WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce today advanced H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, by a unanimous 51-0 bipartisan vote.
“This historic day marks a big bipartisan step forward on our path to cures,” said Upton, who chairs the committee. “We have all said too many early good-byes to people we love and treasure. Every single person has a common goal: we want more time with those we love. In this, the greatest country in the world, Americans deserve a system second to none. We can and must do better. The time for 21st Century Cures is now.”
The 21st Century Cures Act is the product of more than a year of listening to patients, care givers, innovators, regulators, and researchers. During the conversation, the committee received countless ideas in response to committee white papers, eight Health Subcommittee hearings, and more than a dozen roundtable discussions hosted by both the committee and members in their districts across the country – including one at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
In January, the committee launched the legislative phase by circulating a discussion document, which included a number of ideas proposed by both Republicans, Democrats, and throughout the year-long listening session. The Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the discussion document on April 30, 2015. Subcommittee members then met on May 14, 2015, to consider the discussion draft before voting to forward the bill to the full committee.
Learn more about H.R. 6 here.
Learn more about the 21st Century Cures initiative here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined the majority of his House colleagues in advancing six bipartisan bills aimed at helping U.S. veterans and their families as they make the transition from military to civilian life.
“Voting to support our nation’s brave veterans is the easiest vote we make,” said Upton, who also chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Our veterans and their families sacrifice so much for us and they deserve a 21st Century Department of Veterans Affairs that is accountable to them. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to ensure that our veterans and their families receive the quality support, care, and benefits they have earned.”
The package of bills approved by the House listed below:
H.R. 474, the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Programs Reauthorization Act of 2015, provides a full five-year extension of the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration program, which provides services including grant money for job training programs, to help our veterans reintegrate into the working world.
H.R. 1038, the Ensuring VA Employee Accountability Act, requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to maintain all written reprimands and admonishments that a VA employee receives while working in the Department as long as they are an employee of the Department.
H.R. 1313, the Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Relief Act, would allow a surviving spouse of a veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of less than 100 percent, and who does not die due to their service-connected disability, to retain the veteran’s small business status through the VA’s “Vets First” program for up to three years following the veteran’s death.
H.R. 1382, the BRAVE Act, allows the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to give preference to government contractors to award contracts for goods and services for businesses that employ veterans on a full-time basis. The bill would also require the VA to exclude contractors who willingly and knowingly misrepresent their employment of veterans.
H.R. 91, the Veteran’s I.D. Card Act, Directs the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to issue veteran identification cards for all veterans honorably discharged. Current regulations only allow veteran’s cards to be issued to those veterans who have completed time-in-service requirements or have received a medical discharge. H.R. 91 ensures veterans who serve the minimum obligated time receive an I.D. card.
H.R. 1816, the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act of 2015, allows veterans to receive benefits for low-income housing assistance while maintaining their eligibility for all housing calculations.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today lauded the speedy approval of two critical pieces of bipartisan legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act and H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. Both pieces of legislation advanced through the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health by voice votes.
The 21st Century Cures Act is the product of more than a year of listening to interested stakeholders to gain feedback on what can be done to speed up the discovery, development, and delivery of life saving cures and devices. This feedback loop included a bipartisan roundtable at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, M.D. School of Medicine and in meetings with stakeholders and patients during a trip to Southwest Michigan with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, in March. In January, the Energy and Commerce Committee launched the legislative phase of the 21st Century Cures initiative and in April, the Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on a draft discussion document.
“The history of health innovation is remarkable,” said Upton, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. “But the future is where I’ve set my sights. I’ve got my eye on 21st Century Cures. And I want to ensure that the laws, regulations, and resources governing the quest for better and faster treatments keep pace with scientific advances. There is no cause more worthy, no challenge more urgent. We need 21st Century Cures, and we need them now.”
Click here to watch Upton’s opening statement
The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 would prohibit the sale or distribution of personal care products containing synthetic plastic microbeads by January 1, 2018. This legislation would establish a national standard so manufacturers would not have to comply with the patchwork of state laws and protect U.S. waters including the Great Lakes.
“It’s hard to believe something smaller than a pinhead could cause such big problems, but that’s what is happening with synthetic plastic microbeads in cosmetic products,” said Upton. “This issue is so important to Southwest Michigan and the entire Great Lakes Region. This is an important bill in protecting the beauty and cleanliness of the Great Lakes and I look forward to moving it through the legislative process.”
To learn more about these two pieces of legislation, please click here.
