary to the express direction of the law, comes at the expense of a defendant facing society’s most severe and final sanction.” Warner denied clemency in 11 other death penalty cases that came before him as governor.
Warner also arranged for DNA tests of evidence left from the case of Roger Keith Coleman, who was put to death by the state in 1992. Coleman was convicted in the 1981 rape and stabbing death of his 19-year-old sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy. Coleman drew national attention, even making the cover of Time, by repeatedly claiming innocence and protesting the unfairness of the death penalty. DNA results announced on January 12, 2006 confirmed Coleman’s guilt.
In July 2005, his approval ratings were at 74% and in some polls reached 80%. Warner left office with a 71% approval rating in one poll.
Warner was believed to be preparing to run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, and had “done everything but announce his candidacy” before suddenly stating in October 2006 he would not run for president, citing family reasons. Warner declared on September 13, 2007 that he would run for the U.S. Senate being vacated by the retiring John Warner (no relation) in 2008.
Warner immediately gained the endorsement of most national Democrats. He held a wide lead over his Republican opponent, fellow former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore, for virtually the entire campaign. Warner delivered the keynote address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
In a Washington Post/ABC News Poll dated September 24, 2008, Warner held a 30-point lead over Gilmore.
In the November election, Warner defeated Gilmore, taking 65 percent of the vote to Gilmore’s 34 percent. Warner carried all but four counties in the state—Rockingham,Augusta, Powhatan and Hanover. In many cases, he ran up huge margins in areas of the state that have traditionally voted Republican. This was the most lopsided margin for a contested Senate race in Virginia since Chuck Robb took 72 percent of the vote in 1988. As a result of Warner’s victory, Virginia had two Democratic U.S. Senators for the first time sinceHarry Byrd, Jr. left the Democrats to become an independent (while still caucusing with the Democrats) in 1970.
Upon arriving in the U.S. Senate in 2009, Warner was appointed to the Senate’s Banking, Budget, and Commerce committees. Warner was later named to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2011.
In 2009, Warner voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus bill. As a member of the Budget Committee, he submitted an amendment designed to help the government track how the stimulus dollars were being spent.
When offered the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in preparation for the 2012 election cycle, Warner declined because he wanted to keep a distance from the partisanship of the role.
In the fall of 2012, Warner was approached by supporters about possibly leaving the Senate to seek a second four-year term as Virginia’s governor. After considering the prospect, Warner announced shortly after the November 2012 elections that he had chosen to remain in the Senate because he was “all in” on finding a bipartisan solution to the country’s fiscal challenges.
Warner became the senior senator on January 3, 2013 when Jim Webb left the Senate and was replaced by Tim Kaine, who was lieutenant governor while Warner was governor.[
In 2014, Ed Gillespie criticized him for using tax payer money to fly in a luxury airplane.
Warner was ranked as the 10th most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate during the 114th United States Congress (and the third most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate from theAmerican South after West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member’s bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member’s co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party). Likewise, Warner has been identified as a radical centrist, working to foster compromise in the Senate.
2014 US Senator
|Mark Warner (D)||1,073,667||49.1%|
|Edward Walter Gillespie (R)||1,055,940||48.3%|
|Robert Christopher Sarvis (L)||53,102||2.4%|
|Write In ()||1,811||.1%|
2008 US Senator
|Mark Warner (D)||2,369,327||65.0%|
|James Jim S. Gilmore, III (R)||1,228,830||33.7%|
|Glenda Gail Parker ()||21,690||0.6%|
|William B. Redpath (L)||20,269||0.6%|
|Write in (Write-in)||3,178|
|Mark Warner (D)||984,177||52.2%|
|M. L. Earley (R)||887,234||47.0%|
|William B. Redpath (L)||14,497||0.8%|
|Write In (Write-in)||813||.0%|
Source: Virginia Department of Elections
WARNER, MARK ROBERT has run in 2 races for public office, winning 2 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $36,488,482. (note: seems to include only two senate races and not previous Governor race).
