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by Chris Teale July 28, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

After the U.S. Senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Arlington’s congressional representatives said Republicans and Democrats should now work together to fix the law.

On Twitter, Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, said lawmakers must work to make health care “better together.”

A so-called “skinny repeal” fell short of the votes required to pass after GOP Sens. John McCain, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski voted against it, defeating the measure 49-51.

Previous bills, one which would have repealed Obamacare and another that would have repealed and replaced it with a House-approved plan earlier this year both fell short too.

The “skinny repeal” bill would have removed requirements that most Americans have health insurance, and that companies with more than 50 employees must offer health benefits. But the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would lead to 16 million more people without insurance in the space of a decade.

After the bill’s failure, U.S. Sen Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement that the process to improve health care must be more open and bipartisan.

“Thanks to the help of countless Americans who shared their stories and made their voices heard, we were able to stop a bill that would have taken health care away from millions of people,” Kaine said. “There is a better way. Let the public into the process. We shouldn’t be kicking millions off of their health insurance or increasing families’ health care costs. Tonight we put people over politics, and going forward we all need to work together to improve health care for all Americans.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) thanked the American people for raising their concerns about Obamacare repeal, and agreed with Kaine that improvements must be made in an open way.

“Thank you to all Americans who made their voices heard. You did this,” Warner said in a statement. “It’s time to drop this partisan repeal process for good and work together on ways to improve health care for all Americans.”

by Chris Teale July 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

Local representatives in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives sharply criticized the Senate’s vote Tuesday (July 25) to begin debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The Senate voted 51-50 — with Vice President Mike Pence called on as a tie-breaker vote — to open debate on repeal, with three possible plans to be discussed in the coming days.

Those plans are the Senate’s own plan to repeal and replace Obamacare; a 2015 House bill that would have repealed the law; and a bill that passed the House earlier this year.

U.S. Sens Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) both released statements strongly condemning the vote on the Senate floor.

Kaine said:

“As one of my colleagues has said, not a single one of us came to the United States Senate to hurt people, but that is exactly what Republicans have set in motion with today’s forced vote on a secret bill. For many of my constituents in Virginia and millions of people across America, this bill likely means losing insurance or paying much more for health care.

“I spent Friday volunteering at the RAM Clinic in Wise County, where thousands of people had traveled far from their homes–many of them sleeping in their cars and outside in the heat–to get care. The magnitude of the need was heartbreaking, and the message from these families was clear: ‘help us, don’t hurt us.’ As the wealthiest and most compassionate nation in the world, we must make our health care system better, not worse, for these families. We have to do our jobs to protect the health care of the kids whose parents who have been writing to me and asking Congress to stop this heartless bill.

“This is about what’s right and wrong. This is about who we are as Senators. This is about what thinking, feeling, breathing, believing human beings in positions of leadership will do to help people, not hurt them. Americans–healthy and sick–need us to get this right, but Republican Senators got it wrong with today’s vote. In the coming days, I hope we’ll change course, move to a more open process, and get back to helping people.”

Warner added:

“Today’s vote will have very real and disastrous consequences for millions of Americans. The only question is how many people will be harmed, since Senate Republicans voted to move forward on a bill no one has yet seen but which we already know will raise costs and kick millions off their health insurance, including millions of children, elderly and disabled Americans who depend on Medicaid.

“There is still time for reasonable Republican senators to abandon this partisan process. It is long past time for Republicans to sit down with Democrats and work on a bipartisan solution that actually improves our healthcare system.”

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House, had not released a written statement as of the time of writing. On Twitter, Beyer also criticized the vote, and the uncertainty surrounding the Senate’s next steps.

by ARLnow.com July 11, 2017 at 9:10 am 0

Beyer Calls on Kushner to Resign — In light of his participation in a meeting with a Russian lawyer regarding potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton, White House advisor Jared Kushner should either resign from his post or be fired, says Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). Kushner “should be held to the highest ethical standard,” Beyer said. The Congressman has also introduced an amendment to a bill to block the Trump administration from setting up a joint “cyber security unit” with Russia. [Rep. Don BeyerRep. Don Beyer]

Most Dangerous Intersections in Arlington — The three most dangerous intersections in Arlington, by 2016 crash data, are: Washington Blvd and S. Walter Reed Drive (22 crashes), Army Navy Drive and S. Hayes Street (28 crashes), and Route 50 and Washington Blvd (37 crashes). [Arlington Magazine]

FAA Facility Issue Causes Delays — Construction-related fumes prompted the evacuation of a Federal Aviation Administration building in Leesburg last night and caused flights to be delayed at all three major Washington area airports for several hours. [WTOP, Washington Post]

Flickr pool photo by Bekah Richards

by Kalina Newman June 16, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) will host a forum on the future of net neutrality in two weeks.

