House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today responded to the expanded recall of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata air bag inflators and warnings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this week urging drivers to get their cars fixed over concerns that air bag rupture could lead to severe injuries.
“The auto industry has made vast advancements in safety over the last decades – something to be commended – but as new safety features and technologies are developed, we are faced with new challenges. Airbags were designed to improve safety and help save lives, which is why it’s so disconcerting to hear reports of this life-saving tool posing a potential hazard to drivers. Recalls continue to mount across the country, and drivers are losing confidence. The first priority must be to ensure that all cars on the road are safe, and I urge drivers to heed NHTSA’s warnings and act immediately to get their vehicles fixed. We also need to take a close look at this airbag issue and the timeline and scope of the recalls to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect drivers and their families. I’ve long said that when it comes to vehicle safety, there can be no margin for error,” said Upton.
Drivers can visit SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is affected by the airbag recalls. Committee staff has requested a briefing with NHTSA on the status of the Takata air bag recalls and will also be meeting with auto manufacturers to discuss supplier issues.
Upton has been a leader on vehicle safety issues and was the author of the TREAD Act, which enhanced communication between auto manufacturers and regulators and increased NHTSA’s ability to collect and analyze information about safety defects. The committee this year has been conducting an extensive investigation into the General Motors ignition switch recall, and recently released a report detailing NHTSA’s failures in identifying the deadly problem. The investigation found NHTSA failed to act on evidence identifying the defect and lacked a technical understanding of advanced vehicle safety systems.Read More
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of new travel restrictions and protective measures to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States. The new policy would require travelers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone to fly into one of five U.S. airports – John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia and O’Hare International Airport in Chicago – that have already adopted enhanced screening measures and added protocols.
“Funneling all passengers through these five airports helps close a gap that could have allowed affected travelers into our country with no screening at all, which makes it a good start, but certainly not a complete solution,” Upton stated. “I continue to believe more comprehensive travel restrictions can be used to keep Ebola from spreading and allow us to train all of our resources on treating the sick and containing this disease in the affected countries.”
Last week, Upton’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an urgent, bipartisan hearing with some of the United States’ top public health officials to examine the U.S. public health response to Ebola. Upton then questioned Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on the use of travel restrictions from regions of Africa impacted by the fatal disease. Watch Upton’s exchange with CDC Director Frieden HERE.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee today launched its #RecordOfSuccess webpage, highlighting its bipartisan accomplishments in the 113th Congress to create jobs and spur economic growth, modernize government for the innovation era, and protect families, communities, and civic initiatives. Under the leadership of Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, 84 committee bills have cleared the House of Representatives, with 32 bills becoming law, and 52 bills awaiting Senate action.
Upton commented, “I’m very proud of our proven record of success and appreciate the continued bipartisan efforts made by our committee members. In a time of partisan politics, the Energy and Commerce Committee has been able to rise above and get the job done, working together to make a difference for countless families here in Michigan and across the country. But our results should be even better with over four-dozen bills awaiting action in the Senate. I am proud that every single one of our bills received Democratic votes in the House, and over two-dozen bills now on the Senate’s doorstep cleared the House with a veto-proof margin. Our work continues, and we welcome the Senate to swiftly approve our bipartisan bills.”
An Accounting of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s #RecordOfSuccess for the 113th Congress Follows Below: (As of October 15, 2014)
Public Laws: Legislation Passed by the House and the Senate
(25 public laws containing 32 E&C bills)
H.R. 2995, Unnecessary Cap Act of 2013
H.R. 1263, Excellence in Mental Health Act
Committee Legislation Passed by the House and Pending Senate Consideration or Resolution
(52 E&C bills await Senate consideration)
H.R. 540 (S. 1261), Energy Efficient Government Technology Act
Visit energycommerce.house.gov/recordofsuccess to keep track of committee billsRead More
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, held a hearing today with some of the nation’s top public health officials to examine the U.S public health response to the Ebola outbreak. Held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the bipartisan hearing focused on the role of U.S. public health agencies and their efforts to prevent the spread of Ebola within the United States.
“We need all hands on deck. We need a strategy. And we need to protect the American people, first and foremost,” said Upton in his opening remarks. “It’s not a drill – people’s lives are at stake, and the response so far has been unacceptable.”
The preparedness of U.S. ports, points of entry, health care facilities, and other institutions to identify, diagnose, isolate, and treat Ebola patients in a safe and appropriate manner were also evaluated.
“We need a plan to treat those who are sick, to train healthcare workers to safely provide care, and to stop the spread of this disease here at home and at its source in Africa. This includes travel restrictions or bans from that region beginning today,” continued Upton. “Surely we can find other ways to get the aid workers and supplies in to these countries. From terrorist watch lists to quarantines, there are tools used to manage air travel to assure public safety. Why not here? We can no longer be reacting to each day’s crisis. We need to be aggressive and finally get ahead of this outbreak.”
