Fred Upton

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

Upton Announces Tyler Zortman Appointed to West Point

2015/01/29

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today announced the appointment of Tyler Kenneth Zortman of Augusta to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Upton nominated Zortman to the prestigious academy and personally congratulated him on his appointment.

“To be able to nominate and now announce the appointment of this young man to West Point is a great honor,” said Upton. “I spoke with Tyler earlier today and he is very excited with the appointment and for the opportunity to serve his country – just like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all did before him. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our veterans and those willing to sacrifice on behalf of our country and Tyler is following not only in his families footsteps, but of all the cadets at West Point who went on to become some of the greatest leaders and public figures in American history.”

Upton nominates students to military service academies from Michigan’s Sixth District who have excelled in school and are interviewed by members of his Academy Advisory Board, which is made up of community leaders. The individual academies make the final decision on military appointments. Upton nominated Zortman and 16 other Southwest Michigan students to the United States services academies last December.

Students interested in attending a service academy are encouraged to contact Upton’s Kalamazoo District Office for further information at (269) 385-0039 or by visiting upton.house.gov.

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21st Century Cures Moves Forward - Legislative Phase Now Underway

2015/01/28

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new phase is beginning on the path to better, faster cures. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, yesterday released an initial discussion document outlining some specific proposals that have been shared throughout the 21st Century Cures initiative. This discussion document seeks to continue the important dialogue that patients, innovators, researchers, care givers, and other experts have shared during the past year. This product is the result of the input shared in response to the five white papers, eight hearings, and numerous roundtables – including a bipartisan roundtable at the Western Michigan University Homer J. Stryker M.D. School of Medicine – that have convened during the past year.

“Fifteen years into the 21st Century, the time for 21st Century Cures is now,” said Upton. “Throughout this initiative we have done things differently. We have been bipartisan, we spent a year listening and asking questions, and we have been fully transparent at every step. The ideas outlined in the discussion document represent an important milestone – a critical first step in a legislative process. It’s an exciting time – as medical innovations and the jobs that accompany them are flourishing right here in Southwest Michigan and we should be doing all we can to keep them here. #Cures2015 is now underway. Together, we will get this done.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is seeking feedback on the proposals outlined in the discussion document, with continued urgency on behalf of patients who are struggling with diseases today. The inclusion of a policy in this draft should not been seen as endorsement. Congressman Upton looks forward to continuing to work with both Republicans and Democrats, as the committee continues to pursue an aggressive schedule to introduce 21st Century Cures legislation and ultimately send a bill to President Obama’s desk by the end of the year.

View the first release of legislative ideas here.

View a section-by-section of the discussion document here.

View a one-pager highlighting the legislative ideas here.

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Upton votes to take action against human trafficking

2015/01/27

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined by the majority of his House colleagues, voted to approve twelve bipartisan bills that work to combat human trafficking. These bills will strengthen our current laws to combat the growing problem of human trafficking in the United States, provide much needed services to victims of human trafficking, and ensure that the innocent victims of human trafficking are not subject to prosecution.

 “For many, human trafficking is seen as something that happens in countries far away. The reality, however, hits much closer to home,” said Upton. “Some 300,000 young Americans are in danger of becoming victims of sex trafficking. The average age for a girl to enter the commercial sex trade is 12 to 14 years old and for boys, it is 11 to 13. Human trafficking is despicable and is akin to modern day slavery. I was proud to take action against this terrible violation of human dignity.”

The bills approved by the House include H.R. 514, the Human Trafficking Prioritization ActH.R. 515, the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking; H.R. 357, the Human Trafficking Prevention Act; H.R. 468, the Enhancing Services for Runaway and Homeless Victims for Youth Trafficking Act of 2015; H.R. 469, the Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015; H.R. 246, to improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking; H.R. 398, the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2015; H.R. 460, the Human Trafficking Detection Act of 2015; H.R. 350, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery Act of 2015; H.R. 159, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2015; H.R. 181, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015; and H.R. 285, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act of 2015.

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OPINION: Upton and McCarthy: Building the infrastructure for a brighter energy future

2015/01/21

Our nation’s infrastructure system is critical to our national security, economy, and quality of life. Yet despite its significance, Washington frequently overlooks the necessity of energy infrastructure.

