U.S. Senator Gary Peters on federal funding for Michigan health centers, Chinese & Iranian hackers stealing COVID-19 research

Michigan News

UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) — The U.S. Senate passed $14.5 million dollars in federal funding for Michigan health center’s as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters knows the importance of providing support for medical facilities during this pandemic.

He’s aware that people are concerned that, should they contract the COVID-19 virus, they may not be adequately insured. Peters, along with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, want to make sure people have the health care that they need.

“We’re in the midst of a pandemic. There’s no question that we have to make sure that we’re providing health care services to folks, so people have an opportunity to get the treatments that they need and that’s why federally funded health care centers are so important,” said Senator Gary Peters.

“It’s important to get over $600,000 dollars for the Upper Peninsula. We worked aggressively to make sure that would happen, but generally, I want to make sure that everybody has access to quality affordable health care. I’m also working to try to push the administration too allow folks to sign-up for the Affordable Care Act and have open enrollment. People are concerned that should they contract the COVID-19 virus, they may not be adequately insured and we have to make sure people have the health care that they need during this very challenging time.”

Senator Peters knows that this is a time for the American citizens and politicians to come together to overcome this pandemic.

“I certainly hope that we don’t make decisions based on party lines. This should not be a political issue. For us to get through the COVID crisis means that we all have to come together as Michiganders and as Americans,” said Senator Peters.

“I understand that together, we will get through, we want to and I want to get this economy open as soon as we can. I also want to make sure that we are doing it safely and part of that is to make sure we’re in regular conversations with our health care professionals or our epidemiologists or our public health experts that talk about how we can do both because we must do both. We have both the public health crisis and an economic crisis, but it’s difficult to deal with the economic crisis, unless we first address the health care crisis.”

Senator Peters wants to ensure that businesses will be successful if and when they re-open.

“As we open up businesses, it’s important that we have Personal Protection Equipment available for those businesses and their employees. We have to ramp up testing much more then we have so far. We’ve gotta do a considerably large number of tests in order to get us opened up and ultimately, as we open up businesses, which I hope we can do as quickly as possible, but we also have to make sure that customers feel comfortable that they will go and patronize those businesses,” said Senator Peters.

“It takes more then an open business, it also takes customers coming in the door and we have to address both of that. I certainly don’t look at this as partisan. This is not politics, this is about the health and well-being of everybody in Michigan and to get our economy going as quickly and safely as possible.”

A ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee in the United States Senate, Michigan Senator Gary Peters voiced his concerns about the cyber threats our country has been facing in the fight against COVID-19.

The F.B.I. and Federal Cyber-Security Agents have reported that hackers linked to the Chinese government are trying to steal research on coronavirus vaccines.

Senator Peters believes that stealing that kind of information could jeopardize the treatment for COVID-19 patients and the possible findings of a cure.

“We’ll I’m very concerned about the hacking that we have seen by the Chinese government,” said Senator Peters.

“The public reports show that there have been attempts by the Chinese government to hack in our sites and intents of developing a vaccine. Those are both government sites for the United States as well as hospitals and other kinds of research facilities and this is simply unacceptable. We have to call out the Chinese, they have to stop this activity as they engage in these hacks. If their attempt is to try to steal information, the problem is that whenever you have a hacker in the system all sorts of bad things can happen.”

Peters said hackers can change and corrupt data files, which could slow down the progress towards a vaccine.

“We’re not sure what other nefarious reasons to why they Chinese are doing it, but it will likely have consequences in excess to steal information and it’ll also corrupts files and slows down the process to a vaccine and we have to be all focused on getting a vaccine as quickly as possible and when you have a government, the Chinese government, engaged in these kind of activities, that’s not helpful for the United States, it’s not helpful for the world community as well and they need to stop it.”

Recent reports are saying that the Iranian State targeted a manufacturer of a promising coronavirus treatment drug.

“We’ll we are also seeing a cyber actions, not just from the Chinese government, but from the Iranian government as well, and that has to be called out and stopped and I also think we have to be proactive whenever we have a government hacking into systems in the United States in an attempt to steal information or corrupt information in a way that can slow down progress, we have to act swiftly,” said Senator Peters.

Senator Peters said the United States government will act swiftly by using sanctions and the cyber security backing of the military to ensure that these kinds of actions are stopped.

“We can engage in sanctions if necessary against those countries, but we also have a very sophisticated cyber demand within the United States Military and I believe that you can also respond in that way. It’s important for us to respond against the governments that are attacking the United States in way that raises the cost for them to do that. We certainly have to strengthen our cyber defenses and I’m working on that daily, as a member of Homeland Security and the Armed Services Committee, that we have to have stronger cyber defenses, but you need more then just defenses, you also need to let these folks know that if they attack us, there’s going to be an attack back at them in some form and their going to pay a price for doing what their doing because it simply must stop.”

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