Stabenow, a Democratic senator and the chair of the agriculture committee, has served four terms in the U.S. Senate and has played a key role in shaping electric vehicle and cryptocurrency policy.
Stabenow's decision to step down could have significant implications for the balance of power in the Senate in 2025. Currently, Democrats hold a narrow majority with 51 seats, while Republicans hold 49. In the upcoming 2024 election, Democrats will need to defend 23 seats, including those of three independents who caucus with the party. In contrast, Republicans will only need to defend ten seats.
Throughout her time in the Senate, Stabenow has been a vocal advocate for expanding electric vehicle tax credits and other incentives to boost domestic production of EVs, batteries, and semiconductors. She was also instrumental in creating a U.S. government auto loan program in 2007 that supported the production of low-emissions vehicles for companies like Ford, Tesla, and Nissan. In 2008, Stabenow played a key role in the government rescue of General Motors and Chrysler.
Stabenow has also pushed for Buy America requirements and other measures to support domestic manufacturing. In the coming months, she will lead negotiations for a massive farm spending bill that funds public food benefits and farm commodity programs in the U.S. The current $428 billion farm bill is set to expire on September 30, though it may be extended for a few months.
In addition to her work on agriculture and transportation, Stabenow has called on Congress to pass legislation in response to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX. She argued that lawmakers must adopt "necessary safeguards" to protect the digital commodities market. Stabenow was reportedly dumbfounded when former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried endorsed her bipartisan cryptocurrency legislation, which "bans everything he did."
Several Michigan lawmakers are reportedly considering running to fill Stabenow's seat, though Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, a Michigan resident, has stated that he is "not seeking any other job."