Upton directly questioned Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on the use of travel restrictions from regions of Africa impacted by the fatal disease.
In addition to CDC Director Frieden, Upton and fellow committee members heard from officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Texas Health Resources.
Watch Upton’s opening remarks here
Watch Upton’s Q&A with CDC Director Frieden here
The full-text of Upton’s opening remarks follow:
Let me first begin by thanking our witnesses and all of the Members, Republicans and Democrats, for being here today. You know, it’s unusual to convene a hearing in DC during a district work period, but on this issue, there’s no time to wait. I was likewise glad to see the President get off the campaign trail yesterday to finally focus on the crisis.
People are scared. We need all hands on deck. We need a strategy. And we need to protect the American people, first and foremost. It’s not a drill – people’s lives are at stake, and the response so far has been unacceptable.
As Chairman of this committee, I want to assure the witnesses that we stand ready to support you in any way to keep Americans safe, but we’re going to hold your feet to the fire on getting the job done, and getting it done right. Both the US and the global health community have so far failed to put in place an effective strategy fast enough to combat the current outbreak.
The CDC admitted more could have been done in Texas. Two health care workers have become infected with Ebola even as nurses and other medical personnel suggest that protocols are being “developed on the fly.” And none of us can understand how a nurse who treated an Ebola-infected patient, and who herself had developed a fever, was permitted to board a commercial airline and fly across the country.
It’s no wonder the public’s confidence is shaken. Over a month ago, before Ebola reached our shores, we wrote HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell seeking details for the preparedness and response plan here at home and abroad. And it’s clear whatever plan was in place was insufficient, but I believe that we can and must do better now.
We need a plan to treat those who are sick, to train healthcare workers to safely provide care, and to stop the spread of this disease here at home and at its source in Africa. This includes travel restrictions or bans from that region beginning today. Surely we can find other ways to get the aid workers and supplies in to these countries. From terrorist watch lists to quarantines, there are tools used to manage air travel to assure public safety. Why not here? We can no longer be reacting to each day’s crisis. We need to be aggressive and finally get ahead of this outbreak.
The American people also want to know about our troops and medical personnel who are courageously headed to Africa to treat the sick. How are they going to be protected? We want to know that health care workers here in America have the training and resources necessary to safely combat that threat as well.
So it’s not just the responsibility of the US. The global health community bears the charge to finally get ahead of the threat, develop a clear strategy, train all of those involved in combating this disease, and eradicate the threat.
We have all heard the grave warnings that this is going to get worse before it gets better – people are scared. It is our responsibility to ensure that the government is doing whatever it can to keep the public safe. Diana DeGette and I have partnered together on the 21st Century Cures initiative to help improve the research and speed the approval of life-saving medicines and treatments, and while much attention has been paid to how this effort can help with diseases like cancer and diabetes, these same reforms have to help us in the development of treatments for deadly infections like Ebola. We are partners in this effort to save lives.Read More
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, has been recognized by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) for his continued efforts to support the growth of manufacturing in the United States. Upton received the “NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence” for his voting record in the 113th Congress on issues that are of importance to domestic manufacturers. Upton was one of only three members of the Michigan delegation to receive a 100 percent rating from NAM.
“We are a nation of builders and Michigan manufacturers have been at the forefront of our economic comeback, leading the nation for manufacturing job creation. We want to see that record of growth and innovation continue,” said Upton, who recently took part in Manufacturing Day at Mach Mold in Benton Harbor, Mich.
Manufacturing employs more than a half million men and women in Michigan, according to NAM, and accounts for more than 90 percent of the state’s exports.
“We need the right policies to keep Michigan manufacturers competitive,” continued Upton. “That means supporting lower energy costs through the responsible production of North American energy; a regulatory system that takes into account economic costs and common sense; properly maintained transportation infrastructure; and a pro-growth tax code that puts our manufacturers on an even footing with overseas competitors.”
NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states.
“Manufacturers in Michigan and throughout the United States are making a comeback, creating jobs, making more products and making them better than ever before,” said NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse. “However, manufacturers are often disproportionately impacted by decisions made by policymakers in Washington. The NAM is proud to stand with lawmakers like Representative Upton, who understand what is at stake and seek to implement policies that will foster innovation, growth and competitiveness.”
The “NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence” is awarded based on a list of Key Manufacturing Votes selected by NAM’s Key Vote Advisory Committee.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement regarding the ongoing Ebola outbreak. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing this Thursday, October 16, at noon to examine the U.S. public health response to the outbreak. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be among the hearing witnesses.
“Ebola has been on the world's radar screen since March and yet the United States and the international community are still scrambling to stay ahead of and stop this outbreak. We remain gravely concerned about this ongoing threat and the committee will continue diligently investigating the response efforts and preparedness plans,” said Upton. “The stakes could not be any higher, and as I have said before, we cannot afford to look back at this point in history and say we could have done more.”
