Donald McEachin

McEachin Bipartisan Bill to Increase Offshore Drilling Accountability Passes Natural Resources Committee

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) participated in a Natural Resources full committee markup where he helped advance his legislation, the Offshore Accountability Act, to update reporting standards and increase transparency of critical system and equipment failures on offshore drilling facilities.

“Today’s committee markup and passage of the Offshore Accountability Act is an important step toward greater transparency and accountability of the offshore oil and gas industry,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “As we have seen from prior tragedies, like the Santa Barbara and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, offshore drilling accidents can be dangerous, expensive, and life-altering for coastal communities and critical ecosystems. All Americans, especially those in coastal communities, deserve transparency from industries operating in our oceans.”

“My legislation makes commonsense updates to existing reporting standards to ensure appropriate accountability and oversight of offshore drilling facilities,” Rep. McEachin (VA-04) continued. “I thank my colleagues on committee for helping advance this important legislation, and I look forward to its passage in the House.”

H.R. 570, the Offshore Accountability Act, requires offshore drilling facilities to report critical safety system failures directly to the Secretary of the Interior, who would then be mandated to publicly disclose these incident reports.

Watch the Natural Resources full committee markup here. Read the Offshore Accountability Act bill text here.

Monthly Update from Congressman McEachin (October, 2021)

This has been a very busy September. From the start of several district activities to significant legislation in Washington, I wanted to remind my constituents of several important deadlines for the upcoming month:

The deadline for the Congressional App Challenge is fast approaching on November 1st. The Congressional App Challenge is open to students who live or attend school in our Congressional District. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their creativity in designing a useful and interesting computer app. Information about this challenge and applying is available here.

November 1st is also the deadline to submit a nomination for the Fourth District’s Veteran of the Year. As the son of a veteran, I am well aware of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and their families. Moreover, many veterans, even when retired from the military, continue to serve our communities, making a difference. We need to honor our veterans every day for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe and free. If you know a veteran you would like to nominate, seeherefor the application.

If you are struggling with an issue with a federal agency, such as missing benefits, a lost tax return, an absent passport or visa or other concerns, my office is here to help. To facilitate serving constituents, we have a program called Mobile McEachin to make it easier for constituents to get an appointment with one of my experienced and knowledgeable constituent service representatives. Our October Mobile McEachin will be virtual and will be on October 13 from 10:30 to 3p. You can sign up for an individual appointment here. We’re here to help!

Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate the very best and brightest high school students for consideration to our nation’s esteemed military academies. The five U.S. Service Academies include the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

This year, I was pleased to host a joint Service Academy Day with my friend and colleague, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, from Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. We were joined by representatives from the military academies, who provided helpful information about the application and nomination process. If you missed the event and would like more information, you can view it here.

For more information, including how to apply for the nomination process, please visit my website. The deadline to apply is coming up quick – October 29, 2021.

Nominations to U.S. Service Academies can be made by the President, Vice President, or a Member of Congress. Nominations are required for all but the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where appointments are made during an annual nationwide competition.

McEachin Launches 2021-2022 Eco Heroes Program for VA-04 Students

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the start of his annual 2021-2022 Eco Heroes Program, an environmental education program for students in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. 

Initially launched in 2019, the Eco Heroes Program aims to increase youth’s awareness and excitement about productive, eco-friendly habits and behaviors they can begin developing and implementing now. Participating students will complete a series of environmentally-focused challenges and education tasks to learn more about the importance of being eco-friendly in their daily lives. 

“I am thrilled to launch my annual Eco Heroes Program. This program provides young students in Virginia’s Fourth with the power and knowledge to begin adopting important eco-friendly practices to preserve our environment,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I have been so impressed by the participation and commitment of young Virginians in previous years. I look forward to another productive Eco Heroes Program and cannot wait to see the insightful and creative approaches our students take. I hope that this program can empower our young people to be future stewards of the Earth and begin developing mindful habits now.”

Parents or guardians of students in grades K-5 who live in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District can register for the program by visiting: https://mceachin.house.gov/eco-heroes-program.

Teachers working in schools located in VA04 can register their class by emailing VA04.Projects@mail.house.gov

The deadline to register for the 2021-2022 Eco Heroes Program is October 8, 2021.

McEachin & Spanberger to Host Virtual Joint Service Academy Day

Washington, D.C. – Today, Representatives A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) announced details for their upcoming virtual Service Academy Day, in which high school students from Virginia’s Fourth and Seventh Congressional Districts will be able to meet with representatives from various U.S. Service Academies and learn more about the Academy nomination process.

