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@MyKitchenTable - May 8, 2020

Dear Friend:

Inspiration for the day by Aristotle: “A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility."

  • I heard last night that in Michigan the new ‘miracle’ drug remdesivir was not being made available on any widespread basis.  My Michigan colleague, and co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) Debbie Dingell, quickly drafted a letter to the HHS demanding information about the process and criteria regarding the distribution, understanding that we are among the most impacted by the number of positive tests, the number of fatalities, and the mortality rate among those testing positive. You can see that Washington Post story and our letter HERE and we will keep you posted with their response.
  • I have been working on a home testing project with a Michigan entity the last two weeks.  Faithful readers will have seen earlier stories in the Kitchen Table on this patented device which is being submitted to the NIH for a grant in the next couple days.  Thought you might be interested in this national Roll Call story HERE.
  • More than 8.1M tests for COVID-19 have been performed in the U.S., so they did meet the 1M tests in the past week as they hoped. There were 318,720 just yesterday, and Walmart announced yesterday they would start a drive-thru in Benton Harbor today.   You can see the details HERE.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has approved nearly 2.5M loans in the second round of funding, totaling more than $185B. You can read more HERE.
  • NIH released a blog post about a recent study that found nearly everyone who recovers from COVID-19 makes Coronavirus antibodies.  Although more follow up work is needed to determine how protective these antibodies are and for how long, these findings do suggest they might possibly thwart a second infection. You can read more HERE.
  • Yet another company announced the FDA has approved its application to run a Phase 2 study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate and would begin shortly. There are 600 participants receiving two different dosages and a placebo. Moderna expects to begin a Phase 3 study in early summer 2020...see HERE.
  • Pfizer made more news leveraging three manufacturing and distribution sites across the country to scale up manufacturing options including formulation and filling in Kalamazoo/Portage. They have the potential to supply millions of doses by the end of 2020 and produce hundreds of millions in 2021....see HERE.
  • I received this information from the Berrien County Health Department with some state and national updates they would like us to help distribute. Click HERE.
  • Remember we are looking for pictures to spruce up this report. Below you will see a watercolor that my son did when he was 9 of the St. Joe lighthouse. You can send pictures HERE that we hope to begin running next week. It is unclear if I will return to DC next week for votes so stay tuned.

ImageThe PSC and No Labels groups held a joint zoom call and we had five Senators...Tim Kaine (D-VA and former VP candidate with Clinton), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), along with a bunch of House Members from all over the country.  The focus was trying to figure out the best way we can assist our states and localities with the next phase — Phase IV — as they face intolerable deficits. It was pointed out that California faces a $54B deficit after having surpluses in the past.  Louisiana may have a 40% loss as they are losing revenue from the New Orlean Jazz two week festival, etc.  We know the Michigan forecast too.  Our approach is to try and ensure that the monies approved do in fact reach the local level and prohibit any state’s attempts to ‘recapture’ those funds should they try and penalize those communities.  There is no appetite to bailout state pension plans from previous years.  I reminded my colleagues that under the Reagan Administration there was a fair and balanced program called Revenue Sharing that was managed by maybe a dozen folks, but had a fair formula that allowed all communities to participate in a program based on population and a number of other factors — none of them political — that enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support in both urban and rural areas.   And that was before we had the internet!  Look for our group to come together with a bipartisan proposal that could reach the president’s desk as we continue to talk and listen to our community’s needs.  


God Bless,

Fred Upton

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