Source: Follow the Money
See: Vote Smart
Source: Government Page
On the Senate Budget Committee, Warner was appointed chairman of a bipartisan task force on government performance in 2009. Warner was a lead sponsor of the 2010 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which imposed specific program performance goals across all federal agencies and set up a more transparent agency performance review process.
On May 21, 2013, Warner introduced the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (S. 994; 113th Congress), DATA. “The legislation requires standardized reporting of federal spending to be posted to a single website, allowing citizens to track spending in their communities and agencies to more easily identify improper payments, waste and fraud.” On November 6, 2013, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee unanimously passed DATA.
On January 27, 2014, a version of the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) marked up version of the bill was leaked. This White House version “move[s] away from standards and toward open data structures to publish information” and “requir[es] OMB in consultation with Treasury to review and, if necessary, revise standards to ensure accuracy and consistency through methods such as establishing linkages between data in agency financial systems…” Senator Warner’s responded with the following statement: “The Obama administration talks a lot about transparency, but these comments reflect a clear attempt to gut the DATA Act. DATA reflects years of bipartisan, bicameral work, and to propose substantial, unproductive changes this late in the game is unacceptable. We look forward to passing the DATA Act, which had near universal support in its House passage and passed unanimously out of its Senate committee. I will not back down from a bill that holds the government accountable and provides taxpayers the transparency they deserve.”
On April 10, 2014, the Senate voted by unanimous consent to pass the bill, which was then passed by the House in a voice vote on April 28, 2014.
On April 17, 2013, Warner voted to expand background checks for gun purchases as part of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment.
In 2017, he called himself a strong supporter of second amendment rights and vowed to advocate for responsible gun ownership for hunting, recreation, and self-defense.
In January 2019, Warner was one of forty senators to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act, a bill that would require background checks for either the sale or transfer of all firearms including all unlicensed sellers. Exceptions to the bill’s background check requirement included transfers between members of law enforcement, loaning firearms for either hunting or sporting events on a temporary basis, providing firearms as gifts to members of one’s immediate family, firearms being transferred as part of an inheritance, or giving a firearm to another person temporarily for immediate self-defense.
In June 2019, Warner and Amy Klobuchar introduced the Preventing Adversaries Internationally from Disbursing Advertising Dollars (PAID AD) Act, a bill that would modify U.S. federal campaign finance laws to outlaw the purchasing of ads that name a political candidate and appear on platforms by foreign nationals in the midst of an election year.
Between 2010 and 2013, Warner invested considerable time and effort in leading the Senate’s Gang of Six, along with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA). Together, Chambliss and Warner sought to craft a bipartisan plan along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles Commission to address U.S. deficits and debt.
Although the Gang of Six ultimately failed to produce a legislative “grand bargain”, they did agree on the broad outlines of a plan that included spending cuts, tax reforms that produced more revenue, and reforms to entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security—entitlement reforms that are opposed by most Democrats. Although President Obama showed interest in the plan, leaders in Congress from both parties kept a deal from being made. In 2011, the bipartisan Concord Coalition awarded Warner and Chambliss its Economic Patriots Award for their work with the Gang of Six.
In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938(FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two-year period. The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House. Warner expressed a willingness to negotiate with Republicans about some of the provisions of the bill, such as the timeline for the phase-in. Warner said that any increase needs to be done “in a responsible way.”
From the start of his Senate term, Warner attempted to replicate in Washington, D.C. the bipartisan partnerships that he used effectively during his tenure as Virginia governor. In 2010, Warner worked with a Republican colleague on the Banking Committee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), to write a key portion of the Dodd-Frank Act that seeks to end taxpayer bailouts of failing Wall Street financial firms by requiring “advance funeral plans” for large financial firms.
In 2013, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress gave Sens. Warner and Corker its Publius Award for their bipartisan work on financial reform legislation.
