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@MyKitchenTable - July 28, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Dear Friend:

Today my friend, the late Rep. John Lewis, is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol. I so appreciate this quote from him: “You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light … Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won."Image

I was among the many that were at hand when John Lewis’ casket was carried up the Capitol steps to lay in state. Some 37 Americans have earned this honor, used as a tribute to our nation’s most distinguished citizens, starting with House Speaker Henry Clay in 1852. I have been there for George Bush (41), John McCain, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Claude Pepper, the unknown soldier from Vietnam, Hubert Humphrey, Billy Graham, Rosa Parks, and two U.S. Capitol Police officers, Chestnut and Gibson, killed in the line of duty guarding the Capitol in 1998.

Rest in peace, my friend.

This morning started with my weekly interview on WHTC where I shared some memories about Lewis and what he meant to the Congress. I also shared an update on the latest COVID-19 relief packages.

Yesterday, the Senate Republicans released their starting point for another COVID-19 relief package, which you can read more about HERE in CNBC. Our bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus is meeting later this week to discuss how to reach bipartisan consensus on an agreement that supports workers, families, and small businesses. It’s clear many are still struggling to make ends meet. Just last week 1.4 million Americans filed for unemployment, and Michigan’s unemployment rate remains north of 14 percent. We have a divided government. The two sides need a deal to help folks that can pass the House, Senate, and be signed by the President. We can’t have either side issuing red lines.

We also need solutions for our schools, that’s for certain. We know there is no one size fits all solution. Each district has different circumstances and different challenges, so from a federal standpoint, we cannot require schools to reopen if locally they determine they cannot do so safely. The current Senate GOP proposal includes $105B to help make serious preparations to protect students and teachers in schools that reopen. I had a conference call yesterday with local superintendents who shared their concerns and noted that to move forward with the fall semester, they need additional resources to help with schools reopening - safely - so students, teachers, parents, and other staff feel safe returning.

Finally, states and local governments still need additional assistance. As I have referenced in previous KTs, I am a cosponsor of the bipartisan SMART Act, bipartisan legislation with support in the House and Senate that could help provide additional funding to states like ours that can demonstrate loss of tax revenue with large amounts of COVID cases. This bill will help states, cities, and counties with a fair formula based on real numbers. You can learn more HERE.

Conversations are ongoing and I will keep you updated.

Yesterday, I introduced a bipartisan bill to expedite Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness for small businesses. The PPP has certainly been a lifeline for many small businesses and employees across southwest Michigan and around the country. Our office has worked hand-in-hand on the PPP with a number of small businesses and lenders to help protect countless jobs. In Michigan alone, 121K loans totaling more than $16B have helped keep 1.5M employees on the payroll. You can learn more about the bill HERE.

A couple news items I wanted to be sure you saw:

- Pfizer announced Monday that they are entering the late-stage human trial for their potential COVID-19 vaccine. The trial will include up to 30,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 85 across 120 sites globally, including 39 U.S. states. If it’s successful, Pfizer will submit it for regulatory approval in October, which you can read about HERE. Pfizer’s CEO said in a TV interview that he thinks they could have results from the trial in late September or early October, and you can watch that HERE.

- Dr. Fauci is saying that it’s now “crunch time” for a vaccine development, and if we can get widespread acceptance of the vaccine, the pandemic will be over, and you can read more HERE.

- Roll Call is reporting that “an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the National Institutes of Health and biotech company Moderna might have results by November or sooner,” and you can read more HERE. Moderna’s potential vaccine was the first vaccine to reach phase 3 of a clinical trial in the United States, which got underway on Monday with 30,000 Americans receiving shots. You can read more HERE in CNN and HERE in the Detroit News.

All the best,

Fred Upton

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