U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., who represents the 8th District of Virginia that includes the City of Falls Church, hinted at his support for Democratic presidential hopeful Peter Buttigieg while speaking to the monthly luncheon meeting of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce at the Mad Fox Brewing Company today. The national fundraising chief for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Beyer offered thoughts about the unfolding 2020 presidential race by saying he feels “there should be a woman on the Democratic ticket” as opposed to “old entitled white men,” and then added as an aside, “My family is in love with a classical piano player who speaks seven languages,” a clear reference to Buttigieg.
Beyer said he was “surprised” by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement last night that he will not seek the presidential nomination, and it suggests, he said, that it means Joe Biden is more likely to run.
Beyer said his work on the Ways and Means Committee is aimed at forging a $1.5 trillion bipartisan infrastructure investment plan, to advance the development of a U.S-Mexico-Canada new “NAFTA”-style trade pact and improve trade relations with China, to address skyrocketing drug prices, to fix some of the unintended consequences of the new tax code, to address “the existential crisis of our time,” — climate change — using “market-based solutions,” and to address the nation’s bloating $22 trillion debt.
He said he’s pushing for increasing funding for WMATA by $200 million utilizing the “Metro Momentum” initiative to build a second tunnel under the Key Bridge and extend the Silver Line beyond the periphery of the Dulles Airport. He noted the first successful vote in the House to address gun control, calling for universal background checks, something he said that 80 percent of even NRA members support. And he noted that two-thirds of gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides, 47,000 last year, pointing to the need for increased support for the National Agenda for Suicide Prevention, including a new three-digit hotline that also accepts text messages and anti-depressant medications that act swiftly.
He said he strongly supports the decision by Amazon to move to Northern Virginia, noting that it means Virginia Tech will invest $1.5 billion in an expansion here, including at the school’s site adjacent Falls Church, becoming competitive with some of the biggest university programs in the U.S. such as MIT and Carnegie-Mellon. He said that there are more math and computer graduates in this area than anywhere in the U.S. but that many have been moving away for jobs he said should be available here.
Addressing the affordable housing shortage, he pointed to the $4 million dedicated by the Virginia legislature and governor and the use of proffers from the Amazon deal to provide $15 million from Virginia that will be matched by Maryland and Washington, D.C. for a regional affordable housing trust fund.
He called the “Green New Deal” initiative from new Democrats in Congress “an aspirational document” that addresses social justice and anti-poverty issues, but lacking concrete proposals such as increasing funding to DARPA to develop technologies for stem climate change.
He said that a big challenge for Democrats in the 2020 election will be not only in the presidential race, but in consolidating the 67 new seats their party picked up in the 2018 elections. Of them, he said, 44 of them were won in districts represented by moderate Republicans that will need aggressive efforts to defend successfully.