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by ARLnow.com — April 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm 0

Federal employees should be guaranteed back pay in the event of a government shutdown, says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Beyer and a fellow Virginia congressman, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), have proposed the “Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act.”

The bill “would guarantee back pay for all furloughed workers if Congress and the White House are unable to come to a funding agreement.” Currently, back pay must be approved by Congress and is not guaranteed.

“Shutting down the federal government threatens the livelihood of federal workers who carry out the nation’s vital missions,” Beyer said in a statement. “It’s inexcusable to play politics with their pay and the well-being of their households.”

While a government shutdown at the end of the week is possible, it’s looking increasingly likely that a deal will be reached to continue funding the government.

Twenty-two percent of employment in Arlington is classified as government employment.

The full press release about the bill, after the jump.

(more…)

by Chris Teale — April 7, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

With residents still worried about the impacts of noise and increased air traffic around Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the region’s congressional representatives are pushing for change.

Yesterday, Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) joined other D.C. metro area legislators in writing to members of the House Appropriations Committee to support airplane noise mitigation provisions in the fiscal year Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill.

Beyer is a member of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, and urged the committee to fund health studies on the effects of airplane noise. The legislators cited past studies that have linked excessive exposure to noise with hypertension and learning difficulties.

Beyer requested that appropriators include language directing the Federal Aviation Administration to expedite its review of current noise standards.

“Airplane noise is a pervasive problem around the United States, but especially in Northern Virginia neighborhoods below ever-shifting flight paths in and out of DCA,” said Beyer in a statement. “To date, the FAA has not satisfactorily addressed the situation, while the problem has worsened in many communities. It is past time for Congress to take action, and I hope my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee heed our call.”

Legislators also signed a bipartisan letter urging the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority — which operates Reagan National and Dulles International Airport — not to add more flight traffic at DCA.

They point out that Reagan National has experienced six consecutive years of passenger growth and outpaced passenger volume at Dulles in both 2015 and 2016. In fact, they say domestic commercial passenger traffic since 2000 has increased by 50 percent at Reagan, but it decreased by 9 percent at Dulles.

Congress is preparing to work on legislation to reauthorize the FAA for this year. The delegation said that maintaining the current rules will allow Dulles and BWI to continue to grow and serve long-haul destinations, while also not subjecting National to additional traffic.

“Our airports enable Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia to access the global economy in ways that create jobs and opportunities for the region,” the letter reads. “Part of the rationale for the relocation of major corporate headquarters such as SAIC, Hilton Hotels, Nestle USA and Volkswagen of America is the connectivity our regional aviation system provides.”

Both the House and Senate are expected to consider FAA reauthorization proposals in the coming months. The current FAA authorization expires at the end of September.

by Chris Teale — March 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Syrian Refugee Blanket and Coat Drive (via Arlington County)A rally Saturday will teach attendees how to advocate for the region’s growing refugee population.

The Raise Your Voice! Refugee Advocacy Workshop and Volunteer Fair will take place from 2-4 p.m. at St. George’s Episcopal Church (910 N. Oakland Street).

It is organized by a group called NOVA Friends of Refugees.

The event will contain three components: speeches by refugee and religious leaders; panel discussions on how attendees can influence friends, family and elected officials on refugee issues; followed by a session of advocacy through postcard-writing and a refugee volunteering fair.

Speakers will include state Sen. Barbara Favola; representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-8); Anne Richard, former assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration; Imam Johari, director of outreach at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church; Nadeem Khokhar, associate pastor at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon; Ann Beltran of nonprofit advocacy group RESULTS; and Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University.

Earlier this year, Beyer and dozens of his congressional colleagues re-introduced the Freedom of Religion Act, in response to President Trump’s executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Previously, Arlington County has said it is ready and willing to help resettle Syrian refugees.

