Discover more from Virginia Political Newsletter
Biden wants states to suspend the gas tax
This is a daily newsletter covering Virginia politics from top to bottom. Please consider becoming the ultimate political insider by supporting non-partisan, independent news and becoming a paid subscriber to this newsletter today.
9:45 AM: GOVERNOR GLENN YOUNGKIN RECEIVES BRIEFING FROM SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH KAY COLES JAMES
2:25 PM: GOVERNOR GLENN YOUNGKIN ATTENDS BUDGET EVENT
Back to the gas tax
President Joe Biden is calling for a three-month suspension of the federal fuel tax and is encouraging states to follow suit. This strikes an awkward nerve in Virginia where Democrats just killed Governor Glenn Youngkin’s multiple attempts at suspending the tax.
“Now, the White House is calling on states to move forward on gas tax suspensions — demonstrating that VA Senate Dems are out of step with everyday people and their own party,” Youngkin said in a statement Wednesday. “Gas prices are not sustainable for families in Virginia, and it is astonishing that Senate Democrats blocked my gas relief proposal three times and squandered the opportunity to do the right thing. Virginians deserved a better answer than ‘no.’”
Senate Democrats have not commented on the fuel tax since news broke of Biden’s push. Virginia taxes a little more than 26 cents per gallon. The federal tax on fuel is 24 cents per gallon.
Biden Will Push Congress for Three-Month Gas Tax Holiday - NY Times
President Biden plans to call on Congress on Wednesday to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax, an effort to dampen the soaring fuel prices that have stoked frustration across the United States.
During a speech on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Biden will ask Congress to lift the federal taxes — about 18 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24 cents per gallon of diesel — through the end of September, just before the fall midterm elections, according to senior officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the announcement. The president will also ask states to suspend their own gas taxes, hoping to alleviate the economic pain that has contributed to his diminishing popularity.
The Center for Politics changed their Crystal Ball rating for VA-10 from Safe Democratic to Likely Democratic.
Congress alleges ‘shadow’ probe by Commanders owner Snyder - Associated Press
by Ben Nuckols
Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” that sought to discredit former employees making accusations of workplace sexual harassment, hired private investigators to intimidate witnesses, and used an overseas lawsuit as a pretext to obtain phone records and emails, according to a document released by a House committee on Wednesday.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating the Commanders’ workplace culture following accusations of pervasive sexual harassment by team executives of women employees. It released the memo ahead of Wednesday’s morning hearing at which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified remotely.
Vega, Kiggans win GOP nod to face Reps. Spanberger, Luria - Associated Press
by Sarah Rankin
Virginia voters picked two women, a state senator and a Hispanic law enforcement official, on Tuesday as the Republican nominees for what could be two of the country’s most competitive U.S. House races.
Jen Kiggans defeated three challengers to win the nomination in Virginia’s coastal 2nd District and will take on U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria. And Yesli Vega, an auxiliary deputy and county-level elected official, prevailed in a crowded field in the central Virginia 7th District. Vega will face Rep. Abigail Spanberger in the general election, where Republicans are bullish about their chances of flipping the seats currently held by the two centrist Democrats.
Vega, Kiggans win GOP primaries in Virginia’s battleground districts - Virginia Mercury
by Graham Moomaw
Vega, a former police officer who in 2019 became the first Latina to serve on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, beat five other Republicans Tuesday to win the GOP nomination in Virginia’s battleground 7th District, where her party is hoping to oust Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA officer, en route to retaking control in Washington.
At her rally Monday afternoon, Vega — who had endorsements from Cruz, Rep. Bob Good, R-Campbell, former Congressman Dave Brat, former Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and former Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart — said she’d already noticed several Democratic trackers sent to monitor her appearances and statements to prepare to defend Spanberger.
Youngkin ceremonially signs Virginia budget while calling for more tax relief - Virginia Mercury
by Kate Masters
Throughout a ceremonial bill signing with the pomp of a campaign event, Gov. Glenn Youngkin touted Virginia’s latest budget as a win for his administration, even as he criticized Senate Democrats for blocking key priorities including a gas tax suspension.
“We’ve taken the important steps to eliminate the state’s portion of the grocery tax, increase the standard deduction by 80 percent and declare the largest tax rebate in the history of Virginia,” he told a cheering crowd at Tom Leonard’s Farmer’s Market, a Short Pump grocery store that also served as a location for several campaign commercials.
Youngkin calls $100M for lab schools 'start-up capital' - VPM News
by Megan Pauly and Ben Paviour
Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s push to create new college-affiliated K-12 laboratory schools got a boost after he signed a budget on Tuesday that sets aside $100 million for the effort. While the money fell short of the $150 million he initially sought from the legislature, Youngkin called the money “start-up capital to allow us to get moving.”
Addressing a crowd of around two hundred supporters, lawmakers and press at a grocery store in Short Pump, Youngkin said the budget doesn’t include everything he wanted.
“We’re going to go back in January and get the rest,” he said.
Greene ‘very capable’ to lead Virginia Department of Health, Youngkin says - Virginia Mercury
by Kate Masters
Gov. Glenn Youngkin described Virginia’s top health official as “very capable” to lead the state’s Department of Health while distancing himself from the latter’s comments on the role of racism in health disparities.
The governor’s comments, made Tuesday after a ceremonial budget signing, come on the heels of a June 15 article in the Washington Post in which Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Colin Greene said he had yet to see “compelling evidence” that racism played a role in well-documented maternal and infant health disparities for Black mothers and their babies. He also took issue with the term “racism,” telling the Post that “if you say ‘racism,’ you’re blaming White people.”
Dems question Youngkin nominee's qualifications - Richmond Times-Dispatch
by Patrick Wilson
Kellen Squire engaged in a Twitter debate Jan. 28 with Casey Flores over COVID-19.
“Your kids are literally obese. But please opine on pediatric health,” Flores wrote to Squire, a nurse in Charlottesville and then a former Democratic candidate, who is now running for the House of Delegates.
Flores also posted a photo of Squire and wrote: “Before I go — you and your wife should hit the gym lmao. Like you’re literally obese — your wife is more so — and you’re trying to come at me over health.”