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Debbie's Blog

Dingell Update: 07.31.2023

Dear Friend,

Home. Home for six glorious weeks of Michigan summer. Lots planned from Congress in your Corners, town halls, festivals and parades, farmers markets, tours of companies and facilities, farm tours, county fairs, roundtables, picnics, barbecues- just being out and about. 
The last week of Washington ended the summer session, thankfully, as there has just been too much tension and division. We did work on a lot, but recessed a day early because Republicans couldn’t get enough votes for the agriculture appropriations bill. I fear what this means for our 2024 budget.  I do not believe we should shut our government down at the end of the calendar year on September 30th, but this could very well happen. It is not the way we should be running our government and I will work with everyone to avoid such action. 
We did get work done this last week, and highlights are below. Over the weekend, too many people continued to not have power after last week’s severe storms. I am working to hold town halls with the utility companies. But even the rain didn’t dampen planned events from the Augusta Township Car Festival (the music was so danceable), Chelsea Sounds and Sights, Washtenaw County Clean-up Days, lots of farmers markets (the produce is coming in strong), Punjab FC 8th Annual Khed Mela 2023 in Canton, the Bucket List Dreams Fundraiser to help fulfill the dreams of veterans, fishing debut in Riverview, the 50th Anniversary of the Arab-Chaldean Festival, and always a favorite for me – Lions training camp, just to name a few. Lots of smiles, music, food, good times, hopes, and wishes. I was determined the rain was not going to get me down.

Autonomous Vehicles Hearing

On Wednesday, we held a an Energy and Commerce Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee legislative hearing titled, "Self-Driving Vehicle Legislative Framework: Enhancing Safety, Improving Lives and Mobility, and Beating China” where we discussed two draft proposals for establishing a bipartisan federal autonomous vehicle framework—one authored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and my draft proposal.
Michigan put the world on wheels and is the global center of automotive manufacturing and innovation. We must keep it this way. And today, Michigan is the tip of the spear for the autonomous vehicle revolution—from technological development to manufacturing. I firmly believe in the promise of AV technology, but if the United States is going to stay at the forefront, Congress must pass a comprehensive bipartisan federal AV framework that supports the safe, responsible deployment of AVs. I am committed to working with Rep. Bob Latta, my E&C colleagues, and all stakeholders to get the policies right and to get this finally done. 

The New Energy Economy with Politico

On Wednesday, I participated in the Politico New Energy Economy Summit to discuss the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act nearly a year after its passage and how we're continuing to address the climate crisis all while creating good American jobs. We covered everything from EV battery development at home in Michigan, to ensuring the programs in the IRA are successfully implemented across the country.

PACT Act Deadline

On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed the PACT Act into law. The PACT Act is the most significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic exposed veterans and survivors in over thirty years. If you believe you were affected by toxic substance exposure and apply for benefits by August 9th, 2023, you could be eligible for 12 months of backdated compensation. This deadline is quickly approaching, so I encourage you to check your eligibility to ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve.
I have met with veterans throughout my district and listened to their stories. I’ve seen men and women who have sacrificed so much and shown immense courage and bravery be reduced to tears out of desperation, pain, and hopelessness. We couldn't wait another second to deliver on our promise to care for these veterans when they return home. For more information or to see your qualifications for PACT Act benefits, click here. If you need assistance in submitting an intent to file, click here to find local Veteran Service Officers who may be able to help.
And please spread the word among your community – every veteran deserves the opportunity to receive the benefits they are entitled to. We are holding one more information session before this upcoming deadline. It will take place at the Woodhaven Community Center, 23101 Hall Rd., Woodhaven MI 48183, this Saturday, August 5, from 3:30 to 5:00PM. I will be joined by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, and representatives from the Ann Arbor VA, Detroit VA, and the Detroit Veteran Services office who can help you fill out your form on-site. 

ADA Anniversary

Wednesday, on the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, I introduced a bipartisan resolution commemorating the ADA with my friend and fellow co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. The ADA has broken down barriers and provided millions of individuals with a better quality of life. While we have made progress through the years, there’s still much work ahead and we must keep up the fight to ensure equal access to all the same spaces, information, resources, and opportunities for all Americans.

Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic

Thursday, the Select subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a hearing challenging vaccine requirements. I remain deeply troubled that politically-charged conversations like this are contributing to vaccine misinformation that’s jeopardizing public health. 
I understand vaccine hesitancy more than most. Since I got Guillain-Barre from a flu shot, I was initially nervous to get the COVID-19 vaccine, so I took the time to educate myself before rolling up my sleeve. After many conversations with experts, scientists, and doctors—including some at the University of Michigan—who explained the vaccine’s development and risks, I learned the risks of COVID-19 infection far outweighed the risks of COVID-19 vaccination. They encouraged me to receive the vaccination, and I am very thankful I did since when I tested positive for COVID-19, my symptoms were mild and I did not require hospitalization. 
Vaccine misinformation is fueling distrust of long-trusted safe and effective vaccines. As a result, the world is experiencing the largest global decline in decades of the number of children receiving basic immunizations. These declining vaccination rates are unnecessarily driving dangerous outbreaks of infectious diseases like measles and polio. We all must remain committed to amplifying accurate information and not engage in political bickering that’s recklessly fueling vaccine hesitancy. 

Reclaiming the Solar Supply Chain Act

Thursday, I, along with Rep. Castor, reintroduced legislation to invest in domestic solar manufacturing. According to the International Energy Agency, China is responsible for 80% of all solar manufacturing, a number that is projected to rise in coming years, and we cannot allow America to cede leadership on this front. Expanding our domestic solar energy manufacturing supply chain will create jobs and keep the U.S. at the forefront of clean energy technology and innovation. Bringing these supply chains home and ensuring we’re not relying on our foreign competitors for critical components is a matter of national and environmental security. 

On the Floor and In Committee

In Energy and Commerce on Thursday, we marked up several bills including the reauthorization of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA is responsible for implementing meaningful legislation that will spur economic growth, innovation, create jobs, and connect every American to broadband. We worked hard to secure over $1 billion dollars for Michigan as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, implemented by NTIA, to provide high-speed, affordable broadband access and adoption to every community in the state. A strong, bipartisan reauthorization of this agency will ensure these federal dollars reach every unconnected household in every state. Unfortunately, we also marked up three bills that would have harmful effects on the future of the automotive industry and will fail to help consumers truly afford the clean vehicles of the future that Detroit is building.
Also on Thursday, Republicans brought two resolutions two the floor that would weaken protections in the Endangered Species Act for the lesser prairie chicken and northern long-eared bat. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act this year, we should be strengthening protections for our vulnerable wildlife and addressing the very real impacts of climate change that Americans are feeling every day. And frankly, bullying bats and chickens is not a top ask from the American people, especially as the last thing we do before leaving D.C. for six weeks at home.

Summer Interns

My office is lucky to have some of the best interns around. Both the D.C. and D.O. office interns play vital roles every single day to keep our office running. They are the next generation of leaders and we wish them the best in all they pursue after leaving our office – but once team Dingell, always team Dingell. 
Abigail Peacock (District Office): Abigail is a rising senior at the University of Michigan and is studying Philosophy, Political Science, and Italian.
Eleanor King (District Office): Eleanor is a rising junior at the University of Michigan and is studying Economics and Statistics.
Josh Weiner (DC Office): Josh is a rising senior at Cornell University and is majoring in Government.
Sherry Shrewsbury (DC Office): Sherry is a rising senior at the University of Michigan who is studying Political Science and Sociology.
Lila Potter (DC Office): Lila is a rising senior at the University of Michigan who is studying Program in The Environment (PiTE) with a concentration in renewable energy and water policy.
Sueli Gwiazdowski (DC Office): Sueli is a rising senior at Whitman College and is majoring in Rhetoric, Writing, and Public Discourse with a concentration in disability and gender studies.

Helena Weiss (DC Office): Helena is a rising junior at Mount Holyoke College and is Majoring in English.

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