Fred Upton

Fred Upton


Opinion: A push for cures we can all get behind


It's been a year since we launched our bipartisan 21st Century Cures conversation, and this Monday, we are bringing it home again to Michigan. The 21st Century Cures initiative is uniquely personal, nonpartisan and transparent and is working to deliver hope to patients and families in each of our home districts and across the country.

We began with a common goal: faster and better cures and treatments for patients. For too long, we have watched patients suffer from diseases without hope for being healed. We recognize the incredible promise of science and technology to solve the riddle of disease, and we know innovators, scientists, health care providers and regulators share our vision for more and better cures. To move from aspiration to action, we brought everyone to one table — key players from all areas of the cures framework — and engaged in an open and honest conversation about how we can do more for patients.


We have heard from folks all across the country and have spent the past several months translating those ideas into legislative text. We are working on policies to improve communication throughout the entire health-care innovation infrastructure and remove barriers between each phase in the discovery, development and delivery cycle. We are also working on ways to modernize clinical trials, ultimately lowering the cost and time it takes to get treatments to patients and keeping jobs here at home. The 21st Century Cures initiative will also provide additional resources for research, including at the National Institutes of Health.

One of the keys to 21st Century Cures' success has been the support and ideas from folks back home. A tour of the University of Michigan Medical School, and a roundtable discussion in Kalamazoo at the Western Michigan University School of Medicine last October, sparked a number of ideas for this initiative, including a discussion about the value and importance of increased data sharing among researchers, innovators, clinicians and patients while maintaining important patient safety protections.

We are producing massive amounts of data today that can help find faster cures, but there are roadblocks to sharing that data throughout the discovery, development, and delivery cycle of cures. When patients are given a new drug or use a new device, they should be communicating with their physician who in turn should be able to provide feedback to researchers and innovators so they can continue to improve. Under our vision for 21st Century Cures, that collaboration will be not only possible, but a priority.

The initiative will also include policies to encourage young and emerging scientists, including students at universities here in Michigan, in Colorado, and across the country. Michigan's research universities conducted more than $1.2 billion in bioscience-related research and development in 2012. Additionally, Michigan has a robust bioscience industry, which employs nearly 42,000 men and woman across the state.

This initiative breaks the usual Washington mold. We've taken our work back home and look forward to continuing this conversation with those who are most directly affected by these policies. On Monday in Kalamazoo, we will visit students, researchers, patients, innovators and job creators. Everyone has an important voice, and we are now closer than ever to delivering hope to patients here in Michigan and across the country as 21st Century Cures becomes a reality.

Make sure to follow along on social media using the hashtag #CuresInTheMitten.

Note: This piece originally ran in the

Detroit Free Press

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#CuresInTheMitten: Upton Announces 21st Century Cures Visit to SW Michigan with Rep. Diana DeGette


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today alongside Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, announced a bipartisan trip to Southwest Michigan to promote their bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative.

In a video first shared on Facebook [Link], Upton said: “I’m excited to say that Diana and I are going to be together next week in Southwest Michigan.  We are truly embarking on – it’s not actually bipartisan legislation – its non-partisan legislation. There is no family that won’t be impacted by this.”

“I’m excited to come, now that it’s stopped snowing,” added DeGette. “I’m excited to come and talk to your constituents about how 21st Century Cures is going to really speed up the approval process for drugs and devices to help every family in America.” 

Click HERE to Watch

Upton and DeGette plan to meet with Michigan-based patient advocacy groups at the West Michigan Cancer Center in Kalamazoo, students and faculty at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, tour Metabolic Solutions lab in Kalamazoo and speak with life science partners of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center, and meet with Stryker Corporation’s leadership team.

Interested parties are also encouraged to tag along online using the hashtag #CuresInTheMitten to follow the trip on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Background: 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. After four Washington, D.C. roundtables, eight hearings, and 15 local roundtables, including one at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, earlier this year the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked the beginning of the legislative phase of the initiative.

For more information, and a complete history of 21st Century Cures, please click here.

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Upton Statement on Passing of Neal Nitz


St. JOSEPH, MI – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, released the following statement today following news of the death of former State Representative and Berrien County Commissioner Neal Nitz.

“Neal was an able public servant who represented his constituents well both in Lansing and in Berrien County,” said Upton. “His strong values were the very foundation that earned the respect of his colleagues, friends, and family.” 

