Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Dr. Benishek Reacts to Federal Power Grab

2015/05/27

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Following the announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency to  broadly expand their regulatory authority through the controversial Waters of the United States Rule, Dr. Dan Benishek has released the following statement:

"Under the guise of protecting our waterways, today's announcement by the EPA is nothing more than a power grab that will add more bureaucracy without any real benefit.   Among the most impacted will be farmers, and agriculture is a major part of our economy in Northern Michigan.  From talking to farmers  around our district, they feel like the EPA has railroaded them with this new rule without justification and without understanding the impact it will have on jobs.  This is exactly the type of bureaucratic red tape that we do not need.  I will continue to fight against this rule so that farms and businesses in our community do not suffer needless regulatory burden."

On May 12th, Dr. Benishek voted in favor of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, a bill that would stop this rule from taking effect.

 

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Benishek, Sinema Reintroduce Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act

2015/05/20

Washington, D.C-  Dr. Dan Benishek, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans Health, along with Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona announced today the introduction of the bipartisan Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2015, a bill designed to hold VA employees responsible for solving problems.  This bill is a modified version of similar legislation that was introduced by Dr. Benishek in the last Congress.

"Bringing accountability and oversight to the VA remains an ongoing priority.  We must hold these bureaucrats accountable when they fail to live up to their mission to provide quality care to every veteran in need," said Dr. Benishek, who worked as a surgeon at the Iron Mountain, MI VA for over 20 years.

"It's unacceptable that issues raised by the VA Inspector General over and over, from wait times to medical staffing, remain unresolved by VA," said Congresswoman Sinema.  "This legislation would hold the VA Secretary and senior management accountable for ensuring these warnings are not ignored again.  We have a long way to go to change the system and culture of the VA, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure veterans come first."

Specifically, this bill makes a number of key changes to VA policy.  If passed, the bill would require the Secretary to identify by name the employee responsible for fixing an issue that comes to light following any Inspector General report.  This individual would be promptly notified of his or her status as a "responsible manager."  They would then be provided a mitigation plan to help resolve the issue cited in the report.  No responsible manager will be permitted to receive a year-end bonus until such time as the issue cited in the report is resolved.  If, during performance reviews, it is determined that the individual has repeatedly failed to solve the problem, the VA would then be equipped to relieve the individual of their position.

"This process is closer to the way that things work across the country in the private sector.  In Northern Michigan, we all know that if you don't do your job, you get fired.  It's time we brought this common sense practice to the VA, and my bill does that," said Congressman Benishek.    

 

Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.  You can learn more about Dr. Benishek's Veterans Action Initiative here.    

 

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Benishek Votes to Fund Coast Guard

2015/05/19

Washington, D.C- The House of Representatives voted yesterday in support of H.R. 1987, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015.  This bill authorizes $8.7 billion in funding for the Coast Guard in the Fiscal Year 2016.  Due to the work of Congressman Benishek, a number of key provisions in this legislation will help Northern Michigan. 

"With more miles of Great Lakes shoreline than any district in the country, Northern Michigan families and businesses depend on the brave men and women of Coast Guard to keep our lakes safe and open to commerce.  This bill delivers on the priorities for our community, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate," said Dr. Benishek. 

Specifically, money has been provided to design a new Coast Guard icebreaker for the Great Lakes.  Further, a provision will require that future marine sanctuaries follow the process used by the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary that incorporates public input and balances the industrial needs of the area with environmental protection.  

Congressman Benishek is a native of Iron Mountain, MI, where he served as a doctor both at the VA and in private practice for over thirty years.  He and his wife, Judy, have five children and five grandchildren.  