Those interested in attending can RSVP online.

by ARLnow.com — February 8, 2017 at 9:05 am 0

Relaxing on a warm February day near the Iwo Jima memorial (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Police Search for Missing BoyUpdated — Arlington County Police were looking for a missing 13-year-old boy who may have run away from home yesterday evening. The boy took his bike and possibly camping gear, according to police and to scanner traffic. Police say the boy has since been “located in good health.” [Arlington County]

Carpool to Close, Move — The end is near for Carpool, the popular Ballston bar has kept on ticking despite originally being slated to close this past summer to make way for a redevelopment. Management reportedly plans to move Carpool to the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County this summer. [Washington Business Journal]

Rep. Beyer’s Hat Get Noticed — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) wore a red “Keep the EPA Great” hat to a Congressional hearing about the agency on Tuesday, and the internet loved it. [Gizmodo]

Kudos for Ashlawn Crossing Guard — Ashlawn Elementary School crossing guard Ana Hernandez has been recognized as one of Virginia’s “Most Outstanding Crossing Guards.” Hernandez works “patiently but firmly to ensure the safety of students,” according to a press release. [Arlington Public Schools]

Optimism for N. Va. Economy — “The Northern Virginia region could see job employment grow from anywhere between 4 to 14.4 percent from 2014 to 2025,” according to forecasts from George Mason University’s Stephen Fuller. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Tim Regan — February 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

(Updated at 3:58 p.m.) Gold star father and outspoken Trump opponent Khizr Khan joined Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and other lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday to condemn President Donald Trump’s controversial “Muslim ban.”

Speaking to a small crowd of reporters during a press conference, Khan denounced Trump’s recent executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. He also said Trump was running a “clown show” out of the White House.

“This way of governing is alienating my country,” Khan said. “Muslims are alienated within the United States.”

Khan joined Beyer and a handful of other congressional representatives to reintroduce the Freedom of Religion Act, a bill that Beyer first unveiled last May. If passed, the Freedom of Religion Act would ban the government from denying entry to immigrants, refugees and international visitors on the basis of religion.

“We’re reintroducing the Freedom of Religion Act because we want to be sure that, regardless of the executive order or president, now or in the future, the message is clear,” Beyer said. “We cannot discriminate based on religion in our immigration system.”

Last weekend, Beyer and three other local congressmen visited Dulles International Airport to try and speak to Customs and Border Protection officials who were detaining a number of travelers. They were ultimately unsuccessful.

“I spent hours at Dulles Airport helping grieving families reconnect with their loved ones detained or deported by President Trump’s Muslim ban,” Beyer said. “Today’s legislation won’t erase the pain from President Trump’s ban, but it will ensure that this sort of immoral action never happens again and show the world that America still honors its founding principles.”

Several of the bill’s co-sponsors, including Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and Andre Carson (D-Ind.), also spoke at the news conference.

Clutching a small copy of the constitution in her hand, Schakowsky recounted how Khan and his wife, Ghazala, “galvanized the entire nation” during a speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer.

“President Trump’s Muslim ban, and let’s not call it by any other name, undermines our values as a nation,” Schakowsky said. “Bigotry does not make America great.”

Still, the bill stands little chance of passing, Beyer said, as it currently has no Republican co-sponsors. However, as the “human consequences” of the executive order become more apparent, the bill could gain more support from both sides of the aisle, he added.

“As people become aware, then we may hopefully get many more Republicans and a chance at passing,” Beyer said.

by ARLnow.com — January 30, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Snow on tree branches 1/30/17

Va. Officials on Immigration Order — President Donald Trump’s executive order barring those from seven Muslim nations from entering the U.S. has caught the ire of Arlington’s Democratic congressional representatives and state officials. Sen. Tim Kaine said that he was “appalled by the cruelty” of the order, Kaine and Sen. Mark Warner have “demanded answers” from the Dept. of Homeland Security, Gov. Terry McAuliffe is “outraged and disappointed,” and Rep. Don Beyer joined four other local congressmen at Dulles International Airport to try to speak to Customs and Border Protection officials who were detaining a number of travelers.

