News From Congressman Ben Cline
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Sixth District Perspectives
with Congressman Ben Cline

With impeachment behind us in the House, my colleagues and I were able to get back to work for the American people this week. Not only did the President sign USMCA into law, but the House also voted to save lives with the renewal of the classification of fentanyl as a Schedule I narcotic. I was also proud to introduce a new piece of legislation that, once passed, will ensure employees of the U.S. Marshals Service are eligible for parity of danger pay while serving in certain regions abroad. Further, I was pleased to honor Botetourt County on the House Floor as they are set to celebrate their 250th anniversary. It was a productive week in Washington, but I am pleased to be spending the weekend back in the Sixth District with those I represent. 

Danger Pay for U.S. Marshals:

The U.S. Marshals Service often works alongside their DEA and FBI counterparts on dangerous missions abroad. From working to combat transnational criminal organizations to interrupting human trafficking rings, the brave men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and security of American citizens. Yet under the current statute, Marshals do not qualify for danger pay in certain countries as do employees of other federal law enforcement agencies. To remedy this inequity, I along with Lou Corea (D-CA, introduced the bipartisan Danger Pay for U.S. Marshals Act. I am proud to have sponsored this bipartisan legislation which ensures, without requiring additional funding, that our Marshals are compensated fairly and earn the pay they rightly deserve while protecting Americans from violent criminals. 

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Signing USMCA:

After more than a year waiting in limbo, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) was signed this week by President Trump. USMCA is a big win for the American people, creating a more level playing field for workers, strengthening agricultural trade, and modernizing intellectual property protections. This agreement has the potential to create nearly 600,000 jobs and generate up to $235 billion in economic activity. USMCA opens new markets for our manufacturers and farmers, which will allow them to thrive. American agricultural exports are expected to increase by $2.2 billion under USMCA - with annual dairy exports predicted to rise by nearly $315 million. Further, the agreement is expected to create up to 76,000 new auto jobs, spur $34 billion in new investment in the auto industry, and add $23 billion in auto parts purchases each year. I am excited to have been a part of passing this historic agreement, and look forward to seeing the prosperity it is bound to bring to our country. 

The President continues to keep his promise to the American people that he will fight for fairer trade deals for our nation. Not only did the President recently sign the Phase One Trade Deal in which China pledged to increase American imports by $200 billion over the next two years, but he also signed profitable deals with Japan and Taiwan.

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Fentanyl & the Opioid Epidemic:

The opioid epidemic does not discriminate based on age, sex, race, or socioeconomic status. It is a plague that affects Americans in all regions of the country, including Virginia’s Sixth District. In 2016, the United States experienced an astonishing 60,000 deaths related to drug overdose, nearly two thirds of which involved opioids. That means that more than 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose each day, making it the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50. This crisis is being fueled in-part by a synthetic opioid known as fentanyl – a drug 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. In 2018 alone, more than 800 people died from fentanyl overdoses in Virginia.

I applaud my colleagues for voting to save lives this week by renewing the classification of fentanyl as a Schedule I narcotic. Through commonsense solutions like this and support for first responders and treatment programs, I am confident we can help our fellow Americans struggling with opioid abuse and end this insidious epidemic. 

Fentanyl kills. The small dose pictured below is enough to be fatal.

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Botetourt County's 250th Anniversary:

I took to the House Floor this week to recognize the 250th anniversary of Botetourt County.  Not only is our region filled with beautiful landscapes, but it is rich in history and culture. Whether it is to experience the countless outdoor recreation opportunities or to immerse themselves in an area with ties to great Americans like Thomas Jefferson and Lewis and Clark, visitors come from far and wide to experience the place where I and thousands of others are fortunate enough to live. May God continue to bless Botetourt County on its next 250 years. 

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Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Congressman. If my office can ever be of assistance, please contact my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

For the latest updates from Washington, please follow my social media accounts: FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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