North America is now the world’s leader in energy production—a seismic change considering hysteric warnings of peak oil several years ago. This transformation greatly benefits the American people by bringing lower energy costs and more jobs. But to fully realize our energy renaissance, more is required than just increased oil and gas production.

During and after production, our resources need to be moved to our cities and communities. Right now, the way we do this is outdated—we transport small amounts of oil in tanker trucks over long distances. What’s worse, our old and inefficient system has real economic costs.

Just look at what happened last winter in the Northeast. The harsh weather spiked demand for natural gas, but because of pipeline constraints the needed supply could not be delivered. As a result, heating and electricity prices skyrocketed—up to almost double in some states compared to the national average. This winter, customers of the largest utility in Massachusetts could pay $33 more a month on top of the highs of last year.

The deficiency of our energy infrastructure also threatens industries responsible for some of the greatest job growth from pre-recession levels. Creating the infrastructure we need not only protects that job growth, it will also open up new markets for American energy at home and abroad, providing even more opportunity for economic growth.

And in an increasingly hostile world, our renewed energy abundance limits the influence of some of the worst human rights abusers, like Russia. But unfortunately, old laws in America are restricting this progress.

Upgrading our infrastructure is essential, and it has bipartisan support. The president has frequently said that he thinks Congress and the White House can work together on infrastructure. Unfortunately, his recent spree of veto threats says otherwise. But the House will continue to give the president opportunities to make good on his promise to work with Congress.

This week the House will consider the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Act sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.). This bill streamlines the permitting process for natural gas pipelines, which are exactly what New Englanders need to enjoy affordable energy. Next week the House will consider a bill to expedite the approval of liquefied natural gas export facilities, letting America use its energy abundance to benefit our allies and counter our adversaries.

Both of these bills—an important opening step to ensuring affordable energy for all Americans—will have support from Democrats and Republicans. If the president puts down his veto pen and joins us, America will have an even brighter energy future. 

Read the op-ed online here.

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Upton votes to support energy infrastructure and affordability

2015/01/21

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined a majority of his House colleagues today in passing legislation that would allow new pipeline projects to come online safely and efficiently to help meet the nation’s need for affordable and reliable energy. The legislation – H.R. 161, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act – would expedite the federal review process for applications for natural gas pipeline certificates by imposing statutory deadlines on agencies involved in the review process. The legislation was approved by the House by a bipartisan vote of 253 to 169.

“The United States is the world’s leader in the production of natural gas and we want to stay in the No. 1 spot by allowing safe and timely pipeline projects to go into production,” said Upton, who is also chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “American ingenuity and technology can bring this wealth of energy to folks living in Southwest Michigan and across the nation in a safe and affordable manner.”

To view the bill online click here, and to view letters of support for the bill click here.

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Upton to President Obama: Let’s work together on the #Path2Cures

2015/01/20

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union address. For the past year, Upton, along with U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, have led discussions on how Congress can help the discovery, development, and delivery cycle for new cures and treatments in the United States.

Through several white papers, hearings, and discussions, including a roundtable in October at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, the 21st Century Cures initiative has engaged stakeholders and leaders from across Michigan and the country. During this past weekend, Upton called various health leaders, including Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, and National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, to express his thanks for their support and leadership on 21st Century Cures. Upton also requested President Obama to consider 21st Century Cures as an area of bipartisan agreement to pursue in 2015.

“21st Century Cures is about hope,” Upton said. “We seek to provide hope to patients and families all across the country who are desperate for new cures and treatments. We also seek to provide hope to those who see Washington as a partisan city incapable of getting things done.

“As we look toward this new year and new Congress, I am encouraged by the bipartisan achievements we have already made throughout the 21st Century Cures initiative and am grateful for the support of top administration officials. I hope President Obama will consider joining our effort to boost jobs, ensuring that Southwest Michigan and the United States remains the epicenter of innovation, and help bridge the gap between the incredible advances made in science and how we in Washington actually regulate those therapies. There is no issue more important to families all across the country.”

For a complete history of the 21st Century Cures initiative please visit here.