County Board Changes Airbnb Regs — Renters will now no longer be barred by the county from renting their home on Airbnb and other online services. The Arlington County Board approved the change to their recent-passed ordinance unanimously at its Saturday meeting. [Arlington County]

Bill: No Food = No Liquor — A bill that has passed the Virginia state senate would prohibit restaurants from serving liquor while the kitchen is closed and no longer serving food. The bill clarifies a 1971 law that was intended to do the same but was “interpreted liberally by some.” [Style Weekly]

County Acquires Land for Fire Station Project — The Arlington County Board has approved the $800,000 purchase of a home on N. Culpeper Street for the construction of a new, expanded Fire Station No. 8. The property is the final acquisition necessary to build a temporary fire station for use while the new station is constructed. [Arlington County]

by ARLnow.com — January 23, 2017 at 5:15 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer in his Capitol Hill office (file photo)Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is blasting President Donald Trump’s executive order freezing federal government hiring.

Beyer said federal hiring freezes make government less effective, hurt state and local economies, and actually end up increasing costs to taxpayers.

Trump said his order excludes the military.

Beyer issued the following statement this afternoon.

The Trump administration’s decision to further scapegoat the federal workforce by freezing hiring is ineffective and damaging. Like previous actions of Congressional Republicans, complaints of ineffective government are being met with a strategy which makes government even less effective. This cycle is intentional, and state and local economies across the country will suffer for it. Weakening the ability of the federal government to carry out its crucial mission is not how you put ‘America first.’

85% of the nation’s civil service positions are based outside of the National Capital Region. The number of federal workers is at its lowest level since the 1960s, and over 30 percent will be eligible to retire in the next year. A report by the General Accounting Office (GAO) on previous federal hiring freezes stated such freezes are not an effective strategy for shrinking the size of the workforce, and only serve to disrupt agency operations and in the long-term increase the cost of government operations.

by ARLnow.com — January 17, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

MLK memorial by moonlight (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

Beyer Won’t Participate in Inauguration — Don’t expect to see Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) at the inauguration of Donald Trump nor at any celebratory inaugural events. Beyer says he “will not be part of normalizing or legitimizing” president-elect Trump, whose “values and… actions are the antithesis of what I hold dear.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Cubs at the Pentagon City Ritz — The World Series-winning Chicago Cubs made the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton their home base before meeting President Obama at the White House on Monday. The hotel is a popular destination for visiting sports teams. [Twitter]

Crash on I-395 — All but one lane of traffic was blocked on northbound I-395 yesterday following an afternoon crash near Shirlington. A police officer helped to calm down a dog who was in one of the cars involved in the crash. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Group Will March in Inauguration — The Arlington-based Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will march in Friday’s inaugural parade in D.C. The organization supports the families of fallen military service members. [WJLA]

Hot Start for Wakefield Girls — The Wakefield girls basketball team is off to an impressive 12-2 start this season. The team plays Falls Church tonight. [Washington Post]

Business Book Club at Library — Arlington Public Library has launched a Business Book Club “for adults interested in reading about business strategy, leadership and management.” The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 28 at Central Library. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

by ARLnow.com — January 9, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

Snow on brick in Fairlington 1/7/17

Beyer Warns of Obamacare Repeal Ramifications — “The Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act will have disastrous consequences for Virginia,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said Friday, citing recent studies. “Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors will lose life-saving, affordable health coverage. The state also stands to lose as many as 100,000 jobs, $30 billion in gross state product, and $50 billion in business output. This is unacceptable and irresponsible.” [House of Representatives, Commonwealth Fund]

Will Startup’s Growth Add Arlington Jobs? — Just before the new year, president-elect Donald Trump said that Rosslyn-based OneWeb will be creating 3,000 jobs as it prepares to launch hundreds of satellites to deliver broadband internet around the world. Will those jobs be coming to Arlington? An Arlington Economic Development spokeswoman said the agency was not sure, while a OneWeb spokesman told ARLnow.com only that it was opening a new office in McLean.

