@MyKitchenTable: Thursday, May 21, 2020
All of us must remember our common values as we face today’s common challenges. Our inspiration this evening is a quote that I keep in mind from Desmond Tutu, a beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights leader that I had the honor of meeting… “My father always used to say, ‘Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.’ Good sense does not always lie with the loudest shouters, nor can we say that a large unruly crowd is always the best arbiter of what is right."
It’s a good reminder for every one of us, and a lesson that helps guide my staff and me in public service during these adverse times.
Our team has been contacted by thousands of constituents over the past several weeks looking to share their opinion or seeking assistance. For today’s KT update, my staff shared what they have been working on and here are a few of their stories – great work team. TY.
- One of the many situations we have been able to assist with is families separated during this crisis. We have been able to provide guidance, resources and assistance to reunite these families.
- An elderly woman contacted us who was not able to have surgery because the state suspended non-essential surgeries. She was in significant pain and discomfort. Thank goodness today the Governor announced that hospitals could resume non-essential medical services, which you can read HERE.
- During this time of financial crisis we have received many requests from individuals in desperate need of their Social Security payments such as their Social Security Disability back-pay. We are pleased to report that we have been able to assist these constituents with expediting the processing and receipt of these much-needed funds.
- We have received many requests for assistance with the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, and while as a federal office we are unable to assist directly, we have been able to connect individuals with their State Representative or State Senator for further help. If you need help with the Michigan Unemployment Agency, click HERE. And if you’d like to contact your State Representative or State Senator, click HERE. We have also received many questions related to the Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks. The IRS has issued a tremendous number of checks in a short amount of time, but we know many questions still remain. Our team is working very closely with the IRS to relay problems and concerns that people are seeing. We have been able to share detailed guidance with constituents as it relates to their concerns and what they can expect.
- We have spent a lot of time helping Veterans work through the lock jam that is the VA. One Veteran we worked with was declared dead and his benefits terminated. After proving that he was very much alive, he then tried for many years to have the VA reimburse those benefits that were terminated. We were able to get the situation untangled and get him reimbursed. Many of the cases we work on help the Veterans or their spouses. Recently we had a case in which a spouse of a deceased Veteran had trouble getting the medical invoices taken care of due to a billing error. We finally worked through what was needed and those invoices are now being handled and paid by the VA, much to her relief. If you need help navigating the VA, please click HERE.
For today, our first photo is of a virtual homework reading assignment from a constituent in Paw Paw. Students, teachers, and parents are all working so hard as we wind down the school year. The second photo is from a constituent in Sawyer who had a pizza dinner outside in the nice weather. TY for sharing! Earlier this week, we shared a photo that a constituent submitted of his live stream Blues concert. I mentioned that I hope he’d share his link to the livestream, and he called and let us know the link is www.keithscottblues.com. If you would like to submit a photo for us to use, please click HERE.
A few more updates for today:
- The FDA posted their daily update, which includes details about how Americans will continue to have access to a safe and robust food supply. Click HERE.
- I heard from AstraZeneca about their collaboration with Oxford University on a COVID-19 vaccine. Their agreement with the U.S. government moved forward and they announced a substantial agreement for the accelerated development and manufacturing of the vaccine candidate from Oxford University. Their collaboration with the U.S. for more than $1B includes advanced clinical studies, vaccine manufacturing technology transfer, process development, scaled-up manufacturing, and regulatory support. You can read more HERE.
- The Governor announced another update that includes reopening retail by appointment, non-essential medical services, and allowing small gatherings up to 10 people, which you can read more about HERE.
- The Senate appears ready to vote on fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which you can read about HERE. This bill is similar to the one I cosponsored last week and that the House plans to vote on this coming week. Stay tuned.
- President Trump was in Michigan today visiting a Ford plant where he saw and heard firsthand about the extraordinary effort by the workers at Ford to manufacture ventilators. Ford intends to manufacture 50,000 ventilators by mid-July.
Lastly, we are all thinking about Midland and the surrounding area that are experiencing just horrific flooding. I spoke to my colleague Rep. John Moolenaar and let him know all of our prayers are with the mid-Michigan community. I joined my Michigan colleagues in sending a letter to the President asking him to approve the Governor’s emergency declaration so we can get much-needed help to Midland County, and the request was approved this afternoon.