Deborah Ann Greer Stabenow /ËˆstÃ¦bÉ™ËŒnaÊŠ/ (born April 29, 1950) is an American politician who is the senior United States Senator from Michigan. A member of the Democratic Party, she is Michigan's first female U.S. Senator and was elected to the Senate in 2000, defeating Republican incumbent Spencer Abraham. Before her election to the Senate, she was a member of the House of Representatives, representing Michigan's 8th congressional district. Previously she served on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners and in the Michigan State Legislature.
Stabenow served as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee from 2011 to 2015. She was re-elected to the Senate for a fourth term in 2018. She became the state's senior U.S. Senator upon the retirement of Carl Levin on January 3, 2015. She became Chair of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee in 2017.
Along with eight other Senators, Stabenow tied for "Most Liberal Senator" in 2011, in the view of The National Journal.
Stabenow supports a current Michigan ballot measure that would legalize cannabis for adults, though would like to ensure law enforcement is involved to ensure the law is implemented correctly.
In 2013, Greg Kaufmann of The Nation wrote an article stating that Stabenow was prepared to cut $8 to $9 billion from the food stamp (SNAP) program. In a lengthy statement, Stabenow's office rejected these accusations, maintaining that Stabenow "strongly opposes any changes to food assistance that make cuts in benefits for people who need help putting food on the table" and that she "has been the number one defender against the House Republican proposal to cut food assistance by $40 billion." Kaufmann doubled down on his charges and challenged in detail the claims made by Stabenow's office.
In 2017, Stabenow fought to prevent the creation of additional work-requirement rules on SNAP recipients who were older or had smaller children and led a bipartisan effort to get the legislation passed.
In April 2019, Stabenow was one of thirty-four senators to sign a letter to President Trump encouraging him "to listen to members of your own Administration and reverse a decision that will damage our national security and aggravate conditions inside Central America", asserting that Trump had "consistently expressed a flawed understanding of U.S. foreign assistance" since becoming president and that he was "personally undermining efforts to promote U.S. national security and economic prosperity" through preventing the use of Fiscal Year 2018 national security funding. The senators argued that foreign assistance to Central American countries created less migration to the U.S., citing the funding's helping to improve conditions in those countries.
Stabenow secured $100 million to repair and replace the water lines in Flint, Michigan, which were contaminating the drinking water with lead. Stabenow also pushed to include a program that would provide fresh fruits and vegetables to Flint children as part of the Farm Bill.
Senator Stabenow kicks off her Jobs of the Future Tour at Ford's cutting-edge bio-based manufacturing lab in Dearborn.
Stabenow has received low scores from free-market groups (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2013, 0%; American Conservative Union, 2016, 0%; Americans for Prosperity, 2015â€“16, 0%) and high scores from fiscally liberal groups (Progressive Punch, 2015, 92%; NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, 2012, 91%).
In 2008, she voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program proposed by President Bush.
In 2009, Stabenow voted for President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan.
In 2010, she introduced the China Fair Trade Act, saying it would "prevent federal taxpayer dollars from being used to purchase Chinese products and services until they sign on to and abide by the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement." The bill would also require a report on Chinese industrial policies and require the Department of Energy to monitor the development of China's renewable energy sector.
In October 2011, Stabenow called for tax breaks for firms developing bio-based products, using crops like soybeans and corn to create prescriptions drugs, plastics, and soaps.
In August 2012, Stabenow expressed support for "strategic partnerships between farmers and industry" and for a recent Obama directive to boost federal purchases of bio-based products.
In 2015, she introduced the Stabenow-Portman Amendment (SA 1299) to address currency manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In 2015, the International Economic Development Council gave Stabenow the Congressional Leadership Award "for her significant contributions in the area of economic development." The IEDC cited her work on the 2014 Farm Bill, her sponsorship in 2013 of the New Skills for New Jobs Act, and her role in the federal bridge loan program."
In 2017, Stabenow introduced her American Jobs Agenda, which included two acts: the Make It In America Act and the Bring Jobs Home Act. The former "would close loopholes in a 1933 law designed to give American companies priority when the federal government purchases goods." She said the act would require that the U.S. government "buy American...If the federal agency says they need a waiver, they need to measure how many American jobs will be impacted by purchasing that product made overseas." The latter "would create a tax cut for companies bringing jobs and business activities back to America from another country."
In April 2017, Stabenow was one of eight Democratic senators to sign a letter to President Trump noting government-subsidized Chinese steel had been placed into the American market in recent years below cost and had hurt the domestic steel industry and the iron ore industry that fed it, calling on Trump to raise the steel issue with President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping in his meeting with him.
In May 2017, she and fellow U.S. Senator Gary Peters announced a $210,000 EDA grant to the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission "to help spur economic development in West Michigan." In the same month, she said that owing to a major change in farmers' margins since the 2014 Farm Bill, the farm safety net needed to be strengthened, especially for dairy farmers.
At a July 13, 2017, economics roundtable, she said that the "#1 request she gets in Michigan" is for "Professional technical jobs, building construction jobs â€” folks that can actually make things and do things." She said that Democrats can succeed in elections by "going to our core. We are the party that are willing to take risks to make things better...We believe in our core in an economy that actually works for everybody. That is how you grow America."
