@MyKitchenTable: Friday, May 7, 2021
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent van Gogh
First, I want to congratulate our 2021 Sixth District Congressional Art Competition winner, Hayden Siebers, a senior at Portage Central High School. His art, composed on ink pen, is titled Sunset in Playa del Carmen, and will hang in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Hayden’s art demonstrates his exceptional talent, and despite receiving a number of exceptional submissions, Sunset in Playa del Carmen stood out. Congratulations, Hayden! You can read more HERE.
Next, the latest numbers on the pandemic remain encouraging. It appears in Michigan the surge in cases is over, with the seven-day average now at 3,203, its lowest point in five weeks. Remember the seven-day average was over 7,000 cases in mid-April, so we’re certainly headed in the right direction. Let’s not get complacent. Get your vaccine if you have not already. I would note the positivity rate is also decreasing, but it is still over 15% in Van Buren and St. Joe counties here in southwest Michigan. So, again, while we are making obvious progress, there is still a ways to go. The more people who are vaccinated, though, the closer we are to having a normal summer here in Michigan. You can get all of the latest stats from MLIVE HERE.
While the progress we’re making is encouraging, I would note that on Thursday the state surpassed 18,000 COVID deaths. Each one of those deaths is a person who had a family, life, and story, and we should always remember those who lost their lives to this vicious virus as well as the loved ones they left behind.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Governor recently made some changes to the restrictions here in Michigan. Masks are no longer required outdoors unless a gathering has 100 or more people. Full vaccinated individuals (those who are two weeks post-second shot) are not required to wear a mask at residential gatherings. The state also announced a larger limit in attendees at outdoor festivities. HERE is more info on all of the updated restrictions.
A few more updates on what I’ve been working on this week:
- Wednesday, the House Energy Subcommittee, which I serve on as the Republican Leader, held a hearing on the future of Electric Vehicles and the CLEAN Future Act. This is a bill that contains billions of dollars in subsidies and mandates in an attempt to push electric vehicles on the American public, whether they are ready for them, or not. I support reasonable fuel efficiency standards and am excited about the prospect of electric vehicles. I know our great domestic automakers in my home state of Michigan are hard at work to make cars that consumers will want to buy. However, I have real concerns that the CLEAN Future Act puts the cart before the horse by mandating electric vehicles, because there is no consideration for American workers and car buyers, our growing reliance on China for critical minerals to make batteries, and the strain that electric vehicles will place on our grid. You can read more about Wednesday's hearing in the Detroit News HERE.
- Tuesday, the House Health Subcommittee had a legislative hearing on a number of pieces of legislation, including H.R. 3 – the Democrats’ drug pricing pill. Look, we all agree prescription drug prices are too high. But H.R. 3 will harm American patients by stifling innovation, resulting in fewer cures. We can’t afford to gamble on people’s health. We needed innovation more than anything this past year to develop the vaccines to defeat COVID-19! Rather, I support the bipartisan H.R. 19 – The Lower Costs, More Cures Act of 2021 – which will deliver lower drug costs for the American people AND allow for continued innovation so that we can continue to find cures for the world’s cruelest illnesses and diseases. H.R. 3 has little chance of being enacted as it is pretty partisan and therefore won’t reach the President's desk. Why not take the bipartisan bills that can reach the President's desk instead of trying to go with a dead end partisan approach?
Here are a couple of additional resources, too, that might be helpful:
- MSHDA has federal funds available to help tenants facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent through the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program. For more information on this program and to apply, click HERE.
- The FCC announced that on May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. For more information and to apply, click HERE.
Next week the House is back in session which means I’ll be back in D.C. for votes. Stay tuned!
Have a great weekend, and happy Mother’s Day on Sunday to all of the incredible moms out there!
All the best,