Arlington, VA

(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) Arlington’s Congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), was among the “yes” votes on the historic $2 trillion stimulus package that passed the House earlier today.

The bill is expected to be signed by President Trump Friday evening.

Beyer released the following statement after the bill was approved.

The only way we will get the economy going again is by first containing the spread of the coronavirus. This bipartisan bill will help us do that by providing public health and economic resources to cities, states and hospitals, as well as those who are doing what experts are saying we all must – staying home to flatten the curve.

Workers who lose their jobs will have 100% of their wages replaced, including those who are self-employed or contractors and were — until now — previously ineligible for unemployment insurance. These same workers will also receive direct cash payments from the federal government, a progressive policy that I was among the first to push for. There’s also substantial support for small businesses that lose customers or are under state or local directives to close temporarily.

In addition, the Marshall Plan for hospitals will enable them to care for the rapidly rising number of coronavirus patients and buy the much needed medical supplies they’re running out of. In no country should healthcare workers have to make their own masks but that’s what’s happening right now at hospitals across America. I urge the President to help hospitals out soon by using the powers he has under the Defense Production Act.

As Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I’ll continue to closely monitor how the economy is doing over the coming weeks. The American people will need sustained help from their government to weather this crisis, and Congress must take every action necessary to protect their health and prevent another Great Depression.

(The president did, as Beyer urged, reportedly invoke the Defense Production Act to force General Motors to start producing ventilators Friday afternoon.)

“Beyer was among the first in government to call for direct payments to support families,” a press release from Beyer’s office said. “He helped shape negotiations on the stimulus package as Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee and as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.”

Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner also released statements supporting the bill after it passed in the Senate on Wednesday.

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Morning Notes

Fire Union Raises Alarm About Lack of Quarantining — “An Arlington County firefighter tested positive for coronavirus this week and the union is concerned that colleagues were not told to quarantine.” [NBC 4]

The Toll for First Responders During the Outbreak — “We are starting to see the mental and physical toll that this pandemic is having on our members and their families. Please continue to practice social distancing and listen to the local leaders.” [Twitter]

Signs of Support From the Community — Signs and other expressions of appreciation for first responders have been popping up around Arlington, as have signs urging continued social distancing. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

GMU Prof Trying to Spur Coronavirus Solutions — “George Mason University professor Tyler Cowen hopes to incentivize a stronger response to the coronavirus by distributing more than $1 million in prizes for research leading to immediate help in fighting the pandemic.” [George Mason University]

Beyer Supports Relief Bill — Said Rep. Don Beyer, regarding the record 3.3 million new unemployment claims: “These numbers are far worse than anything we saw during the Great Recession. We need to move quickly to help those that are getting hurt… That is why the bill passed by the Senate to increase unemployment insurance by an extra $600 a week for four months and make billions available for small business grants and loan payments is so important.” [House of Representatives]

Local Testing is Taking a Long Time — “An Arlington, Virginia, resident told Axios he got tested a week ago, but his results have now been delayed twice; he’ll likely end up waiting nine to 10 days for his results.” [Axios]

Ambar Offering Family-Style Meals to Go — “Street Guys Hospitality, renowned for its neighborhood restaurants that offer set price, next-level Balkan & Mexican dining without limits, is stepping up with a plan to help feed the communities it serves while supporting its staff members during this crisis.” [Press Release]

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Morning Notes

Reminder: Metro Station Closures — The Clarendon, Virginia Square and East Falls Church Metro stations are closed starting today. The closures will impact several ART bus routes, as well. [Arlington County]

Kaine Lauds Passage of Coronavirus Relief Bill — In a statement late Wednesday night, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed by the Senate “will backstop the American economy by protecting workers and their families.” [Press Release]

County: Hold Off on Spring Cleaning — “Although it is tempting to use the increased time in our homes to start ‘spring cleaning,’ please delay these activities or hold on to these items during this challenging time. Refuse collection crews are dealing with an increased volume of waste and disposal requests, while incorporating new protocols to limit their risk of exposure to COVID-19.” [Arlington County]

