News from Representative Upton


May 22, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Friday, May 22, 2020

Dear Friend:

"Gentlemen....Start your engines!”  Image

That is usually the roar from Indy that traditionally starts our summer season. This year, it is the slow door opening up across the country as we try and ease into some sense of normalcy.  For me, this is one of the few times I did not participate in the St. Joseph Memorial Day parade with a salute to our veterans at the band shell. It is there in this photo - taken by Pat Moody - of my now 96 year old Dad in his WW II uniform (Battle of the Bulge).

Today, I helped cut the ribbon on the new Center and Phoenix Street intersection in South Haven, starting their summer with the Mayor and State Rep. Beth Griffin and State Senator Aric Nesbitt with his new baby girl! Yes, we want the summer and our lives to bounce back and if it means wearing a mask along with social distancing to bring it be it.  Image

Thank you big time to all who have served in our Armed Forces, and let us all remember those that did not make it back.  We are eternally grateful for their sacrifice....for all of us.  We’re a free nation because of our brave.  Remember to watch the PBS Special on Sunday at 8 from the U.S. Capitol lawn in tribute to all that served. 
  • Some local good news from Bronson Healthcare who announced they have launched antibody testing to identify folks who have been exposed to COVID-19 but may have been asymptomatic or were not able to get tested.  You can see that MLive story HERE.  I also hear that their nursing home just received $300K this week.
  • HHS Secretary Azar published an op-ed in the Washington Post about the public health need to reopen the economy, which you can read HERE.
  • Exciting news regarding the vaccine front.  HHS announced a collaboration with AstraZeneca that will make at least 300M doses of a Coronavirus vaccine called AZD1222, with the first doses delivered as early as October 2020.  You will remember that this vaccine candidate was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AZ.  The agreement between AZ and BARDA will accelerate development and manufacturing of the company’s investigational vaccine to begin Phase 3 clinical studies this summer with about 300K U.S. volunteers, which you can see HERE.
  • Pfizer does hope to have trial results for their COVID-19 vaccine next month.  WKZO ran a story confirming that Pfizer will enter Phase 2 with some 8K volunteers.  As noted earlier, vaccine samples will be produced right here in Portage, and if it proves successful, the Portage facility would likely become the hub for manufacturing. You can see that WKZO story HERE. Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, told me directly Wednesday, “We are ramping up the Kalamazoo facility to help produce an approved COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible.  Our manufacturing colleagues at the facility are working hard to say the least..."
  • The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) held a zoom call with a number of GOP and democratic senators hosted by No Labels (yes, another solid bipartisan organization).  Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who heads the National Governors Association, was the main guest.  He said, “If ever there was a time for bipartisan cooperation, it is now.”  He indicated that there had been some 25 teleconference and zoom calls with his fellow governors and the Administration the last number of weeks.  He said it was not a “red” or “blue” issue but rather a “Red, white, and blue." 
  • The Hill published a story Thursday, “McConnell: Next Coronavirus bill ‘not too far off'” which you can read HERE. In addition, Roll Call wrote yesterday that the U.S. Chamber was expecting another COVID-19 bill next month, which you can see HERE. No, it will not be a repeat of last week’s partisan bill which was rightly labeled DOA. I too raised the issue of liability with Hogan as McConnell had indicated that it would have to be part of a Phase IV.  Breitbart published a story yesterday that referenced endless lawsuit possibilities, which you can see HERE. For weeks, I have been hearing from a number of different organizations asking about how this issue will be resolved.
  • I return to D.C. next week for votes including HR 6886, the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which makes a number of changes to help our small businesses remain in business.  The PSC have been strong supporters of this legislation. The Senate failed under Unanimous Consent to adopt a similar bill yesterday but this is critical as we approach the end of the eight weeks that many of our small businesses received their loans. This issue was also raised on our zoom call today.  You can read a one-pager HERE.
ImageThanks for your photos everyone....Here is a sunrise photo taken during a morning walk in Watervliet.  They also shared a bible verse from Luke...."Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  If you would like us to post a photo of your day, send it HERE.  Good news, we have a backlog.

Thanks again to all our veterans....every day.


God Bless,

Fred Upton

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