WASHINGTON — Here’s how Virginia’s U.S. senators voted during the legislative week ending June 12. The House was in recess.
National parks, public spaces. Voting 79 for and 18 against, the Senate on June 10 agreed to start debate on a bill (HR 1957) that would greatly increase financial support of federal land agencies, including the National Park Service, and boost U.S. government funding of federal, state and local efforts to purchase and protect unspoiled acreage.
To address the deterioration of hundreds of national parks and related areas in recent decades, the bill would allocate up to $6.5 billion over five years for repairs and maintenance, with funding to come mainly from payments to the Treasury by oil, gas and renewable-energy companies. The bill also would guarantee a $900 million annual budget for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides federal and non-federal agencies with funds for acquiring and conserving undeveloped land. The LWCF is largely funded by fees and royalties collected from energy firms engaged in offshore drilling operations.
A yes vote was to advance the bill toward expected final passage.
Voting yes: Mark R. Warner (D); Tim Kaine (D).
Brown for Air Force chief. In a unanimous vote of 98 for and none against, the Senate on June 9 confirmed Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as U.S. Air Force chief of staff. The four-star general becomes the first African American to lead a U.S. military service, and will leave his post as commander of the Pacific Air Forces to assume the four-year term. A command pilot, Brown has recorded more than 2,900 flying hours, including 130 hours in combat. There was no floor debate on the nomination.