News from Representative Upton

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April 27, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Monday, April 27, 2020

Dear Friend:

A very busy last couple days as I made the trek back and forth to D.C. to vote on more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — a lifeline for small businesses. The original $350 billion program was exhausted in just 10 days, and we replenished the program with $250 billion and another $60 billion reserved for smaller lender institutions that otherwise might get edged out by bigger lending institutions such as Bank of America or Chase. The president signed the legislation on Friday and money began flowing again today.  I initiated a bipartisan letter to our respective leaderships asking this program to be fully funded. That letter was signed by 74 colleagues.

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  • The FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication regarding known side effects of hydroxychloroquine that have been reported with the treatment of COVID-19. These risks may be mitigated when health care professionals closely screen patients (like in a hospital or clinical trial). You can read about that here.
  • Emergent BioSolutions and Johnson & Johnson are working together to supply one billion vaccines.  It is my understanding that they expect pre-clinical Phase I trials to begin in September and hopefully complete by end of 2020. If all goes well, they could ask for a Phase II “emergency use" and perhaps have ready by next April. You can read about that here.  
  • I am told that today there were more than100K PPP loans approved from more than 4K lenders.
As you may know, President Obama signed 21st Century Cures into law back in 2016. This was bipartisan legislation that I led with my Democrat partner Diana DeGette (D-CO).  We had countless hearings and round tables listening to researchers, disease groups (Cystic Fibrosis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc) all around the country, the NIH, CDC, FDA, and many others. It passed the U.S.House 392-26. It included $45 billion for additional health research.

Three years later, the stats are telling. The FDA recently announced that more than 1,600 new drugs have been approved since January 2017 — about 1/3 more than the previous three-year span, helping to lower the health care costs for millions.  It’s better today to screen and prevent cancer, and the U.S. cancer fatality rate declined by 2.2% in 2017 - the biggest single year drop ever recorded. 

For the last eight months, DeGette and I again reached out to the experts and asked them for input as we try and update our legislation three-and-a-half years later.  Today, we unveiled a concept paper to further modernize the delivery of health care in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  We outlined six key areas and are beginning to lay the groundwork to include some of these provisions in yet another bipartisan product that we can pass through the Energy and Commerce Committee.  You can find that 12-page concept paper here. For more information on 21st Century Cures 1.0, click here. DeGette and I participated in a news conference today to unveil our product before Colorado, Michigan, and national press. 

Our Governor on Friday announced some relaxations to her Stay at Home order.  I had weighed in earlier in the week asking for some accommodations for motorized boats and landscaping and was glad she made such an announcement. She also has asked employers to provide masks to employees and that we - the consumer - need to wear masks inside retail establishments to protect both workers and other consumers.  I support that action, as well.  This weekend I communicated to her that further changes for real estate transactions, home builders, folks like plumbers/electricians, and grocery stores (I like one-way aisles) to again collect bottle deposits, should be on her “to do” list. 

There has been quite a bit of discussion from our local community and state leaders on the impact this pandemic has had on our localities. In the CARES bill signed by the president a couple weeks ago, $150 billion was set aside for states. Michigan is to receive $3.872 billion, of which $1.9 billion was received last week.  I have asked the Governor’s office to provide an update for me where the money is being allocated within the state and what the intentions are down the road. 

Lastly, I had a number of zoom calls today.  You will see the GOP Whip, Steve Scalise, pictured on my iPad during one of the calls with a number of colleagues discussing the ideas for a Phase IV—whether it be funding for state/locals, remote voting procedures (last week’s two votes took more than two hours as they limited the number of Members on the Floor during debate and votes), and ideas on re-opening in different areas of the country.  Amey took the picture of Scalise in my kitchen during the call.

Norman Vincent Peale said, “Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.”  Thank you to my wonderful staff who truly help me plan my day—all day!  

God bless,


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Fred Upton
Member of Congress

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