It’s been another busy and hectic week and weekend in Washington. We averted a government shutdown and are working hard to ensure that we can fully fund the government come late November. Below are a few highlights from this week.
Averting a Government Shutdown
This weekend, the House did what was right for the country by voting to keep the government open. The way it was done was not perfect - we were given a 71-page bill with 15 minutes to review and vote. I made a promise to the people I represent to do whatever possible to avoid a shutdown. This bill gave us another 45 days to fully fund the government without doing undue harm. It protects critical programs that Michiganders rely on, and it protects our national security and economic stability. Funding the government is one of our fundamental Constitutional duties, and avoiding a government shutdown was the right thing to do for all Americans. This is far from over and we still need to put in the work to pass a FY 24 budget.
UAW Negotiations and Remarks
Last Tuesday, President Biden visited the GM plant and made history as the first sitting president to join a picket line. President Biden stood up for and with workers. He knows and understands that as the world transitions to electric vehicles, the United States’ auto industry must remain competitive, and we must ensure auto workers' livelihoods are protected in the transition.
Threat to Childcare Facilities Throughout Michigan
On September 30, a COVID-era federal program that allocated money to states for childcare through the American Rescue Plan expired. Michigan received over $1.1 billion of the federal aid, which helped 6,465 Michigan childcare programs serving 290,500 children stay open. The expiration of this lifeline could have a devastating impact on the childcare industry, potentially impacting over 56,000 children throughout Michigan. Childcare plays a critical role in the daily lives of Americans, and those who care for our children deserve to be compensated for all that they do to foster a nurturing environment for children. We must work to provide funding for these vital workers and centers so that Americans can continue to work to support their families.
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials
Last Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials held a hearing on Ensuring the Reauthorization of EPA’s Brownfields Program. The Brownfields program has successfully supported communities like the ones I represent by cleaning up contaminated former industrial sites, encouraging land reuse, and attracting investment. We must continue funding these programs so communities can realize their visions for environmental health, economic growth, job creation, and much more.
In the 6th district, the Downriver Community Conference (DCC) is managing one of the best Brownfields programs in the country. Since its creation, the DCC received and administered over $19 million in Brownfield funding and assisted in more than 200 sites accounting for over $600 million total investment, while creating jobs and increasing the tax base of local Downriver communities. Through the Brownfields Program, the DCC has made Michigan more beautiful, more vibrant, and a more sustainable place to live, work, visit, and raise a family, and we need to make sure the Brownfields Program is reauthorized and fully funded so it’s successful track record can continue.
Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce
Last Wednesday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce held a hearing titled, “Proposals to Enhance Product Safety and Transparency for Americans,” with a broad focus on consumer protection and product safety. During questioning, I focused on protecting customer privacy and safety in the independent auto repair market. Consumers have a range of options when looking to have their cars serviced or repaired – including at a dealer repair facility, a national chain repairer, or an independent repair facility. Independent repair facilities currently perform most diagnostic and repair work, especially out-of-warranty repair work. We must ensure that consumers are not being harmed by the current state of competition in the auto repair industry while ensuring that American’s privacy and data security are being protected.
House Natural Resources Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources
Last week, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is 50 years old and continues to be one of our nation’s strongest tools in ensuring communities across the country have meaningful input on major federal actions. NEPA’s basic policy is to ensure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the impacts a project will have on the environment before any federal action is taken.
As our nation continues to face a worsening climate crisis, it is imperative the voices of the most affected communities are heard. We must modernize NEPA to protect the voices of people of the communities impacted. I have concerns that some of the bills we are considering weaken our nation’s long-standing environmental laws, like NEPA, and undermine communities’ role in decision-making. I remain open to working with Republicans on bipartisan permitting reform efforts, but we must ensure it’s done in a way that protects our climate, our environment, and our nation’s frontline communities.
Service Academy Info Night
Join my office Wednesday, October 4th at Washtenaw Community College for a Service Academy Information Night for students who are interested in attending a military academy. We will be joined by representatives from all five service academies. This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about the nomination process, ask questions, and meet with men and women who have served. Hope to see you there!
Michigan Public Service Commission Public Meeting
This Thursday, October 5, I will be joined by Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Chair Dan Scripps and Washtenaw state legislators for a public meeting to provide an opportunity for the Chair to explain MPSC’s role in serving the community and will give everyone an opportunity to voice those concerns and know they are being heard. Residents who wish to attend can RSVP here.
As always, I want to hear from you. What do you want me to know? What are you thinking about? Please contact me with any questions, ideas, and concerns. Share them with me at this link, or by calling one of my offices in Ann Arbor, Woodhaven, or DC:
Ann Arbor: (734) 481-1100
Woodhaven: (313) 278-2936
Washington, DC: (202) 225-4071