News from Representative Upton

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April 20, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Monday, April 20, 2020

Dear Friend:

For anyone that has “followed” me, you know that I have a long record of working with anyone, Republican or Democrat, to get things done.  And I’ve viewed myself as a Problem Solver, whether while serving in Congress or my prior jobs. I was interviewed by the New York Times last week and she asked about my job now, sitting and working at my kitchen table rather than a committee room, or doing service club speeches and the litany of items that occupy a day in the life.

I reflected on my activities over the past couple weeks - literally dozens of conference and zoom calls with so many varied interests - working with elected officials of both parties for a common cause and hopefully making a difference in the lives of so many in so many different ways. 

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Glory Wesseldyk reunites with her family after

leaving the ship where she's been working ! Indeed it's "Glory Days!"

Much of this weekend was just that. An innocent young woman who had finished her contract working with a cruise line was wanting to come ashore in Florida and return home to southwest Michigan but was having challenges. She was being told she was not allowed to disembark and would need to steam to Europe - where flights are still cancelled - to come back home. The staff and I called this urgent project, “All hands on deck.” Working with contacts at the White House, CDC, Customs, and two Florida colleagues, we got her off the ship and she is now heading home after spending 40 nights on board. As I commented to her, even Noah got off the boat after 40 nights! Thank you team!

 Headlines for today:
  • Probably the most important short-term medical innovation is the progress made with antibodies. The FDA released an update on these test validations establishing a capability at the NIH to evaluate these tests. Click here for more information.
  • The USDA announced a Coronavirus Food Assistance Program providing $19 billion in support of farmers and ranchers based on actual losses for agricultural producers while maintaining the integrity of our food supply chain. Click here for more information.
  • Project Airbridge has completed 64 flights with another 50 for PPE...and as of April 18 have coordinated the delivery of 55 million N95 respirators, 77 million surgical masks, 6 million face shields, 11 million surgical gowns, 564 million gloves, 11,000 ventilators, and 8,450 medical beds.

Over the weekend and again today we have made progress on PPP (the $350 billion Paycheck Protection Plan that ran out of funding last week).  An informal survey of Michigan lenders showed more than 40 participated with over 11,400 small business loans made totaling some $3 billion. I expect a deal to be made tonight or tomorrow providing for another $250 billion (the President’s requested amount) coupled with another $60 billion reserved for smaller community banks and Credit Unions. These funds would be coupled with another $75 billion for hospitals (remember they have lost pretty much all their regular sources of revenue the last four weeks and are beginning to see serious layoffs and cutbacks), and $25 billion for more testing. Hopefully the handshake comes tonight, with the Senate voting Tuesday afternoon and the House voting Wednesday or Thursday.  I will be back to DC for the vote.  

Lastly, let me comment on a Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) proposal that we formally unveiled this afternoon in a national press conference.  We have been working on a “Back to Work” checklist that you may be interested in reviewing, and I would surely like your feedback. Remember the PSC is a bipartisan group of 50 members that meets every week. Our effort was to try and identify the appropriate benchmarks to reopen America. It is not a one-size fits all but hopefully underscores Democrats and Republicans working together.  We are all wanting to feel safe in our communities and workplaces as we emerge from this pandemic that has threatened our way of life like no other.  You can see that document here.

Knowing that I would likely get in trouble quoting Bo Schembechler or Duffy Daugherty, I will choose Vince Lombardi instead for the inspiration of the day... "Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” 

We are all in this together and we better all be rowing in the same direction! 

God bless, 


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Fred Upton
Member of Congress

 

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