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Michigan Delegation to National Defense Officials: Choose Michigan Air National Guard to Lead Military Cybersecurity Initiative


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Michigan Congressional Delegation today united in their support for the 110th Attack Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard in Battle Creek, Michigan, to be named the location of a Cyber Operations Squadron.

In a letter to top officials in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), bipartisan, bicameral delegation members emphasized how Battle Creek Air National Guard Base’s (BCANBGB) unique location and capabilities would best serve and enable the defense department’s cyber security operations to protect the nation and lead this major initiative in military cyber security. The 110th Attack Wing is already home to a pilot program that has trained technicians and has much of the infrastructure required to take on this new mission.

Delegation members also note in their letter that Michigan’s current workforce and universities provide a strong foundation for continuous training of current and future workers. The state already sports a network of highly skilled information technology professionals, qualified DoD personnel, as well as public and private cyber security specialists. In addition, Michigan is home to 22 colleges and universities that offer degrees in cyber security, including five colleges that have earned designations as National Security Agency Centers of Excellence.

The letter, led by Senator Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Fred Upton, is the first product of a bipartisan, bicameral agenda discussed at a February Michigan delegation meeting. The letter was also signed by the entire Michigan delegation: Senator Gary Peters, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Dan Benishek, Rep. Mike Bishop, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Bill Huizenga, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. John Moolenaar, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. Candice Miller, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Brenda Lawrence, Rep. David Trott, and Rep. Tim Walberg. Governor Rick Snyder has also expressed his strong support of the 110th Attack Wing in their pursuit to host a Cyber Operations Squadron.

The delegation writes in part: 

Cybersecurity threats are one of the greatest national security challenges we face today. Our future as a nation depends upon a reliable cyberspace for infrastructure, commerce, communications, and government at every level. To counter those determined to cause harm, it is crucial that America has a Cyber Mission Force that can strengthen and rigorously protect this critical infrastructure. As the Department of Defense makes determinations on the final Cyber Operations Squadrons (COS) for Air National Guard Cyber Force Laydown, we would like to express our strong support for the 110th Attack Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard in Battle Creek, MI to host a Cyber Squadron.

The Battle Creek Air National Guard Base’s (BCANGB) unique location and capabilities would enable USCYBERCOM to fulfill its mission at a significant cost savings compared to bases without the same existing infrastructure.

In addition, Michigan’s current workforce and universities provide a strong foundation for current and future recruiting efforts. Michigan has a network of highly skilled IT professionals, qualified DoD personal, as well as public and private cyber security specialists. We also have 22 colleges and universities that offer degrees in cyber security, including 5 colleges that have earned NSA Centers of Excellence designations.

With emerging threats and growing concerns on the cyber battlefield, we recognize the difficult choices you must make in securing a Cyber Force structure that meets our nation’s security needs. Locating a Cyber Operations Squadron at BCANGB will utilize existing infrastructure to keep costs low, and provide significant capabilities in meeting America’s cyber security needs.

The letter was sent to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, General Mark A. Welsh, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, General Frank J. Grass, Chief of Staff for the National Guard Bureau, and Lieutenant General Stanley E. Clarke III, Director Air National Guard.

To read the full letter, please click here.

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Say Goodbye to the SGR


There is no shortage of complex policy acronyms in Washington, but last week, we took a bold step to finally erase one from our vocabulary.

Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) has plagued seniors, Medicare physicians, and Congress for nearly two decades. The SGR is a flawed formula that places quantity ahead of quality in seniors’ health care. Its price controls would wreak havoc on Medicare, and Congress finds itself in crisis mode every time the SGR looms. To date, the solution has been to temporarily stave off the cuts just to protect seniors’ access to their trusted doctors.

Last week, however, instead of another temporary reprieve, we put in place a better system – one that promotes higher quality care for seniors while also enacting Medicare reforms to put the program on more sound fiscal footing.

The package that the House of Representatives advanced by a bipartisan vote of 392-37 will permanently fix the broken Medicare payment formula. It will also strengthen the program in the long term, and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly 45,000 children in Michigan (MIChild).

Bottom line: It’s good for Michigan seniors, kids, and our important community health centers.

This was a long time coming. Most of us came to Congress to fight for our nation’s kids, seniors, and their families. Last week’s historic vote was a defining moment for this Congress and for Medicare.

