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Results for Southwest Michigan

Southwest Michigan has been my home for some 60 years now. It’s an honor to represent a diverse section of the state that stretches from the shores of Lake Michigan to the eastern edge of Kalamazoo County.

Today, we are facing unique, complex challenges, from addressing the public health crisis to getting our economy back on the road to recovery.

From agriculture to manufacturing to technology, Southwest Michigan is home to innovative companies and businesses large and small. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Washington and our local leaders to promote commonsense solutions to address and solve our largest challenges.

My office also employs dedicated folks to help constituents navigate the federal government. Although I cannot override the decisions made by a federal agency, I can often intervene on a person’s behalf to answer questions, find solutions, or help cut through the bureaucratic red tape. For more information please click here. As your member of Congress, I strive to be open, transparent, and accountable to everyone across Southwest Michigan. Below you will find some specific examples of the bipartisan results we’ve been able to accomplish on behalf of everyone here in Southwest Michigan.

21st Century Cures and Our Cures 2.0 Effort

When President Obama signed my bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act into law in 2016, it was a major victory for patients across the country. 21st Century Cures was historical legislation that safely accelerated the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving drugs and devices. In fact, during the COVID-19 pandemic, 21st Century Cures is as important as ever. Because Cures helped to accelerate medical innovation and streamline the advancement of treatment options and products, the world will have a vaccine for COVID-19 faster than it otherwise would have.

Now Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and I are working on a Cures 2.0, which looks to modernize the delivery of health care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Our new bipartisan legislation will build on the successes of 21st Century Cures and help us take the next step toward finding and delivering more life-saving cures for patients in Michigan and across the country.

Addressing the Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus crisis has ravaged our communities in Southwest Michigan and around the world. Loved ones have passed away. Millions have lost jobs. And our economy will need help restarting.

Since the beginning of this crisis, I have been working from sun up to sun down with my staff and colleagues – on both sides of the aisle – on solutions to help the folks of Southwest Michigan. On the health front, we worked with the local, state, and federal government, private companies, and universities to secure personal protective equipment for our health care and all front-line workers.

We have also been fighting to protect jobs. We worked day and night with our local small businesses to help them navigate the Paycheck Protection Program, securing funding so that they could keep their doors open and their employees on payroll.

My team and I have also been working to get information and resources out to constituents. We launched a new website – a one stop shop with helpful resources and updates. We helped U.S. citizens return home from more than 14 different nations. We participated in a teletown hall nearly every week, providing the latest news and updates to constituents.

The impacts of the coronavirus crisis will be felt for a long time, and our team is committed to helping folks as we begin our road to recovery.

Combating Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic 

No community is immune and all too many of us have experienced the devastation and loss firsthand caused by the opioid epidemic. Make no mistake - the opioid crisis cuts through all demographics, races and socioeconomic statuses.

In 2018, Congress took a monumental step to combat this crisis. Thanks to a bipartisan effort, we passed and President Trump signed the Substance Use-Disorder that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, which represents the most significant congressional effort to confront a single drug crisis in American history.

Developing new, non-addictive pain medications is essential to combating the opioid epidemic. We must also continue our oversight efforts to make sure laws such as the SUPPORT Act and my 21st Century Cures Act - which provided an additional $1 billion to states to address opioid addiction treatment and prevention – are being implemented the way they were intended.

Fighting to Protect the Great Lakes and Stopping Asian Carp

I continue to work with other Members from the Great Lakes region to ensure we have the proper resources to fend off invasive species, including the Asian carp, round goby, sea lamprey, zebra mussel, and alewife. These large non-native fish and other invasive species threaten to destroy the $70 billion economy supported by the Great Lakes. I support the physical separation of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River water sheds to ensure that future threats from invasive species are mitigated. I do not consider our current infrastructure of electric barriers in the Chicago Area Waterway System a viable long-term solution alone. 

In July 2019, I joined a bipartisan group of members from our Michigan Congressional delegation to visit the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois. In May 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers sent Congress a plan to install noisemakers, electric cables and other devices at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in order to prevent Asian carp from spreading into Lake Michigan. We need to secure the resources necessary to implement this plan and ensure Asian carp stay out of our Great Lakes.

Protecting our Lakes from Nuclear Spillage

My fondest memories of growing up in St. Joseph are centered around spending time on Lake Michigan. Many Michiganders share my appreciation for the Great Lakes. These mighty lakes are a part of our state’s history and heritage. When I was elected to Congress, I promised to do all that I could to protect these lakes for future generations of Michiganders. 

In 2019, my friend Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and I fought to make sure we are protecting our Great Lakes from nuclear waste.

In the Energy and Commerce Committee, we introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2019 that disallows the permanent or long-term storage of nuclear waste near the Great Lakes by the governments of the United States or Canada. I was pleased to see that the amendment passed unanimously in committee.

While not every member of the committee is from a Great Lakes state, everyone understood the importance of the Great Lakes as one of the greatest natural resource this nation has to offer.

Great Lakes votes are always easy for me – they are always a YES. As long as I’m in Congress, I will continue to fight for the Great Lakes.

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