To view pictures from today’s subcommittee markup, please click here.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today met with Van Buren County Deputy Brian Matthews to congratulate him for being honored today at the National Police Officer Memorial for winning “Officer of the Month” in June of 2014 by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Matthews and other officers were returning on a flight from a week of training in Arizona on March 2, 2014, when an officer from Muskegon suffered a stroke. Thanks to Matthews’s quick thinking and action, he was able to assist and stabilize the injured officer. The flight made an emergency landing, and the injured officer was quickly ushered to a local hospital where he was treated and released. Without Matthews providing assistance and steady calm, the injured officer may have suffered grave consequences.
“Thanks to Deputy Matthews’s quick thinking and steady action, he ultimately saved a life,” said Upton, who also serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “National Police Week is a time to reflect and thank those who protect and serve every single day. I offer a heartfelt thank you to Deputy Matthews, his family, and all of our brave police officers for their service and dedication to our communities and country.”
Van Buren County Sherriff Dale Gribler praised Matthews as well, “We are extremely proud of Brian. He is what all officers should aspire to be – an officer who is committed to his family and who is committed to providing quality law enforcement services to the public he protects.”
National Police Week draws attendees to our nation’s Capitol each year from departments throughout the United states as well as agencies from around the world to pay tribute to those who have died in the line of duty.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined the majority of his House colleagues in advancing H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015. H.R. 1732, which advanced through the House by a bipartisan vote of 261-155, aims to protect U.S. waters and stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s flawed “Waters of the U.S. Rule” proposal, commonly known as “WOTUS” Rule.
“Tonight we came together and advanced common sense legislation that aims to fix a flawed proposed rule,” said Upton, who was an original co-sponsor of the legislation. “The proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule would have dire consequences for our Southwest Michigan economy and threaten jobs. Our bipartisan legislation aims to make life easier for Southwest Michigan farmers and private landowners, give local stakeholders a voice in the process, and provide fairness. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate in order to move this critical legislation to the president’s desk.”
In March 2014, the Obama administration announced the proposed “WOTUS” Rule, which would allow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fully regulate bodies of water on private lands. This controversial proposal would bring waters on private property, typically off-limits to federal regulation, under strict jurisdiction and permitting requirements. The rule was developed without first consulting with local and state authorities or examining the potential impact on Southwest Michigan citizens, farmers, and other stakeholders.
H.R. 1732 ensures that local and state stakeholders have a renewed voice in this critical rulemaking process. It gives the EPA 30 days to withdraw the current flawed rule and charges the agency to develop a new proposed rule while performing real outreach and consultation with local stakeholders and those who would be most affected by the proposed rule.
For more information, including a list of groups supporting H.R. 1732, please click here.Read More
This week, in communities across the country – and here at home – we are celebrating the hard work, determination, and persistence of small business owners and local entrepreneurs by taking part in National Small Business Week. First established in 1963 by Presidential proclamation, National Small Business Week celebrates and recognizes the critical contributions of America's small business owners and entrepreneurs.
My top priority continues to be promoting job creation and economic growth here in Southwest Michigan. Small businesses are truly the backbone of our local economies; they help drive local economic growth, engage folks in a wide variety of commerce, and help develop local leaders for the challenges of the future. They also provide good-paying local jobs. Michigan small businesses alone employ 1.8 million workers, more than half of the state's private workforce in 2012.
In Southwest Michigan, we have small businesses and innovative entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. I had the pleasure of taking part in a "Small Business Crawl" in Kalamazoo last summer. I ate breakfast at a food truck, bought a small work at an art gallery and studio, toured an hourly studio rental business, and sampled food and drink at a craft brewery. What I learned was that while all small businesses are unique, they all work to bring our communities closer together, drive innovation, create good-paying local jobs, and increase America's global competitiveness.
Here in Congress it's our job to work toward facilitating a positive economic environment so that small businesses and entrepreneurs can thrive. Unfortunately, sometimes unnecessary regulations unilaterally imposed by Washington bureaucrats cut into the bottom line of Michigan entrepreneurs and small business owners making it more costly for them to do business and harder for them to create jobs. We need to work in a bipartisan fashion to cut red tape, create a fairer tax code, and rein in overzealous regulations so that small business owners and entrepreneurs can ply their trade, not push paper.Read the piece online in the Kalamazoo Gazette here. Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held the first legislative hearing on H.R. 1321, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. The bipartisan legislation, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, and cosponsored by committee chairman Fred Upton, would require the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the sale or distribution of personal care products containing microbeads by January 1, 2018. The legislation would also establish a national standard to protect the environment and ensure that manufacturers do not face a patchwork of State laws.
