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Debbie Dingell talks cease-fire, government shutdown at state of the district speech

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 6) speaks at her state of the district address at Eastern Michigan University on Monday, February 26, 2024.
AJ Jones
Michigan Public
U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 6) speaks at her state of the district address at Eastern Michigan University on Monday, February 26, 2024.

U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI 6) delivered her State of the District speech at Eastern Michigan University Monday. She covered a wide range of topics including a call for a cease-fire in Gaza, the looming potential of a partial government shutdown, and her desire for greater environmental protections.

Dingell said she's brought up the subject of a cease-fire with President Joe Biden. “I’ve talked to the President about it more than once, very directly. I’ve called for a cease-fire,” she said. “A Jewish baby and a Palestinian baby are both babies. They're children and they all have a right to a healthy future, where they can live in peace and that’s what I’m fighting for.”

The Biden administration's support for Israel as international observers say the civilian death toll of its war in Gaza nears 30,000 people has Michigan activists urging Democratic voters to stop supporting the President.

Dingell said she still supports Biden, but a cease-fire is necessary. She elaborated on her reasoning in an interview with Michigan Public after her speech, focusing on what United Nations experts have called "a massive human rights crisis" in Gaza.

“First of all, if you're an Arab American, a Palestinian, a Muslim, you see what's happening on the ground,” she said. “A couple of families I've met with have lost 20 members, one 40 members. ... There's no food. They're drinking salt water and running out of that. There's no medicine."

"We need a cease fire. The president is working on a temporary cease fire. Hopefully, that goes into place before Ramadan and that leads to a permanent cease fire," she said.

Dingell also expressed concern about the potential of a partial shutdown of the federal government later this week.

"We could be seeing a partial shutdown on Friday night, and what I'm worried about is what I'm hearing out of Washington is not encouraging me,” Dingell said.

She said possible consequences include disruptions to public services. “These are people’s lives, and their livelihoods are at stake.”

Dingell also called for environmental actions. She touted a bill she introduced to tighten PFAS regulations, called for investment in electric vehicles and solar energy, and adding a polluted area around Ann Arbor known as the Gelman Plume to the national Superfund list.

She backed Biden, touting the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the administration’s investments in infrastructure.

"There's no map for the Democrats or Republicans that doesn't go through Michigan," Dingell said.

A.J. Jones is a newsroom intern and graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Sources say he owns a dog named Taffy.
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