More background for Thursday’s hearing is available online here. The committee first sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell seeking more information regarding the ongoing Ebola outbreak and preparedness and response efforts at home and abroad on September 12, 2014.Read More
Over the past several months, the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative has fostered a robust conversation among patients, researchers, medical professionals, and advocates from across the country on how to accelerate the pace at which lifesaving medical treatments are discovered, developed, and delivered in the United States. Launched this spring by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, the initiative aims to save patients lives through faster cures and help employers in states like Michigan continue to be global leaders in medical innovation.
This morning, Upton brings his 21st Century Cures conversation to Southwest Michigan with a roundtable discussion between distinguished health industry leaders at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine in downtown Kalamazoo.
Opening Statement of House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (as prepared for delivery):
Today we continue our tremendous bipartisan efforts on the 21st Century Cures initiative with this Southwest Michigan roundtable. Launched this spring, the initiative aims to save patients’ lives through faster cures and help employers in states like our great state of Michigan to continue to be global leaders in medical innovation. Today we will discuss ideas that we have received over the past several months and look to more specific steps we can take to accelerate the cycle of cures and the role Southwest Michigan’s patients, researchers, medical professionals, advocates, and industry play in keeping America the innovation capital of the world.
Over the past several months, the 21st Century Cures initiative has fostered a robust conversation and a number of our committee members have held roundtables across the country to hear about how American innovation is providing hope, saving lives and creating jobs. Today is no exception. It will provide an opportunity for us to see how Southwest Michigan can help accelerate the cycle of cures and make a real difference in the lives of Americans.
Whether it’s cutting edge Parkinson’s research happening at the Van Andel Institute, the potential game-changing diabetes treatments under development at Metabolic Solutions, or the breakthroughs that continue to happen at Pfizer and Stryker, our region of Michigan has proven it’s at the forefront of advances in the life sciences field. I’m excited to welcome Dr. Burgess, Dr. Collins and Dr. Shuren to Southwest Michigan to hear firsthand all the good work being done here.
To continue our work toward more cures and treatments, we have brought together another all-star roundtable. Joining us today we have:
Dr. Michael Burgess, Member of Congress and Vice Chair of the Subcommittees on Health and Oversight and Investigations
Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health
Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, Director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the Food and Drug Administration
Ms. Kirsten Axelsen, Vice President of Worldwide Policy at Pfizer, Inc.
Mr. Stephen Benoit, CEO of Metabolic Solutions
Mr. Richard Stec, Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs of Perrigo Pharmaceuticals
Dr. Hal Jenson, Founding Dean and Professor at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Dr. Peter Jones, Research Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Van Andel Institute
Mr. Kevin Lobo, Chairman and CEO of Stryker Corporation
Mr. Tony Mandarino, Director of the Alex Mandarino Foundation
Dr. Joseph Mirro, President, CEO, and Chief Medical Officer at West Michigan Cancer Center
We need to hear from the full panel, so I’d ask the participants to keep their answers brief, to about a minute if possible so we can keep the conversation moving.
In closing, I want to thank all of you for participating today, and I would specifically like to recognize the inaugural class and faculty of Western Michigan University’s Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine who are in attendance today. We are counting on you to find the discoveries and cures of the future.
I also want to thank everyone who has offered their input on this 21st Century Cures initiative. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the thoughtful contributions from Michiganders and folks all across the country.
We intend to release a Cures legislative discussion draft in early January 2015 and will look to swiftly move the legislation early in the next Congress. If you want your idea considered, please send it to email@example.com as soon as possible. The more specific the idea, the better.
Now, I’d like to give our participants a chance to offer some opening comments. Please keep your comments to a couple minutes. Let’s start with Dr. Collins . . .
“Manufacturing Day brings together manufactures and educators to inspire tomorrow's talent and ensure the industry remains a driving force for Southwest Michigan's economy,” said Todd Gustafson, Kinexus executive director.
The three-county region is home to more than 450 manufacturing businesses, which account for nearly 17,000 manufacturing jobs in Southwest Michigan, according to the economic modeling software firm Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI).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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Airbags were designed to improve safety and help save lives, which is why it’s so disconcerting to hear reports of this life-saving tool posing
Talking with students this morning at Paramount Charter Academy in Kalamazoo on the #Ebola outbreak and US preparedness and response efforts
Funneling all passengers through these five airports helps close a gap that could have allowed affected travelers into our country with no screening
Good to see everyone this afternoon at Allegan Rotary. Discussed the U.S. response to #Ebola as well as my committee's bipartisan #Path2Cures
Honored to be recognized by Popular Mechanics as one of “The 15 Most Innovation-Friendly Members of Congress” for ongoing efforts to advance