News from Representative Upton

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May 7, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Thursday, May 7, 2020

Dear Friend:

A special shoutout to my Dad today who turns 96.  He was the veteran of the game at Wrigley FieldImage a few years ago and still fits in his WW II uniform. He served in the Battle of the Bulge. Happy BD Dad!  Miss not having you in St. Joe today but hopefully you’ll make the trek in the next couple weeks.  A reminder to us all the great sacrifices our vets made then and now.

  • Some good news on the Brownfields front.  Years ago I helped with a lender liability relief provision which allows for redevelopment of brownfield areas in communities across the country and protects those lending institutions from environmental lawsuits that would go after the lender’s assets, thus removing a major obstacle to develop contaminated sites. Today we announced 4 communities in western Michigan receiving $1.7M, which will cover 8 different sites in Three Rivers.  You can see that news HERE.

  • As of yesterday, the Paycheck Protection Program had approved over 2.4M loans in the second round of funding for more than $131B. Nearly 1/3 of all the approved loans have come from lenders with under $10B in assets and you can read more HERE.

  • CDC published a report on COVID-19 cases in correctional and detention facilities.  As of 4/21, there were 4,893 cases and 88 deaths among incarcerated and detained with 2,778 cases and 15 deaths among staff members. You can see that HERE.

  • CMS announced it is providing Medicare Part A and B enrollment flexibilities due to delays with access to the Social Security Administration’s offices. See HERE for more information.

  • I did a conference call today with folks from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living.  As you can imagine, their preparations and increased costs to get ready for the pandemic coupled with lower ‘census’ numbers have significantly exposed their financial standings. One facility in our district would be looking at more than a $400K monthly deficit had it not been for the CARES Act, which has provided some $175B for our health providers. There will be more allocated from the unspent dollars, and I am weighing in with other republicans and democrats asking HHS for help.

  • Support for our Community Health Centers has always been strong and bipartisan and part of the Energy and Commerce Committee jurisdiction. We have truly outstanding facilities in SW Michigan with equally great administrators and personnel.  They are truly on the front lines dealing with the most vulnerable, and I have visited all of our facilities multiple times.  Today I announced an additional $1.7M to help 4 of our facilities in Kalamazoo, Intercare (HQ’d in Bangor and serves Benton Harbor), Lakeland in Cassopolis, and St. Joe. County.  My staff and I have been in contact with all of them the last number of weeks regarding their needs.

  • ImageBeginning tomorrow, we will establish a special portal for you to submit pictures of your social distancing. We will select some for each Kitchen Table report and keep your privacy by listing the community, but not your name.  Stay tuned for the info.  Here is a picture of Michigan colleague Haley Stevens’ Dad on the way to work today but stopping for a cup of coffee for her.  She noted he does have his mask and washes his hands..."Lucky to have him”.  Yep, Dad’s and Mom’s are all special — especially this week!

  • Our Governor detailed six phases of her MI Safe Start Plan and the reopening of industries at a press conference today.  You can find that info HERE.

  • Progress continues on the self-testing front.  The Michigan entity I have been helping plans to formally submit their application next week.

  • ImageIn all my years in Congress, I have tried to visit a school class every week and was well on my way to exceed that this year thanks to my scheduler extraordinaire, Ingrid, from Kalamazoo (who is a former teacher).  Today I zoomed with a Paw Paw 8th grade class that had raised money for a D.C. trip over spring break that was obviously cancelled.  Good questions from a number of the students, and I promised to reschedule when they visit the U.S. Capitol next year.   We will try and get to their Paw Paw classroom this fall.  You can see their teacher here in my side porch office.

  • The bipartisan Problem Solver’s Caucus held a virtual congressional floor debate regarding the next round of funding to fight the pandemic. I put on a coat and tie and was yielded 2 minutes from the Speaker.  I started by saying I would usually ask for regular order as there was quite a bit of noise in the chamber....and the noise was coming from outside my porch window as the landscapers and construction folks are back to work, beginning to open up Michigan.  Today, realtors are able again to show homes.  Hopefully, as you can tell, my barber will be too as I needed a haircut back in March.  You can see my full remarks HERE.Image 

Lastly some inspiration from Dr. Ronald White, a Trinity Forum Senior Fellow and Lincoln scholar.  In his research at the Library of Congress, he was permitted to see a tough letter to General Meade after he failed to pursue Robert E. Lee, penned by Lincoln on which he wrote on the envelope, “Never sent, or Signed”.  White then wrote, “Self-discipline. This is a leadership quality needed now—in government, business, media, and communities.  To not speak or send the gratuitous dig, the polarizing spin, the ad hominem slur, is a rare and desperately needed characteristic of leadership.”  This is a principle that serves as a foundation for those of us in the Problem Solvers Caucus — willing to work with any to get things done, regardless of party.  A lesson I learned from my Dad lots of years ago. Happy birthday again, old man!

 

God Bless,
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Fred 

 

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