NOTE: This originally ran in the Tri City Record. Read More

Upton Helps Broker “Major Breakthrough” Bipartisan Deal to Strengthen Medicare for Seniors


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today joined by the majority of his House colleagues advanced H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan legislation will permanently fix the broken Medicare payment formula. It will also strengthen the program in the long term, and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers nearly 45,000 children in Michigan (MIChild). Upton helped broker a deal with bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce and House Ways and Means Committees on the legislation. The House advanced H.R. 2 by a bipartisan vote of 392-37.

“This is a long time coming. Most of us came to Congress to fight for our nation’s kids, seniors, and their families. Today’s vote is a defining moment for this Congress and for Medicare. Our bipartisan agreement puts us on the road to real reforms to strengthen Medicare for our seniors and puts the broken Sustainable Growth Rate in the rear view mirror forever,” commented Upton. “We strengthened Medicare and extended MIChild, and our important community health centers. This deal is good for Michigan’s seniors; it’s good for Michigan’s children.”

Upton reached an agreement with Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and fellow Michigan Congressman Sander Levin, a Democrat who is Ways and Means Ranking Member. Bipartisan House leaders were also instrumental, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California. President Obama on Wednesday morning signaled that he would sign the bill, stating during a speech at the White House, “I’ve got my pen ready to sign a good bipartisan bill.”

Upton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has long pursued a permanent solution to the SGR budget gimmick that has threatened seniors’ access to health care through the years and led to 17 temporary patches during nearly two decades at the cost of $170 billion. The bipartisan agreement is an important opportunity to end these repeated, costly distractions and begin the important work of truly strengthening Medicare for today’s seniors and for generations to come. H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, builds upon the foundation established by Upton’s committee in the last Congress, which passed similar legislation out of committee by a vote of 51 to 0.

To watch video of Upton’s floor statement, please click here.

Learn more about Upton’s efforts to replace the SGR and strengthen Medicare here.

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Upton, Subcommittee Focus on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and his colleagues at the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee today held a hearing focused on the growing problems of prescription drug and heroin abuse. The hearing, titled “Examining the Growing Problems of Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse: State and Local Perspectives” was the second in a series that will examine this crucial issue.

“Sadly, communities all across the country have been affected by prescription drug and heroin abuse, including southwest Michigan,” commented Upton, who is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Devastatingly, heroin overdoses are on the rise due to a combination of high demand and purity that can make this drug more lethal. There were 13 suspected overdoses in Kalamazoo in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 9 in the first quarter of 2012. This unwelcome trend is unfortunately all too familiar as opiate-related overdoses have recently become the No. 1 cause of death in Michigan and nationwide, surpassing motor vehicle crashes, suicide, firearms, and homicide.

“There are many heart-breaking stories across the country. We are losing about 20,000 people a year from abuse of prescription pain killers or heroin…This is a great opportunity for this committee, working on a bipartisan basis, to help improve the federal government’s response to this epidemic.”

 Fitz, the Cass County prosecutor and president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, noted, “The problem of drug abuse will always be with us. Heroin and prescription drugs are the latest concern, following the epidemics of marijuana, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and others. The key is to minimize its use and impact.” 


In addition to Fitz, the Subcommittee heard testimony from a wide range of experts including Fred Wells Brason II, the executive director of Project Lazarus; Sarah T. Melton, associate professor of Pharmacy Practice at Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University; Dr. Stefan R Maxwell, associate professor of pediatrics at West Virginia University; Rachelle Gardner, chief operating officer at the Hope Academy in Indianapolis, Indiana; Corporal Michael Griffin, narcotics unit supervisor with the Tulsa Police Department; and Caleb Banta-Green, a senior research scientist at the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. 

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Upton, House Colleagues Send Letter on Iran Nuclear Negotiations to President Obama


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined more than 360 of his House colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to the White House stating their concerns about the administration’s ongoing negotiation with Iranian government officials concerning a potential nuclear agreement. The letter was spearheaded by the top two members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, R-California, and Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York.

In the letter, House members express concern about resolving the nuclear crisis with Iran. They also note their desire to work with the administration to find a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. In addition, they also reiterate that any legislation to lift sanctions on Iran must come from Congress – not the White House alone. The letter also highlight’s Iran’s destabilizing role in the Middle East and its horrendous human rights record.

“We have to work together – House, Senate, and the administration – regardless of political party to show a united front as we negotiate with Iran,” stated Upton.

The bipartisan House members write:

“As the deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran nears, we write to you to underscore the grave and urgent issues that have arisen in these negotiations. While we hope the Administration is able to achieve a lasting and meaningful agreement, we understand that there are several difficult issues that remain unresolved….