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Dr. Benishek Reacts to COOL Ruling from WTO

2015/05/18

Washington, D.C- This morning, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled once more against the United States with regard to Country of Origin Labeling requirements.  Canada and Mexico, America's two leading trade partners, have repeatedly charged that the requirements violate longstanding trade agreements.  With this ruling, these countries may now proceed with retaliatory tariffs.  In a recent op-ed at the Detroit News, Dr. Benishek explained how these tariffs will hurt jobs and businesses in Michigan.  Michigan exports over $3.2 billion worth of agricultural products alone that would be subject to punishing tariffs if changes are not made. 

"This ruling is a confirmation of what I have always held: COOL requirements will result in higher costs for American consumers without providing any real benefit.  Our nearest and largest trading partner is just across the border in Canada, and this ruling will impact everything from cherry farmers in Traverse City to car parts in Detroit.   We must revise these standards before retaliatory tariffs start putting families out of work in Northern Michigan," said Dr. Benishek, a member of the Committee on Agriculture.

Later today, a bi-partisan coalition of legislators, including Dr. Benishek, is expected to introduce legislation to repeal the Country of Origin Label for beef, poultry, and pork, thereby averting costly, retaliatory tariffs from the United States' largest trading partners.  

Congressman Dan Benishek is a native of Iron Mountain, MI where he served as a doctor for over thirty years, both in the private sector and at the VA.  In Congress, he serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, where he worked to craft the 2014 Farm Bill in the 113th Congress.

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Dr. Benishek Supports Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

2015/05/14

Washington, D.C- Following the passage of H.R. 36, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," a bill that protects the lives of the unborn from abortions being performed after the point at which scientific studies have demonstrated that a fetus can feel pain, Dr. Benishek released the following statement:

"I served as a doctor in Northern Michigan for over thirty years, where I was able to witness the miracle of new life in the delivery room.  Because of this, and because of my experience as a father and as a grandfather, I have made protecting the rights of the unborn one of my priorities while serving in Congress.  I am proud to support this bill, and I believe it is an important step forward in the fight to protect all life."

Congressman Benishek is a native of Iron Mountain, MI, where he served as a doctor both at the VA and in private practice for over thirty years.  He and his wife, Judy, have five children and five grandchildren.  

 

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Benishek Questions VA on Wasteful Spending at Hearing

2015/05/14

Washington, D.C. - Following the release of an internal memo by Jan R. Frye, deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the House Veterans Committee held a hearing today to look into the claims of "lawlessness and chaos" in the VA's approach to acquisitions and contracts. 

Specifically, it is alleged that VA employees utilized purchase cards to circumvent established procedure for acquiring goods and services.  As a result, billions of dollars intended for veterans care was wasted in an unaccountable way.  A report from the Washington Post further details the extent of this abuse.

"Every year since I have been in Congress, VA officials have come before this Committee claiming that a lack of funds prohibits them from properly fulfilling their duty to care for vets.  Every year, in response, we have increased the annual funding of the VA to ensure our veterans get the care they have earned.  Now we learn that the billions of dollars we appropriated  to fix the problems at the VA have instead been wasted by bureaucrats.  The entrenched culture of lawlessness and corruption at this Department has to stop.  This hearing continues our work to address the many issues at the VA, and I intend to pursue every option available to ensure that every dollar of VA money goes to improving the lives of veterans," said Dr. Benishek, who worked at the VA in Iron Mountain, MI for over 20 years.  

At the hearing, VA officials testified to widespread excessive purchasing, inadequate oversight, and lackadaisical record keeping.  It is estimated that $6  Billion is wasted annually through the purchase card program.  

In response, Congressman Benishek is in the process of drafting the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act, a bill that would require the VA Inspector General to indicate the names of individuals engaged in wrongdoing and implement steps to hold VA employees accountable for their actions. 

  

Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.    

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Dr. Benishek Votes for Regulatory Integrity Protection Act

2015/05/13

Washington, D.C- Yesterday evening, Congressman Benishek voted in favor of the H.R. 1732, the "Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015," a bill which would repeal the controversial and unpopular Waters of the United States rule that has been proposed by the EPA.  In addition, the legislation would require the Obama Administration to rewrite the rule, giving states and local authorities more opportunity to provide input for water management practices.  