The event is happening on Monday, June 26 from 7:30-9 p.m. Beyer will be joined by former Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler and former FCC general counsel Jonathan Sallet.

The forum will take place in George Mason University’s Founders Hall (3351 N. Fairfax Drive) and is free to attend, though registration is strongly advised.

Net neutrality is a principle that prohibits internet service providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking any content. For example, without net neutrality rules a cable company could intentionally slow down the Netflix video streaming service as a way to force people to use its own streaming service instead.

Advocates worry that if the FCC rolls back net neutrality protections, companies like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast could have control over internet content. Currently the FCC is soliciting comments to its email inbox at [email protected], to better understand the potential impact net neutrality abolition could have on internet users.

by Chris Teale June 14, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) After gunfire left several people wounded early this morning in Alexandria, local leaders condemned the violence and said their thoughts are with the victims.

The gunman, later identified as James T. Hodgkinson III, 66, of Illinois, opened fire in Eugene Simpson Stadium Park in the Del Ray neighborhood of the city just after 7 a.m.

Among the wounded were U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), two Capitol Police officers and other staffers. Hodgkinson died after a shootout with police.

Scalise was one of a number of people practicing at the field ahead of tomorrow night’s Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.

Soon after the incident, local Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who represents Alexandria and Arlington in the House of Representatives, called the news “horrifying.”

“This morning’s tragic shooting in my hometown of Alexandria is horrifying,” Beyer said in a statement. “I am in close contact with city officials and am immensely grateful for the bravery of the first responders in Alexandria, as well as the U.S. Capitol Police. I am praying for the recovery of Congressman Scalise, Representative Williams’ staffer and the two Capitol Police officers who we understand from news reports were all injured.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) expressed similar distress at the shootings, which are being investigated by the FBI among other agencies.

Dorothy and I are shocked and deeply saddened by this horrible act of violence against members of congress, law enforcement and other innocent people who were simply enjoying an early morning baseball practice. We are praying for swift recoveries for those who were injured and we are thankful for the bravery and quick action of U.S. Capitol Police and local first responders to stop the attacker and treat those who were wounded. Virginia public safety officials are coordinating with local responders and we will continue to monitor this situation and make every resource available.

Five people were transported to local hospitals. Arlington County Fire Department medics and the U.S. Park Police helicopter assisted Alexandria in helping to transport the wounded.

Alexandria City Public Schools went on a lock-in, with class proceeding as normal but outside doors locked and students kept inside. Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg said she was “shocked by such an incident in our peaceful community.”

Those traveling on the U.S. Route 1 corridor during this evening’s rush hour could experience delays due to the ongoing investigation.

by Katherine Berko June 9, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

From politicians to fashion bloggers, Arlington is home to a variety of social media influencers. One common thread among them? Many run their social media feeds like a business.

Angelica Talan, a resident of the Courthouse-Clarendon area, created the blog Clarendon Moms in 2011. Talan often frequented restaurant launches or book signings in the area but noticed she was the only mother present. She created Clarendon Moms as a resource for other Arlington-based mothers to learn about these free events.

The blog eventually expanded to include travel, fitness and fashion advice, and two years later, she began to profit from sponsored posts.

“It was never my intention,” Talan said. “I really just wanted to connect people with what was going on. Never in a million years would I have guessed that you could combine your passion for writing, photography, mingling with people and connecting people, create a blog and make money.”

In 2016, Talan’s friends helped her realize she needed to create a second blog, Angelica in the City, which is geared towards single women instead of mothers. Both of Talan’s blogs strive to promote positivity and an educational purpose.

Talan’s Instagram account has 21,500 thousand followers.

Virginia Square couple Blake Davenport and Leah Virbitsky, initially started their Instagram account, Discover Arlington, as a way to enhance Davenport’s real estate business.

The couple is very particular about the images they share on Instagram; the account now has 5,719 followers.

“On Instagram if you don’t have a good picture people are going to go right past it,” Daveport said.

They launched a website last September, which has the best places to eat, explore and buy a home. The couple started hosting events with local businesses in January.

