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

     It has been over three months since a Public Health Emergency was declared, eight weeks since a National Emergency began, and six weeks since the Virginia economy was shut down. As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and its rippling effect on our Nation’s public health and on our economy, I wanted to take a moment to update you on recent actions I have taken in Congress to mitigate the pandemic’s damage.

Reopening Shenandoah National Park:

     Understanding that social distancing guidelines can be accomplished in an open-air space, on Monday, I encouraged Department of the Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to reopen the Shenandoah National Park during his visit for a site inspection. Shenandoah National Park encompasses more than 200,000 acres throughout our region, and despite that it could serve as a safe recreational destination for Sixth District residents, it has been closed to the public since April 8, 2020. Reopening the park would go a long way in keeping folks both mentally and physically healthy.


SBA Opening the EIDL Portal for Farmers:

     Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, and their survival is critical to the future success of our Nation. Not to be forgotten are our farmers and agricultural enterprises whose operations are vital to the survival of rural communities. Our Nation’s producers have been working tirelessly to keep food on our tables during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, market volatility has put many of these small businesses in jeopardy. Last week, I contacted the U.S. Small Business Administration and urged the agency to streamline Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) applications for agriculture businesses which were initially ineligible for this lifeline. Today, I am pleased to inform you that the SBA has opened a portal specifically for those in the agricultural industry. For more information, visit


Botetourt Chamber of Commerce:

     It was a pleasure to join the Botetourt Chamber of Commerce on a video-call to hear first-hand from small business owners and to answer questions regarding the federal resources that are available to them in this difficult time. During the call, we touched on subjects relating to the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, future coronavirus relief legislation, and more. Two weeks ago, I partook in a similar event with the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance and will continue listening to business leaders throughout this pandemic to better understand the situation they are currently facing. If you have questions or are uncertain on what resources there are to help during this uncertain time please consult my COVID-19 website at



Reports of spousal abuse and domestic violence have increased during the current coronavirus pandemic. This issue is one that has been important to me since my time as an assistant prosecutor of domestic violence cases in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Last week, I introduced the bipartisan Protect Our Women and Waive Emergency Requirements (POWER) Act with Congresswoman Lucy McBath. For the past three decades, the Family Violence Prevention Services Act (FVPSA) has supported services such as emergency shelter and related assistance programs for victims of domestic violence and their children through federal grants. This bill temporarily suspends non-federal match requirements on FVPSA grant funds relating to domestic violence services during emergency situations related to coronavirus, which will ensure victims continue to have the resources they need during this ongoing crisis. Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders have made it nearly impossible for entities to utilize the ‘in-kind’ contribution option specified in the FVPSA and is why the POWER Act is necessary to safeguard programs for domestic violence victims across the country.


Danger Pay for U.S. Marshals Act:

    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 introduced the bipartisan Danger Pay for U.S. Marshals Act in the House in February, and am pleased that Senator Cotton took this issue up in the Senate this week. 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. 


Mothers Day:

Finally, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish every mother a Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. I’m told that motherhood is one of the most challenging and also most rewarding jobs. Mothers wear several hats - among them teacher, counselor, coach and friend. To my wife, Elizabeth, and all the moms across the District, I wish you all a very Happy Mother’s Day.


Centers for Disease Control Resources:

Centers for Disease Control

How to Protect Yourself

Symptoms and Testing

If You Are at Higher Risk

If You Are Sick

Frequently Asked Questions

Follow @CDCgov on Twitter

     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. 

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