Fred Upton

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

THE DENVER POST: A (political) breakthrough on biomedical research

2014/09/20

​For those who have despaired of the two parties in Congress working together on behalf of important goals, brace yourselves for some good news: A powerful House Republican and Colorado's own Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette are joining in an ambitious effort to restructure funding and regulations around biomedical research to foster innovation and life-saving products. 

It's an important collaboration called 21st Century Cures. Not only could it accelerate biomedical breakthroughs, it could also ensure the United States retains its lead as the center of innovation — a lead that has eroded in recent years.  |

The chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton of Michigan, and DeGette have spent the past few months seeking advice from a broad spectrum of experts associated with biomedical research, from scientists to regulators to investors. And they intend to draft a bill by year's end to introduce in the next Congress.  

"We've discovered there is quite a bit of consensus" on what to do, DeGette told us. And that consensus includes those running government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — meaning they won't stand in the way.  

DeGette points to several problems that need attention:  

• Reliable funding. Although funding for NIH was doubled in 2001, it has lost 25 percent of its buying power since because of budget freezes and cuts.  

• The obsolete structure of the federal agencies, which slows down approvals. As a result, a 21st Century white paper explains, "the timelines, size, failure rates, and costs of conducting trials [for new therapies] are at all-time highs, with administrative and regulatory burdens often contributing to such increases." Indeed, the cost of developing a new drug now exceeds $1 billion. 

• Lack of a centralized registry for those engaged in biomedical research. "If you had a registry — with informed consent for patients — then you could have one pipeline to get those big studies done," DeGette said. Large-scale genome trials could be done much more easily, she added.  

There are other issues, too, but suffice it to say the legislation will cover a lot of ground. But that's also why it is potentially such an important initiative that, if done properly, should attract wide, bipartisan support.  

After all, DeGette observed, "Addressing disease is not a partisan issue." 

Click here to read the editorial online Read More

Upton recognizes Jasmnika Newbern of Benton Harbor on being honored as Midwest Youth of the Year

2014/09/18

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, had the honor of introducing Jasmnika Newbern of Benton Harbor, Mich., at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Congressional Breakfast today in the nation's capital where she recognized as “Midwest Youth of the Year.” The Benton Harbor High School graduate is the first member of her family to attend college and is now a freshman at Michigan State University where she plans to study criminal justice.

Newbern was named “Michigan Youth of the Year” this spring and went on to excel at the regional competition in Chicago. As a student in Benton Harbor, Newbern helped lead an anti-bullying campaign and organized a student-led peace rally and walk against teen violence and bullying.

“Jasmnika is an intelligent, determined, and inspirational young woman who has shown how one individual – even in high school – can make a real difference in their community,” said Upton, who also met with Newbern yesterday in his Washington office. “Her experience is such a powerful testament to the important role organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton Harbor play in communities across the country.”

Click here to watch Jasmnika Newbern’s acceptance speech Read More

Upton supports bipartisan measure to fund government, authorize action against ISIS

2014/09/17

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, voted today for a stopgap measure (H.J.Res.124) to prevent a government shutdown and keep federal agencies operating under current FY 2014 rates until mid December. The short-term funding bill passed the House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 319 to 108 and now awaits action in the Senate.

“This bipartisan agreement ensures our government remains operational as Congress completes its work to pass line-by-line appropriations bills for the remainder of the upcoming fiscal year. I am hopeful that the Senate will follow the House’s lead and act without haste.”

H.J.Res.124 keeps government operations at current levels into the new fiscal year, until December 11, 2014. The extension affords the House and Senate time to complete its work on full-year appropriations legislation for FY 2015.

Upton also voted in favor of an amendment to the underlying funding bill that authorizes the Pentagon to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition groups in the battle against the terrorist organization ISIS. Offered by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., the amendment was adopted by a vote of 273 to 156.

“Thirteen years ago, our world was shaken as we witnessed the heinous destruction of thousands of innocent lives here on U.S. soil. We saw evil, looked it in the eye and vowed never again. The threat posed by ISIS and other radical terrorist organizations is all too real and must be eradicated. The United States does not stand alone it this effort, but we have a responsibility to lead.”