The United States has had a longstanding interest in preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability. Over the last twenty years, Congress has passed numerous pieces of legislation imposing sanctions on Iran to prevent that outcome, ultimately forcing Iran into negotiations. Should an agreement with Iran be reached, permanent sanctions relief from congressionally-mandated sanctions would require new legislation. In reviewing such an agreement, Congress must be convinced that its terms foreclose any pathway to a bomb, and only then will Congress be able to consider permanent sanctions relief.

Resolving the nuclear crisis with Iran remains of grave importance to our nation’s security. As the Administration continues to negotiate with Iran, we are prepared to evaluate any agreement to determine its long-term impact on the United States and our allies. We remain hopeful that a diplomatic solution preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon may be reached, and we want to work with you to assure such a result.”

To read the full letter, please click here.

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Upton Presents Overdue Medals to Navy Vet


KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Today a U.S. Navy veteran whose service included the evacuation of Vietnam in April 1975 received several overdue service medals from Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, during an award ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall. 

Dennis Jokela, 60, of Kalamazoo, served as a second-class petty officer and flight deck aviation electrician troubleshooter on the USS Coral Sea, an aircraft carrier, during the Vietnam evacuation, dubbed Operation Frequent Wind. He was also involved with the recovery of the U.S. merchant ship SS Mayaguez and its 39 crew members, who were seized by Khmer Rouge forces in Cambodia in May 1975.

“Mainly we were a refueling station for the planes flying to get sick and wounded people out of the country, and we did have some refugees on board,” said Jokela, who owns general contracting firm The Jokela Group. “A Marine flew his family out (of Vietnam) in a Cessna and that landed on another carrier. It ended up being pushed over the side to make room for other planes.

“A month later we went to Cambodia. After Saigon fell, the Cambodians thought they would flex their muscles and took the Mayaguez and its crew. President Ford said get it back. And three days later we got the ship and the crew. We lost a few (crew members) but we got it.”

Jokela received the Vietnam Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for the Mayaguez Operation, Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon with one Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal and the U.S. Navy Honorable Discharge Button for his service.

“I was an aviation electrician troubleshooter on the flight deck,” said Jokela, who served from 1974 to 1978. “It was the most dangerous job in the world because it was on the flight deck on an aircraft carrier, but I loved it. I would do it again.”

Jokela, who is a reserve officer with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff Department and host of a Christian public television show, said he didn’t have the warmest welcome when he came home. While walking to his gate at a Chicago airport, his belongings were slapped from his hands, he was tripped and spat upon eight times each, he said.

“We, as a nation, weren’t as kind as we could have been to our military personnel when they returned from service in the 1970s,” said Upton, whose office helped Jokela obtain his medals. “I hope Friday’s ceremony provides the ‘Thank you’ that Dennis Jokela should have gotten back then for serving our great country in time of conflict. I am proud to be able to share this experience with a service member who helped save so many lives.”

To view pictures from today’s medal ceremony, please click here.

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ICYMI: Upton Honored by Research!America


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, was honored last week by Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Program for his commitment to furthering the discovery, development, and delivery of life saving medical advances through the breakthrough bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative. Joining him in receiving the award was his partner in the 21st Century Cures initiative, Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado.

“Our leadership support for medical progress has been long, extending from the doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget, to the 21st Century Cures initiative today, a bipartisan effort to accelerate the pace of new cures and ensure the United States remains the world leader in health innovation,” said Upton, who also chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The annual Research!America Advocacy Awards Program was established in 1996 by the Board of Directors to honor outstanding advocates for medical, health, and scientific research. In addition to Upton and DeGette, Research!America also honored ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts; Michael Milken, founder of the Milken Institute and FasterCures; Kenneth Olden, director of the National Center for Environmental Assessment for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Dr. Steven E. Hyman, president of the Society for Neuroscience; and David Van Andel, chairman and chief executive officer of the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, along with George Vande Woud, its founding scientific director.

Last year Upton and DeGette launched the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative to speed up the discovery, development, and delivery of life-saving drugs and devices. Earlier this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee marked the beginning of the legislative phase of the initiative by releasing a discussion document. Learn more about the 21st Century Cures initiative here. Read More

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Contact Information

2183 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3761
Fax 202-225-4986

Committee Assignments

Energy and Commerce

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.

Serving With

Dan Benishek


Bill Huizenga


Justin Amash


John Moolenaar


Tim Walberg


Mike Bishop


Candice Miller


Dave Trott


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