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Upton: MLK’s dream still inspires us as challenges continue

2015/01/19

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joins the nation in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and issued the following statement:

“Today Michiganders and folks across the country are pausing to observe and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We know that challenges remain, but we also know that Dr. King’s dream is still very much alive today and continues to inspire us. As America’s new Congress gets underway and we begin the task of governing, now more than ever it’s important to remember Dr. King’s words: ‘the time is always right to do what is right.’”

Upton spoke today at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast Celebration at Lake Michigan College and at the Ecumenical Senior Center MLK program in Kalamazoo. Upton also spoke Sunday at the 29th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration sponsored by the Northside Ministerial Alliance at Galilee Baptist Church in Kalamazoo.

To view photos from these events, click here and here.

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Op-ed: Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road

2015/01/14

For the past decade, a debate has raged in Washington and across the country about the best way to protect an open, unfettered Internet. The increasing use of smartphones and web-connected products and services make finding the right answer more important than ever.

The House of Representatives and the Senate, working together, have come up with a working proposal. We plan to begin a public discussion of it this week.

We need unambiguous rules of the road that protect Internet users and can help spur job creation and economic growth. The rules we propose would prohibit blocking and throttling (the selective slowing of data), and also ensure that Internet service providers could not charge a premium to prioritize content delivery.

The Federal Communications Commission has limited ability to establish the kind of legally sound, pro-innovation rules that consumers and developers need. One ill-fitting tool available is Title II of the Communications Act — a set of rules conceived in the Franklin D. Roosevelt era for public utilities. Policymakers, however, need updated tools written for the Internet age.

Using Title II could result in billions of dollars in higher government fees and taxes on consumers’ monthly broadband bills, according to a Progressive Policy Institute report. It also could extend new regulations to areas like mobile broadband without recognizing the unique challenges that mobile carriers face.

One near-certainty is that this approach will perpetuate years of litigation and even more uncertainty for consumers and job creators.

Seeking a better way forward, we are working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to establish clear, updated and reasonable rules of the digital road to protect an open Internet.

Our nation’s current technology and telecommunications laws were meant for an era of rotary telephones, brick-sized cellular phones and expensive long-distance service. By acting legislatively, we can set aside the baggage and limits of an antiquated legal framework and work with the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the Internet remains the beacon of freedom and connectivity that defines America in the 21st century.

As a legislative body, Congress has far more flexibility than the commission to narrowly tailor rules appropriate for today’s digital ecosystem. Congress can establish clear protections for consumers that can make sure innovators are free from gatekeeper interference, without affecting incentives for robust private-sector investment.

By updating our communications laws for today’s online world, Congress can ensure the continued growth of our digital economy while preventing harmful government overreach.

In the coming days, we plan to pursue a public process to draft and enact bipartisan legislation that would protect the open Internet. We hope FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the public will join Congress in working to build and enact a shared set of principles that will protect Internet users, promote innovation, encourage investment — and withstand legal challenge.

We have made this an early priority of this Congress, demonstrating we can come together on a bipartisan basis to protect the vitality of the Internet — now so indispensable to our economy and way of life. Enduring, long-term protections for our digital freedoms are something we should all support.

 

Read the column online via Reuters HERE.



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CNN: Can We Find Cures for 7,000 Diseases?

2015/01/13

Despite the conventional wisdom that Washington is a frozen island of partisanship, a hopeful thaw is underway. For the past year, we have been spearheading a bipartisan effort to update the process of discovering, developing and delivering medical therapies to help people live longer and better lives.

After months of listening to experts and stakeholders, the path to faster cures is clearer than ever. We call it the 21st Century Cures initiative, and Congress is about to take a major leap down this road of hope.

There are over 7,000 diseases yet we only have cures and treatments for 500 of them. This unacceptable fact led to one simple question: What policies can we enact to help get more cures and treatments to patients?

Our review revealed several areas of reform that will close the gap between the science of medicine and the regulations that impact the volume and fate of new therapies. Our legislation will modernize all of these categories, removing outdated hurdles that can prevent innovation from flourishing or from fleeing the United States.

First, we must modernize clinical trials to streamline the approval of drugs and devices. Safety has and always will be a top priority. But the old approach of automatically applying a therapy to a broad group of patients is no longer the best path forward, particularly for those diseases for which we do not have a treatment or cure.

