Wednesday, April 15, 2020
 
@MyKitchenTable - Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Dear Friend:

Some good news this morning opening up the local Herald Palladium.  'Do It' in South Haven has succeeded in manufacturing PPE masks and you can find that story here.

I have forwarded that good news story to the White House and look forward to personally visiting the operation. Thank you!

Earlier today I did a Zoom TV interview with WSBT. Polls will open soon whether I should emerge from my kitchen table with a clean shave!

Furthermore, I heard from Bronson and Borgess and the 50K masks arrived today that I helped deliver.  

Since April 6, two shipments of critical Hydroxychloroquine were sent from the National Stockpile, totaling nearly 20 million tablets with some allocated for Detroit for probable trials.

Last night I finished up with a lengthy conference call with thousands of folks across the country with fellow colleagues of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. We each discussed working together in divided government to get things done as we begin to work on the challenges to reopen and recover. We have started a checklist for consideration - whether it be social distancing, proper levels of testing for employers/employees, health care system improvements, resilient supply chains, and more. I will share it with you all once we come to consensus. 

I am aware of our biomedical science researchers who work in university labs all across the country—WMU included. I am helping lead a bipartisan effort to make sure that these labs (which are shuttered now and thus jeopardizing their research) are included in the next round of assistance. It is exactly this type of research that can keep us ahead of the curve as we look for cures and vaccines.

Later today, our Energy and Commerce Republican members held a conference call discussing a number of issues before us as we begin to consider what will be included in a Phase IV coronavirus relief package.  As the top Republican on the Energy Subcommittee, I raised the issue of oil production.   On my watch as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, we embarked on a successful effort to make North America energy independent rather than rely on OPEC oil as we did in the 70s.  We were glad to see OPEC cut its production by 9.7 million barrels, which helped stabilize the oil market.  The Department of Energy has announced they are proposing to add oil to the Strategic Oil Reserve for perhaps 30 million barrels. This can be an opportunity to make SPR not simply a reserve in times of shortage, but in times of oversupply too, in order to keep domestic production continuing.

Over the past several days, I have heard from a number of small businesses that were awarded PPP funds.  This program will probably be exhausted in the next day or so reaching the $350 billion cap. Some 1,035,086 loans had been approved from 4,664 lenders totaling $250 billion.  The pressure to raise that cap by another $250 billion from the president on down continues to grow. I would like to think that cooler heads among Republicans and Democrats can prevail in order to provide the additional monies, allowing further assistance to small businesses and their employees.  Hopefully, we will see some “breaking news” Thursday.

It was good to hear from a long-time friend Bill McBride today. He is originally from St. Joe and was COS to a number of Michigan colleagues and then ran Governor Snyder’s DC office.  He is now the Executive Director of the National Governor’s Association and arranged a conference call with 45 of his members.  He, too, does a daily “Kitchen Table” report, and I am glad that our governors are sharing information with each other on issues like unemployment, cyber protections, and vender resources for PPE.

Also, today included zoom/conference calls with area realtors and the Michigan State Medical Society, listening to the many questions their members have.  Tomorrow I lead off with a bipartisan Michigan Congressional delegation call with our Governor, and I am sure we will discuss the most recent Executive Order. I look forward to reporting back tomorrow. 

Today’s inspiration quote was found by Amey, written by former Polish leader Lech Walesa, who I heard address a Joint Session of Congress years ago:

“We must be courageous but also reasonable.  The world admires us for walking a tightrope without falling off.  It asks us to keep our balance.”

God bless,

Fred Upton
Member of Congress


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