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@MyKitchenTable - June 17, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Dear Friend:

Writer and speaker Dr. Denis Waitley says, “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them."

Today was an important day as we take the responsibility of changing and improving our country, as the House Judiciary committee held a markup on the Congressional Black Caucus’ police reform bill and Senator Scott introduced his police reform bill. More on that below.

The day started early with a radio interview on Michael Patrick Shiels’ Michigan Big Show where we discussed the latest efforts on police reforms in Congress and what action we are looking for. Always enjoy the opportunity to be on Michael Patrick’s show, which you can listen to HERE.

ImageIn Washington this afternoon, the House Health Subcommittee held an important hearing on COVID-19 and the disproportionate impact it has had on minority and underserved committees. I also spoke about our bipartisan Cures 2.0 effort and the need to continue to expand telehealth services as we aim to protect patients and health care providers. This terrible pandemic has truly opened our eyes to a number of inequities in minority communities.

As I mentioned earlier, Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced his JUSTICE Act, legislation aimed at providing long-term solutions focused on police reform, accountability and transparency, while also promoting efforts to find solutions to systemic issues affecting people of color such as education and health disparities, which you can read more about in The Hill HERE. In divided government – as I have said before – you need legislation to be able to pass the Senate and the House so it can be signed by the President. My House colleague Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced the House version of Senator Scott’s bill, and I am one of the original cosponsors of that bill, which you can read more about HERE. We expect there to be a vote on the Justice Act on the Senate floor next week. In the House, the Congressional Black Caucus’ bill had its markup in the Judiciary Committee. Speaker Pelosi said she expects the House to pass the CBC’s bill “soon.” I’ll continue to keep you updated as legislation on police reforms move through Congress.

A few notes:

  • The U.S. Senate today passed a huge public lands bill. The bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act will set aside hundreds of millions of dollars each year for conservation efforts. We will likely vote on this bill in the House before the 4th of July, and I would expect it to pass. I am a cosponsor of the House version of the bill. You can read more HERE.
  • Governor Whitmer today announced that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning with strict safety measures in place. She expects there to be fewer students per classroom and more safety protocols in place. You can read more in the Detroit Free Press HERE.
  • Senior Services of Southwest Michigan is working to get the word out that COVID-19 will impact the distribution of coupons for Senior Project FRESH- a program designed to get more fruits and vegetables in the diets of low income seniors. In years prior Senior Services hosted a large, in-person distribution day at their Jasper St location in Kalamazoo where seniors could apply for and pick up their coupons. This year, there are two ways recipients can apply – by phone or online. Please click HERE for more info and share it with any seniors you might know.
  • The Detroit News is reporting that Michigan is one of two states that is on track to contain COVID-19 based on a national model, which you can see HERE.

ImageToday’s first photo is from the Health hearing – mask and all. In fact, the attending physician is asking all members of Congress to now wear a mask when they’re in committee hearings. Our second photo is from a constituent in Mattawan. They have been enjoying trips to the Kalamazoo Nature Center, where it is easy to social distance while hiking! They saw many of these little butterflies during their hikes. TY for sharing.

This evening, I’m heading home to Michigan – will be glad to get back late tonight.

God bless,


Fred Upton

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