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@MyKitchenTable - March 4, 2021

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Washington, March 4, 2021 | comments

@MyKitchenTable: Thursday, March 4, 2021

Dear Friend:

"Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Mr. Rogers.

Today, those helpers are the countless health care workers here in southwest Michigan and across the country who have been working 24/7 for the past year to care for our communities devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their work continues as long as this pandemic does, and it’s expanded to vaccinating as many people as we can now that there are three approved vaccines in the market.

But our health care workers are under enormous amounts of stress, that’s for certain. Last year you may remember that I helped introduce the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that aimed to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals after Dr. Lorna Breen, a physician at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physician & Surgeons working on the frontlines of the pandemic in New York City, died by suicide. Today we reintroduced this bipartisan bill and hope to see it move quickly, and you can learn more HERE.

ImageYesterday, I had a productive meeting in the Oval Office with President Biden and my 21st Century Cures legislative partner Diana DeGette (D-CO) about what we can do to end cancer as we know it. Like too many families across this country, the Bidens know the pain and heartache that comes from losing a loved one to cancer – and the President told us yesterday that this effort will be a major priority for his Administration. He was an invaluable partner helping us pass the 21st Century Cures Act in 2016 – which accelerated the pace of getting drugs, life-saving devices, and treatments to patients, such as the COVID-19 vaccine – and we are looking forward to working with him again on any effort to find a cure for cancer. It’s time. You can read more about our meeting HERE. Here is a photo with Rep. DeGette and the Republican leader on the Health Subcommittee, Brett Guthrie, outside of the West Wing at the White House.

This morning I was on the MI Big Show with Michael Patrick Shiels as we discussed a number of issues, including today’s threats to the Capitol. Law enforcement agencies reported that online chatter had identified a possible plot to breach the Capitol again following up on the January 6 insurrection, which you can read more about HERE. The House was not in session today, as we finished voting on a number of bills late last night. The National Guard troops remained at the Capitol today and will be there for the foreseeable future. I have been meeting with members of the Michigan National Guard that are defending the Capitol and thanking them. You can listen to my interview with MPS HERE.

You may have seen news reports about the poor quality of food being served to members of our National Guard. Our congressional delegation finds it completely unacceptable that there are reports the food is even hospitalizing some members of the Guard. We sent a letter this week to the head of the National Guard asking that the food service contract be voided or we provide our service members with a per diem as long as they are in Washington. Our troops have our backs – we need to have theirs. You can read more about this situation HERE.
 

All the best,

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Fred Upton

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