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Michigan’s Bipartisan Congressional Delegation Stands Together on Issues Crucial to State

U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI 14), Dave Trott (R-MI 11) and Fred Upton (R-MI 6) are bucking the current trend – In an age of heightened political partisanship, in an institution almost unanimously derided for its bickering and dysfunction, the members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are choosing to be colleagues, not competitors when it comes to the issues that are most crucial to the state.

During the “Cutting Through Politics: Michigan’s Bipartisan Leadership” panel moderated by Michigan Matters host Carol Cain, the congressional leaders highlighted how they are working hand-in-hand on several fronts, including pushing forward with the recently announced legislation to secure appropriations for a new Soo Lock, advocating for the protection of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and larger support for Michigan’s manufacturers and automotive industry.

“I hate the partisanship. You’ll never see me throwing these hand grenades or blowing people up. I have the greatest respect for all of my colleagues…We do have to work together. In Michigan, we’ve proven that our delegation can,” Upton said.

While significant policy differences certainly exist between the representatives – most notably on health care and the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act – all emphasized their commitment to the Conference pillar of restoring civility in American politics and raising the bar of debate and discourse.

Key Takeaways:

At the start of a new legislative term, the partisan divide is as deep as ever and collaboration among most U.S. House members is tenuous and rare.

  • President Trump has not yet learned how to push legislation forward in Washington.
  • Democrats are looking to block all of the White House’s agenda.
  • A special counsel-led investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election could halt progress for a year or more.

Securing funding for a new Soo Lock is arguably the most important infrastructure issue facing Michigan and the United States.

  • While Congress authorized the construction of a new lock in 1986, the project has stalled due to lack of appropriations.
  • Currently, there is only one lock, referred to as the Poe Lock, that can support the large, 1,000-foot shipping vessels that come through the Great Lakes.
  • The North American manufacturing and construction industries depend on the Poe Lock in order to receive necessary raw materials being shipped.
  • It is estimated that an unexpected closure of the Poe Lock would have a devastating effect on the U.S. economy and would nearly double the unemployment rate.

Michigan’s congressional delegation is resolute that they will not approve a budget without adequate support for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

  • President Trump’s initial budget had zeroed-out the program’s $300 million in annual funding to clean up and restore large portions of the Great Lakes.

The panel concluded with each representative stating their biggest policy or issue focus for the current congressional session:

  • Debbie Dingell: Supporting Michigan and American manufacturers
  • Brenda Lawrence: Ensuring quality education for all citizens
  • Dave Trott: Tax and regulatory reform
  • Fred Upton: Continuing to support further health care and pharmaceutical research after the recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act