Op-Ed Warns ‘Ignore Arlington’s Bad Example’ — The Arlington County Board’s recently-passed home sharing regulations are a “bad example” for other Virginia localities considering similar rules, since Arlington prohibited renters from renting their homes on Airbnb and other platforms. “The opportunities created by the sharing economy shouldn’t be restricted to only those few who are deemed worthy,” says a fellow with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, in an op-ed. [Richmond Times Dispatch]

County Board Members Take Regional Roles — “Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette will serve as 2017 Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. County Board Vice Chair Katie Cristol will serve as chair of the Northern Virginian Transportation Commission’s Legislative Committee, and has joined the leadership of the Virginia Railway Express Operations Board.” [Arlington County]

New Year, New Offer for New Advertisers — Join dozens of satisfied advertising clients and get your business’ message out to the greater Arlington community with ARLnow.com. Learn more about our advertising options and check out our new winter deal for new advertisers: book at least a month of advertising and get another month free. [ARLnow]

by ARLnow.com — January 5, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

FAA meeting on flight path plan on 9/13/16

The Federal Aviation Administration is scrapping a proposal to shift the northerly flight path from Reagan National Airport closer to Rosslyn, according to Rep. Don Beyer’s office.

The FAA sought feedback on the plan during a public meeting at Washington-Lee High School in September. The plan, which was intended to reduce noise in the Foxhall Village neighborhood of D.C. while placing flights more directly over the Potomac River, was met with skepticism from Arlington residents. County Board members pointed out that aircraft noise in Arlington was already on the rise under the current flight path.

Rep. Beyer (D-Va.) sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in October, outlining “serious concerns with many aspects of the plan.” The congressman hailed the FAA’s decision to terminate the proposed changes.

“Today’s decision by the FAA to terminate the proposed… departure procedure is a positive development in our ongoing quest to quiet the skies over northern Virginia,” Beyer said in a statement. “While the proposed path was intended to increase flight time over the Potomac River, it was significantly concerning that there was no clear understanding on the level and impact of plane noise on airport area communities.”

by ARLnow.com — January 4, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Wandering duck near Four Mile Run (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

CivFed Approves Marijuana Resolution — The Arlington County Civic Federation has approved a resolution in support of legalizing medical marijuana in Virginia. [WJLA, InsideNova]

Beyer Opposes ‘Holman Rule’ — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has joined other local legislators in opposing the proposed reinstatement of the “Holman Rule,” which would allow a legislator to offer an amendment that would “reduce the salary of any federal employee, or eliminate a federal employee’s position without hearings, testimony, or due process.” [Federal News Radio, House of Representatives]

Ray’s Hell Burger Still Among the Best — Rosslyn-based Ray’s Hell Burger is on Food & Wine’s list of the best burgers in the United States. [Food & Wine]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

by Katie Pyzyk — December 30, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Beyer event graphic

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is inviting the public to join him in an evening of open discussion at an event he has dubbed “The Road Ahead.”

Beyer says many Arlington residents have contacted his office recently to voice concerns and to inquire about working to “bridge the great divisions that exist in our rich and complex country.”

Issues on the agenda for discussion include health care, immigration, climate change, gun safety, civil rights, and America’s role in the world, among others.

The event will take place at Wakefield High School (1325 S. Dinwiddie Street) on Monday, January 16, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event is free and those interested in attending may register online.

by ARLnow.com — December 14, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Rep. Don Beyer in his Capitol Hill office (file photo)Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is unhappy with the environmental implications of president-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks.

In a statement last night, Beyer blasted Trump’s picks for EPA administrator, Secretary of State and Secretary of Energy.

The full statement is below.

The trio of Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, and Gov. Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy confirms our worst fears about President-elect Trump’s intentions on climate change and the environment.

As Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt organized and led a national push to oppose the EPA. He made himself the mouthpiece for the fossil fuel industry as it fought protections of air and water quality. As a denier of climate science, he is unqualified to run the nation’s premiere agency on the environment and the fight against climate change.

At the helm of Exxon-Mobil, Rex Tillerson continued the corporation’s efforts to undermine climate science as well as its unyielding insistence that fossil fuels remain the dominant, if not sole, energy source for the immediate future.  Exxon-Mobil’s regard for shareholders alone, and its refusal to acknowledge that stock value could be married with a wiser and more sustainable long-term world energy portfolio caused untold harm. It is appalling that the Secretary of State who negotiated the Paris Agreement, perhaps the most ambitious step towards fighting climate change in history, could be followed by this nominee.