First Coronavirus Case at Pentagon — “A Marine assigned to the service’s headquarters office at the Pentagon has tested positive for COVID-19… becoming the first service member assigned to the Defense Department’s home base to contract coronavirus. The Marine tested positive March 24, Capt. Joseph Butterfield told Military Times, after a period of isolation spurred by symptoms in his wife.” [Military Times]

HQ2 Construction Still on Track — “Construction of the first of Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2 towers remains on schedule, but the planning process for the green space around them may slow as the spread of the novel coronavirus forces public meeting cancellations. Clark Construction, lead contractor on Amazon’s first 2.1 million-square-foot office building, said that work at Metropolitan Park in Pentagon City is advancing with added coronavirus safety measures.” [Washington Business Journal]

Governor Orders Elective Surgeries Delayed — “Governor Ralph Northam and State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA today directed all hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures to help conserve supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). The public health emergency order does not apply to any procedure if the delay would cause harm to a patient.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]

Ballston’s Punch Bowl Social in Trouble — “Cracker Barrel announced Wednesday that eatertainment brand Punch Bowl Social has closed all of its 19 locations and laid off most of its restaurant and corporate staff and that it would not prevent foreclosure on the brand.” [FSR Magazine, Marketwatch]

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Morning Notes

Coronavirus Case in Falls Church — “On Mar. 9, a U.S. Navy civilian employee at the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) in Falls Church, Virginia, tested ‘presumptive positive’ for the coronavirus (COVID-19)… The individual is currently at a hospital in Northern Virginia.” [U.S. Navy]

Northam Signs Arlington Tourism Tax Bill — “The governor’s signature on March 2 made it official – Arlington will now be able to impose a surtax on hotel stays, with the proceeds going to tourism promotion, in perpetuity. Gov. Northam signed legislation patroned by state Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax-Arlington) removing the ‘sunset clause’ from existing legislation allowing Arlington to tack on an additional 0.25 percent to the 5-percent transient-occupancy tax imposed by the county government on those staying in hotels and motels.” [InsideNova]

Lawmakers Support Long Bridge Project — Virginia’s delegation to Congress “sent a letter to Secretary Chao in support of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s (DRPT) application for an Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant for the Long Bridge Project.” [Press Release]

No Arlington Rep on Metro Board — “For the first time in recent memory, Arlington will have no representation on the board of directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the Metro system… The shifts came about due to the resignation from the WMATA board of Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey, due to issues over reporting of campaign contributions during his 2019 re-election bid.” [InsideNova]

Beyer Gains a GOP Challenger — “On Friday, Mark Ellmore officially filed to seek the Republican nomination for Congress from Virginia’s Eighth District in 2020…. It is currently represented in Congress by Democratic Rep. Don Beyer.” [Falls Church News-Press]

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Morning Notes

Musical Send-Off for Kenmore SRO — “Kenmore Middle School students came up with a fun way to commemorate the retirement of School Resource Officer Jackie Pagan. They presented a musical dance number Friday, Jan. 11, as part of a flash mob.” [Patch, WJLA, Twitter]

Arlingtonian Has Olympic Aspirations — Arlington resident Sarah Anyan qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which will be held next month leading up to the Tokyo games this summer. [RunWashington]

Lots of Police Activity on Clarendon Nightlife — “The 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington County is a hot spot. There are bars, restaurants, and a metro stop all in a block radius… there’s also a surge of calls to Arlington county police, and problems that lead to those calls in the first place.” [WUSA 9]

Del. Levine Pushing Minimum Wage Bill — “A state delegate’s proposed bill to allow localities to set their own minimum-wage levels, provided they do not dip below the federal government’s level, has drawn a tentative response from one local official and outright opposition from two chambers of commerce…. But not everyone agrees with the thrust of [Del. Mark] Levine’s bill. Kate Bates, president and CEO of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, said chamber leaders oppose the legislation.” [InsideNova]

Beyer Tapped for Economic Committee — “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi today recommended Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Economic Committee… The Speaker’s recommendation must be confirmed by a vote of the full committee to take effect.” [Rep. Don Beyer]

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(Updated at 3 p.m) As calls among Democrats for President Donald Trump’s impeachment grow louder, Arlington’s local congressman is helping to lead the chorus.