Technologies like genetic screening can help us target the right treatments to the right group of patients, creating opportunities for smaller, more targeted and effective trials. We will also streamline the paperwork associated with conducting scientific investigations, whether it's making it easier to recruit patients for clinical trials or adapting the operation of trials as we learn new information.

Second, we will better integrate the patient perspective into the regulatory process. Building off of the Food and Drug Administration's Patient-Focused Drug Development (PFDD) program, we are looking at ways to help strengthen FDA's efforts to further incorporate the patient's perspective. New public-private partnerships that can help build the science around biomarkers and patient-reported outcomes are one way to produce more collaboration, move toward faster cures and better involve patients. We also will create a predictable process for the qualification of biomarkers and patient-reported outcomes so we can utilize these tools in the development process.

Third, we must promote better access to and sharing of information such as genomic and other clinical data to foster more collaboration among researchers. We will also assist developers and entrepreneurs building innovative, patient-focused technologies by removing regulatory uncertainty as they build apps and other new products. With the explosion of technology, we can collect, monitor and analyze information like never before, helping patients stay healthy and adopt healthy habits while also making treatments safer and more effective. Finally, fostering better interoperability and the collection and secure sharing of data for research are other critical components to modernizing the development of treatments.

Fourth, we will invest in the future of science. Our legislation will help young, emerging scientists with expanded access to resources and will take steps to ensure federal dollars are invested wisely. Many of our most promising investigators -- many with great ideas and cutting edge training -- are hamstrung by the challenges of securing much-needed support. We will encourage them to conduct research here in the United States, creating jobs and ensuring that patients here at home have access to the most innovative, new treatments.

Finally, we will better incentivize new drugs and devices for unmet medical needs. This includes streamlining the premarket process while establishing mechanisms to better capture real world evidence post-market. We can also examine incentives, such as exclusivity or simplifying the reimbursement process, to produce drugs and devices for diseases with unmet needs.

America has a strong history of finding solutions to diseases through medical innovation. Today, partnerships with patients and advocates, health care workers and researchers, and government and the private sector can speed the cycle of finding faster cures.

Given the rate of recent scientific progress, it's time to modernize policy to move the process of discovery, development and delivery even faster. The 21st Century Cures initiative is a bipartisan effort to melt Washington's polarization and do just that.

 Read the article online HERE.

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Upton: “It’s time to build” the Keystone XL pipeline following bipartisan House vote

2015/01/12

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined a bipartisan majority of his House colleagues last Friday in passing legislation to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The legislation would end the administration’s delays blocking construction of the landmark jobs and energy project, which has been tied up in regulatory review for more than six years. The legislation would eliminate the need for presidential approval, make it clear the extensive environmental analysis already done on the project is sufficient, and eliminate the threat of future litigation challenges.

“It took less time to build the Hoover Dam than it’s taken the president to answer yes or no on the Keystone XL pipeline project.” said Upton, who also chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Debate about the pipeline has gone on for more than six years when the Hoover Dam only took five years to build. Today we have bipartisan support on it, the Nebraska Supreme Court cleared the legal questions, and we have the strongest pipeline safety requirements in place of all time. The president has no excuses left to delay this project. It’s time to build once and for all.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court on Friday approved the course of the Keystone pipeline through the state. Previously, the president said action on the pipeline should not begin until after the ruling. The House on Friday voted 266 to 153  to pass the bill, H.R. 3, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act, just hours after the court ruling became public.

In 2011, Upton, along with recently retired Congressman John D. Dingell, D-Dearborn, co-sponsored the "Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act of 2011,” which made vital improvements in pipeline safety requirements. It came about following the 2010 rupture of an Enbridge pipeline just east of Upton’s district that spilled 20,000 barrels of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. Upton worked aggressively with local, state and federal officials to mitigate the spill’s impact on public health, property and the environment.

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Contact Information

2183 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3761
Fax 202-225-4986
upton.house.gov

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

MICHIGAN's 1st DISTRICT

Bill Huizenga

MICHIGAN's 2nd DISTRICT

Justin Amash

MICHIGAN's 3rd DISTRICT

John Moolenaar

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Tim Walberg

MICHIGAN's 7th DISTRICT

Mike Bishop

MICHIGAN's 8th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Dave Trott

MICHIGAN's 11th DISTRICT

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