Rick Perry impressed almost no one during his presidential run, and his most famous statement was his call to abolish the very agency he has been tapped to lead, once he remembered that it is called the ‘Department of Energy.’ The notion that he will succeed the Obama-era Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winner, and incumbent Ernest Moniz, an MIT nuclear physicist, is at once saddening and frightening, as was his call to close the agency tasked with developing clean energy technologies.

Climate change remains the world’s greatest threat. Delaying or reversing our efforts to fight climate change will have potentially catastrophic effects on the planet.

by ARLnow.com — December 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm 0

U.S. government helicopter flying overhead (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a conference report for the National Defense Authorization Act, pushing an amendment on helicopter noise from Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) closer to becoming law.

The amendment was proposed by Beyer in response to frequent complaints from Northern Virginia residents about excess noise from military helicopters. It directs the Dept. of Defense to work with the Federal Aviation Administration “to study changes to the region’s helicopter flight routes, operating procedures, and even the types of helicopters flown in the national capital airspace to mitigate the effect of noise on the region’s neighborhoods.”

With Friday’s 375-34 House vote, the measure is now set to be voted on by the Senate this week, prior to heading to the president’s desk to become law.

Beyer said the language in the bill will force the DoD to take responsibility for its role in creating noise that affects quality of life in local neighborhoods.

“My constituents understand and appreciate the military’s mission in the National Capital Region, but that does not absolve the Pentagon’s responsibility to minimize helicopter flights over residential neighborhoods,” Beyer told ARLnow.com Friday, in a statement. “I offered this amendment out of frustration after Department officials rebuffed my attempts to work together to quiet the noise. Today’s vote ensures the DoD will work with the FAA and local community groups to find ways to reduce the din.”

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — November 21, 2016 at 10:05 am 0

Congressman Don Beyer delivers a speech at the Arlington Jobs and Infrastructure Press Conference outside of Courthouse Metro StationRep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says president-elect Donald Trump’s appointments thus far are an abdication of his duty to lead responsibly.

Beyer says the appointments of Sen. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor, and Steve Bannon as Chief White House Strategist represent a “divisive course” and should be withdrawn.

Beyer, who represents Arlington on Capitol Hill, was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton during the presidential race. The congressman’s office issued the following press release.

“I do not expect to agree with President-elect Trump on most issues, but I do expect him to lead responsibly. By appointing Senator Sessions and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to key positions on his administration’s national security team, he has abdicated that duty. His chosen advisors have expressed views attacking women, African Americans, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics and Latinos, immigrants and new Americans, and numerous other groups. I urge him to reconsider this divisive course and withdraw these appointments.”

Lt. General Michael Flynn, Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, publicly stated that “fear of Muslims is rational.” Flynn’s financial ties to Russia and Turkey represent a significant potential conflict of interest as he leads the National Security Council. He also said just a month ago that “the Muslim faith itself” is a “political ideology, not a religion,” which is the source of an “existential threat on a global scale.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, nominated to be Attorney General, defended Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States in an interview during which he also defended Trump’s attacks on the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan. Sessions once referred to an African American attorney as “boy,” and said that civil rights groups like the ACLU, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference were “un-American” and were attempting to “force civil rights down the throats of people.” As Attorney General, Sessions – who has criticized the Voting Rights Act – would be in charge of enforcing civil rights laws and investigating police departments for incidents of racial profiling and race-based-violence. Sessions has also made his stance on immigration – which borders on nativism – the focus of many public statements.

Representative Beyer previously signed the letter led by Rep. David Cicilline urging President-elect Trump to reconsider his appointment of white nationalist Steve Bannon to the position of Chief White House Strategist.

He is the sponsor of a House resolution, H. Res. 569, “Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” He also proposed the Freedom of Religion Act, a bill which would bar the President from using religious beliefs to prevent travelers, refugees, or immigrants from entering the United States. The bill enjoys bipartisan support in the House as well as the backing of a coalition of civil liberties organizations and groups representing a broad spectrum of religious faiths.

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