Sarah Phillips of Arlington’s Penrose neighborhood and Michelle Martin, who lives in Los Angeles, began their fashion blog 52 Thursdays as a hobby.

Both women studied fashion in college, where they were sorority sisters. In 2013, they decided to create a business revolving around that shared passion.

“We came up with 52 Thursdays because our wine nights were on Thursdays,” Phillips said.

At first they did not share the website with anybody. Months went by and the women decided to give their web page a makeover: they organized a photo shoot at a studio and hired a professional photographer.

Now, the women partner with various brands to make a profit. They enjoy working with small businesses in Arlington such as South Block and LavaBarre. The women also offer fashion, blogging, branding and social media consultations as well.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com June 5, 2017 at 9:10 am 0

Perriello Campaigns in Arlington — Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello canvassed in Arlington yesterday with former Obama speechwriter and Pod Save America co-host Jon Lovett. [Twitter]

Key Bridge Lane Closure — One southbound lane of the Key Bridge, heading from D.C. to Rosslyn, is scheduled to be closed from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today through Friday. The closure is part of the Key Bridge Rehabilitation Project. [DDOT]

Beyer Blasts Trump, Again — “Have you no decency?” was the Twitter response of Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to President Donald Trump’s tweet criticizing the mayor of London in the aftermath of Saturday’s terror attack there. [Twitter]

‘Jungle Book’ at Encore — DC Metro Theater Arts has a review of Encore Stage & Studio’s production of The Jungle Book, which pays through June 11 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theater (125 S. Old Glebe Road). [DC Metro Theater Arts]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by Katherine Berko June 1, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

Minutes after President Trump announced his decision to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, Virginia elected officials began to share their disapproval.

Trump said his decision to withdraw from the pact, signed by 195 nations, would help preserve American jobs and avoid placing heavy burdens on the country’s taxpayers.

Rep. Don Beyer (D), who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, highlighted how Trump’s decision to withdraw will negatively impact the United States’ foreign relationships.

“Trump’s decision will be a self-inflicted wound on our allies’ trust in American leadership,” Beyer wrote in a statement alongside fellow members of the House Safe Climate Caucus. “The Paris Agreement was a vision reflecting decisive action, hope, ingenuity, and the ideals with which we would define our country’s place in the world. Withdrawal from that agreement represents a triumph of ignorance, nativism and political pandering, and the message it sends to other countries will be disastrous for the relationships which have built and sustained our prosperity.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) released a statement condemning the president’s decision. He wrote that despite the withdrawal, Virginia will continue to do its part to fight climate change.

“The President’s dangerous action today will have a devastating impact on our environment, our economy, and our health,” McAuliffe said. “The United States economy is dependent on leadership in the world, yet the President seems inclined to sit back and let other nations pass us by. Climate change is a threat to our way of life. If President Trump refuses to lead the response, Virginia will.”

McAuliffe also detailed how his own actions have differed from Trump’s. He wrote how in early May, he signed an order to reduce carbon emissions in the Commonwealth.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the president’s choice goes against the country’s history of scientific innovation.

“The President seems to think that the U.S. commitment to cut about [one quarter] of our carbon pollution by 2025 is beyond the grasp of the country that won World War II and put men on the moon,” Kaine said in a statement.

Kaine added that he wants to be able to tell his future grandchildren that the US met the environmental challenge “head-on and triumphed over it, not shrank and cowered from it.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) called the president’s announcement a “rejection of settled science.” He also highlighted how this historical decision will impact Virginians in the future.

“It poses a direct threat to Virginia’s environment, economy and way of life,” Warner wrote in a statement.

But Kaine managed a few optimistic words amid the swirl of pessimism and condemnation.

“I am confident that our nation’s optimistic, can-do spirit will eventually prevail over this short-sighted dereliction of America’s leadership role,” he said.

by ARLnow.com May 22, 2017 at 9:45 am 0

Public Hearings Set for Sign, Rosslyn Streetscape Changes — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board set public hearings for changes to the county sign ordinance related to mixed-use retail centers and industrial districts, which would allow for more blade signs in certain places. The Board also set hearings for a plan that “would establish a cohesive set of streetscape furnishings to strengthen Rosslyn’s character, and encourage more pedestrian use and vibrancy in Rosslyn’s core.” [Arlington County]