The McKeon amendment does not authorize use of military force. It also ensures congressional oversight and greater transparency through reporting requirements. The provision does not authorize additional funds, but requires the President to submit a reprogramming request to Congress for existing funds.

Read More

Upton Committee Report Details Failures of Auto Safety Regulators in GM Ignition Switch Recall

2014/09/16

​The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a new report written by the majority staff outlining the findings of its investigation related to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) role in the delay of the General Motors (GM) ignition switch recall. The report identified a number of key failures and missed opportunities by the nation’s automobile safety regulator in analyzing and responding to data and information provided to the agency, which contributed to NHTSA’s inability to identify the safety defect. GM has recalled millions of vehicles this year for issues that have been linked to at least 19 deaths, including two teenagers from the Southwest Michigan district of Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.

Upton’s committee opened an investigation into the actions of both GM and NHTSA following the initial recall of certain Chevrolet Cobalt models due to an ignition switch defect which could cause the ignition to inadvertently move from the “run” mode and may prevent air bags from deploying in affected vehicles. The committee’s investigation, along with GM’s internal investigation conducted by Anton Valukas, revealed a series of failures by the company to identify and remedy this defect, which contributed to tragic injuries and the loss of life. But the committee’s investigation also uncovered failures and critical mistakes by NHTSA, which allowed this fatal problem to fester unresolved for over a decade. 

"It is tragic that the evidence was staring NHTSA in the face and the agency didn't identify the warnings. NHTSA exists not just to process what the company finds, but to dig deeper. They failed,” said Upton. “We'll keep looking for answers, and keep working toward solutions – whether it means changing our laws or pressing for change at the companies that follow them and the agencies that enforce them – but we know for sure that NHTSA was part of the problem and is going to have to be part of the solution.”

As outlined in the report, the committee’s findings revealed that NHTSA had ample information to identify a potential safety defect as early as 2007, including a State Trooper report linking air bags and the ignition switch and three independent investigations commissioned by the agency involving the non-deployment of frontal airbags in the Cobalt. NHTSA failed to follow up on the information it was provided and also lacked an understanding of the advanced vehicle systems that were implemented in response to the agency’s own standards.

The committee identified key problems in the agency’s practices that contributed to the failure of NHTSA to identify the safety defect, including a failure to keep pace with the industry it regulates, information silos, a culture that minimizes accountability, and a tendency to get overwhelmed or distracted by specific issues.

While GM has taken some steps to fix its mistakes, it does not appear NHTSA has taken any corrective actions. The report notes “five months later, there is no evidence, at least publicly, that anything has changed at the agency. No one has been held accountable and no substantial changes have been made. NHTSA and its employees admit they made mistakes but the lack of urgency in identifying and resolving those shortcomings raises questions about the agency’s commitment to learning from this recall.”

The committee’s report concludes, “The agency’s repeated failure to identify, let alone explore, the potential defect theory related to the ignition switch — even after it was spelled out in a report the agency commissioned — is inexcusable. This was compounded by NHTSA staff’s lack of knowledge and awareness regarding the evolution of vehicle safety systems they regulate. Regulators should not be held to a different standard. NHTSA’s conduct needs to reflect its mission and serve as a model to those it regulates.  The agency, therefore, must be willing to hold itself accountable and learn from past mistakes.”

To view the committee’s full report, click HERE

To view a list of supporting documents, click HERE.   Read More

Upton makes strong case for Fort Custer to Missile Defense Agency head

2014/09/16

To ensure our homeland remains protected in the event of an attack, the United States must be prepared for the worst, says Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, who met today with Vice Adm. James D. Syring, the current director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). Sitting in his Washington, DC office, Upton made a strong case for the selection of the Fort Custer Training Center of Augusta, Mich. Fort Custer is one of four locations being considered by the MDA for a potential interceptor site capable of shielding the eastern-half of the United States against threats posed by nations like Iran and North Korea.

