April 30, 2021
@MyKitchenTable: Friday, April 30, 2021
A line from Senator Tim Scott’s address in response to President Biden’s joint address to Congress: “So I am more than hopeful — I am confident — that our finest hour is yet to come. Original sin is never the end of the story. Not in our souls, and not for our nation. The real story is always redemption.”
If you missed the President’s speech or Senator Scott’s speech from earlier this week, I’d encourage you to watch them which you can do HERE and HERE.
The President’s speech Wednesday night offered support to update our 21st Century Cures legislation with Cures 2.0 and ARPA-H injection of additional research dollars to deal with COVID, cancer, and Alzheimer’s in the years ahead. ARPA-H would be a new health agency that would build on our goal of speeding up the development of treatments and cures. You can read more about it HERE. This was certainly welcome news and should generate overwhelming bipartisan support.
Unfortunately the rest of the speech appeared to be a long wish list of big spending priorities. Look, now that the economy has begun to recover, and there appears to be trillions of dollars still in the pipeline from already approved COVID relief packages, we shouldn’t be proposing trillions more in pipe-dream spending that will either dramatically increase the national debt or raise taxes on small business and families. We also are hearing from countless small businesses in southwest Michigan that have expressed how they cannot find workers because folks are making more money from the government by not having a job. This needs to be fixed.
We should follow the path that President Biden himself outlined in his inaugural address calling for bipartisanship and cooperation, which are sorely needed as we begin the discussion on an infrastructure bill. Earlier this week I talked with WSJM about our efforts in the Problem Solvers Caucus to ignite a bipartisan discussion on infrastructure priorities, which you read more about HERE.
Yesterday, Governor Whitmer announced a set of specific benchmarks in order to restore normalcy in Michigan, calling it the “MI Vacc to Normal Challenge.” She outlined a four-step process where after a certain percentage of Michiganders 16 and older receive at least one dose of the vaccine, certain restrictions will be lifted. The first step, which we will likely hit next week, allows more people to return to office buildings. The next step increases some capacity restrictions, then lifts all capacity restrictions, and the final step removes all limits and health orders. We certainly have a ways to go, but things are trending in the right direction. We need all Michiganders over 16 to get the vaccine as soon as possible to restore that normalcy we all so desperately miss. You can schedule an appointment HERE. You can read more about the Governor’s announcement yesterday HERE.
Currently, the state has administered 6.9 million vaccines. 50% of Michiganders 16 and older have received at least one dose, and 38% are fully vaccinated.
Earlier this week, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing called, “The Long Haul: Forging a Path through the Lingering Effects of COVID-19,” which looked at COVID Long Haulers. We talked with Francis Collins, and some good news we discussed is that the vaccines appear to remedy some of the ill effects. Yet another important reason for everyone to get the vaccine.
One fun story you might be interested in – I did a Q&A with a DC newspaper Roll Call about my time as a Congressional staffer working for David Stockman and then as a staffer for President Reagan’s Office of Management and Budget before being elected to congress in 1986. Here’s a photo of me and Stockman, and you can read the Q&A HERE.
I also wanted to share a couple photos from a St. Joe resident. They captured a picture-perfect Lake Michigan sunset over the bluff, and then had a frequent visitor from the den below! TY for sharing!
Next week, we have two important hearings in the Energy & Commerce Committee. We have a Health Subcommittee hearing looking at ways to lower the cost of prescription drugs while still ensuring we allow for innovation and the development of more cures and life-saving treatments. We also have an Energy Subcommittee hearing on the CLEAN Future Act. Stay tuned!
Have a great weekend,