“Every year, I am impressed by the young men and women who are eager to serve

to serve their country,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I am excited to once again host this Service Academy Day with Congresswoman Spanberger. This event will be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn more about these esteemed military academies and the incredible education and professional opportunities they provide. I strongly encourage interested students to attend, and I look forward to seeing the very best and brightest students and their families.”

“One of the greatest honors I have as a U.S. Representative is nominating outstanding young Virginians as candidates to our nation’s service academies. The sheer number of applicants, the caliber of students, and the clear dedication to excellence has been remarkable each nomination cycle. This event will be a terrific opportunity for students and their parents to learn more about the application and nomination process,” said Rep. Spanberger (VA-07). “Public service is truly our nation’s highest calling, and I am so proud of the Central Virginia students who are committed to serving their fellow Americans. I look forward to engaging with many Central Virginia students throughout this process, and I would like to thank the representatives from each of the U.S. service academies for giving their time and joining this presentation.”

Details for the virtual Joint Service Academy Day are as follows:

  • WHEN: Saturday, September 18, 2021 @ 11:00 am ET
  • WHERE: This information session will be held virtually. Interested students can RSVP here.

The five U.S. Service Academies include: the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S.  Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Nominations to U.S. Service Academies can be made by the President, Vice President, or a Member of Congress. Nominations are required for all but the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, to which appointments are made on the basis of an annual nationwide competition.

McEachin Launches 2021 VA-04 Veteran of the Year Program

 Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the launch of his annual Veteran of the Year program to honor the service of veterans living in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District.

 “As the son of an Army veteran, I know firsthand the weight of the sacrifices our servicemembers make to protect and serve our nation,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I know that Virginia’s Fourth is home to many veterans who served our country and continue to make positive contributions to our community. I am proud to launch our second annual VA-04 Veteran of the Year program to honor our brave servicemembers. I look forward to reading the nominations and having the opportunity to recognize them for their service.”

Eligible nominees must be honorably discharged veterans of any of the U.S. Armed Services currently living in Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District. Nominations for the Veteran of the Year are due by October 29, 2021 and should be submitted here.

McEachin Announces More Than $10 Million in HHS Grants for Virginia Department of Health

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced the Virginia Department of Health will receive two grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) totaling $10,840,522. A grant for $3,127,953 will support preventive health services, and one for $7,712,569 will help bolster childhood immunizations in Virginia.

“Preventive health services are essential to achieving better health outcomes. Unfortunately, too many Virginians cannot afford these crucial services and are forced to delay doctor visits for too long. These funds will help ensure those Virginians receive the preventive care they need, hopefully leading more successful outcomes,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “In addition, childhood immunizations have saved millions of lives. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, we have vaccines to protect our youth from deadly diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. These funds will help ensure that all Virginian children receive every needed vaccine, which will help save lives and keep our children healthy.”

McEachin Helps Protect the Right to Vote for All Americans

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) voted to pass H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore critical provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and ensure the right to vote is protected. The landmark legislation prevents states and localities with a recent history of voter discrimination from restricting the right to vote by requiring them to obtain federal preclearance for any election changes.

“Voting is among the most sacred rights afforded to Americans, which is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and help pass this historic legislation,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “Congressman Lewis and other warriors in the Civil Rights movement fought, and even died, to protect the right to vote. Voting rights should not be a partisan issue, yet we are seeing coordinated state-level attacks on voter protections across the nation. H.R. 4 will help ensure national standards for voting rights and safeguard Americans’ access to the ballot box. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation, protect our democracy, and restore the vote.”

For decades, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) prevented states and localities from restricting the right to vote. However, in its Shelby County v. Holder decision in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the law, invalidating Section 4 and striking down the formula used to determine which jurisdictions are subject to federal oversight. In July 2021, the Court further weakened the law in its decision in Brnovich v. DNC which made it more difficult to challenge discriminatory voting laws in Section 2.

The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act:

  • Allows federal courts to immediately halt questionable voting practices until a final ruling is made. This provision recognizes that when voting rights are at stake, prohibiting a discriminatory practice after the election has concluded is too late to truly protect voters' rights.
  • Gives the Attorney General authority to request that federal observers be present anywhere in the country where discriminatory voting practices pose a serious threat.
  • Increases transparency by requiring reasonable public notice for voting changes.
  • Includes a retrogression standard for already-enacted but not-yet-implemented measures.
  • Helps plaintiffs to seek injunctive relief for voting rights violations in the lead-up to an election. 
  • Establishes a grant program for small jurisdictions to help them comply with the bill’s various notice requirements. 