The Biotechnology Industry Organization thanked Stabenow in 2017 for supporting development of a "biobased economy," specifically for Stabenow's introduction of the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017, which would "allow taxpayers to claim a production tax credit of 15 cents per pound of biobased content of each renewable chemical produced during the taxable year."
On October 3, 2017, Stabenow and U.S. Senator Gary Peters introduced the Small Business Access to Capital Act, designed to "reauthorize and improve the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to help small businesses grow and create jobs." It built "on the successful SSBCI initiative that both lawmakers championed in the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010" and that "funds the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and other state-led lending programs that leverage private financing to help small businesses access the capital they need."
Stabenow has received high marks from groups supporting increased immigration and amnesty (American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2013â€“14, 100%; National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, 2013â€“14, 100%) and low marks from groups opposed to illegal immigration: Federation for American Immigration Reform, 2014, 0%; Numbers USA, 2017, 0%.
During the brief January 2018 government shutdown, Stabenow was among 81 Senators that effectively ended the shutdown by approving a three-week stopgap spending bill that "included reauthorizing the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years". This agreement was obtained after the Republican leadership "pledged to soon take up immigration legislation". She stated they had "reached a bipartisan agreement that funds children's health insurance and moves us closer to a solution that provides long-term certainty for Michigan families and our national defense,".
In January 2017, she opposed Trump's executive order temporarily limiting immigration from several Muslim majority countries, saying it "is ruining America's reputation in the world, undermining our relationships with our most critical allies, and most heartbreakingly, destroying the lives of good and law-abiding people."
Stabenow supported Obama's Iran deal that sought to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for 10 years and attempted to halt their uranium production.
Recounting a 2014 Senate hearing on income inequality, George Packer singled out Stabenow as the only committee member who pushed back on the idea that it was caused largely by the withdrawal from the workforce of middle-aged people who preferred to collect welfare. Stabenow "pointed out that almost all the voters she heard from in high-unemployment Michigan still wanted to work."
She has received low scores from low-spending advocates (Club for Growth, 2016, 8%; Council for Citizens against Government Waste, 2015, 0%; National Taxpayers Union, 2015, 9%).
Her 2012 GOP opponent Pete Hoekstra accused her of supporting wasteful government spending. "It's wasteful government spending versus American jobs," he said, dubbing her "Debbie Spenditnow" and claiming that Obama's stimulus cost the country 2.6 million jobs. "Her big-spending policies," Hoekstra said, "have shackled job creators, increased our reliance on China, threatened our national security, and put America on the path to bankruptcy." Hoekstra noted that Citizens Against Government Waste rated Stabenow as "hostile", while it called Hoekstra a "superhero." Her campaign replied with a web commercial critiquing some of Hoekstra's votes while serving nine terms in Congress.
Stabenow meeting with students from the Ross School of Business in 2016
In 2011, Stabenow introduced the Reengaging Americans in Serious Education Act (RAISE UP Act), whereby the Labor Department would fund programs to help "disconnected youth" get diplomas, degrees, and job certifications. In 2012, she co-sponsored a bill to freeze student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent and make additional funds available for Pell Grants.
In 2016, Stabenow and others introduced the Reducing Educational Debt Act, which she promoted with the #InTheRed hashtag.
She expressed "strong concerns" about Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, saying that "DeVos and her family have a long record of pushing policies that I believe have seriously undermined public education in Michigan and failed our children."
After the Orlando nightclub shooting, Stabenow participated in the Chris Murphy gun control filibuster. One month later, she supported Democrat proposed bills to ban people on the terrorist watchlist from buying guns and to expand background checks. Neither bill passed the Senate. Stabenow blamed the NRA for the bills' failure to pass.
In 2017, Stabenow and Debbie Dingell, introduced a law that would make it illegal for people charged with misdemeanor stalking to buy guns.
Stabenow has an "A+" rating from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and an "F" rating from both the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America.
Stabenow has helped open 10 community health centers in Detroit while in office.
She has received high scores from Planned Parenthood (2017, 100%) and low scores from National Right to Life Committee, (2013, 0%).
In the 2000 campaign she "promised to make the pharmaceutical industry lower prescription drug prices, to maintain Social Security benefits and to give Medicare a new prescription drug plan." She pledged to "fight the pharmaceutical and insurance industries â€“ the two industries that spend the most money lobbying federal officials" and accused the pharmaceutical industry of "making up to 20 percent net profit each year...on the backs of families, seniors and businesses," Her spokesperson said: "In the last election, I think the pharmaceutical industry spent more campaigning against her than any other candidate...She was enemy number one." Stabenow voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in December 2009, and she voted for the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. She also sponsored S. 2257, the Excellence in Mental
On September 1, 2016, she said that approving money to combat Zika was a top congressional priority.
In August 2019, Stabenow was one of nineteen senators to sign a letter to United States Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar requesting data from the Trump administration in order to aid in the comprehension of states and Congress on potential consequences in the event that the Texas v. United States Affordable Care Act (ACA) lawsuit prevailed in courts, citing that an overhaul of the present health care system would form "an enormous hole in the pocketbooks of the people we serve as well as wreck state budgets".