"With so much of the Northern Michigan economy dependent on agriculture, we cannot afford for federal regulators to wrap up our farms in red tape," said Dr. Benishek, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture.  "Ditches and ponds on private property were never intended for federal regualtion, and we must push back against this overreach.  I've been hearing from farmers and business owners all over Northern Michigan about the need to ditch this rule and start over again.  I want clean water, but I also think our state, which has some of the highest standards in the country by the way, knows what is best for Michigan."

The proposed "Waters of the United States" or "WOTUS" rule would allow the federal government to regulate any body of water that is tangentially connected to any body of water that is currently federally regulated if enacted.   It is estimated that is this rule were to go into effect, an additional 200,000 acres of wetlands and over 30,000 miles of streams in Michigan alone would be regulated by the federal government.  This would require farmers and private landowners to be subject to cumbersome regulations in order to proceed with normal business processes.

If passed into law, H.R. 1732, which passed the House yesterday evening, would direct the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the EPA to withdraw the Waters of the United States Rule that was published in the Federal Register on April 21st, 2014.  The Michigan Farm Bureau has indicated that they support this legislation.

Congressman Dan Benishek is a native of Iron Mountain, MI where he served as a doctor for over thirty years, both in the private sector and at the VA.  In Congress, he serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, where he worked to craft the 2014 Farm Bill in the 113th Congress.

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Dr. Benishek Introduces Veterans Information Modernization Act

2015/05/12

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Dr. Dan Benishek, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans Health, introduced a bill today that would give Congress and the public access to key data from Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country.  The Veterans Information Modernization Act would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to submit an annual report on the Veterans Health Administration's efforts to provide hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care.

"In order to hold the VA accountable, we must have access to basic information on the types of services they are providing and the cost of doing so.  This information, which is commonplace in the private sector, has to date been kept from Congress.  My legislation will change that," said Dr. Dan Benishek, who served as a surgeon at the VA Hospital in Iron Mountain, MI.

This legislation follows a hearing that Congressman Dan Benishek chaired in January at the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Health.   The hearing examined a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis comparing VA health care costs with those of private sector health care systems. 

In their report, CBO found that "...limited evidence and substantial uncertainty make it difficult to reach firm conclusions about [VHA's] relative costs..."  This uncertainty is the direct result of VA's failure to provide the information that is needed to assist Congress and the public in judging the value of VA's health care system. 

With passage of the Veterans Information Modernization Act, VA hospitals would be directed to regularly compile this information and share it with Congress.

Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.  You can learn more about Dr. Benishek's Veterans Action Initiative here.    

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Dr. Benishek: Canada Must Not Store Nuclear Waste Near Great Lakes

2015/05/07

Washington, D.C- Today, a Joint Review Panel in the Canadian government has given a favorable recommendation on a proposal to place a permanent, underground, nuclear waste storage facility less than a half a mile from Lake Huron.  If this plan were to proceed, more than 7 million cubic feet of nuclear waste would be buried at the site.

"The recommendation by the Canadian Joint Review Panel to approve a plan to bury waste from nuclear power plants less than a mile from Lake Huron is unacceptable.  While I support the need to find long term storage solutions for nuclear waste, burying waste this close to the Lake Huron is not the answer.  The Great Lakes play a tremendous role in our economy and way of life here in Northern Michigan and we must remain stewards of this natural resource.  I am please there is bipartisan support in the House that is opposed to Canada's plan, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that there is not permanent storage of nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin," said Dr, Benishek. 

Dr. Benishek is a cosponsor of H. Res. 194, a resolution that expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the President and the Secretary of State should ensure that the Canadian Government does not permanently store nuclear waste in the Great Lakes Basin.

Dr. Benishek serves a co-chair and founder of the House Invasive Species Caucus, and is a Member of the Great Lakes Task Force.  Since being elected to Congress in 2010, Dr. Benishek has made the health and infrastructure of the Great Lakes a top priority. Michigan's First Congressional District has over 1,600 miles of shoreline-the most in the continental United States and is the only District with shoreline on three of the five Great Lakes.

