WASHINGTON (WAVY) — We are days away from a partial government shutdown and negotiations in Washingont, D.C. continue.
President Donald Trump and congressional democrats are locked in a dispute over border security. Senator Tim Kaine believes a government shutdown is unnecessary.
About 75 percent of the federal government is funded through September 2019. If no agreement is reached by Dec. 21, agencies like the Treasury Department, Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department will not have funding.
“There’s a whole lot of agencies that are affected by a shutdown,” said Kaine. “President Trump is battling with us about one issue which is funding for what he wants on the border. We should not shut down ancillary agencies that are unconnected to that because he’s in a “I’m going to take my ball and go home” mode, especially when there are two bipartisan proposals on the table that would deal with just that issue.”
Kaine says one of those proposals would invest between $1 billion and $1.6 billion in border security. The other proposal would entail signing a continuing resolution for agencies not related to border security–that would give Congress and President Trump time to continue debating over border security funding.
Kaine also spoke about the BOLD Act, which stands for “building our largest dementia” infrastructure for the Alzheimer’s act. It passed in the Senate and would create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s.
“We need to reorganize, sort of our public health structure to deal with the increasing incidents of Alzheimer’s and how it’s affecting not only those who get the horrible and debilitating disease, but also their caretakers,” Kaine said.
The Senate also passed the 2018 Farm Bill this week, which Kaine championed.
It increases funding for Chesapeake Bay clean-up efforts. Part of the bill also removes hemp from the federal list of controlled substances, which gives farmers the ability to grow and sell hemp.
Kaine said, “That can have a whole variety of benefits to Virginia’s farms. It’s a perennial crop, so its something people can use to make their farms more economically viable and then hemp has so many different uses in things like production of clothes, fiber, rope and all kinds of production.”
Hemp is already cultivated for research purposes, but the farm community can’t currently grow and sell it.