In May, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) become the first member of Virginia’s Congressional delegation to call for an impeachment inquiry. Now, Beyer tells ARLnow that the latest accusations against Trump — that he withheld military aid from Ukraine before pressuring the county’s president to investigate presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son and his business dealings there — are “a turning point” for going further.

“I really don’t see any alternative to actual Articles of Impeachment right now,” Beyer said early Tuesday afternoon. “If we don’t act now, I think we lose all credibility as elected representatives and we violate our oath of office.”

“The notion of colluding with a foreign government, threatening to withhold military support… all basically to convince a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political opponent, it just boggles the mind,” he continued. “This is incredibly creative, nauseating corruption.”

Later, at an American Federation of Government Employees rally near the Capitol, Beyer remarked that “it’s a beautiful afternoon for a rally and a beautiful day to impeach a president,” according to a CNN journalist.

Beyer’s remarks come amid rapid-fire developments in the emerging Ukraine scandal.

Seven freshman House Democrats in conservative districts penned a Washington Post op-ed Monday, saying the Ukraine allegations, if true “represent an impeachable offense.” Civil rights icon and influential Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) delivered a lunchtime speech on the House floor today endorsing impeachment proceedings. Joe Biden is also expected to endorse impeachment “if the White House refuses to comply with requests for information from Congress.” And after long avoiding calls for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly now will call for a formal impeachment inquiry.

Beyer said he plans to attend a Democratic House caucus meeting at 4 p.m. today, after which Pelosi is expected to make an announcement.

“I imagine there will be very few negative voices on impeachment today,” Beyer said, though he added that he believes Pelosi has been right to hold off on impeachment proceedings up until now.

Beyer’s path from supporting an impeachment inquiry this spring to, now, pushing to prepare the Articles of Impeachment and debate them on the House floor, was informed by the seriousness of the new charges, he said.

“Is this serious enough to bring to the House floor, to the American people?” he asked rhetorically. “I’m convinced that the events of the last few days wholly satisfy that test.”

Beyer added that constituents emailing and calling his office have shifted from urging cautious action and focusing on beating Trump in the 2020 election to “100% impeach.”

“There’s this huge sense of helplessness out there that a president can completely ignore the law and destroy the dignity of the office, with no meaningful pushback from the other parts of government,” he said. “The middle has moved completely towards impeachment.”

Beyer acknowledged that the GOP-controlled Senate would be very unlikely to reach the supermajority vote required to remove Trump from office should the House approve Articles of Impeachment. That, however, could change.

“Today, no. But I think after the activity on the House floor it could be very different,” he told ARLnow. “If I were a Republican… I’d want to distance myself from him as soon as possible.”

Should Trump leave office and Vice President Pence, a former Arlington resident, ascend to the presidency, Beyer said it would likely be a net improvement in terms of leadership.

“From a policy standpoint I wouldn’t expect a lot of difference,” the congressman said. “But I would hope that if it was President Pence that he would bring a greater sense of gravity and seriousness and leadership to the position than the narcissistic chaos of Donald Trump.”

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Morning Notes

Developer May Build Second Metro Entrance — “A plan submitted by developer JBG Smith to Arlington County could see the company put in charge of building the second Crystal City Metro station entrance, a long-sought-after project that would increase access to the station. If approved, the new entrance would be built along Crystal Drive near 18th Street.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Glebe Road Crash Yesterday Morning — “Police say the crash was caused by a driver attempting to merge onto southbound Glebe from 16th Street S. striking another vehicle heading southbound. No significant injuries were reported.” [Twitter]

Company Opens New HQ in Ballston — “Armor Express, a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance protective solutions for the Domestic and Federal Law Enforcement markets, Department of Defense and First Responders, today announced the grand opening of its new corporate headquarters in Arlington, VA.” [Globe Newswire]

Video: Olli on Fort Myer — New videos show the Olli autonomous shuttle driving around Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. [Twitter]

New Funding for 9/11 Victim Fund — “U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) today applauded the passage of a bill to continue providing financial support to those who suffered physical harm or families of those who were killed as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks or ensuing debris removal efforts.” [Press Release, NBC News]