In 2018, Warner became one of the few Democrats in the Senate supporting a bill that would relax “key banking regulations”. As part of at least 11 other Democrats, Warner argued that the bill would “right-size post-crisis rules imposed on small and regional lenders and help make it easier for them to provide credit”. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren have stated their opposition to the legislation.
On a video in his senate office, Warner promised Virginians, “I would not vote for a health-care plan that doesn’t let you keep health insurance you like.” 
He voted for the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly called Obamacare), helping the Senate reach the required sixty votes to prevent it from going to a filibuster. (As there were exactly 60 Democratic Senators at the time, each Democrat can be said to have cast the deciding vote.) He and 11 Senate freshmen discussed adding an amendment package aimed at addressing health care costs by expanding health IT and wellness prevention.
In January 2019, Warner was one of six Democratic senators to introduce the American Miners Act of 2019, a bill that would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to swap funds in excess of the amounts needed to meet existing obligations under the Abandoned Mine Land fund to the 1974 Pension Plan as part of an effort to prevent its insolvency as a result of coal company bankruptcies and the 2008 financial crisis. It also increased the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund tax and ensured that miners affected by the 2018 coal company bankruptcies would not lose their health care.
In 2011, Warner voted for the four-year extension of the USA PATRIOT Act. In 2011, he engaged Northern Virginia’s high-tech community in a pro-bono effort to correct burial mistakes and other U.S. Army management deficiencies at Arlington National Cemetery. In 2012, he successfully pushed the Navy to improve the substandard military housing in Hampton Roads.
Also in 2012, he pushed the Office of Personnel Management to address chronic backlogs in processing retirement benefits for federal workers, many of whom live in Washington’s northern Virginia suburbs. Warner was successful in pushing the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand access to PTSD treatment for female military veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In August 2013, Warner was one of twenty-three Democratic senators to sign a letter to the Defense Department warning of some payday lenders “offering predatory loan products to service members at exorbitant triple digit effective interest rates and loan products that do not include the additional protections envisioned by the law” and asserting that service members along with their families “deserve the strongest possible protections and swift action to ensure that all forms of credit offered to members of our armed forces are safe and sound.”
Warner was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, the Navy’s highest honor for a civilian, for his consistent support of Virginia’s military families and veterans.
Start ups, Saudi Arabia
Warner was the original Democratic sponsor of the Startup Act legislation and has partnered with the bill’s original author Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) to introduce three iterations of the bill: Startup Act in 2011, Startup Act 2.0 in 2012 and Startup Act 3.0 in early 2013. Warner describes the legislation as the ‘logical next step’ following enactment of the bipartisan JOBS Act.”
In 2015, Warner criticized the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, saying: “I’m concerned in particular with some of the indiscriminate bombing in Yemen … [Gulf states] need to step up and they need to step up with more focus than the kind of indiscriminate bombing.”
In June 2017, Warner voted to support Trump’s $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
In May 2018, Warner voted for Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director.
In 2016, American foreign policy scholar Stefan Halper served as an FBI operative and contacted members of the Donald Trump Presidential campaign. In May 2018, Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned Republican lawmakers that it would be “potentially illegal” to reveal the identity of Stefan Halper.
Warner Meets with DOJ, Urges Swift Implementation of Life-Saving National Ashanti Alert System
By: Press Release
August 6, 2019
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) sent a letter to Ashanti Alert Coordinator Katherine Sullivan, reiterating the need for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to get the national communication network swiftly up-and-running. This letter follows a July 29th in-person meeting between Sen. Warner and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sullivan.
“As I stated during our conversation, I remain strongly committed to monitoring its implementation and ensuring that the network can start saving lives soon. It was heartening to hear that as designated national coordinator, you are committed to swiftly implementing this potentially lifesaving system by working in collaboration with states to ensure that Ashanti Alert systems are established across the country with proper network guidelines,” wrote Sen. Warner.