Washingtonian Spends Day in Crystal City — The staff from Washingtonian magazine spent Friday — Bike to Work Day — in Crystal City, filing stories about everything from quirky neighborhood fixtures like a reasonably-priced strip club and a long-time puppet store to WeLive, TechShop and other places driving Crystal City’s innovation economy. The goal was to report “stories of a place that’s creating a new future for itself in the ashes of one that didn’t quite work out the way everyone thought.” [Washingtonian]

Bike to Work Day Record — This year’s Bike to Work Day set a regional record, with 18,700 registrants at 85 D.C. area pit stops. [Twitter]

Beyer Calls for Expulsion of Turkish Ambassador — On Friday Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) urged the Trump administration to kick the ambassador of Turkey out of the country in response to a violent confrontation between protesters and bodyguards for the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey, meanwhile, today summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain about police treatment of the bodyguards who were seen beating up protesters. [Rep. Don Beyer]

D.C. Man Is Big Arlington Thrive Donor — A retired ophthalmologist who lives in D.C. has donated more than $750,000 to the nonprofit Arlington Thrive over the past few years, after reading about it in a Washingtonian magazine article. Arlington Thrive, formerly known as Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs, “delivers same-day emergency funds to our neighbors in crisis, so they can be secure in their jobs, health, and homes and thrive in a caring community.” [Washington Post]

Board Approves Intersection, Stormwater Projects — The Arlington County Board has approved more than $2.3 million in contracts to improve safety at the intersection of Arlington Blvd and N. Irving Street and construct a “green streets” stormwater management system along Williamsburg Blvd. [Arlington County]

Arlington Represented on Route 1 Renaming Group — The former president of the Arlington NAACP and former president of the Arlington Historical Society have been appointed to an “Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Renaming Jefferson Davis Highway” formed by the City of Alexandria. The city is moving forward with its effort to strip Route 1 of its confederate monicker, but wants to coordinate with Arlington in case the county decides to lobby Richmond to allow it to rename the road. [WTOP]

Columnist Blasts Website Comments — “Our Man in Arlington” columnist Charlie Clark says that reader comments about the candidates in the recent Democratic Arlington County Board caucus were “inflammatory” and “pea-brained.” He singled out ARLnow’s comment section and “the slightly-more-civil commenters in the Sun-Gazette.” Caucus winner Erik Gutshall, meanwhile, said he seldom reads the comments, opining that “some are thoughtful, but it’s like opening a horror show.” [Falls Church News-Press]

by Kalina Newman May 19, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

There’s a new group of art enthusiasts in town. Called Embracing Arlington Arts, the new citizen group focuses on informing others about the importance of art in the Arlington community.

Some of the main goals of Embracing Arlington Arts include raising public awareness of the art events within the community, celebrating the contributions artists have made towards the county and honoring the diversity within Arlington arts.

Within Arlington County there are over 50 art groups and hundreds of independent visual artists, with specializations that range from the preforming arts to dance, symphony and children’s theater. These artists hail from dozens of different cultures, such as Bolivia, Mexico, Argentina and Vietnam. Together there are over 4,000 annual programs that attract over 600,000 people.

Several Arlington political members have joined the group, including Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Del. Alfonso Lopez (D) and County Board vice chair Katie Cristol.

“The arts are important to Arlington in so many critical ways,” said Janet Kopenhaver, the chair of Embracing Arlington Arts, in a press release.

Kopenhaver said nearly $7.5 million of economic activity in Arlington is derived from audience expenditures associated with arts events.

The group already has an active social media presence and will host the first annual celebration of the arts in Arlington on October 5.

by ARLnow.com May 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is weighing in on the widening scandal over fired FBI director James Comey’s memo, which alleged that President Trump asked him to end the bureau’s investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Beyer, who represents Arlington in Congress, is calling for a special prosecutor in the larger investigation into Trump and his presidential campaign’s ties to Russia.

He issued the following statement this afternoon.

Congress must seek answers and all available evidence of reports that Donald Trump dissuaded former FBI Director James Comey from pursuing an investigation into Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials. We also urgently need a special prosecutor to find the truth of the larger Trump-Russia story.

What tapes of the exchange detailed in the Comey memo exist? Who at the Department of Justice, including AG Sessions, knew of the memo and possible obstruction attempt? What are the contents of the conversations with Donald Trump detailed in the other Comey memos which are reported to exist? These are questions we must ask, and the public has a right to the answers.

If Donald Trump did indeed ask James Comey to “let” the Flynn investigation “go,” that would be a clear case of obstruction of justice. The FBI is not the President’s personal police force, and his reported request that the FBI “lock up” journalists should underscore the deep peril facing our democracy if he is allowed to treat it as such.