Nearby: Boy Dies at McLean Construction Site — A boy died after a ditch collapsed at a large excavation site in McLean, near the Arlington border and Jamestown Elementary. The boy was reportedly working to build a sewage line at a new residential development. [Tysons Reporter, NBC 4]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Landmark Trees Felled During Storm — A well-known, historic oak tree near the Reevesland farmhouse, one of seventeen designated specimen trees on private property in Arlington, was among the trees that fell during yesterday’s storm. Trees were also downed in Arlington National Cemetery; one tree crushed a car. [Twitter, Twitter]

May 23 Storm vs. 2012 Derecho — “The ~36,000 Dominion customers without power in Arlington at the post-storm peak today is just over half the ~68,000 after the 2012 derecho.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Trump HQ Rent Raises Questions — “President Trump was ‘thrilled’ that his campaign acquired northern Virginia office space at ‘bargain basement’ rates, a campaign official told the Washington Examiner in an interview in the plush 14th floor offices overlooking the Potomac River from Arlington, Va. But campaign finance specialists say the ‘steal’ could violate election law, which views below-market rates for rent as an illegal in-kind campaign donation.” [Washington Examiner]

Median Home Price in Arlington Up $100K — “Amazon’s impending move to Northern Virginia has had a significant impact on home list prices in Arlington County, a new analysis by online real estate platform Realtor.com finds. The median list price for a home there has grown 17 percent since last November.” [Curbed]

Amazon Employees Seeking Furnished Apartments — “Oakwood, which already managed a full Crystal City building at 505 18th St. South, recently extended its deal at the property for another five years, Eicholtz said. She said Oakwood is already seeing demand from Amazon employees, but it is not just coming in Crystal City.” [Bisnow]

Another County Board Contender — “Arlington resident Arron O’Dell has qualified to be on the ballot in the Nov. 5 County Board race. ‘My focus is on affordability. I will work to keep Arlington the place we enjoy living in now while controlling costs and taxes’ and ‘making the county more efficient and small-business friendly,’ O’Dell said on a nascent campaign website.” [InsideNova]

Police Chase Ends in Pentagon City — “Alexandria [Police] chased a robbery suspect on NB I-395… Chase reportedly ended at Army Navy Drive and S. Hayes Street near Pentagon City mall. Three suspects in custody.” [Twitter]

Senators Unveil Metro Funding Proposal — “Metro, which is about to undergo extensive summer track work, would receive $150 million a year for badly needed capital improvements under legislation outlined Thursday by U.S. senators from Virginia and Maryland.” [WTOP, Blue Virginia]

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Arlington native Tanya Bradsher has been tapped as the new Chief of Staff for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

The move comes as longtime Chief of Staff Ann O’Hanlon leaves the top staff post in Beyer’s office.

Beyer issued the following statement about the change in leadership.

While I am saddened to lose my longtime Chief of Staff, Ann O’Hanlon, who is leaving to pursue new opportunities, I am thrilled to welcome Tanya Bradsher, who will start after Memorial Day.

First, a word about Ann: She let me know earlier this year that, after five years by my side as both chief of staff and campaign manager through three elections, she was ready to pass the baton. She has been indispensable to me in in winning elections to Congress and building the exemplary team that serves the citizens of northern Virginia. She is sending another child off to college this fall and, for her, this summer seemed to be the right time to take a break and start exploring the next chapter of her remarkable career that has had outsized achievements in journalism, women’s rights, and community leadership.

Tanya, who retired from the U.S. Army in 2013 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, was the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the Department of Homeland Security from April 2014 to August 2015. Her Army career included service in multiple locations throughout the United States, as well as Iraq, Haiti, and the Republic of Korea. She is a recipient of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star for significant achievement and distinguished service.

Prior to joining the department, she held several positions at the White House, including as Assistant Director, Office of Public Engagement, where she was lead for Veteran, Wounded Warrior and Military Family Outreach. She also served as Assistant Secretary for National Security & Defense on the White House National Security Council and as spokesperson for the Department of Defense, Asia, Africa, Western Hemisphere, counter-terrorism, and detainee policies. From 2009 to 2011, Ms. Bradsher was a Defense Press Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs at the Pentagon. Ms. Bradsher is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

She currently is the Chief of Communications for the American Psychiatric Association. She is a native of Arlington, Virginia, and lives in Lorton, Virginia with her husband and three children. She holds a B.A. in American History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MPS from George Washington University.

