Government Matters: Week in review, June 12-16

By Victoria Mullen, WKTV


Next Stop the President’s Desk: Huizenga Supports Bill to Put Veterans First, Restore Accountability at the VA

Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) issued the following statement after voting in support of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act:

Rep. Bill Huizenga

“For too long, a culture that protects bad employees, punishes whistleblowers, and fails to put veterans first, has been allowed to fester within the VA,” said Congressman Huizenga. “The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act provides Secretary Shulkin with the tools necessary to fire bad employees, strengthens whistleblower protections, and restores accountability to the VA. This legislation is a major step forward in the effort to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve at VA facilities and I look forward to seeing President Trump sign this bipartisan measure into law.”


The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act has already passed the Senate and will now head to President Trump’s desk. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Peters Highlights Michigan Innovation & Leadership on Self-Driving Vehicles at Senate Hearing

Peters Introduces American Center for Mobility’s John Maddox to Share Expertise at Senate Commerce Committee Hearing


Sen. Gary Peters

U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee and co-founder of the bipartisan Smart Transportation Caucus, today introduced John Maddox, President and CEO of the American Center for Mobility (ACM) in Ypsilanti, Michigan, at a Commerce Committee hearing on self-driving vehicle technology. Earlier this year, Peters announced a joint, bipartisan effort with Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune to craft legislation to advance the development and deployment of lifesaving advanced vehicle technologies. ACM will play a critical role in testing and validating connected and self-driving vehicle technology, and was designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation as an Automated Vehicle Proving Ground in January.


“As the heart of the American auto industry, Michigan’s automakers, suppliers and engineers will solidify our nation’s position as the global leader in transportation innovation,” said Senator Peters.


Senator Stabenow Praises New Investments to Connect Michigan Schools with Locally Grown Food

By Jess McCarron


Sen. Debbie Stabenow

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement to award new funds to support two innovative initiatives that will bring locally grown food to Michigan school cafeterias. The grant funding was made available through USDA’s Farm to School Program, which helps schools source fresh and healthy local foods. The Farm to School Program also educates students about how food grows through school garden programs and farm visits.


“Farm to School projects provide our children with fresh, nutritious food, while also teaching them healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime,” said Stabenow. “Connecting Michigan farms with our classrooms and cafeterias also provides new economic opportunities for local farmers, helping to create jobs and grow our state’s diverse agricultural sector.”


USDA’s Farm to School Grants help schools respond to the growing demand for locally sourced foods and increase market opportunities for producers and food businesses, including food processors, manufacturers, and distributors. These grants will also be used to support agriculture and nutrition education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes across the country.

Stabenow, Peters, Upton Announce that President Will Award Medal of Honor to Vietnam War Veteran James C. McCloughan

By Miranda Margowsky and Allison Green


Vietnam War Veteran James C. McCloughan

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and Congressman Fred Upton announced that President Trump will award the Medal of Honor to Vietnam War Veteran James C. McCloughan on July 31, 2017. This follows legislation passed by Senators Stabenow and Peters and Congressman Upton to make then-Private First Class McCloughan eligible for our nation’s highest military honor. Their legislation passed the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act and was signed into law by President Obama in December of 2016.


Then-Private First Class McCloughan, a native and current resident of South Haven, served as a medic and saved the lives of 10 members of his platoon who were wounded during the Battle of Nui Yon Hill on May 13-15, 1969. McCloughan was discharged with the rank of Specialist (SP5).


Medal of Honor recipients must be honored within five years of the act of heroism justifying the award. The legislation passed by Senators Stabenow and Peters and Congressman Upton waived the five-year requirement and made it possible for the President to award the Medal of Honor to him.

Stabenow, Peters Introduce Legislation to Protect and Restore Recreational Fisheries

By Allison Green


As Free Fishing Weekend kicks off across Michigan, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters introduced two bills to protect and restore fisheries across the state. Fishing is critical to tourism and our Michigan way of life. Millions of anglers visit the State of Michigan every year, contributing more than $4 billion to our economy. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) also introduced both bills today.


The Great Lakes Aquatic Connectivity and Infrastructure Program Act (S. 1332) will improve Great Lakes fisheries and encourage habitat restoration by repairing and replacing aging dams, culverts, and roads. There are thousands of these structures across the Great Lakes Basin that currently inhibit the movement of fish populations.  Great Lakes states and tribal governments will be able to recommend grant projects to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to either expand fish access to waterways or prevent the spread of invasive species.


The Great Lakes Mass Marking Program Act (S. 1331) will make scientific technology available to track and monitor the health of fisheries in the Great Lakes. The will be used to make decisions to support and rehabilitate sport fish populations in the basin. This program was initiated in the Great Lakes on a limited scale in 2010, and will be fully established in statute under this legislation.