Dan Benishek

Dan Benishek


Benishek Toxic Exposure Bill Surpasses 80 Co-Sponsors


Washington, D.C.-  Dr. Dan Benishek, Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Veterans Health, recently introduced the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Toxic Research Exposure Act along with Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) and Sens. Moran (R-KS) and Blumenthal (D-CT).  In the House of Representatives, the bill has now earned over 80 co-sponsors with strong representation of both parties.

"We owe it to our veterans and their loved ones to deliver answers about the effects of toxic chemicals to which they were exposed during their service," said Dr. Benishek, who served as a surgeon at the VA for over 20 years.  "I believe the broad, bi-partisan interest in this bill demonstrates the strong support for advancing this legislation.

H.R. 1722, the Toxic Exposure Research Act of 2015, would create a Center of Excellence at the VA to investigate the effects of Toxic Exposure on veterans and their descendants.  This bill was voted unanimously out of the Sub-Committee on Veterans Health and now awaits consideration before the full Veterans Committee.

Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.    

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Benishek, Crowley Lead Bipartisan Push to Secure Funding for State Maritime Academies


Traverse City, MI - Today, Reps. Joe Crowley (D-NY), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, and Dan Benishek (R-MI) announced a bipartisan effort to secure continued funding for State Maritime Academies in the President's budget for FY2017. In a letter to the Department of Transportation and Office of Management and Budget, the members urged the administration to fund the design and replacement of aging training ships used by our nation's six State Maritime Academies (SMAs) to train future mariners.

"Our State Maritime Academies, including SUNY Maritime College in the Bronx, are more than sources of pride for our nation - they play a crucial role in training the next generation of maritime leaders and in protecting our national security interests," said Crowley. "We all pay the price when these critical institutions don't have the resources they need, including up-to-date training ships."

"There are many jobs available to those who have the right skills and training. That's why these institutions are so important. Graduates from the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City go on to become ship captains and sailors all around the country. These are good-paying jobs that can support a family, and that is how we can turn our economy around," said Dr. Benishek.   

The maritime industry is an essential part of our nation's economy, in addition to playing a critical role in national security. Each year, the industry generates over $100 billion, employs 1.5 million Americans and pays tens of billions in wages and benefits. The United States has long maintained a strong maritime industry because of concerted investments in the sector, including in the nation's six State Maritime Academies (SMAs) and the ships they use for training.

In December 2014, Crowley, Benishek, and 23 bipartisan members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget urging the agencies to develop and support a plan to replace the aging ships used by our nation's State Maritime Academies. In February, President Obama designated$5 million in his FY2016 budget to design and replace aging ships. The House Appropriations Committee included this important funding in its legislation to fund the Maritime Administration for FY2016 following a concerted effort by Crowley, Benishek and other members of Congress.

The letter can be found here

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Benishek Announces Week-Long, Farming for Jobs Agriculture Tour



WASHINGTON, D.C.- Dr. Dan Benishek, a member of the House Committee on Agriculture, will be touring farms throughout Northern Michigan this week as part of an effort to highlight the importance of agriculture to the Michigan economy.  Michigan's First District has over 7000 farms that together employ tens of thousands of workers.

"As a doctor, I came to Congress with a lot to learn about how agriculture works in Northern Michigan.  Since that time, I've been visiting farms across our district, and I have always been impressed by the level of dedication and hard work that goes into these operations.  Farms are critical to our economy, and I am committed to ensuring that our farmers have their voices heard," said Dr. Dan Benishek.

Click here to download a photo of Dr. Dan's first Farming for Jobs visit.

The time, date, and locations of the tour stops are listed below.  Accommodations for media access during these visits.  If interested, please contact Phil Christofanelli at 202-580-5116.

Date: Monday August 3, 2015

Start Time: 9:45am CST

End Time: 10:30am CST

Description: Johnson Potato Farm Location: W9454, M-69 Crystal Falls, MI


Date: Tuesday August 4, 2015

Start Time: 5:45pm EST

End Time: 6:30pm EST

Description: Farm Visit, Cattle and Pigs

Location: 33014 Townline Road, Ontonagon MI


Date: Wednesday August 5, 2015

Start Time: 2:00pm EST

End Time: 3:00pm EST

Description: Baraga County Farm Visit

Location: 16115 Bellaire Road, Baraga MI


Date: Thursday August 6, 2015

Start Time: 4:00pm EST

End Time: 5:00pm EST Location: 40515 North Entry Road, Chassell MI 49916 Description: Palassari Dairy Farm                            

The Congressman is available for interview on this event.  If you have questions, please contact Phil Christofanelli at 202-580-5116.




