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@MyKitchenTable - June 16, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Dear Friend:

Former Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr… “We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us."

Our country is facing many challenges today. It’s time for us to meet them, with action and resolve, by focusing on what brings us together rather than divides us.

ImageToday began very early when I caught a flight back to D.C. for an Energy Subcommittee hearing. The members who were present in D.C. sat far apart and practiced social distancing, and then other members joined in by zoom. Today’s hearing was focused on COVID-19’s impact on the energy sector and our economy. As we begin to reopen our economy, we need to stay laser-focused on ways to maximize growth and economic expansion. We need to get Americans back to work and our economy back to its historic levels of prosperity. The next few months will be critical to stimulate our economy and dig out of this hole. In particular, let’s focus on projects that can create jobs immediately and restore U.S. energy sector leadership here and abroad.

This evening, I participated in a Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) zoom with special guest GOP leader Kevin McCarthy. We continued discussions on police reforms, including the bill introduced by the Congressional Black Caucus (which has a hearing tomorrow in the Judiciary Committee) and Sen. Tim Scott’s bill. We also reviewed the Executive Order that President Trump signed today in the Rose Garden, which you can read about HERE.

Last night on ABC 57 in South Bend, they did a story on the lack of access to broadband services in rural America. I spoke with them about our bipartisan Rural Broadband Acceleration Act that I introduced last month with Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC). Remember this bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fund shovel-ready, high-speed internet projects immediately, so consumers can access broadband within a year. You can watch the ABC 57 special HERE. I spoke to an FCC Commissioner yesterday on the urgent importance of using this spectrum for an auction so that perhaps we could see construction begin as early as this fall.

A few more notes from today:

  • The West Coast Chamber posted video from my “zoom” event with them yesterday morning. If you would like to watch that, you can click HERE.
  • CMS published information about the agency’s response to COVID-19, including steps CMS has taken to expand telehealth in Medicare, ensure safety and quality in nursing homes, expand access to and payment for testing, provide state and local flexibilities, bolster the health care workforce, and increase capacity through Hospitals Without Walls, which you can see HERE.
  • The All of Us Research Program, which we included as part of our bipartisan 21st Century Cures bill a few years ago and is now part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced that it is leveraging its significant and diverse participant base to seek new insights into COVID-19—through antibody testing, a survey on the pandemic’s impacts and collection of electronic health record information. You can read more HERE.
  • British researchers announced today that the steroid dexamethasone is the first drug known to reduce risk of death in Covid-19 patients. The medicine cut deaths by up to a third in coronavirus patients on ventilators and cut deaths by one-fifth in patients on oxygen, according to data from a trial run by scientists at Oxford University, which you can read HERE.

 ImageThe first photo today is from today’s Energy committee hearing in the Rayburn Building. Our second photo is a constituent photo who sent us a picture enjoying a weekend band concert last summer in St. Joe. We all hope one day when we can get back to listening to music like this with others.

God bless,

Fred Upton

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