Comey has been invited to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee next week.

by ARLnow.com May 10, 2017 at 1:05 pm 0

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey is “outrageous” and comparable to President Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” firing of a special prosecutor during Watergate.

Eschewing the usual written statement and press release, Beyer released a video statement (above) via social media Wednesday morning, followed by additional tweets expressing his misgivings about the timing of the firing. The FBI is currently investigating Russian ties among key Trump campaign and administration figures.

Beyer, who represents Arlington in the House of Representatives, acknowledged that many Democrats disapproved of Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during the presidential campaign, but said that Trump’s explanation of the firing was “flimsy.”

(more…)

by ARLnow.com May 5, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

Arlington Taking Roadwork Suggestions — “Arlington’s Neighborhood Complete Streets Program is asking residents to nominate neighborhood streets they believe could be made safer and more comfortable for all users for potential improvement projects. If you know a neighborhood street that is missing a section of sidewalk, needs an accessible curb ramp or better street lighting, consider nominating it. The County is accepting submissions through Friday, June 16.” [Arlington County]

Commuting Habits in Arlington — Arlington County’s new “Profile 2017” data packet has a surprising statistic on community habits: more Fairfax County residents commute into Arlington each day than Arlington residents commute into D.C. [Twitter]

Candidates Dither on Exotic Pet Ban — Three out of four of the Democratic candidates for County Board would not give a straight answer to the question of whether they support a proposed ban on wild and exotic pets. [InsideNova]

Metro 29 Named Best Diner in Va. — A new list of the best diner in all 50 states lists Metro 29 diner on Lee Highway as the best in Virginia. [Mental Floss]

Beyer on House Healthcare Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says yesterday’s narrow passage of the GOP healthcare bill is “a dark stain on the history of the House of Representatives.” [Rep. Don Beyer]

Comment Ads Turned Off — To improve the user experience, we’ve turned off those semi-trashy tile ads below the comments. They’re prevalent on lots of websites, especially news websites, and they generate decent revenue, but we could not longer stand having them associated with our site. Replacing the ads are links to previous ARLnow.com articles.

by ARLnow.com May 4, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

Police Warn of Fraud Scheme — The Arlington County Police Department is warning that home repair and tree service fraud schemes become more prevalent in the spring. Police say to be wary of would-be service providers who approach or knock on your door unannounced, pressure you to make an immediate decision, claim to have leftover materials or to be working in the area, and only accept cash payment. [Arlington County]

Arlington Restaurant Makes Sietsema’s Top 10Ambar in Clarendon has been included in restaurant critic Tom Sietsema’s list of the top 10 new restaurants in Washington. It is the only Virginia restaurant on the list. [Washington Post]

Beyer Supports Budget Bill — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) says that while it’s not perfect, he supports the compromise omnibus funding bill that passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Beyer says the bill contained key environmental protections and funding for scientific research. [Rep. Don Beyer]

No Endorsement from Garvey — County Board member Libby Garvey says she will vote in the upcoming Democratic caucus, but so far she is not endorsing any candidate for County Board. [InsideNova]

ACDC Candidate Forum — The Arlington County Democratic Committee held its candidate forum/debate last night, with all four candidates for County Board weighing in on topics from affordable housing to WMATA and transit to diversity in county government. [Blue Virginia]

Trustify’s Swanky Digs — Arlington-based startup Trustify’s new 8,000 square foot office in Crystal City has “a view that arguably is one of the dreamiest” among local startups. The design of the office was “‘film noir’-inspired.” [DC Inno]

by ARLnow.com May 2, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

President Donald Trump tweeted this morning that the government needs “a good ‘shutdown'” in September.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), who counts some 77,000 federal employees among his Northern Virginia constituents, wasted no time in responding. Beyer issued the following statement shortly after the president’s tweet.

There is nothing ‘good’ about a government shutdown that would furlough 800,000 federal employees indefinitely, including nearly 70,000 in Northern Virginia. The federal government does not turn on and off like a light switch. Critical medical and scientific research is put on hold; shipping container inspections at our ports are halted; Social Security and Medicare benefits are delayed and mortgages are missed.

I can think of no worse example of leadership than to call and hope for such an unmitigated disaster. President Trump might think this is the art of the deal, but it is not how government functions, not what the American people demand of their political leaders, and not what this country asked for in November.

Beyer represents more federal workers than any other member of Congress, according to his office.

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