After DOJ indicated that little progress had been made on the implementation of the federal Ashanti Alert system in March, Sen. Warner demanded an in-person meeting with DOJ officials to discuss the status of implementation efforts. During the meeting, Sen. Warner urged the DOJ to consult with Virginia state and local officials who passed state-wide legislation to create an Ashanti Alert network and successfully implemented it three months after it was signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam.
“Last year, Virginia successfully established its own Ashanti Alert system in only three months. Since then, the Commonwealth has sent out a number of alerts, some of which have helped find missing or endangered adults alive in under 24 hours. As we discussed, I believe that the officials in Virginia could provide valuable guidance to you and other states, so I urge you to seek out their guidance regarding this matter,” continued Sen. Warner.
On December 20th 2018, Sen. Warner successfully secured Senate passage of the Ashanti Alert Act, which was then signed into law later in the month. Ever since, he has continued to pressure the DOJ to work with relevant stakeholders to promptly implement the alert network nationwide to help save lives.
“I was glad to hear that you have already thought about some actionable ideas on implementation, including your suggestion to include an Ashanti Alert workshop in the next national Amber Alert symposium. However, I continue to expect the Department to identify additional avenues and strategies to speed up the implementation process, while consulting with law enforcement agencies, stakeholders, and other relevant entities who played roles during the adoption of the Amber and Silver alerts,” concluded Sen. Warner.
A copy of the letter can be found here or below.
Ms. Katherine Sullivan
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., 20530
Dear Ms. Sullivan:
I appreciated our meeting on July 29, 2019 regarding the implementation status of the Ashanti Alert Act. As I stated during our conversation, I remain strongly committed to monitoring its implementation and ensuring that the network can start saving lives soon. It was heartening to hear that as designated national coordinator, you are committed to swiftly implementing this potentially lifesaving system by working in collaboration with states to ensure that Ashanti Alert systems are established across the country with proper network guidelines.
As I emphasized in our meeting, it has been almost eight months since President Trump signed the bill into law. I have been disappointed that the Department’s efforts thus far have made little progress on the alert system and I must reiterate that delayed implementation will only cost lives. Last year, Virginia successfully established its own Ashanti Alert system in only three months. Since then, the Commonwealth has sent out a number of alerts, some of which have helped find missing or endangered adults alive in under 24 hours. As we discussed, I believe that the officials in Virginia could provide valuable guidance to you and other states, so I urge you to seek out their guidance regarding this matter.
I was glad to hear that you have already thought about some actionable ideas on implementation, including your suggestion to include an Ashanti Alert workshop in the next national Amber Alert symposium. However, I continue to expect the Department to identify additional avenues and strategies to speed up the implementation process, while consulting with law enforcement agencies, stakeholders, and other relevant entities who played roles during the adoption of the Amber and Silver alerts.
I look forward to your timely updates on implementation efforts. Thank you for prioritizing the implementation of the Ashanti Alert Act and fully leveraging this opportunity to transform the lives and safety of Americans.
- July 30, 2018 – 20 Ways to Tame Social Media
In the News
Veterans health centers
Daily Press – July 17, 2019
U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner is, again, raising Cain over complications that have slowed construction of new veterans health centers in Virginia.
Two years have passed since Congress agreed to fund 28 veteran health facilities nationwide to address a deep backlog of patient wait times.
Two facilities planned for veteran-rich Virginia, however, are some of the last on the list.
It’s deeply unfair that Hampton Roads — a region that has given so much to the military — has been placed in the back of the line when it comes time for service members to receive care.
Sen. Warner, D-Va., is demanding an expedited timeline for a facility planned for South Hampton Roads and another in Fredericksburg.
The former facility will help ease the workload at the Hampton VA Medical Center, which had some of the longest wait times in the country in 2014.
Once built, the South Hampton Roads center would include 155,000 square feet and offer primary and specialty care, plus day surgery and other services.