In April 2019, Stabenow was one of forty-one senators to sign a bipartisan letter to the housing subcommittee praising the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 4 Capacity Building program as authorizing "HUD to partner with national nonprofit community development organizations to provide education, training, and financial support to local community development corporations (CDCs) across the country" and expressing disappointment that President Trump's budget "has slated this program for elimination after decades of successful economic and community development." The senators wrote of their hope that the subcommittee would support continued funding for Section 4 in Fiscal Year 2020.
In December 2011, Stabenow voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The bill included highly controversial provisions, drafted by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain in closed session, that would allow for the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens deemed potential terrorists and enemies of the state.
Environment - Global warming
On August 10, 2009, Stabenow was reported by The Detroit News as saying "Global warming creates volatility. I feel it when I'm flying. The storms are more volatile. We are paying the price in more hurricanes and tornadoes." She has, however, opposed regulation of greenhouse gases, enhanced fuel efficiency standards in California, and greenhouse gas emission reporting standards.
Stabenow voted for the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S.493). In March 2011, the Think Progress website accused her of joining "the pro-polluter frenzy sweeping the U.S. Senate," saying that the legislation was "being used as a vehicle for senators who wish to prevent regulation of greenhouse pollution from oil refineries, coal-fired power plants, heavy industry, and other major emitters. Stabenow has added her amendment to three others intended to hamstring the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of carbon polluters."
Stabenow's proposed amendment to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions for two years also drew criticism. The amendment would have given â€œcoal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial sources a two year exemptionâ€ from rules requiring them to report greenhouse gas emissions. Stabenow defended her position by calling her amendment "a common-sense approach that allows protections from carbon pollution, determined by scientists and public health experts, to continue being developed while providing businesses the support and incentives they need as they reduce pollution, generate new clean energy technologies and create jobs."
In February 2019, in response to reports of the EPA intending to decide against setting drinking water limits for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) as part of an upcoming national strategy to manage the aforementioned class of chemicals, Stabenow was one of twenty senators to sign a letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler calling on the agency "to develop enforceable federal drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, as well as institute immediate actions to protect the public from contamination from additional per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)."
Environment - Drilling in the Great Lakes
In 2010, Stabenow called for a total ban on drilling in the Great Lakes. Critics noted that "a U.S. federal ban on all oil and natural gas offshore drilling in the Great Lakes" had already "been in place since 2005," and that Canada banned offshore oil drilling but had "roughly 500 offshore gas wells in Lake Erie," plus 23 "slant wells" that "drill for oil on shore but extend under Lake Erie." In 2015, Stabenow and Gary Peters introduced the Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act "to ban shipping of crude oil by vessel on the Great Lakes and require a comprehensive, top-to-bottom review of hazardous pipelines in the region."
In May 2017, Stabenow expressed support for the bipartisan effort to retain funding for The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
In September 2016, Stabenow and Gary Peters led an effort to link an aid package for the Flint water crisis to flood relief funds for Louisiana.
Environment - Canadian waste disposal
On August 31, 2006, Stabenow, along with Senator Carl Levin and Rep. John Dingell, announced an agreement that would completely cease Ontario's dumping of solid waste in Michigan within four years. This had been an issue in Michigan for the past several years. Stabenow had previously introduced legislation in the Senate that was intended to reduce the dumping of Canadian trash in Michigan. In July 2006, the Senate unanimously passed a law sponsored by Stabenow requiring the payment of a $420 inspection fee for every truckload of Canadian trash being brought into Michigan.
Radio - Fairness doctrine
Asked in 2009 by Bill Press whether she would support a return of the Fairness Doctrine, under which the federal government enforced an ideological "balance" on the airwaves, Stabenow said yes: "I absolutely think it's time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves." Asked whether she would push for Senate hearings on the subject, she said, "I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that's gonna happen. Yep." It has been noted that Stabenow's then husband was Tom Athans, an executive in left-wing radio (Air America, Democracy Radio), whose career would have benefited from such legislation.
Stabenow is probably the most prominent politician to seriously support a new Fairness Doctrine.
Stabenow, as Senate Agriculture Committee Chair, added an amendment to the 2013-14 Farm Bill that prohibited state laws requiring labeling for foods containing GMOs. She has been criticized because this amendment aided Monsanto and other agribusinesses, which donated over three-quarters of a million dollars to her campaign during that election cycle. In 2016 she was criticized again for her role in the passage of a law that overruled state laws mandating GMO labeling.
She opposed Trump's nomination of Jeff Sessions as AG: "Because of his record on civil rights and his votes against anti-domestic violence legislation, I cannot support him to be our nation's highest law enforcement officer...Families in Michigan and across the country deserve an attorney general who will enforce the nation's laws fairly and equally."
She opposed Trump's nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court: "After reviewing Judge Gorsuch's rulings, it is clear that he has a long record of siding with special interests and institutions instead of hard-working Americans. And, therefore, in my judgment, he does not meet this standard of balance and impartiality."