He’s working every day to provide essential resources, relief and information — including two upcoming telephone town halls.
Here in Michigan, we’re fortunate to have two Senators — Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow — who always put the best interests of their constituents first. They’re both doing great work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but Sen. Peters in particular is leading the way, especially given his role as a Ranking Member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Sen. Peters is tirelessly focused on addressing the coronavirus pandemic. So far, he’s convened both a roundtable and hearing on the federal interagency response to the coronavirus. He met with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to press for a strong interagency response to the crisis. He also spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, to discuss development of a vaccine and strategies to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Sen. Peters maintains regular interactions with Michigan officials, including convening a call with state and local health officials, on immediate needs. With that feedback in mind, in early March he pushed for and helped pass an $8.3 billion coronavirus supplemental funding package, which included $14.5 million directly to Michigan and additional resources. He also helped pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to give much-needed support to Michigan workers and families affected by the coronavirus.
Recognizing the economic hardships faced by so many because of business closures and slowdowns caused by the coronavirus, Sen. Peters introduced bipartisan legislation to provide disaster unemployment assistance to people who are unable to work due to the coronavirus outbreak. This legislation was included in the bipartisan Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law last week, which will expand unemployment benefits for Michiganders. Assistance is available to individuals — including self-employed people and independent contractors not typically included in such assistance — who are sick, quarantined, furloughed or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts. The bill increases the amount of unemployment benefits by $600 for four months, through July 2020.
“Gary Peters’ focus has been to ensure workers, hospitals and small businesses in our state have the critical support they need during this crisis. That’s why he worked across the aisle and fought for a better deal for Michiganders,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes in a statement. “While more work still lies ahead, it’s clear that Michigan families can count on Gary to continue fighting for the health and economic security of our people and always put Michigan first.”
Sen. Peters delivered the Weekly Democratic Address on March 27, highlighting important aspects of the CARES Act:
Sen. Peters has also repeatedly called for more testing — which is an essential component of preventing the spread of COVID-19 so infected people can be quarantined and treated appropriately. He introduced legislation that would expand access to free COVID-19 testing and urged the Trump Administration to address the nationwide testing shortage. The Free COVID-19 Testing Act would waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related healthcare services for Americans enrolled in private health plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE and VA as well as for federal civilians and American Indians. He also wrote to Vice President Pence to expand testing capabilities and ensure health facilities across the country are equipped to handle a potential surge in the number of Americans who need to be tested for the coronavirus.
Sen. Peters will host Telephone Town Halls on Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1 at 4:45 pm to provide an update on his efforts in the Senate to help Michiganders impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and answer their questions. He will discuss the (CARES) Act and resources available to workers, families, small businesses and medical professionals. Although the deadline has passed to register for Tuesday’s call, Michiganders interested in joining Wednesday’s call must RSVP by 8 p.m. Tuesday. To register, visit peters.senate.gov.
Sen. Peters has also set up a section on his website devoted to guidance on how to prepare for and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Additional information is available from the State of Michigan’s coronavirus hotline: 1-888-535-6136.
[Photo courtesy of Senator Peters’ office.]