Read the full bill text of H.R. 4 here.

 

McEachin, Clyburn Organize Local Commission, Call for Fort Lee to Be Renamed

Lt. General Arthur J. Gregg Exemplifies American Values

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (SC-06) urged Admiral Michelle Howard, Chair of the Naming Commission at the U.S. Department of Defense, to rename Fort Lee in Central Virginia after Lt. General Arthur J. Gregg. This recommendation follows an independent commission organized by the Members, which agreed that the military base should be rededicated as Fort Gregg.

“You have been tasked with the critical and long-overdue responsibility of beginning the process of renaming military installations honoring individuals who took up arms against the United States to preserve the institution of slavery. This change is long overdue,” the Members wrote in a letter. “The Armed Forces of the United States exemplify the values, identity, and diversity of our nation, and it is imperative that the names of military installations, ships, buildings, and other property reflect that as well.”

Lt. General Gregg was a thirty-five-year veteran of the U.S. Army, a celebrated military logistician, and a barrier-breaker for African American armed forces. He worked to combat racial and institutional barriers for minority servicemembers. Upon his retirement in 1981 as the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, he was the highest-ranking minority general, and the second-highest ranking Black servicemember to date.

“By establishing Fort Gregg, the Army would not only honor a pioneer in military leadership and logistics, but also honor the legacy of all Black servicemembers who offered the best of themselves to a nation that did not always show them the same respect nor recognize their value,” the letter continues.

The U.S. Army post and headquarters is currently named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, a prominent leader of the Confederacy in Virginia, who fought to preserve slavery and uphold institutional racism in the United States.

Read Rep. McEachin and Whip Clyburn’s full letter here.

McEachin Announces Nearly $500,000 HHS Grant to Combat Lead Poisoning

Richmond – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) announced a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Virginia Department of Health for $496,328 for the prevention of childhood lead poisoning.

“I am pleased to see these significant funds come to the Commonwealth and aid the Department of Health’s work to prevent lead poisoning and monitor children who may be vulnerable and exposed to lead,” Rep. McEachin said. “We must be proactive in our efforts to reduce lead exposure, as it can cause permanent brain damage, nerve and kidney damage, and even death.

Rep. McEachin has worked to address the threat of lead exposure and promote more equitable health outcomes for all communities. Last Congress, he introduced the Lead Safe Housing for Kids Act to protect children in federally-assisted housing from dangerous lead exposure.

McEachin Joins VAIPL Environmental Justice Town Hall

Washington, D.C. – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) joined a community town hall hosted by Virginia Interfaith Power and Light (VAIPL) to discuss President Biden’s Build Back Better priorities, the Justice 40 Initiative, his environmental justice efforts in Congress, and job creation.

“I have been honored to work with the Biden administration during this crucial period to Build Back Better. As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must advance innovative policy solutions that promote economic growth, create new jobs, and address the climate crisis,” said Rep. McEachin (VA-04). “I enjoyed joining Virginia Interfaith Power and Light to discuss President Biden’s priorities, my efforts in Congress, and our shared values for the future.”

“The Administration’s infrastructure priorities have the potential to be a gamechanger for frontline and rural communities, spurring economic growth and raising environmental standards for all Virginians as well,” said Faith Harris, Co-Director for Virginia Interfaith Power & Light

"President Biden's infrastructure package sets aside historic funding to tackle the climate crisis, create green jobs, and make improvements to critical infrastructure. As we analyze this infrastructure package, it is critical that we recognize environmental injustices that plague our country. The infrastructure package is an opportunity to infuse billions of dollars into communities that have historically been disinvested in, and we hope that this package does not continue a pattern of disinvestment in communities of color” said Naadiya Hutchinson, Government and Media Affairs Specialist at We Solar.

The Justice40 Initiative aims to improve productive collaboration between federal agencies and state and local communities while advancing President Biden’s promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from federal investment in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

Rep. McEachin has been an unwavering advocate for environmental justice communities in Congress and has introduced several important pieces of legislation to address their needs. Rep. McEachin introduced the bicameral Environmental Justice for All Act with Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) to empower environmental justice communities to take actionable steps to address environmental pollutants and hazards. He also introduced the bicameral Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) to eliminate pollution that has disproportionately harmed frontline communities for generations.

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).

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