DETROIT, MI – In his first two years as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) led landmark bipartisan efforts to help ensure the federal government is better prepared to protect and serve communities in Michigan and across the country. During the 117th Congress, Peters authored and enacted long overdue reforms to support the U.S. Postal Service, strengthen our cybersecurity, improve our nation’s federal disaster response, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government. Under Peters’ leadership, the committee conducted the first bipartisan investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Peters also led wide-ranging oversight efforts, including an investigative report detailing failures by national security agencies and major social media companies to address domestic terrorism, and an investigation that identified significant failures in the federal government’s preparedness and initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From putting the U.S. Postal Service on stable financial footing to making some of the most significant updates to our nation’s cybersecurity policy in history, I’ve been proud to lead this committee and continue its tradition of bipartisan cooperation to tackle critical issues,” said Senator Peters. “There is no question that our efforts have made Michiganders and people across the nation safer from persistent threats and improved how the federal government serves taxpayers.”
Peters continued: “The challenges and threats faced by our nation will only continue to evolve. As Chairman, I am committed to building on this historic progress by making sure the federal government has the tools and resources needed to protect our national and economic security for years to come.”
Read below for more on Senator Peters’ key accomplishments as Chairman during the 117th Congress:
- LED LONG OVERDUE REFORMS TO SUPPORT THE POSTAL SERVICE: Peters authored and led passage of a historic, bipartisan law to set the United States Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing and support the goal of providing long-term reliable service across the country. The law made the first major reforms to the Postal Service in more than 15 years. Peters also helped secure $3 billion in the Inflation Reduction Actto help the Postal Service purchase safe and modern electric delivery trucks and invest in charging infrastructure.
- AUTHORED SIGNIFICANT REFORMS TO CYBERSECURITY POLICY: According to the Washington Post, Peters led “the most productive congressional term for cybersecurity in history.” Peters wrote a law that, for the first time ever, requires critical infrastructure owners and operators to report to the federal government if they experience a substantial cyber-attack or if they make a ransomware payment. Peters’ bipartisan bill to enhance cybersecurity assistance to K-12 schools across the country was also signed into law. Peters’ bipartisan bills to bolster cybersecurity for state and local governments, strengthen the federal cybersecurity workforce, and help secure federal information technology supply chains were also signed into law last Congress. The Chairman secured several provisions in the bipartisan infrastructure law to bolster cybersecurity – including $100 million fund to help victims of a serious cyber-attack recover quickly. Peters also released an investigative report on the role cryptocurrencies continue to play in emboldening and incentivizing cybercriminals to commit ransomware attacks that pose an increasing national security threat.
- PUSHED TO ADDRESS RISING THREAT OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM: Peters led the first bipartisan investigation examining the violent and deadly January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. He also held hearings and released an investigative report that showed the federal government is not adequately addressing the threat of domestic terrorism, including white supremacist and anti-government violence. The report also found that social media companies’ current incentive structures contribute to the spread of extremist content. Peters also helped secure $305 million for houses of worship and at-risk nonprofits to protect themselves in the face of increasing threats that are often inspired by hateful ideologies like white supremacy and anti-Semitism.
- SAVED TAXPAYER DOLLARS AND IMPROVED GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY: Peters led numerous efforts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and efficiently. His bipartisan bill directing the General Services Administration (GSA) to install the most cost effective and energy-efficient lighting in public buildings was signed into law. Peters convened a hearing to highlight how independent watchdogs are holding bad actors accountable for misusing relief funds that were meant to help Americans affected by the COVID-19. As a part of the American Rescue Plan, Peters secured an historic investment of $1 billion for the Technology Modernization Fund. These funds are already working to modernize federal government systems that deliver critical services, like unemployment insurance, to Americans. Finally, Peters’ bipartisan legislation to save taxpayer dollars by ensuring federal property and assets are disaster resilient was also signed into law.
- ENSURED GOVERNMENT IS WORKING IN THE BEST INTEREST OF TAXPAYERS: Peters led long overdue reforms that were signed into law to strengthen protections for Inspectors General so they can conduct independent oversight to root out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. His bipartisan bill to identify and mitigate potential conflicts of interest in federal contracting, which will help ensure appropriate use of taxpayer funds, was also signed into law.
- LED EFFORTS TO ADDRESS PFAS CONTAMINATION CRISIS: Building on his longstanding efforts to address contamination from per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS), Peters convened a field hearing in East Lansing with senior government officials to examine federal efforts to clean up and prevent servicemembers, first responders, families, and other Michiganders from being exposed to these harmful chemicals. His bipartisan bill to help protect the health and safety of firefighters and emergency responders from PFAS exposure was signed into law.
- IMPROVED FEDERAL DISASTER PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSE: Peters secured $500 million in the bipartisan infrastructure law to provide the first funding for a program he created that helps protect communities from rising water levels and coastal erosion. The President signed into law Peters’ bill to protect FEMA Reservists from losing their full-time employment when they are called up to assist communities with disaster response. His bipartisan bills to help at-risk communities invest in disaster mitigation projects and protect pets during natural disasters were also signed into law.
- EXAMINED FEDERAL PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE: Peters released a report identifying significant failures in the federal government’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and making recommendations for Congress and the federal government to strengthen preparedness and response efforts for future public health crises. Peters’ bipartisan legislation to encourage domestic production of personal protective equipment (PPE) was also signed into law.
- BOLSTERED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ABILITY TO FIGHT HUMAN TRAFFICKING: Peters’ bipartisan legislation to increase coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Blue Campaign, a national public awareness effort designed to educate law enforcement and the public to recognize human trafficking, was signed into law as a part of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Another bipartisan bill authored by Peters to make permanent and strengthen the DHS Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) was also signed into law.