April 8, 2022
@MyKitchenTable: Friday April 8, 2022
Someone asked my wife Amey, what would be the next chapter?She responded, “And they lived happily ever after.”
*Please note that while I do my best to provide the most up-to-date information as possible, the situation in Ukraine continues to change by the minute and thus the following information may not reflect the status of the unprovoked Russian invasion at the very moment this is read. I encourage all to view reliable news sources to stay up to date and avoid misinformation in this time of constant change.
CNN’S STATE OF THE UNION
You may recall I encouraged you all to tune in last Sunday to watch Ukrainian legislator Anastasia Radina on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Anastasia came to the US as a mother and an advocate for her country alongside a number of other Ukrainian legislators. I met with Anastasia prior to her CNN interview with other colleagues in the bipartisan Ukraine Caucus and she relayed that her phone sounded the air raid sirens in her home community where her two-year-old was staying with friends. You can watch a clip of her interview HERE.
This morning we exchanged texts when I heard that a train station had been targeted and dozens of innocent civilians were killed.
TRADE LEGISLATION HEADS TO THE PRESIDENT’S DESK
On Thursday I voted for and the House overwhelmingly passed two key pieces of legislation, the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act, and the Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act after they both passed through the Senate with unanimous support earlier that day. These bills strip Russia of its most-favored-nation trade status and bans Russian oil imports to the US. This is one of the first bipartisan, bicameral, shows of force against Russia to come from Congress. The bills now head to the President’s desk for his signature.
With the enactment of the bipartisan Infrastructure bill last year (BIF) which was successfully split off from the Biden Build Back Better multi-trillion dollar spending bill (still not moving forward), Michigan received the funding to perform critical updates to our aging infrastructure which was recently announced by the governor’s office as the “Building Michigan Together Plan”. The second-largest funding project is a clean drinking water initiative. Families should be able to be certain about this: their drinking water is safe for their children, friends, and loved ones.This is a critically serious issue, and we need to continue to come together to guarantee safe drinking water for southwest Michigan’s communities. You can read more about these investments HERE.
RIPON SOCIETY BIPARTISAN BREAKFAST
On Thursday morning I spoke on the importance of achieving energy independence at an event hosted by Ripon Society (a bipartisan thinktank and news outlet) alongside Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). This energy crisis did not happen overnight. For years, I have advocated for an energy independent plan for the US as Europe’s reliance on Russian oil and gas grew. Under my previous chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we sought to maximize America’s energy abundance – producing more energy here at home and exporting the surplus to our allies overseas.
Under the current administration, we have unfortunately watched US oil production decline by over 1.5 million barrels per day, from peak production of 13 million barrels per day in 2020. Investments in drilling, pipelines, and energy infrastructure projects have also slowed, while regulatory red tape and permitting delays pile up. We must act now to increase domestic production. Gasoline prices reached new record highs of over $4 a gallon.
I have sent multiple letters to the Administration and US energy leaders urging them to stop implementing policies and keeping up red tape that hinders domestic production. I’ve also urged them to release permits on LNG export facilities, some of which they have thankfully done.
You can watch the full event HERE.
This week I led a bipartisan letter to US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Senior Advisory to the President Brian Deese and US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra requesting additional funding for domestic semiconductor chips specifically to be used in medical equipment. Medical equipment companies have been forced to seek out temporary solutions, including purchasing chips from brokers at exorbitant costs or trying to redesign products around available chips to mitigate the effect on patient care. Some of these solutions may not be feasible because many of these products are regulated and require extensive reviews and approvals. The letter, supported by the US Department of Commerce’s findings which you can read HERE, a critical concern is the lack of supply of older, legacy logic chips that are heavily used in medical devices and research instruments. We also requested the Administration meet with these medical companies that are struggling to deal with the chip shortage in order to come up with an educated, long-term plan to resolve this serious issue.
SUPPORTING OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT
This week I cosponsored the Public Safety Enhancement Act with Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX). Like all places of employment right now, law enforcement is severely understaffed across the country. Many communities are seeing alarming increases in violent crime and drug overdose deaths. According to the FBI, overall violent crime was up 5.6% in 2020 – and Michigan is no exception. From 2006 to 2009 we had a federal program to hire police officers and this bill will provide reauthorize funding for this tried-and-true program to hire 100,000 police officers over the next five years. I would also add that calls to ‘defund the police’ are absolutely the wrong answer. They need resources for better pay, training, and equipment, like body cameras, to help them do their jobs and keep our communities safe.
A NEW CHAPTER
Many of you heard on Tuesday I announced on the House floor that I will not be seeking another term in Congress. I have an amazing hardworking staff, two of whom have been with me since the start, who have helped thousands of Michiganders over the years. It has been an incredible honor to serve Southwest Michigan for the last 35 years. But, like every good story, it must come to an end. You can read more about my announcement and my full floor remarks HERE where I reference my wife’s prediction on the next chapter that “we’ll live happy ever after.” Not a better finish than that! You can also watch a quick clip from NBC’s “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd HERE.
Congress is out of session the next two weeks, so I am not likely to prepare a KT report ‘til the last week of April.
P.S. If you do not regularly receive @MyKitchenTable email updates and you would like to, please click here to sign up.