“Microbeads are those tiny little scrubbers in your soap, cleansers, and even toothpaste. On their own, they are nearly invisible, smaller than a pinhead. But once they’ve been flushed down the drain is when the problems begin,” said Upton during an opening statement. “Because they are so small, they escape water filtration systems and end up in our bodies of water, including the Great Lakes. I will not stand for any activity that puts our beloved Great Lakes in jeopardy. Simply put, microbeads are causing mega-problems.”
“Plastic microbeads are commonly-used abrasive agents in personal care products, such as facial cleansers and toothpaste,” said Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “Microbeads were found in Great Lakes surface waters during a study in 2012 and 2013. Just as we don’t tolerate plastics littering our roadsides and filling our landfills, we should not allow plastics – of any size – to taint our beautiful Great Lakes. Michiganders love the Great Lakes, and they expect strong leadership on issues related to the lakes.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health today held the first legislative hearing on Upton’s bold, bipartisan 21st Century Cures legislation.
“My friends Brooke and Brielle, from Mattawan, Michigan, served as an inspiration for 21st Century Cures,” said Upton during an opening statement. “They’re battling SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and they are two of the brightest stars I know. Their motto is: We can and we will….Yes, we still have work to do, but it is important to recognize the incredible progress of the past year and remain focused on our common goal of helping patients. We have a chance to do something big, and this is our time. And it is Brooke and Brielle’s time.”
To watch a clip of Upton’s opening statement please click here.
The subcommittee heard expert testimony from Dr. Kathy Hudson, Deputy Director for Science, Outreach and Policy at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Janet Woodcock, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Dr. Jeff Shuren, Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Last week Upton and Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, traveled to Southwest Michigan to meet with community leaders, medical students at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker, M.D. School of Medicine, innovators, and local patient groups.
To learn more about 21st Century Cures please click here.
While traveling throughout Southwest Michigan last week meeting with patient groups, medical students, and community leaders as part of their nonpartisan #CuresInTheMitten trip, Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and Congresswoman Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, joined Rick Albin for WOOD TV 8’s “To the Point” to discuss their bold 21st Century Cures initiative.
In 2014, Upton and DeGette launched the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative to speed up the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving drugs and devices. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold the first legislative hearing on 21st Century Cures this Thursday.
For more information on the trip, please click here.
To The Point: 21st Century Cures
April 26, 2015
A Michigan Republican and Colorado Democrat are working together to pass federal legislation that would change the way the FDA deals with new procedures and treatments.
The legislation, dubbed 21st Century Cures, aims to speed up FDA approval of new drugs, medical devices and treatments.
U.S. Rep Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said in order to come up with solutions, we need to “listen.”
To watch the full interview, please click here.Read More
KALAMAZOO, Mich – Finely honed details on an iconic structure near downtown Kalamazoo – Henderson Castle – captured in the unforgiving medium of chalk pastel helped propel the choice of this year’s Congressional Art Competition winner for Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District, represented by Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.
Grady Hively, 16, of Kalamazoo, drew the Castle as part of the classes he’s been taking at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art’s Kirk Newman Art School. He said he wanted to draw the Castle because he knew previous owners of the historic 1895 structure and has been in, through, and around it many times. He also wanted to draw it because of how interested he is in architecture. He asked permission before taking a photograph of the Queen Anne style house, now operating as an inn, day spa and restaurant, which became the model the final piece.
On the way to the winning artwork was an early attempt to paint an image of the Castle using acrylic paints but it “didn’t turn out,” Grady said. And while he has worked in pencil a great deal, “for the content and the detail, I knew I had to use pastels.”
Grady, a sophomore at Kalamazoo Central High School, where he also takes art classes, says he hopes to continue to further his art studies in college – perhaps through architecture or graphic design.
Locally, more than 130 entries competed for the Congressional Art Competition.
“I am proud to have Grady’s piece represent the Sixth District in the U.S. Capitol, where it will hang alongside winners from Congressional Art Competitions throughout the country,” Upton said. “We have amazing talent here in Southwest Michigan. Congratulations to Grady and to everyone who took part in the KIA 2015 High School Area Show.”
Grady and a guest will be invited to a reception in Washington, D.C. for the winning artists. Southwest Airlines is providing two free tickets.
The Congressional Art Competition was included in the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 2015 High School Area Show, now in its 35th year, open to those high school students who live in the Sixth Congressional District – Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren Counties, as well as most of Allegan County.
The KIA show awards thousands of dollars in awards and scholarships to various art schools and institutions for various programs.
