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FACT CHECK: Peters Did Nothing About DHS’ Failed Pandemic Preparedness

Peters even skipped a hearing designed to teach Senators how to follow up on pandemic audit reports


LANSING, Mich., October 9, 2020 – Gary Peters is Ranking Member of the Homeland Security committee, which oversees the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


If you were to ever see Gary in person, you’d know he is fond of mentioning that fact.


However, under his keen eye, a 2016 audit showed that President Obama’s DHS and its key agencies (Coast Guard, ICE and Secret Service, etc.) were not prepared for a pandemic – like COVID-19 became.


Peters took no action to ensure the audit’s frightening findings were addressed.


The plainly titled audit, “Pandemic Planning Needs Better Oversight, Training, and Execution”, made clear that:


  • “ICE, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the Secret Service either could not identify their pandemic PPE stockpile or were unaware of whether local offices had pandemic PPE available on site.”


  • “…the Coast Guard, ICE, and the Secret Service — did not determine their pandemic PPE requirements.”


  • “The Department did not develop clear requirements for pandemic readiness training.”


  • “The Department did not establish sufficient oversight or provide clear instruction on the number of days for which components should maintain a supply of PPE for pandemic response.”


  • “The Department cannot be assured that its preparedness plans can be executed effectively during a pandemic event.”


Gary should have known better but skipped a hearing


Peters should have known better. But, because he liked to skip hearings, he missed a DHS Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management hearing entitled, "The Importance of Following Through on GAO and OIG Recommendations” in 2015.


That’s right—Peters skipped a hearing designed to teach him to ensure that DHS audit reports warning Senators about important things, like pandemic preparedness, were followed up on.  




Peters on Pandemics: Too little, too late


“Peters is too little, too late on pandemic preparedness,” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox. “He did not take action on an audit warning him that the department he oversees was unprepared for a pandemic like COVID-19. He didn’t even attend the hearing meant to ensure he knew how to follow up on warnings about pandemics. This fact check shows that Gary Peters failed Michigan on preparing for COVID-19.”