Hampton VA staff have worked hard to change the way the facility approaches calls for services. Administrators are doing more to hire and retain health care staff while making operational adjustments that will, hopefully, reduce the center’s backlog.
Yet, construction on the Southside center is being slowed by a tangled web of bureaucracy.
The delay is due, in part, because of differences between Veterans Affairs, the U.S. General Services Administration and Congress concerning how the projects should be funded.
The VA considers these projects as long-term leases, even if the ultimate goal is building new facilities. The Congressional Budget Office has said Congress should set aside larger sums of money for the projects upfront, rather than paying smaller amounts year by year.
Sen. Warner and other lawmakers have tried negotiating a compromise that sets aside less money than recommended by the CBO in order to move the projects forward.
A VA Office of Inspector General report released July 2 called for reforms in how the VA handles these projects.
The report reviewed 24 VA projects authorized in 2014. So far, only two facilities are open, and it will take nearly two more years for the rest of the projects to come online.
Neither the Hampton nor the Fredericksburg centers were included in the July 2 report because those were authorized in 2017, not 2014. However, recommendations about how to expedite the process in the report are considered applicable to the Virginia projects.
And every person who cares about the military — especially the service members who are based in Hampton Roads — must be dissatisfied with how this process is unfolding. As lawmakers and administrators grapple in Washington, veterans in need of significant care are waiting without help.
In December 2014, the Hampton VA had the longest wait time in the nation for primary care patients.
The backlogs in Hampton Roads do not appear to be abating anytime soon, especially considering the veteran population is anticipated to grow nearly 22 percent from 2017 to 2027.
The current state of affairs at the VA is clearly not working properly.
Even veterans who appeal decisions involving disability benefits are facing a growing backlog that could exceed 1 million people within a decade. Without clear answers to the problem, veterans may have to wait an average of 8.5 years to have their appeals resolved.
Walk around our region and doesn’t take too long to realize the military’s outsized presence here.
Nearly 18 percent of Hampton Roads is comprised of veterans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That figure far outpaces any other region in Virginia and it is one of the densest populations of veterans anywhere in the country.
We must become a priority.
Sen. Warner has sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie as well as the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration Emily W. Murphy, demanding the agencies present a plan to speed up the completion of these Virginia facilities.
Consider contacting the VA at www.va.gov or GSA www.gsa.gov to let them know how important the service members and veterans are to Hampton Roads.
Their well-being is a standard of how we treat this entire community. And the current state of affairs will not be accepted.
Senator Warner on Face the Nation
Published on May 20, 2018
Sen. Warner on NBC’s Meet the Press
Published on March 25, 2018
Discussing Senate Intel election security recommendations, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, and the Trump White House.
Warner on the Cyber Threat
Published on July 24, 2019
The Beat with Ari Melber
A Conversation with U.S. Senator Mark Warner
Published on April 2, 2018
By Becker Friedman Institute at UChicago – BFI
The U.S. economy is in the midst of rapid structural and technological change. The past decade has been marked by a continued decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs and a more recent increase in the number of Americans engaged in the “on demand” or “gig economy.” With the labor market tightening and higher skilled workers in increasing demand, too many workers are still left behind. Many lack the skills or experience to be job-ready, or do not have access to jobs with the potential for advancement, raising a host of issues about the roles of government and the private sector in workforce training.
On April 2, the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University Of Chicago (BFI) welcomed U.S. Senator Mark Warner for a conversation about these and other challenges facing American workers and the U.S. economy more broadly. BFI Director Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and the College, and the Harris School, moderated the discussion.
Sen. Mark Warner Town Hall on college affordability
GMU Fourth Estate
Published on September 13, 2019
By: GMU Fourth Estate
Where: GMU Hub Ballroom
On Friday, Sept. 13, Senator Mark Warner hosted a town hall meeting in the Hub ballroom aimed at addressing his legislative initiatives, including the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act of 2019 and other issues surrounding higher education costs.
For more information, photos, and full video, go to this post on the Town Hall