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Dr. Dan to EPA: Hands Off Northern Michigan Energy


Washington, D.C. - Today, President Obama announced that his Administration has finalized their "Clean Power Plan," an effort to heavily regulate power plants across the country.  This plan, which will place emissions caps on already struggling plants, is expected to increase the cost of energy for many Americans.  Dr. Benishek released the following statement in response:

"Hardworking families and seniors across Northern Michigan already pay some of the highest energy rates in the country.  They shouldn't be forced to pay higher rates, and possibly choose between a warm home and food in the winter, just because President Obama and some Washington bureaucrats want to impose new national energy taxes.  Instead our resources and efforts should be focused on innovation and developing our domestic energy sources.  I will continue to oppose this federal overreach in order to protect our district from needless rate increases."

Dr. Benishek recently voted in favor of the REINS Act, a bill which would require costly regulations such as these to obtain Congressional approval before going into effect.   In addition, Dr. Benishek has worked with federal and state officials to avoid additional increases in Upper Peninsula energy rates as a result of the forthcoming regulations from the Obama Administratoin. 

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Benishek Backs REINS Act


WASHINGTON, DC:  Congressman Dan Benishek (MI-01) today voted in support of the "Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015 (REINS Act)" (H.R. 427), a bill that would require Congress to vote on and the President to sign off on any new major federal regulations.  

"Economic growth in Northern Michigan has been restrained by overzealous and unnecessary regulations.  From manufacturing plants, to utilities, to mines, burdensome federal rules cost jobs and growth opportunities in our local communities," said Dr. Benishek, who represents the Northern half of the State of Michigan .

Benishek stated the REINS Act will seek to improve the American regulatory climate by requiring an up or down vote on any federal rule that has an annual economic impact of $100 million or more.  Currently there are 224 new federal regulations with at least $100 million in economic impact being considered by the Executive Branch.

"Families all across Northern Michigan are directly impacted by Washington bureaucrats who spend their time writing these regulations.  Not only are they unnecessary, but even worse, they translate directly into higher costs and fewer jobs for our communities," said Benishek. "I support policies like the REINS Act, because I want to see Northern Michigan grow and thrive-not be bogged down in red tape from Washington that has no real benefit."

Benishek explained the REINS Act will require Congress and the president to make a decision in a timely manner.  Under the REINS Act, if Congress and the President do not act within 70 legislative days of the introduction of a new regulation, the regulation will be deemed not approved.  

Benishek noted that according to the Small Business Administration, government regulations are estimated to cost the U.S. economy over $1.75 trillion per year.[1]  Other economic studies have indicated that eliminating a single Washington regulator grows the American economy by $6.2 million and adds nearly 100 private sector jobs annually.[2]

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[1]The U.S. Small Business Administration,  The Impact of Regulatory Costs on Small Firms

[2] The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies, Regulatory Expenditures, Economic growth, and Jobs: An Empirical Study, http://www.phoenix-center.org/PolicyBulletin/PCPB28Final.pdf


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Benishek: Chattanooga Victims Deserve Purple Hearts


Washington, D.C. - Following the tragic attack on a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, TN where five U.S. servicemen lost their lives, Dr. Dan Benishek has signed on to a House Resolution that calls for Purple Heart Medals to be awarded to those who were killed. 

"It is clear that these men gave their lives defending our nation from those who wish us harm.  What happened in Chattanooga was an attack on every American, and it is my belief that these men should be awarded the same honors as those who give their lives in our defense overseas," said Dr. Dan Benishek, the parent of a sailor who served in the Afghanistan conflict.

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Benishek Gets Amendment Added to VA Reform Package


Washington, D.C. - The House passed today, H.R. 1994, legislation to overhaul how the VA operates and manages problem employees.  Included in this bill as an amendment is Dr. Dan Benishek's Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act.  The added language will require the VA to name individuals within the Department who are responsible for fixing problems identified by Inspector General reports.  Additionally, it will require the IG to identify the parts of their reports that the VA has asked them to alter. 

"The VA Accountability Act is a huge step forward for our nation's veterans.  I am particularly pleased that my bill will be included in this landmark reform package," said Dr. Benishek, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Veterans Health.  "Our veterans have earned a VA that provides access to timely, quality care.  This legislation will ensure that we can hold bureaucrats at the VA accountable to those who have risked everything to protect our country and our way of life."

The VA Accountability Act includes provisions that allow problem employees at the VA to be removed without year-long delays.  Additionally, the bill will make it easier for small businesses to hire veterans.  The bill was passed by a bi-partisan vote of 256 to 170. 

Last week, the House unanimously passed Dr. Benishek's Veterans Information Modernization Act.  


Dr. Benishek spent 20 years as a VA doctor treating patients at the Iron Mountain VA facility.  As Chairman of the Veterans Health Subcommittee, he played an integral role in creating and helping to pass the landmark reform legislation, leading many of the hearings that uncovered the VA's incompetency.  Dr. Benishek was also successful in getting a new law enacted based on an idea from a local veterans that provides Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) greater access to federal surplus property, such as spare vehicles and equipment, for use at their facilities.    

