News from Representative Upton


May 5, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Dear Friend:

The Dalai Lama said, “Find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest."

This white cardinal has found my bird feeder many times a day and brings such joy as I work by my window! Can you believe it has been 50 days now since this crisis has really hit our shores?Image

A big day for the country and certainly our state. Pfizer has historically been our district’s largest employer and we have the largest manufacturing facility in their system in Portage. Last night their CEO, Albert Bouria, sent me a letter providing me an update that Pfizer and their partners have made to find a solution to COVID-19. He is very optimistic in the trial progress now, leading to human testing on four vaccine candidates, simultaneously increasing their chances of success.  As a result they are increasing their R&D budget by $500M this year.  And their initial manufacturing will be done right here in Portage.  As I reported over the last number of days, many of our pharmaceutical companies have started preparing their manufacturing stages well in advance of FDA approvals because of the early results they are confirming. The President said at his town hall meeting at the Lincoln Memorial this past Sunday that he would push for the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) this fall with promising results by the industry for a vaccine.   You can find the Pfizer letter HERE and a Hill story HERE.

One of the important principles that was included in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures legislation that I helped shepherd as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee were real changes in the way clinical trials were conducted.  It used to be that they were in essence completely “siloed” within different research groups or institutions and information was consequently not shared in the race to find any cure. Our change will be instrumental as we work to find the therapeutics or vaccine and ultimately deliver that product to the consumer. I look forward to my continuing relationship with Pfizer in their quest to help the world.  

Though the traditional “coffee shops” are closed except for take out, I know the conversation would focus often on the origin of COVID-19. We will find the truth and that path needs to be followed.  I thought this story in The Hill might interest my readers...See HERE

The Chairman of the Federal Reserve participated in a conference call with many of my colleagues this afternoon. Though his participation was “off the record,” his comments were much in line with the discussions we held previously with former Secretaries of the Treasury. Though the path to ‘reopening’ is uncertain, the faster it happens without triggering a new outburst is mighty important.  He confessed that the short term funding needs of our states and localities due to the loss of revenues would need to be addressed. He knows well that our economy will need to grow faster than the growth in the national debt over a long period and is confident that could happen. Thus immediate concerns over the national debt come second to our efforts to stimulate the economy. 

My day finished with a conference call with the CEO of Hyundai, Jose Munoz, and the former Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood (also former GOP colleague).  As co-chair of the bipartisan Auto Caucus,  I helped years ago fashion the auto rescue plan with the Energy and Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell.  You will remember that both GM and Chrysler were on their backs and no private sector source would provide liquidity relief.  Had we failed, they clearly would have gone under but so would the suppliers and the rest of the domestic auto production in the U.S. Michigan would never have recovered economically.  The auto sector is responsible nationally for 1 in 7 jobs and even more of an impact here.  I have been talking to colleagues and some in the Administration regarding the outlook for their recovery.

Auto sales are projected to drop two to four million this year and next. Hyundai started their first shift this past week and hope to be back to 3 shifts in another 3 weeks as they have operations in Alabama, Georgia, California and a major engineering facility here in Michigan. They have made major moves with PPE but are concerned with their supplier’s capability. They have worked with a Boston Consulting Group focused on bringing back the industry with an emphasis on consumer-driven incentives.  That’s the way it should be and I continue to discuss with colleagues and the Administration a number of initiatives that can keep the lifeline for this manufacturing base and more. 

God bless,


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