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Upton’s Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI) delivered the following opening remarks today at a full committee markup, highlighting his concerns over the Democrats’ partisan COVID-19 relief efforts.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

"We all agree, the American people need help – there is no question about that. In fact, less than six weeks ago, we passed a $900 billion deal that delivered immediate and much-needed relief for those affected by this horrific pandemic. That legislation was just the latest in a series of bills that we have passed into law to deal with COVID. While each of those bills addressed different issues related to the virus, they all had one thing in common: they were bipartisan. Sadly, that is not the case with the measure we are considering today.

We all agree. More assistance is needed – I support additional targeted stimulus checks, more resources for vaccine rollout, targeted support for state and local governments who need it, and liability protections for small businesses. What I cannot support is passing a partisan nearly $2 trillion package without studying what money has already been spent from the bill we passed just six weeks ago, what is working, and what areas need more help.

I look at the effect the pandemic has had on the health, lives, and businesses in my district in Southwest Michigan. Nearly 1,000 people in my district have lost their lives to COVID. I think of Bud Baker, my good friend, who was the first person in Berrien County to lose his life. His picture is still on my desk. Many more have been seriously ill and hospitalized.

Many of my constituents have also lost their jobs and small businesses. We were able to use the PPP funds to help as many as we could, but some were still not able to make it. I look at Tibbs Brewing Company in Kalamazoo, Pauly Mac’s restaurant in Edwardsburg, and the AMC 10 theater in downtown Kalamazoo. Many are hanging by just a thread, which is why we need to come together in a bipartisan way to help and not pass destructive measures like a $15 minimum wage, which the CBO just this week reported would kill 1.4 million jobs.

There is a lot we can do together, so I would urge this committee to put aside this partisan measure and buckle down and work together to help put this pandemic behind us.

I also have to comment on one important and troubling development, that we must address appropriately as we mark up this bill.    

This concerns the ill-advised decisions by President Biden to revoke the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and to halt other energy development, immediately wiping out tens of thousands of jobs. By all accounts, from union leaders to economists and the very workers these decisions affect: these are devastating actions and could not have come at a worse time. 

These actions immediately harmed thousands of families and worse yet, thousands of additional families are now at risk as hotels, restaurants, and other businesses supporting the energy industry reel from the economic shock.   

We all know, from the many hearings we’ve conducted on our nation’s energy sector in the past several Congresses—how these actions harm our economy, put thousands of well-paid and proud workers out of jobs, and devastate communities and businesses.   

Our nation’s energy sector is critical to our economic future. It makes no sense. And I am hopeful we can amend the bill today to make it better and bipartisan.

I yield back.”

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