Sen. Tim Kaine joined the NVTC Board of Directors on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at LMI in McLean for an update on key legislative issues. During the meeting, Kaine outlined five of his legislative priorities, including the budget, “fast track” trade authority, the Iran nuclear deal, cybersecurity, and career and technical education. He also answered questions during a robust Q&A session.
|From left: NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg, Sen. Tim Kaine and NVTC Chair Todd Stottlemyer of Inova Center for Personalized Health.|
Kaine began his discussion by addressing the federal budget, which expires at the end of September. He believes that a two year budget is desirable, and is possible with a strong compromise, much like the 2013 budget agreement authored by Congressman Ryan and Senator Murray. Although there have been murmurs of a government shutdown, Kaine stated that the Senate leadership does not believe a shutdown is a solution and will expect to pass a continuing resolution before finalizing the budget by the end of the year. It’s important, he said, that the new budget appropriately meets government spending needs on priorities and challenges that have arisen since sequestration in 2011 and the 2013 budget.
In discussing his support of fast track trade authority for the President, Sen. Kaine stated that the United States “ought to have a leadership role” in writing trade rules, since they will affect us even if we don’t participate in the rule-making process. He argued that these trade deals are particularly important for Virginia, given the large amount of trade that is processed through Dulles Airport and the Port of Virginia.
On the Iran nuclear deal, Sen. Kaine expressed his belief that support of the deal is about American global leadership. While technically complicated and not without risk, he believes the deal is a “tremendous improvement over the status quo.” Most importantly, Sen. Kaine stated that America must show that it has exhausted all possible diplomatic options with Iran, in case force is needed in the future.
Kaine closed his remarks with a discussion of cybersecurity and career and technical education, which are both of particular interest to the technology community. He explained the status of the current cybersecurity bill being considered in the Senate, which he said was focused primarily on information sharing. But he believes that it is important to make sure that the legislation is efficient and addresses key private sector concerns before it is brought to vote.
Sen. Kaine closed by addressing career and technical education, an issue he has taken the lead on in the Senate. He helped start the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus to focus on improving and strengthening access to career and technical education to ensure that students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century. He argued that Virginia and the nation should be focused on and supporting skills training, not just degrees.
The meeting ended with a question and answer session, in which Kaine primarily addressed cybersecurity and education issues.