Insider: DeVos' security detail expected to cost nearly $7.9M in next year
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' security detail will cost taxpayers an estimated $7.87 million over the next year, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
DeVos, who is from the Grand Rapids area, has had a protective detail from the Marshals Service since February 2017, which is unusual for an education secretary.
The Marshals Service does not typically provide security for cabinet members, but DeVos has been a polarizing figure, drawing protests from her earliest days in the job.
The cost for DeVos' detail during the fiscal year that ended Monday was $6.24 million, and it was $6.79 million in fiscal 2018, Marshals Service spokeswoman Nikki Credic said. The figures were first reported by Politico.
Credic said next year's security services are expected to cost more due primarily to adjustments for cost of living increases and anticipated increases in travel and per diem costs.
"USMS regularly conducts threat assessments on Ms. DeVos to determine threats to the secretary’s safety," Credic said in a statement.
"The number of USMS personnel assigned to the detail is commensurate with the existing threat and based on USMS protective service requirements, experience and methodology. For reasons of operational security, we will not disclose the number of employees providing protection or the nature of threats against the secretary."
The Education Department reimburses the Marshals Service for the cost per the terms of a 2017 agreement between the agencies.
Upton not endorsing Trump yet
Michigan’s senior Republican in Congress is not ready to endorse Trump for re-election.
“Not yet,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton said at a Detroit Economic Club forum when asked if he is ready to endorse Trump for a second term.
When pressed, Upton talked more about his own candidacy than the president’s.
“We stayed in our own lane in the last cycle. We had our own race, and we haven’t figured out what’s going to happen for next year,” said Upton of St. Joseph, who won by less than 5 percentage points in 2018 — his smallest ever margin of victory.
Upton, a moderate conservative in a competitive district, didn't endorse Trump in 2016.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, the Dearborn Democrat who shared the spotlight at Wednesday's forum, pounced.
“He made news. I didn’t,” said Dingell, who isn’t backing a Democratic presidential hopeful yet.
GOP ads target Slotkin, Stevens
The House Republicans' campaign arm is running digital ads this week critical of U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens’ support for an impeachment inquiry, depicting the freshmen Democrats as too liberal for their districts.
The National Republican Campaign Committee said it would initially spend $1,000 in each district on the Facebook ads, which the group is also running in the swing districts of other Democrats who last year flipped GOP districts to blue.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super political action committee aligned with House GOP leaders, also launched a digital ad targeting Slotkin on impeachment, planning to spend five figures, spokesman Calvin Moore said.
Slotkin and Stevens were among dozens of House Democrats who had held out support for an impeachment inquiry until last week.
They changed their stance amid allegations that Trump improperly used his office to ask Ukraine to probe a political rival while withholding nearly $400 million in promised aid.
The static image ads by NRCC feature photos of each of member and text saying, "Sign the petition to tell (Slotkin/Stevens): Focus on Michigan, not impeachment."
Bergman gets Dem challenger
Democrat Dana Ferguson says he is running to represent northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in the U.S. House, aiming to challenge second-term U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Watersmeet.
Ferguson is expected to launch is campaign this week at events in Marquette and Traverse City, according to his campaign Facebook page.
Ferguson grew up in Negaunee and says he's a third-generation resident of northern Michigan who has worked in construction for much of his life.
Initiative gets 200K signatures
A ballot committee seeking to end dilation and evacuation abortions usually used in the second term of pregnancy is halfway to its goal of collecting 400,000 signatures supporting the ban.
The Michigan Values Life petition drive announced its 200,000 signature benchmark Monday, noting the figure included all signatures received at the Right to Life of Michigan office that are believed to be valid.
More than 300,000 petition sheets continue to circulate throughout the state ahead of the Dec. 23 deadline for Right to Life of Michigan to submit at least 340,047 valid signatures and qualify for the 2020 ballot.
“We know people are holding completed petitions,” Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said. “Because of the time it takes to check all the signatures, we strongly encourage everyone to send in petitions as they are completed so we can count them.”
The proposed ban on dilation and evacuation abortions, referred to as dismemberment abortions in the ballot language, would be added to the state’s existing ban on partial birth abortions, which supporters argue will help it to withstand any legal challenges.
A separate anti-abortion initiative that would ban abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks’ gestation, is collecting signatures in the same time frame.
Right to Life of Michigan has expressed concerns about the effect of the Michigan Heartbeat Coalition’s initiative on Michigan’s current law should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Michigan’s existing law, which is largely unenforceable under the 1973 Supreme Court Ruling, outlaws abortion at every stage.
The heartbeat coalition has said its certain language in the ballot petition will prevent any conflicts with Michigan's current law.