The winners were:
Juror’s Awards: Ashton Holdridge, Watervliet High School; Mariam Husain, Kalamazoo Central High School; Montana Major, Vicksburg High School; Maggie Mianecke, Portage Northern High School; Lilah Rosier, Water Street Glassworks; Gillian Yerington, St. Joseph High School; and Delaney Beals, Portage Northern High School
Juror’s Honorable Mention: Ashlee Bachinski, Three Rivers High School; Elise Blakely, Gull Lake High School; Eric J. Bluschke, St. Joseph High School; Elizabeth Feldbruegge, Lakeshore High School; Grady Hively, KIA Kirk Newman Art Schooll; Megan Hayward, Portage Central High School; Taylor Joachim, Lakeshore High School; Megan Kopp, Watervliet High School ; Marielle Lentz, Portage Central High School; Ava Peeters, Kalamazoo Central High School; Grant Pettit, Plainwell High School; Samantha Searles, KRESA EFA/Parchment High School; Abigail Ziemkowski, Portage Northern High School
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS -- Representative from each school selected their respective scholarship winners. KIA Kirk Newman Art School Summer Class Scholarships: Delaney Beals, Portage Northern High School; Lily Bowman, Lawton High School; Chris Cole, Portage Central High School; Brooks Eisenbise, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School; Mariam Husain, Kalamazoo Central High School; Fred Ouding, Comstock High School/Kirk Newman Art School; Brooklyn Parsons, St. Joseph High School. Cleveland Institute of Art Scholarship Award: Cecelia Roehm, Vicksburg High School. CIA’s Pre-College Summer Program Scholarship: Samantha Searles, KRESA EFA/Parchment High School. Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University Scholarship Awards: Delaney Beals, Portage Northern High School; Eric J. Bluschke, St. Joseph High School; Taylor Hendrix, Lakeshore High School; Ashton Holdridge, Watervliet High School; Brooklyn Parsons, St. Joseph High School; Grant Pettit, Plainwell High School. Summer Portfolio Camp Scholarship Awards: Brooks Eisenbise, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School; Joseph Mead, St. Joseph High School; Deedle Melchor, Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor; Maureen Reed, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School; Abigail Russell, Gull Lake Homeschool Partnership. Western Michigan University Gwen Frostic School of Art Scholarship Awards: Brooks Eisenbise, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School; Taylor Hendrix, Lakeshore High School; Emma Lewis, Vicksburg High School; Maureen Reed, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix High School; Cecelia Roehm, Vicksburg High School; Abigail Russell, Gull Lake Homeschool Partnership; Rose Safranek, Water Street Glassworks, Benton Harbor; Samantha Searles, KRESA EFA/Parchment High School; Gillian Yerington, St. Joseph High School.Read More
2183 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06) is proud to represent the commonsense values of southwest Michigan. In 2010, Fred was selected by his House colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over matters concerning energy, healthcare, the environment, telecommunications, commerce, manufacturing, and trade, as well as oversight and investigations.
Prior to his election to Congress, Fred worked for President Ronald Reagan in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). While at OMB, he learned from President Reagan’s example that it does not matter who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done.
Fred has a well-earned reputation for getting things done in Washington and at home in southwest Michigan. The South Bend Tribune writes that Fred “attacks government spending and wants tax cuts retained and the budget balanced.” Fred’s hometown paper, The Herald Palladium, praises Fred as someone who has “consistently fought against out-of-control spending and bigger government” and has “always treated constituent services as a vital part of his job.”
Fred’s top priorities are job creation and economic growth in southwest Michigan.
Fred strongly supports an “all of the above” energy strategy that puts a greater emphasis on domestic energy production, the advancement of breakthrough technologies, and the development of safe nuclear power. Fred has also been a leading opponent of overreaching federal regulations that stifle economic growth, harm jobs, and raise energy costs for Michigan families and businesses.
Fred values our constitutional system of government checks and balances. Fred is focused on ensuring the federal government remains limited, transparent, and accountable, as our Founding Fathers intended. As Energy and Commerce Chairman, Fred has led the over-year-long investigation of Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar company that was the recipient of a half-billion dollar Department of Energy loan guarantee.
Fred has also worked to increase the deployment of telecommunications services as well as ensure that free speech and private innovation remain the hallmarks of this industry by opposing needless regulation. Fred helped oversee the successful transition from analog to digital broadcasting – one of the top priorities of the 9-11 Commission. Fred has also worked to guarantee that our children are protected from online predators and indecent material.
Fred has pushed for a greater emphasis on biomedical research to improve the public health. As Energy and Commerce Chairman, one of Fred’s top priorities is to repeal the President’s controversial healthcare law and replace it with commonsense, market-based reforms that benefit patients, doctors, and employers.
Fred was born on April 23, 1953 and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Amey have two children.
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You don't need to understand Bayesian statistics to understand what bringing new treatments&Cures can do for American families #Cures2015
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