Securing against the rising threat of domestic terrorism, improving the federal response to COVID-19, and cyber security are among the initial priorities of Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the new chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“From cyber-attacks and the rise of domestic terrorism to a deadly pandemic, there is no question that the American people continue to face persistent and pernicious threats,” Peters said in a statement released on Wednesday evening. “As the chairman, I am committed to bringing this committee’s stature and resources to take on wide-ranging threats at a national level and address their local impact on Michigan’s diverse communities. From securing our northern border and boosting Michigan’s role as a hub for international commerce, to shoring up cyber security vulnerabilities and addressing the rise of white supremacist and anti-government violence, I’ll continue my efforts to ensure the federal government is fulfilling its top mission to keep Americans safe.”
In December, Peters and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the new ranking member on the committee, said they planned to hold hearings early this year on the ongoing intrusion into federal and private sector networks by Russian-backed hackers. The senators also said they would work on new legislation related to the cyber hack.
Another priority for Peters will be border security and better positioning his home state for international commerce. In his statement, Peters mentioned a bill of his that was signed into law last year to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors to better protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industry. He also plans to continue to press for funding and personnel related to Michigan’s border crossings with Canada to ensure the flow of secure and efficient travel and trade.
In addition to its role overseeing portions of the Department of Homeland Security, the committee has broad oversight over government operations. Peters said he will continue to focus on government efficiency and rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in government.