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@MyKitchenTable - January 25, 2021

@MyKitchenTable: Monday, January 25, 2021

Dear Friend:

Amanda Gorman – the nation’s youth poet laureate - shared a beautiful poem at last week’s inauguration. Her poem is our inspiration of the day:

“For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to see it
If only we're brave enough to be it.”

You can read her full poem HERE.

It has certainly been a challenging few weeks, especially as COVID-19 cases are now north of 400K. And the vaccine rollout has been frustrating and slow. But we have to persevere and keep moving forward.

Many people have been asking me, now that Pfizer and Moderna have developed and produced the vaccine, when can we get it?  What’s the hold up?

Thus far our state is lagging behind many others in distribution, which you can see HERE.  You can see the progress in your area HERE.

In the last COVID-19 relief package we passed last month, we provided $16B for testing, tracing and vaccine development and distribution as states and locals began our mass vaccination effort. Our local health depts, law enforcement, and hospitals and have been heroically taking on the challenge of the largest mass immunization in our country's history, but we clearly have more to do.

I have been in touch with Governor Whitmer on how to speed up vaccinations and any federal support we can continue to provide.  As Dr. Fauci said yesterday, “We must have much better collaboration and coordination between the federal government and states and locals.” You can see the whole interview with Dr. Fauci HERE.

Just over a year since the first reported COVID case in our country, we are fast approaching 26 million cases.  President Biden has pledged a “full scale, war time” effort.  One of the things the Administration is doing is utilizing the Defense Production Act to ensure we have the supplies needed like syringes, which you can read more about HERE.  I strongly support using DPA for any and all efforts to combat COVID-19 and supported such when it was deployed last year.

Also, the Energy and Commerce committee I serve on will begin oversight hearings of this whole process next Tuesday.  I want to stay forward focused on solving the immediate problem at hand, knowing there’ll be plenty of time to examine areas where missteps and mistakes were made. Though I do not serve on the oversight subcommittee, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun from Michigan will be testifying.

Bottom line: this is an ongoing challenge especially with supply being outpaced by demand. I am pleased to see local efforts like that are being undertaken by Meijer stores, which you can see HERE. But even as logistics with distribution and sites are expanded, we must continue to support development and availability of additional safe, effective vaccines. I am hopeful that in the next week or so another vaccine by Johnson & Johnson will be approved.  This will be another powerful weapon we need to deploy ASAP, especially with news of new variants, we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. All hands on deck!

A few additional items of note. I am honored to have been selected to continue serving as the top Republican on the House Energy Subcommittee. In this role, I will prioritize energy policy that spurs job creation - including in Michigan’s auto and manufacturing industries - supports the clean energy economy, ensures an "all of the above" approach - from nuclear to hydrogen to clean fossil fuels - fosters innovation, and provides a reliable and affordable energy supply. I look forward to working with our Democratic partners and the new Administration to create jobs, preserve our environment, and protect the wellbeing of the American people.

I am also pleased to report that the Problem Solvers Caucus is expanding our ranks to a total of 56 members – 28 Republicans and 28 Democrats – and I will once again serve as a vice chair of this bipartisan group. My Michigan colleagues Rep. Dingell, Slotkin, Meijer, and Stevens will also be part of the group in this Congress. We are ready to roll our sleeves up, get in the room, and leave our party identities at the door. Fighting, blaming, and partisan bickering do nothing to help those millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet. You can read more HERE.

I want to thank all of the National Guard troops who are here in D.C. protecting the Capitol. I witnessed so many of our troops sleeping on the floor of the Capitol, and I was outraged when I learned that they were actually moved from the Capitol to outdoor garages. I joined many in bipartisan fashion expressing how upset I was about the move. That decision has rightfully been reversed. God bless our troops.  

On a closing note, I've heard from many of you regarding my vote to impeach the President.  I acknowledge and have listened to deeply held views on both sides.  HERE is a link to my full statement on the vote and a story on how members of the Michigan delegation voted, which you can read HERE. After the vote I posted on social media the oath of office every member of Congress takes, which you can see HERE.

Bottom line: Congress should not tolerate any effort to impede the peaceful transfer of power. I’ve gone to bat for Southwest Michigan everyday I’ve been in Congress, bringing jobs, economic growth, and opportunities to our region of the state. And that is exactly what I’m going to keep doing.

God Bless,

Fred Upton

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