Government Matters: Week in review March 27-31

Stabenow announces legislation to toughen up ‘Buy American Act’ and create more jobs at home

By Miranda Margowsky


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced the Make It In America Act, which closes loopholes in the Buy American Act so the federal government is spending American tax dollars to buy products made in America. This Act also holds federal agencies accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars.

Passed in 1933, the Buy American Act gives priority to American companies when the federal government purchases goods. However, the current law has numerous exemptions.

“It’s common sense that American tax dollars be used to purchase products made in America, not overseas,” said Senator Stabenow.  “My Make It In America Act will create more opportunities for American jobs by strengthening our current Buy American law and holding federal agencies accountable.  The products needed by our federal agencies, including critical defense systems, are being designed and made by talented Michigan workers and workers across the country. American jobs and American businesses need to be our highest priority.”

U.S. Senator Gary Peters is a co-sponsor of the legislation.


“Spending American tax dollars on products made by American workers not only helps create jobs, it’s a critical component of protecting our national security, especially when it comes to equipment for our service members,” said Senator Peters. 


Senators Peters, Risch reintroduce legislation to help small businesses access patent protections

By Allison Green


U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Jim Risch (R-ID) announced that they have reintroduced the Small Business Innovation Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to help small businesses protect their intellectual property by improving education on obtaining and protecting patents. The bill will require the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to work together to leverage existing outreach programs in order to better educate more small businesses on domestic and international patents. Peters, Risch and then-Senator David Vitter (R-LA) introduced this legislation in the 114th Congress, where it passed the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.


“Small businesses are the engines of economic growth in our communities. It is critical that small businesses are equipped with the tools and knowledge to protect their intellectual property so they can focus on what they do best — creating jobs and serving customers,” said Senator Peters. “I’m pleased to reintroduce this bipartisan bill, which will boost collaboration between the SBA and USPTO in developing best practices to support small businesses as they look to sell their product in the national and international marketplace.”


America’s intellectual property-intensive industries employ nearly 19 million workers at all education and skill levels and represent forty percent of the country’s economic growth. The value of U.S. intellectual property is estimated at over $5 trillion, and sixty percent of U.S. exports come from intellectual property-intensive industries.



Peters, colleagues introduce bipartisan legislation to support Great Lakes debris cleanup

By Allison Green


U.S Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and  Coast Guard Subcommittee and a member of the Great Lakes Task Force, joined his colleagues to introduce bipartisan legislation to help address the growing problem of marine debris affecting the Great Lakes and America’s coastlines. The Save our Seas (SOS) Act would reauthorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program, which removes thousands of tons of debris, such as plastic microbeads, ghost nets, abandoned vessels and other waste, from the Great Lakes and coastal waters every year. Marine debris harms the Great Lakes ecosystem, creates health hazards and threatens the region’s multi-billion dollar tourism, fishing and boating industries.


“Marine debris litters both our ocean coastlines and important inland waterways like the Great Lakes, which is a source of drinking water for 40 million people and a critical economic driver,” said Senator Peters, Ranking Member of the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee. “Whether it’s research into the effects of plastic microbeads or cleaning up abandoned vessels and ghost nets, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program helps preserve and protect the unique Great Lakes ecosystem. This bipartisan legislation will help strengthen research and international coordination to ensure that we can safeguard our coastlines and the industries that depend on them.”


Every year approximately 11,000 tons of plastic debris enters the Great Lakes, primarily through Lake Erie and Lake Michigan. Also contributing to the Great Lakes debris problem are building materials, batteries, appliances, fishing gear and abandoned vessels.



Peters, Gardner introduce bipartisan legislation to expand telehealth services

By WKTV Contributor


U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act, legislation that would expand access to health care in both rural and urban areas by paving the way for Medicare to cover additional telehealth services. Currently, Medicare covers limited telehealth services, setting a poor industry standard, discouraging innovation, and restricting access to specialized services.


“Michigan seniors and families in rural and underserved communities are using telehealth technology to receive specialized and quality health care that otherwise would not be readily available,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan, commonsense legislation has the potential to help expand access to care for Michigan seniors, lower health care costs and reduce costly emergency room visits, hospitalizations and readmissions.”


The Telehealth Innovation and Improvement Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow eligible hospitals to test telehealth services through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMI). Additionally, it directs CMI to have an independent evaluation conducted to assess the telehealth models for cost, effectiveness, and improvement in quality of care without increasing the cost of delivery. If the telehealth model meets this criteria, then the model will be covered through the greater Medicare program.

Peters & colleagues announce creation of new bipartisan chemistry caucus

By WKTV Contributor


U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Steve Daines (R-MT) announced that they will serve as co-chairs of the newly formed Senate Chemistry Caucus. In addition to the new chairs, Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) will join the Caucus.


The Senate Chemistry Caucus will provide a bipartisan forum to discuss issues dealing with the science of chemistry and America’s chemical business sector, which play a critical role in our economy and the creation of innovative products vital to everyday life. The group will work with their colleagues in the Senate to underscore the importance of employing sound science to create effective public policy and to promote initiatives that encourage the development of chemical manufacturing and a new generation of chemists in the U.S. through world-class education and research programs.


“Chemistry plays a vital role in creating the jobs of the 21st century, including nearly 30,000 jobs in Michigan,” said Senator Peters. “We can’t predict what the next big thing will be, but every day the field of chemistry is making groundbreaking discoveries that can grow our economy and improve our daily lives. I’m proud to help launch the bipartisan Senate Chemistry Caucus to encourage scientific research, spur new innovation and promote safety in the chemical industry.”


Peters statement on Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch

By WKTV Contributor


U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) released the following statement announcing his opposition to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court:


“The U.S. Supreme Court is a pillar of our nation’s democracy, and I take very seriously the Senate’s responsibility to advise and consent on nominees to serve in this revered institution. The U.S. Supreme Court is often the last line of defense for everyday Americans, and Judge Gorsuch’s previous rulings indicate he believes that corporations have greater rights than individuals.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters

“Whether it is ruling against children who want an equal opportunity to get a quality education or women who want access to health care, Judge Gorsuch often fails to take into account the human face behind each case. He has also failed to acknowledge how deeply the Citizens United decision has corrupted our government by opening the floodgates for special interest money to pour into our elections.


“Serving on the U.S. Supreme Court requires more than education and experience, and I am extremely concerned that Judge Gorsuch’s judicial approach is out of step with mainstream American values. After careful consideration of Judge Gorsuch’s comments and his record, I cannot support his nomination to serve on our nation’s highest court.”



Senator Stabenow announces she will oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to Supreme Court

By WKTV Contributor


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced that she will vote “no” on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. She released the following statement laying out the reasons for her opposition:


Sen. Debbie Stabenow

“The Senate has a Constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination through a fair and thorough confirmation process. It is essential that the next Supreme Court Justice not only be qualified in the law but also balanced and impartial in his views.


“After reviewing Judge Gorsuch’s rulings, it is clear that he has a long record of siding with special interests and institutions instead of hard-working Americans. And, therefore, in my judgment, he does not meet this standard of balance and impartiality.


“After carefully reviewing his record and listening to his testimony last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have concluded that supporting the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court is not in the best interests of the people of Michigan whom I am proud to represent.”