I am pleased to provide you with information on some of the work that I am doing in Congress. I have selected issues that my office works on regularly and which I have found to be of interest at home.
This is not a complete list, so please do not hesitate to contact me on any other federal issues of concern to you, to express your view, request additional background information or receive an update on my work.
I am actively involved both at home and in D.C. with the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. I believe our approach to drug use must be consistent and it must focus on engaging entire communities in combating substance abuse.
The U.S. economy is slowly recovering from the deep recession and financial crisis. The private sector has now added 12.1 million jobs over 61 straight months of job growth, the economy has grown as illustrated through improvements in the GDP and the unemployment rate has improved. Yet for too many families the recovery has been slow, wages have been stagnant and the costs of higher education, health care and retirement continue to present immense challenges. Congress needs to take steps to strengthen our economy through investments in infrastructure, improved trade and tax policies, and budget priorities that support growing the middle class.
Strengthening our schools is vital to our kids' success in the global economy. I spend a lot of time in local schools and with local educators. I know that they are struggling with reduced resources, but working hard to provide a quality education to our next generation of leaders. We need to support their efforts.
Energy is the essential force powering our nation’s businesses, manufacturing, transportation network and households. Energy powers everything from the cars we drive, to the computers on our desks, to the iPods in our pockets.
Michigan is surrounded by the largest system of fresh water on Earth. The Great Lakes hold a full 90 percent of the fresh surface water in the United States. They are a priceless and irreplaceable natural resource. I am working to ensure that the federal government is a full partner in helping to restore the Great Lakes, especially Lake St. Clair.
In an increasingly interconnected world, an active, realistic, and effective foreign policy is more important than ever. I firmly believe that our prosperity increasingly depends on the United States being a leader in the world as we work with our friends and allies to solve complex problems and take advantage of new opportunities. Our nation cannot afford to pull back from the international community on economic, diplomatic, or security matters.
I strongly believe that one of Congress’ most important responsibilities is to conduct vigorous oversight to ensure that laws are being faithfully carried out, that taxpayer’s dollars are well spent, and that allegations of abuse are being thoroughly investigated.
Congress must pass meaningful gun safety legislation and stop the almost daily cycle of violence.
Keeping America safe is our most important duty. During the 113th Congress, we are continuing our efforts to strengthen our Nation’s security infrastructure, borders, and ports; provide our first responders the resources and training they need to do their jobs; and improve our ability to prepare and respond to disasters.
On June 28th, 2012 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act – the new health reform law. In the two years since this law was established, it has benefited millions of Michiganders by improving health care coverage and reducing costs. At the same time, the law’s most significant reforms have yet to take effect, including the provision that will prevent private insurers from denying Americans coverage because of a preexisting condition or kicking them off their plan because they get sick – both of which become effective in 2014.
I have talked with families who have lost their homes to foreclosure and seen the consequences throughout our neighborhoods. While our local real estate market has improved considerably since the foreclosure crisis began, the statistics in our area remain deeply troubling. In July 2012, Michigan still had the 7th highest foreclosure rate in the country. In just one month, 8,757 Michigan families received foreclosure notices, including 917 in Macomb County and 1,137 in Oakland County.
The issue of food insecurity is a very real issue that has a significant impact on people’s livelihood all across America. America is one of the wealthiest counties in the world with our agricultural industries competing on the world stage to bring in billions of dollars into our domestic economy. Yet, hunger has remained a domestic problem for far too long. Critical federal programs like the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) play a major role in combating food insecurity in America. Unfortunately, existing federal programs are not enough to address the growing number Americans that struggle with food insecurity on a daily basis.
Social Security has provided a secure retirement in the United States. Social Security is the only universal, portable, defined benefit system for American workers, and it is a program I strongly support. It is vital to preserve and strengthen Social Security, both for today’s retirees and tomorrow’s.
I am working to dramatically change U.S. trade policy. I believe that U.S. businesses and workers can compete in the global marketplace if the playing field is level, the rules of competition are fair, and unfair barriers to our products are knocked down.
The debt owed to the men and women who have fought for our country is immeasurable. Without their sacrifices – and the sacrifices of their families – all of us would not live as freely as we do.
The right to vote and to have your vote count is fundamental. Voting is the essential right that helps protect all our other rights. Without free and fair elections open to all eligible voters, our system of representative government grinds to a halt. Over the course of many decades, the United States has expanded the right to vote and knocked down barriers. When our nation was founded, voting was reserved to white, male property owners. In 1860, the 15th Amendment was ratified prohibiting federal and state governments from denying citizens the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In 1921, the franchise was extended to women. In 1971, the legal voting age was lowered to 18.