Government Matters: Week in review, May 22-26

House members seek to block proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia

By Corie Whalen


Rep. Justin Amash

A bipartisan group of six representatives, led by Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), have introduced a joint resolution of disapproval, H.J. Res. 102, to block proposed sales of precision-guided munitions and other offensive weapons to the Government of Saudi Arabia. The joint resolution is cosponsored by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).


Congress was notified of the proposed sales, which are part of a larger arms deal with Saudi Arabia reportedly worth $110 billion, on May 19.


“Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records and has supported many of the extremists terrorizing the people of the Middle East and the world,” said Amash. “These arms sales extend a reckless policy from the Obama administration and prior administrations, and they come at a time when the Saudi government is escalating a gruesome war in Yemen.”

Huizenga Statement on Updated CBO Health Care Score

Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02)
Congressman Bill Huizenga (MI-02) has issued the following statement after the CBO released its updated score for the American Health Care Act (AHCA):

“The CBO projection confirms that the American Health Care Act will lower premiums and reduce the federal deficit. Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services released a study detailing how premiums for Michigan residents on the individual market have increased by 90% over the last four years alone. ObamaCare is collapsing and isn’t sustainable. We need to restore the ability for hardworking Michiganders to choose the health care plan that best meets their needs. The AHCA is a positive step in helping to achieve that objective.”

Stabenow Statement on CBO Score of Trumpcare

By Miranda Margowsky

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a statement on the Congressional Budget Office’s score of Trumpcare that shows 23 million people would lose health insurance:

“Today’s non-partisan report confirms once again that Trumpcare is a bad deal for Michigan families. It raises costs and takes us back to the days when insurance companies were in charge of your health care. If you or your family member has a “preexisting condition” like cancer, pregnancy, or diabetes, you could lose coverage or be forced to pay a lot more. I’m ready to work across the aisle to lower costs and improve care for Michigan families, but this plan makes people pay more for less.

Peters, Stabenow Announce New Pipeline Safety Legislation

By Miranda Margowsky


U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow have introduced a package of bills that would increase pipeline safety in and around the Great Lakes and account for the unique needs of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The bills announced today would raise liability caps for Great Lakes pipeline operators; expand and clarify U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s authority to suspend or shut down unsafe oil pipelines; strengthen federal review of oil spill response plans; increase transparency surrounding oil spill response and clean up plans; and create a Center for Expertise in the Great Lakes region to study freshwater oil spills.


“The Great Lakes ecosystem is unlike any other in the world, and many existing pipeline safety rules and regulations do not adequately protect this precious resource from a disastrous oil spill,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.


“We cannot allow another devastating pipeline break like the one that dumped a million gallons of oil in to the Kalamazoo River in 2010,” said Senator Stabenow.


These actions build on previous efforts by Senators Peters and Stabenow to increase pipeline safety in the Great Lakes. In 2015, Peters and Stabenow introduced legislation to strengthen pipeline oversight and improve response plans for oil spills under ice-covered waters. These provisions were included in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act, or PIPES Act, which was signed into law by President Obama last year.

Peters, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Strengthen Homeland Missile Defense

Bipartisan Legislation Would Accelerate Process for New Missile Defense Site & Fort Custer Among Finalists to Host

U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, joined his colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve the reliability, capability, and capacity of U.S. homeland missile defense. The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 will, among other actions, accelerate the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) as part of the next step in developing an interceptor site in the Midwest or the East Coast of the United States. The Missile Defense Agency is preparing the EIS for three potential additional missile defense sites, including the Fort Custer Training Center near Battle Creek Air National Guard Base.


“The United States faces an evolving number of security threats — from North Korea’s provocative missile tests designed to inflame global tensions, to Iran’s ballistic missile tests in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution,” said Senator Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. “It is critical that America take proactive steps to bolster our missile defense systems so we are prepared in the event of a missile attack directed at our homeland.


The Advancing America’s Missile Defense Act of 2017 will take a comprehensive review of current American missile defense system capabilities, including:

  • Promoting an integrated, layered ballistic missile defense system that incorporates different aspects of missile defense, such as ground based sensors and radars;
  • Authorizing an additional 28 GBIs;
  • Speeding the development and deployment of advanced interceptor technologies;
  • Accelerating the development and deployment of a space-based sensor layer;
  • Authorizing increased missile defense testing; and
  • Requiring a DoD report on potentially increasing GBI capacity.

Peters Statement on President Trump’s 2018 Budget Proposal

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Ranking Member of the Federal

U.S. Senator Gary Peters

Spending Oversight Subcommittee, released the following statement regarding President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, which makes drastic cuts to programs that Michigan families and businesses rely on:


“I am extremely concerned that President Trump’s budget proposal makes significant cuts to critical programs that boost Michigan’s working families, support economic development in Michigan’s urban and rural communities, and protect the Great Lakes which are vital to some of our state’s largest industries.


“Rather than investing in policies that promote manufacturing, support small businesses, strengthen education, and drive our economy forward, President Trump’s budget only offers counterproductive cuts that would stifle Michigan’s economic growth and strain the pocketbooks of Michigan families. While Congress has a responsibility to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and effectively, any budget passed by Congress must address the needs of middle class families, seniors and small businesses.”

Stabenow Statement on Trump Budget Request that Eliminates Great Lakes funding

By Miranda Margowsky

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a statement following news that President Trump’s full budget request for the 2018 fiscal year still completely eliminates funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative:


“It’s official—President Trump’s 2018 budget zeros out funding for our Great Lakes. Thanks to thousands of people across Michigan speaking out, we already stopped cuts for this year. This is a moment for Michigan when we all need to stand together to protect our Great Lakes.”


The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which Senator Stabenow authored in 2010, is critical to supporting jobs, fighting invasive species, and protecting the Michigan way of life. Earlier this month, Senator Stabenow led the bipartisan effort to successfully pass full funding for the Great Lakes for the remainder of fiscal year 2017.

Stabenow Statement Following DeVos Speech Outlining Massive Cuts to Public Education

By Miranda Margowsky


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released a statement following a speech by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos outlining a proposal to make massive cuts to public education:


“Parents’ worst fears were realized today when Secretary Betsy DeVos outlined the Trump Administration’s plan to shift billions of dollars away from our nation’s public schools. These policies have already failed children and families in Michigan and now Secretary DeVos wants to implement them nationwide. Instead of working cooperatively to improve our schools, this administration is playing politics with the future of our children.”