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@MyKitchenTable - August 24, 2020

@MyKitchenTable: Monday, August 24, 2020

Dear Friend:

Today’s inspiration is from a mother-daughter duo. The mom is a local HS teacher, who wrote the poems, and her daughter, a college student from our district, was the illustrator. They have done a number of these amazing works since COVID-19 started, which I discovered this past week and am sharing with their permission. Enjoy this first one called Pillarpoetry! You can follow them on Instagram: Pillarpoetry.Image

A very busy end to last week and start of a new one. Yes, I made it back to D.C. Friday night for the postal votes Saturday that took a little longer than expected... and, as a consequence, virtually the whole delegation missed the last flight back to Detroit when we watched our plane depart the gate early causing most of us to then take the 6:15 flight Sunday morning to return. I voted YES and the legislation passed 257-150. We’re facing the greatest health crisis in a century. Now’s not the time to revert to the pony express. You can see my “selfie-video” from the House steps on Saturday HERE. You can also see a WOOD-TV CH 8 story on the Grand Rapids removals of sorting machines HERE.  

I also heard from a number of constituents regarding their “late” payments on taxes due last July 15. I have heard that this is more likely an IRS staffing issue rather than postal, and included is this notice I received today from the IRS as it relates to penalties assessed for checks that have not cleared the financial institutions that in fact were mailed on time. You can see that guidance HERE.

The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC) had a good number of discussions throughout the weekend trying to bring the leadership from all sides together and move a COVID package forward that the president could sign into law. As schools begin to reopen in the coming weeks around the country, both at the K-12 and Higher Education level, it is clear that more resources will be needed to not only protect the students, but also the teachers, faculty, and other school personnel. Included in the Mitch McConnell Senate bill was $105B for schools.  

Sunday night, a small working group of the PSC conferenced for nearly 90 minutes on a framework that could provide the impetus to get our leaders back to the table and see some movement when the Congress returns next month. I have been very clear on what I believe the “sweet spot” could be which would help our schools, states, local communities, individuals, unemployed, and small businesses continue to deal with the COVID issue that we all wish had been over and done with by last Easter. I was encouraged with last night’s call and there will be considerable work done this week as we “close-in” on a proposal that can pass the test. You will recall that the Republican co-chair of the PSC, Tom Reed (R-NY), came to SW Michigan last week where we did a taping for WOOD TV’s “To the Point,” hosted by Rick Albin. It aired on Sunday. You can see that interview HERE. As a consequence, my colleague and a fellow Vice-Chair of the PSC, Debbie Dingell, and I were asked to do a live segment on MSNBC Sunday night, which you can see HERE.   

Debbie and I are working on a possible major glitch in the announcement by the president yesterday, which established an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) regarding convalescent plasma therapy. For months, many that have tested for COVID have donated blood (plasma with the appropriate antibodies) to help those who are seriously impacted with this pandemic. It is a lengthy procedure and tens of thousands have offered such plasma. However, until the EUA, the plasma was available from the Red Cross. But the new EUA, without some formal rule making, may now not be taken from the “stock” as it lacks the formal label with the approved clinical trial information, which indeed could shut down the transfusion service across the country. I have been told that without a resolve, it could affect every blood bank service center across the nation, and thus, there is an urgent need to correct this unintended circumstance.   

On Saturday I introduced bipartisan legislation that aims to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and other mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals. You can see more of that story HERE.

I am speaking at the Van Buren and Allegan County Farm Bureau dinners this week and will remind them that I did confirm with the Secretary of Agriculture on Friday that not only are these two counties the largest blueberry production counties in the nation – they are sweeter and larger than their smaller and more sour competitors from other states!

ImageLastly, our mask photo of the day comes from The Candlestick Maker in St. Joe. They are practicing safe procedures there, including requiring masks to shop, having a hand sanitizing station at the front door, and doing a full sterilization treatment of the shop at the end of each work day. TY for sharing! Click here to submit your mask photo.

All the best,

Fred Upton

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