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Members of Congress are seeking $25 million to help defray costs at the county’s 9/11 memorials, including the Pentagon Memorial.

Arlington’s Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), along with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), are leading a request for $25 million they say is needed to fund the “9/11 Memorial Competitive Grants Program.”

“We made a promise in the days after 9/11 — to never forget,” Beyer told ARLnow through a spokesman. “These memorials represent that promise, to never forget the bravery, the sacrifice, and the honor we saw that day.”

The program is part of the 9/11 Memorial Act which the Senate unanimously approved last year. The bill allows the Department of Interior to award grants to 9/11 memorial sites helping cover costs like “continued operation, security, and maintenance.”

Recently, four Republicans and 15 Democratic representatives from New York and Virginia signed a letter requesting Congress allocate the $25 million needed to “fully fund” the program as part of the government’s annual budget cycle.

“The Pentagon Memorial is open 24 hours a day, and, to meet the volume and demand of visitors, the Pentagon Memorial Fund develops a wide variety of educational materials and programs,” the letter says

Pentagon Memorial spokesman Jerry Mullins said that over a million people visit the memorial each year, and staff creates resources like teacher guides and lesson plans for grades 9-12 as well as take-away materials available at the site.

He said funds are needed to develop the Visitor Education Center and expand the educational programming in general.

“It’s really for the school-age kids who really have no memory of the attacks,” he said. “It’s an opportunity once again that this country will never forget what happened that day.”

Renderings for the visitor’s center from 2016 featured a glass wall showing where Flight 77 struck the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

Officials said at the time they expected the building to be open by 2020.

The memorial’s website is also asking for donations for the Center which is says will instruct generations to learn about the attacks “and the unprecedented response in the minutes, hours, weeks, and now years later.”

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Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th District) and other D.C.-area lawmakers are pressing for a new study of helicopter noise in the area, a persistent concern for many Arlingtonians living near the county’s copious military installations.

Beyer and four of his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to the head of the Government Accountability Office Monday (Jan. 28) calling for an examination of everything from which helicopters tend to make the most noise to which neighborhoods military aircraft pass over most frequently.

“Many of our constituents live with the impacts of regular helicopter noise that interrupts sleep patterns, causes their homes to shake and negatively impacts their quality of life,” the members of Congress wrote. “While disturbances from helicopter noise have been a longstanding problem for some, others have noted recent increases in the frequency and severity of helicopter noise in their neighborhoods.”

Reps. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Anthony Brown (D-Md.) and David Trone (D-Md.) joined Beyer in writing the letter.

In all, they argue that “information collection, analysis and coordination” will help lawmakers “identify strategies to minimize the negative impacts of helicopter activity without impeding the work of the agencies operating helicopters within the region.”

Other points they’d like to see the agency investigate include “the frequency of flights over neighborhoods, including information on each agency operating helicopters, the times of flight and flight altitude; the number of flights that occur during the day and at night” and “the altitude at which helicopters currently fly within the Washington metropolitan area today compared to the altitude at which helicopters operated within the Washington metropolitan area in the past.”

The lawmakers are also looking to learn more about “degree of coordination that currently exists among the various government and non-governmental entities operating helicopters” in the region, in order to improve efforts to cut back on noise. Beyer has previously proposed similar efforts aimed at increasing that collaboration, including a “working group” that would’ve included both local officials and representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense.

Beyer has certainly raised the issue plenty of times since winning office for the first time in 2014, and has also pressured the DOD to pursue other studies of helicopter noise, or even to simply fly its helicopters at higher altitudes to reduce noise complaints.

However, many of those efforts have been stymied by Republican leaders, who have long controlled the House of Representatives — Beyer is cautiously optimistic that the new Democratic majority will be more sympathetic to his concerns.

Beyer and his colleagues are hoping to get an answer on this latest request for a study within the next month or so.

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Sonderman

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