Biden pumps up Peters, ACA during Southfield swing

By: - October 16, 2020 5:05 pm

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Grand Rapids, Oct. 2, 2020 | Andrew Roth

With T-minus 18 days until the Nov. 3 general election, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden headed to Michigan Friday for two events.

He was joined by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit. Peters, who is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate against Republican John James, has not appeared at previous Biden events. 

John James (left) and Gary Peters (right) | Andrew Roth

Whitmer, a co-chair of his campaign, and Peters both gave short remarks on preserving the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2011 Obama-era law that reformed the health insurance system. 

President Donald Trump’s administration and Republicans in Congress have sought to repeal the law and back a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court. Biden has campaigned on safeguarding and expanding the ACA.

“Our choice couldn’t be more clear. While Joe Biden works to expand health care in the midst of a global pandemic that killed more than 218,000 Americans — nearly 7,000 of whom are Michiganders — the Trump administration keeps working to fight to take that health care away instead of keeping people safe and delivering on federal relief,” Whitmer said.

Michigan reported a spike of 2,015 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. Nearly 7,000 Michigan residents have died from the disease.

“Ask yourself this: Which candidate can get the COVID-19 crisis under control?” Whitmer added. “Which man is going to get us back to work? Who could bring us together as a nation?”

Biden took to the podium to briefly speak in support of Peters, who is facing a close race against James. 

“Folks, we need to send Gary back for another term standing up for Michigan families and small businesses,” Biden said. 

Biden also used a portion of his remarks to wish Whitmer well, after it was revealed in recent weeks that she had been the target of a since-thwarted, anti-government terrorist plot to kidnap and murder her.

“Jill [Biden] and I are so grateful that the governor and her family are safe,” Biden said. “Governor, you’ve been through a lot, but my Lord, you are a leader. You stand up straight and tall and you don’t bend.”

There’s not a better governor in American than Whitmer, Biden added. He flat-out denounced those accused of threatening her as “domestic terrorists.”

He then moved on to the ACA. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on it Nov. 10 and Democrats have raised concerns about Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, who has criticized the law and is expected to be confirmed soon by the GOP Senate.

Biden has campaigned on lowering insurance premiums, protecting people with pre-existing conditions and expanding the ACA to offer people a public insurance plan option like Medicare. 

“If Trump gets his way, 20 million more Americans will lose their health care in the midst of this god-awful economic crisis,” Biden said, citing loss estimates that are similar to reports from the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.  

About 827,000 Michigan residents could lose health coverage if the ACA is overturned, according to a June report from the think tank. 

Biden is headed to an event urging absentee voting in Detroit. This was Biden’s third visit to Michigan in the last two months. He last paid a visit to Grand Rapids on Oct. 2.          

Trump is slated to do a rally in Muskegon Saturday. Vice President Mike Pence campaigned in Grand Rapids Wednesday.                                                                                                                              

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C.J. Moore
C.J. Moore

C.J. Moore covers the environment and the Capitol. She previously worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as a public affairs staff science writer. She also previously covered crop sustainability and coal pollution issues for Great Lakes Echo. In addition, she served as editor in chief at The State News and covered its academics and research beat. She is a journalism graduate student at Michigan State University.