 

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Dr. Benishek Reminds Local Farmers of Expanded Crop Insurance

2015/05/06

Washington, D.C- As a result of the 2014 Farm Bill, which Dr. Benishek helped craft as a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, specialty crop farmers now have expanded access to crop insurance.   In addition, all farmers, regardless of the types of crops they produce, must ensure that meet conservation compliance requirements in order to maintain eligibility for crop insurance subsidies.  These changes help to ensure that there will be less soil erosion and that wetlands will be protected in agricultural areas.

In order to continue to qualify for crop insurance, all farmers, including specialty crop producers like cherry and apple farmers, must complete a form AD-1026 with their local USDA service center by June 1st.   The form is available at local USDA service center or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/AD1026form

"From cherries to apples to grapes grown for wine, there are a number of specialty crop farmers in our district who could benefit from this program.  Agriculture brings jobs to our community, and I am committed to ensuring that this section of our economy remains strong," said Congressman Benishek.

The Michigan Farm Bureau is also encouraging local farmers to participate. 

"If land is not covered by a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) filed with the USDA Service Center by that date, farmers will become ineligible for premium support for federal crop insurance and other programs. If farmers are looking for additional information, we encourage them to visit our website for details." - Laura Campbell, Manager Ag Ecology Department, Michigan Farm Bureau

Any farmers who have questions about this process are encouraged to call Congressman Benishek's office at 202-225-4735.

Congressman Dan Benishek is a native of Iron Mountain, MI where he served as a doctor for over thirty years, both in the private sector and at the VA.  In Congress, he serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, where he worked to craft the 2014 Farm Bill in the 113th Congress.

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2015-04-17 15:23:22


Contact Information

514 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4735
Fax 202-225-4744
benishek.house.gov

Dan Benishek’s story is like that of many people from Northern Michigan.  Dan was born in Iron River, Michigan.  His family didn’t have much when he was growing up, and his father was killed in a mining accident when he was only 5 years old.  After his father’s death, Dan’s mother, with the help of family, raised Dan and his brother, Tim.

As a boy, Dan worked in his grandmother’s business—the Iron River Hotel.  Dan made beds, hauled beer, and cleaned the spittoons.  His grandmother paid him $10 a week for his efforts, but he had to save it for the future.

After Dan graduated from West Iron High School in 1970, he went on to earn a B.S. in biology from the University of Michigan in 1974.  Dan graduated from Wayne State Medical School in 1978 and completed a Family Practice internship in Flint at St Joseph’s Hospital.  He has served as a general surgeon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in a private practice since 1983. He has worked part-time at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain for the past twenty years.

Dan worked as a general surgeon in Iron Mountain for nearly 30 years and raised his family in Iron Mountain.  Along the way, it never occurred to him to get into politics, let alone run for Congress.  But, like many people in Northern Michigan, Dan just got tired of seeing career politicians in Washington waste taxpayer dollars our nation doesn’t have on bills they didn’t even read.

Since coming to Congress, Dan has been fighting every day to create jobs in Northern Michigan, improve services to our veterans, and renew the promise of the American Dream for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Dan is an avid hunter and fisherman and a proud member of the NRA and the GOA.

Dan and his wife Judy live near Crystal Falls, Michigan.  They have five children and four grandchildren.  Prior to being sworn into Congress on January 5, 2011, Dr. Benishek had never sought nor held any previous public office.


Serving With

Bill Huizenga

MICHIGAN's 2nd DISTRICT

Justin Amash

MICHIGAN's 3rd DISTRICT

John Moolenaar

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

Tim Walberg

MICHIGAN's 7th DISTRICT

Mike Bishop

MICHIGAN's 8th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Dave Trott

MICHIGAN's 11th DISTRICT

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