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@MyKitchenTable - March 11, 2021

@MyKitchenTable: Thursday, March 11, 2021

Dear Friend:

Psalm 34:18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

As today marks one year of this pandemic, there is certainly hope on the horizon, and there have been many heroes throughout the past year. But today we must also remember those who we lost and all those they left behind.

When President Biden marked the heartbreaking milestone of 500,000 Americans dead from this pandemic, he spoke about the empty chair around the kitchen table. He said, “For some of you, it’s been a year, a month, a week, a day, even an hour….when you stare at that empty chair around the kitchen table, it brings it all back, no matter how long ago it happened, as if it just happened that moment you looked at that empty chair.” The President also said what we all hope: “The day will come when the memory of the loved one you lost will bring a smile to your lips before a tear to your eye. My prayer for you is that day comes sooner rather than later.”

Let’s be sure today to make a special effort to reach out to all those we know impacted by this horrible virus and those who continue to live with that unimaginable pain.

If you missed it, NBC News has a touching segment about the children who lost their parents to the coronavirus in the past year, which you can read HERE.

Many today are also dealing with a simultaneous crisis, a mental health crisis, one year into this pandemic. The mental health impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching, impacting people across southwest Michigan and around the country.  You can read more about it HERE.

Yesterday my Michigan colleagues and I visited with our Michigan National Guard troops that are still stationed here at the Capitol. They were in good spirits but are ready to return home. To offer a small token of thanks, we handed out gift cards and Chick-fil-a sandwiches. We are so grateful for their service to Michigan and our nation. You can read more about our efforts HERE.Image

The New York Times today has a helpful FAQ document about the coming stimulus checks, unemployment assistance, and tax credits, which you can see HERE.
Lastly, Politico reported that the Republican and Democrat leaders on the House Small Business Committee reached an agreement to extend the Paycheck Protection Program for two months after many small businesses here in SW MI and across the country expressed concern that the March 31 deadline would deprive folks from getting help. The loan application deadline is now May 31. You will remember that the PPP was created to provide loans that would be converted to grants if the small businesses kept employers on payroll, and the program has been a huge success, helping to keep millions of Americans employed during this difficult time. You can read more about the agreement HERE.

All the best,

Fred Upton

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