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@MyKitchenTable - January 27, 2021

@MyKitchenTable: Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Dear Friend:

Today’s inspiration is from Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Fitting for our problem solvers caucus as we try to work together to deploy all possible weapons to address the COVID-19 crisis. There are clearly pressing needs as we remain gripped by this virus. Yesterday our group had a productive call with the White House to discuss possibly another COVID-19 relief package that President Biden has been supporting. We all agreed that we do need to come together to pass a targeted relief package that meets the economic and health needs of the American people. You can read more about that call HERE.

Today, the co-chair of PSC, Rep. Josh Gottheimer, and I did a TV interview with Andrea Mitchell to discuss the plan and the need for the White House to work with both Democrats and Republicans alike to pass this bill. You can watch the interview HERE.

My view right now is that we just passed a nearly $1 trillion package in December to help with the nation’s recovery. We need some answers first before passing another package. Where did the money from the last package go? Where has that been spent? What is being used effectively? Where are there still needs? We know we can’t simply throw money at problems, so it needs to be targeted. One of the big issues in the last package that didn’t get done was providing liability relief, particularly for small businesses, to protect them against gross negligence claims.

Andrea also asked us about efforts to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. There really is not much of an appetite to do that because it would absolutely cripple our small businesses that right now are just trying to survive and get back on their feet. A $15 minimum wage especially in the restaurant industry would be an absolute killer. Many small businesses have already shuttered causing heartache in our communities.

Josh and I also discussed the need to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. There is a huge demand across the country for getting the vaccine. Yesterday the White House announced they were purchasing 200 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which you can read about HERE.

I’d also like to highlight a bipartisan bill we introduced this week, the Revitalize and Expand SNAP Education and Training (RESET) For America’s Future Act. It would strengthen support for critical USDA workforce development programs and provide American workers with resources to develop new skills and secure long-term employment. As we look to put our economy back on track, we need to invest in our workforce and ensure the talent is there to fill in-demand jobs. You can learn more HERE.

One bit of good news is that yesterday it was reported that Michigan passed a new COVID-19 milestone – the number of individuals vaccinated now exceeds coronavirus cases. According to MLIVE, at least 611,045 residents have received the first dose of the vaccine, eclipsing Michigan’s 600K cases of COVID since last March. The news is encouraging but still clearly a very long way to go. You can read that story HERE.

God Bless,

Fred Upton

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