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@MyKitchenTable - July 15, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dear Friend:

Franklin Roosevelt said, “We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.” In other words, light at the end of the tunnel!

ImageToday’s constituent photo of the day comes to us from Buchanan from folks who have been doing a lot of fishing during the pandemic. This is McCoy Creek, and they write “Fishing in creeks and rivers is quiet, safe, and exciting when we can catch an occasional brown or rainbow trout!” TY for sharing! If you’d like to submit a photo for us to share, click HERE.

Starting my day was the good news that some of our local medical providers benefitted directly from reimbursements from HHS that I referenced in yesterday’s Kitchen Table report!  So important as they responsibly deal with this crisis.

It was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that the NIH-sponsored Experimental COVID-19 vaccine generating an immune response is safe and was designed to induce neutralizing antibodies directed at a portion of the Coronavirus “spike” protein, which you can see HERE.

The CDC urges all Americans to wear masks to combat the spread of COVID-19, which you can see HERE as reported in The Hill. You may have seen that the Oklahoma Governor tested positive yesterday after attending a number of public events without a mask, which you can see in The Hill HERE. I would note that the National Retail Federation called for its stores to set nationwide mask mandates, also found HERE in The Hill.

Pfizer coronavirus vaccines (yes, two) being manufactured in Kalamazoo received FDA’s “fast track” status. Initial work will be done in Kalamazoo and I continue to look forward to working with Pfizer officials all along the way, which you can read about HERE in MLive. Pfizer will be testifying before the Energy and Commerce Committee next week on Operation Warp Speed, which was established to truly expedite the approvals and development of drugs to combat COVID. I will report on that hearing next week when I am back in D.C. In case you missed it, Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine also shows promising results in an early clinical trial, which you can see HERE in Politico - which was also a result of Operation Warp Speed.

With the COVID crisis hitting the Congress too, the normal legislative process has really been altered.   We had a “zoom” hearing yesterday with most of us home in our districts while the Secretary of Energy testified in person before the Energy Subcommittee in my Energy and Commerce Committee.  Today, we “marked up” (offered amendments, and then passed) some 30 different bills with virtually all 54 members of the committee muting and unmuting themselves all around the country. All passed with strong bipartisan support, and I expect they will be on the House Floor in the next couple weeks. Here is a compilation of some of the major ones:

  • HR 7574, The Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act (which I cosponsored) improves the financial security of the National Stockpile and improves the ability to maintain and procure medical supplies requiring the HHS Secretary to ensure the contents of the stockpile are in good working order.  As we look at the whole PPE issue these past few months, it is critical that we demand the constructive changes required to face any health crisis in the future.
  • HR 7539, The Strengthening Behavioral Health Parity Act which would prohibit health insurance plans from imposing less favorable benefit limitations on mental and substance use disorder treatments than on medical and surgical benefits.
  • HR 1426, The Timely Review of Infrastructure Act allowing the FERC Chair to adjust the compensation of FERC employees in order to retain and attract personnel.
  • HR 3079, The Energy Savings through Public-Private Partnerships allowing for better energy efficient and cost effective federal buildings
  • HR 3361, The Reliable Investment in Vital Energy Reauthorization Act reauthorizing hydroelectric production incentives
  • HR 2477, The Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification  Act requiring the federal government to send advance notice about the enrollment process to individuals approaching Medicare eligibility and requires Part B coverage to begin during the 1st month after an individual enrolls.
  • HR 3955, The Protecting Patients Transportation to Care Act to include non-emergency medical transportation in the list of mandatory Medicaid benefits.
  • HR 3361, The Reliable Investment in Vital Energy Reauthorization Act which provides payments to owners or operators of hydro facilities that are added to existing dams
  • HR 5201, The Telemental Health Expansion Act which would permanently include a patients home as an eligible originating site for mental health services enabling providers to be reimbursed by Medicare for mental health services delivered by telehealth in urban and rural areas
  • HR 5534, the Comprehensive Immunosuppresive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act which would permanently remove the 36-month limit for Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs following a transplant
  • HR 1646 the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome Act would create a data system at CDC to capture public safety officer suicide incidences and study successful interventions requiring the development of best practices for PTSD
  • HR 2117, The Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research Act would require the CDC to expand the collection of information as to the prevalence of food allergies for specific allergens
  • HR 2271, The Scarlett’s Sunshine On Sudden Unexpected Death Act authorizes CDC to make grants to develop and implement educational programs related to sleep-related SUID.
  • HR 2468, The School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program would add a preference for grants to those states that have additional access to certain healthcare professionals
  • HR 4564, The Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act which increases the authorization to $50M each year
  • HR 4585, The Campaign to Prevent Suicide would carry out a national suicide prevention media campaign
  • HR 4712, the Fairness in Orphan Drug Exclusivity Act updates the Orphan Drug Act to require drug manufacturers seeking orphan drug designations to demonstrate the absence of any reasonable expectation that the costs they incur in developing and making those drugs available
  • HR 4866, The National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act which would help craft a national framework for continuous manufacturing implementation supporting more RandD.
  • HR 5619, The Suicide Prevention Act which establishes 2 grant programs to prevent self-harm and suicide
  • HR 5663, The Safeguarding Therapeutics Act which extends FDA’s administrative destruction authority to medical devices
  • HR 5668, The Making Objective Drug Evidence Revisions for New labeling Act requires modifications of outdated labeling for generic drugs
  • HR 451, The Don’t Break Up the T-Band Act which repeals the authority of the FCC to auction this important spectrum that is used for public safety allowing for 9-1-1 services.
  • HR 4194, The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designating 9-8-8 as the universal dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Whew.... a long day, but one that should make a difference for all Americans. Be safe.

 All the best,


Fred Upton

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