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@MyKitchenTable - July 29, 2020

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Washington, July 29, 2020 | comments

@MyKitchenTable: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dear Friend:

Legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler said, “The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team?"

For us, in these times, let’s take into consideration what we do and how it impacts our team – which can be our family, our workplace, and our communities. For instance, if you choose not to wear a mask during the COVID-19 crisis, how could that effect your community?

One of my colleagues – Louie Gohmert of Texas - who has been a no-mask guy since day one was diagnosed today with COVID-19. And yesterday he was at the Capitol, in his office around his staff, near reporters, on the floor, and in a hearing – while not wearing his mask. Several lawmakers who have interacted with him are now quarantining, which you can see HERE. He also is a member who sleeps in his office at night, meaning it probably is contaminated, while he requires his full staff to come in during the day. Reports from his staff are that he berates them for wearing masks, which you can see HERE. Gohmert didn’t know he had it, but that’s what makes wearing a mask so important as we all try to stop the spread. This virus is bigger than ourselves. It’s a global pandemic, and the only way we’ll beat it is if we all do our part! Wear your mask, folks. Please.

Next, a quick update on COVID-19 relief package negotiations. My sources in the Senate say they are not likely to have a COVID-19 relief package ready to consider by the end of this week, when we are scheduled to leave Washington. I am one that believes we absolutely should not leave until a bipartisan package reaches the President’s desk that would provide protections for our schools and address the shortfalls due to COVID-19 expenses by our states, cities, and counties while providing liability relief. Stay tuned.

This morning started off with a Zoom call with the Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) focused on our bipartisan efforts to advance the Slotkin-Upton Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act. This legislation aims to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign countries for critical medical supplies. We must boost domestic manufacturing of those supplies and make much-needed upgrades to America’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which you can learn more about HERE.

I also encouraged my PSC colleagues to support our bipartisan SMART Act, which I’ve referenced before. It would include additional money for states, cities, and counties that are struggling with a loss of revenue during the COVID-19 crisis. This funding could be coupled with additional monies for roads and K-12, which are facing budget crunches due to COVID-19 on top of considering how to safely reopen in the fall. 

I also spent time today in my Health Subcommittee legislative hearing on improving public health. My focus was on school-based health clinics and a bill I introduced, H.R. 2075, the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act of 2019. We heard from Robert Boyd, President of the School-Based Health Alliance, and he and I discussed my concern that with only a limited number of schools reopening their buildings in the fall, what happens to those students who depend on school-based clinics? He mentioned how they will to the best of their abilities look to remote operations through telehealth, but there is a pending health care crisis coming in our schools. Some students aren’t getting vaccines. They’re not getting life-saving medications. We need to address those issues. He also estimated that as many as 1/3 of Title 1 school children have not been heard from in some districts. You can watch my part of the hearing HERE.

A few more news and notes:

- Henry Ford Health System is looking for volunteers to participate in the final stage of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial to determine whether the vaccine actually protects against the virus, which you can see in the Detroit Free Press HERE.
- HHS, DOE, and VA announced the formation of the COVID-19 Insights Partnership, an initiative to coordinate and share health data, research, and expertise to aid in the fight against COVID-19, which you can see HERE.
- HHS issued a report showing the dramatic utilization trends of telehealth services for primary care delivery in Fee-for-Service Medicare in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, further emphasizing the need to expand broadband services. You can read more HERE.
- CMS released its first monthly update of data that provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population, which you can read HERE.
- U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced today it will sign a letter of interest to provide a loan to Eastman Kodak Company to support the launch of Kodak Pharmaceuticals, which will produce critical pharmaceutical components that have been identified as essential but have lapsed into chronic national shortage. You can read more HERE.

Lastly, one more thought on masks. Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko previously claimed that drinking 50 ml of vodka a day would keep COVID-19 away (no, that does not pass the “smell test” in most families!). He refused to wear a mask and went out in large crowds. He now has the virus, and you can see his story HERE. Look, there is no magical away to avoid the virus – we must be careful, wash our hands, and wear a mask!

ImageToday’s constituent photo is from Holland. This family went to get tested for COVID-19 ahead of seeing other family members earlier this month. The photo is of the line of cars waiting to be tested at the Allegan county health department. TY for sharing. If you have a photo you’d like us to feature in our KT updates, please click HERE.

All the best,

 


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Fred Upton

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