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Benishek: No Sanctuary for Law-Breakers


WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the House passed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act (H.R. 3009), legislation introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) that would deny funding for states or local governments that fail to enforce immigration laws that protect Americans. 

"The law is the law, and we simply cannot allow states and municipalities to ignore the rules that protect American lives.  Today's bill is just common sense, and I will continue to work to ensure that America's immigration laws are enforced," said Dr. Dan Benishek.

H.R. 3009 follows the tragic death of Kate Steinle who was killed in cold blood by an illegal immigrant who was protected by the sanctuary city laws of San Francisco.

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Benishek: Not One Red Cent to Planned Parenthood


Washington, D.C. -  Following the release of videos revealing the disturbing practice of the sale of organs from aborted babies at Planned Parenthood clinics, Dr. Dan Benishek has helped author legislation to completely prevent any taxpayer resources from going to the abortion provider.  HR 3134, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, would immediately halt all sources of Federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and is currently co-sponsored by 124 Members in Congress. 

"Like many in Northern Michigan, I am horrified by recent reports of illegal tissue sales at Planned Parenthood.  I am supporting a complete investigation of this sordid matter, and I will fight to prevent a single dime of taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood," said Dr. Dan Benishek, a member of the Pro-Life Caucus.

In addition to this legislation, Dr. Benishek has co-signed a letter to the Department of Justice requesting that they look into the claims of illegal organ sales.  He has also backed a House investigation led by the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as several other pieces of legislation to prevent tax dollars from funding any abortions.  


Congressman Benishek is a native of Iron Mountain, MI, where he served as a doctor both at the VA and in private practice for over thirty years.  He and his wife, Judy, have five children and five grandchildren.  


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Benishek to President Obama: Hands off the 2nd Amendment


Washington, D.C. -   The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the Obama Administration is in the process of moving to use the Social Security Administration to broadly expand restrictions on the ownership of firearms.  If this plan proceeds, seniors who receive assistance from a third-party with their disability benefits would be reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as ineligible to own or purchase firearms.  It is estimated that this move could jeopardize the 2nd Amendment rights of over 4 million Americans.

"The 2nd Amendment is a fundamental right that  ensures that every American can protect their life, family, and property from harm.  This proposal would deny that right to millions of law-abiding citizens who are not a threat to anyone," said Dr. Dan Benishek. 

In response, Dr. Dan Benishek has authored a letter to President Obama objecting to this executive overreach.  To read the text of the letter, click here.  Additionally, the Congressman co-sponsored H.R. 3126, legislation that would prohibit the Administrator of Social Security from releasing information on any American to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System without the court order that the individual represents a threat to themselves or to others, which is currently required by law.    

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Contact Information

514 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-4735
Fax 202-225-4744

Dan Benishek’s story is like that of many people from Northern Michigan.  Dan was born in Iron River, Michigan.  His family didn’t have much when he was growing up, and his father was killed in a mining accident when he was only 5 years old.  After his father’s death, Dan’s mother, with the help of family, raised Dan and his brother, Tim.

As a boy, Dan worked in his grandmother’s business—the Iron River Hotel.  Dan made beds, hauled beer, and cleaned the spittoons.  His grandmother paid him $10 a week for his efforts, but he had to save it for the future.

After Dan graduated from West Iron High School in 1970, he went on to earn a B.S. in biology from the University of Michigan in 1974.  Dan graduated from Wayne State Medical School in 1978 and completed a Family Practice internship in Flint at St Joseph’s Hospital.  He has served as a general surgeon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in a private practice since 1983. He has worked part-time at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain for the past twenty years.

Dan worked as a general surgeon in Iron Mountain for nearly 30 years and raised his family in Iron Mountain.  Along the way, it never occurred to him to get into politics, let alone run for Congress.  But, like many people in Northern Michigan, Dan just got tired of seeing career politicians in Washington waste taxpayer dollars our nation doesn’t have on bills they didn’t even read.

Since coming to Congress, Dan has been fighting every day to create jobs in Northern Michigan, improve services to our veterans, and renew the promise of the American Dream for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

Dan is an avid hunter and fisherman and a proud member of the NRA and the GOA.

Dan and his wife Judy live near Crystal Falls, Michigan.  They have five children and four grandchildren.  Prior to being sworn into Congress on January 5, 2011, Dr. Benishek had never sought nor held any previous public office.

Serving With

Bill Huizenga


Justin Amash


John Moolenaar


Fred Upton


Tim Walberg


Mike Bishop


Candice Miller


Dave Trott


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