WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), demanded answers from the Navy on conditions aboard USS George Washington, announced a bipartisan letter urging America COMPETES Act conferees to prohibit American Rescue Plan Act funds from being used to purchase equipment from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, pressed the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Secretary on Coastal Virginia facility closure recommendations, and voted to advance lend-lease legislation for Ukraine.
The House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair and 20-year Navy veteran sent a letter to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Michael Gilday on Tuesday demanding answers and extensive action on conditions and climate aboard USS George Washington after seven service members assigned to the ship have died in the past year, three of which died by suicide within the past month.
Rep. Luria co-chaired a joint Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) and Oversight and Investigations hearing on Wednesday on ensuring quality representation in the veteran benefit claims process.
On Wednesday, Rep. Luria also announced a bipartisan letter with Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), urging America COMPETES Act the Conference Committee to include language in the final legislation that would prohibit American Rescue Plan funds from being used to purchase Chinese equipment and safeguard American technology infrastructure. In November 2021, Reps. Luria and Womack introduced the American Telecommunications Security Act to prohibit funds from being used to purchase equipment from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE.
On Thursday, Rep. Luria pressed VA Secretary Dennis McDonough about concerns from Coastal Virginia’s veterans on the Department’s plan to shift care and resources while investing in and expanding modern facilities. Sec. McDonough assured Rep. Luria that care will not be interrupted, and no VA facilities will close in Coastal Virginia and until more modern, capable, and accessible facilities are constructed in the region.
Rep. Luria also voted to advance S. 3522, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. This Lend-Lease bill is a revival of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Lend-Lease policy enacted in March 1941, which significantly enhances existing lend-lease authorities available to President Biden, while also waiving several current requirements.
The bill will ensure that shipments of urgently needed weapons systems, ammunition, and military assistance in other forms arrive in Ukrainian hands faster and more seamlessly.
Rep. Luria will be back in Virginia’s Second Congressional next week to host a town hall on the Eastern Shore on Wednesday and continue delivering for Coastal Virginians.