News from Representative Upton

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May 1, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: May 1, 2020

Dear Friend:

We’re now two months into this pandemic with striking numbers.  On March 1, I remember just two U.S. confirmed deaths, and this morning we have 62,996.  FEMA, HHS, and the private sector have coordinated the delivery of or are currently shippping 78 million N95 respirators, 112 million surgical masks, 7 million face shields, 16 million surgical gowns, 890 million gloves, 10,653 ventilators, and 8,450 medical station beds. Whew.

Some notes for today:
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Finishing up writing my Kitchen Table report and joining

a teletown hall with State Rep. Beth Griffin and State Sen. Aric Nesbitt


  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement that COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified. They will continue to examine emerging information and intelligence to determine the source of the outbreak.  For me, I am not convinced but that is not my focus as I prioritize my work on testing capabilities, therapeutics and vaccines development, lifelines to businesses and their employees so they can survive, and helping out our states and units of government - doing all those right will lead us out of the dense forest. There will be plenty of time afterward to investigate how this all started.  See HERE for the intelligence director’s press release.
  • CMS issued a number of directives and rules changes to the nation’s seniors regarding Medicare and Medicaid testing for COVID-19, telehealth services and nursing home communications with residents and families. You can see those HERE.
  • President Trump issued an Executive Order securing the U.S. bulk-power system.  As the top Republican on the Energy Subcommittee and former Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we have had many classified briefings and public hearings on threats to our electricity grid.  This Executive Order allows the Department of Energy to prohibit foreign adversaries (read China) from sending BPS equipment that could marginalize our grid.  See HERE for Executive Order.
  • Dr. Marcia Eisenberg from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health shared these slides with the Michigan congressional delegation on a zoom call this morning.  As one can see, the flattening of the curve has begun and she did a good job pointing out the differences in regions within our state.  See HERE for her slides
  • Today I Received an update on some labor market data for Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties from Kinexus Group.  Real Unemployment averages 23% and the Michigan Works office calls continue at about 2K/week — most dealing with Unemployment Insurance. Their Business Resource Network of 14 manufacturers represents about 3K workers and 11 of the 14 have laid off staff.  They were told that their budget would be frozen despite the added caseload and the great work they have done to help these three counties. 
  • We had our first virtual hearing today combining the Health and Oversight Subcomittees of Energy and Commerce with the Deputy Director of the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat.  Her focus was on racial disparities, but we also engaged on masks, border crossings, and accurate mortality rates.
  • I participated in a couple bipartisan, bicameral zoom calls with No Labels/Problem Solvers Caucus.  We are beginning to consider just what the next legislative bill will look like.  I have made the point a number of times that with divided government, the only way to pass legislation is for it to be bipartisan with the White House and the House and Senate agreeing to the final product.  Our work today was focused on a bipartisan proposal initiated in the Senate with Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA—and former member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) regarding possible assistance to states and local units of governments.  As this proposal gains steam, you may see a major piece written by the WSJ come Monday as they were on the call too.  The nonpartisan National Governors Association included this in their daily update to their members and you can find it HERE.
  • I participated in two conference calls with the head of the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.  They very much appreciated the PPP legislation but don’t predict anything close to a normal business return until 2021 or 2022.  To survive, they will need flexibility in the administration of this program as neither industries can be expected to be fully operational in another month.

Stay safe this weekend, and God bless,

 
 


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