“Southwest Michigan not only has the infrastructure, resources, and leadership, we have the strong public backing to support this critical national security mission,” said Upton, who attended a public scoping meeting hosted by the MDA at the Sherman Lake YMCA in Augusta in late August.

In addition to the support of the local community, Upton noted the selection of Fort Custer has the strong endorsement of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as well as Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Vadnais, the Adjutant General who commands the Michigan Army and Air National Guard units.

“Governor Snyder and I are really pleased and appreciate the incredible support from the community and Congressman Upton to construct GBI at Fort Custer, should the decision be made to move forward,” said Maj. Gen. Vadnais.

Building the missile defense system would infuse more than $3 billion into Southwest Michigan’s economy, resulting in the addition of 300 new direct jobs and as many as 1,800 indirect jobs.

Upton recently submitted a letter in strong support of the selection of Fort Custer as part of the official public comment period. A copy of the letter may be found here, the full text of which follows immediately below.

September 12, 2014

Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp
Attn: MDA CIS EIS
6601 College Boulevard
Overland Park, KS 66211-1504

To Whom It May Concern:

As the Department of Defense studies potential locations for an East Coast missile defense site, I wish to express my strong support for the Fort Custer Training Center in Augusta, Michigan, as the future home of this important national security mission.

Strategically located between Chicago and Detroit, the region surrounding Fort Custer boasts the robust critical infrastructure necessary to support the construction and long-term success of this mission, including surface and air transportation; energy; housing; and education. Positioned near two major interstates highways (I-94 and I-69), the location is a stone’s throw away from the 110th Airlift Wing at the W.K. Kellogg Air National Guard Base, which boasts a 10,000-foot runway capable of meeting Department of Defense needs. Presently home to the Michigan Army National Guard’s 177th Regiment, the Regional Training Institute, and the Augusta Armory, the Fort Custer Training Center is the heart of a community with a proud and longstanding history of supporting our military and its veterans.

Public support for the selection of Fort Custer has been overwhelming at every level. Both our state’s Governor and Adjutant General are strong supporters and recognize the importance of this mission. The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners, the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners, and the Michigan State Senate (among others) have all passed resolutions formally endorsing the site, and the Michigan State House is expected to do the same. Fort Custer also has the backing of the region’s two leading economic development organizations – Southwest Michigan First and Battle Creek Unlimited – as well as the recent endorsement of the Kalamazoo Gazette – the area’s largest print and online news source.

I recently attended the Missile Defense Agency’s public scoping meeting in Augusta, which was preceded by a tour of the two potential interceptor sites at the training center location. The meeting was well-planned, informative, and well-attended – MDA leadership and staff deserve to be commended for a job well done.

I am one who has always recognized that providing for our national security and care of our veterans are priorities that rise above politics. I have never hesitated to stand by our Armed Forces to ensure that they have the training, resources, and funding necessary to succeed both here at home and abroad. I have also supported efforts to provide for greater collaboration with our first responders to prepare for any contingency.

With growing threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea – along with emerging threats posed by well-financed terrorist organizations like ISIS – we as a nation need to be prepared for the worst. The location of a future interceptor site is a decision that is vital to our national security and thus must be based on that above all else. That is why I am excited that we have such a top-notch site ready to go here in Southwest Michigan. I respectfully urge you to locate the next interceptor site at Fort Custer.

Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.

Sincerely,

Fred Upton
Member of Congress

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Upton roundtable hears from MPI’s William Parfet, national health leaders

2014/09/12

The House Energy and Commerce Committee heard this week from an all-star panel of leaders in the health industry as part of the committee’s bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative. Launched this spring by Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, 21st Century Cures is taking the first-ever comprehensive look at how treatments are discovered, developed, and delivered here in the United States. By listening to experts from around the country, Upton can help determine how to best accelerate that process. By making sure federal policy keeps pace with advances in science and technology, we can get life-saving therapies and cures to patients faster while also keeping America the medical innovation capital of the world.

“The 21st Century Cures initiative affects every American as they, their families, or their friends have been affected by disease,” began Upton.

Among those sharing their expertise with lawmakers was the head of Mattawan, Mich.-based scientific research company MPI Research. William Parfet spoke about the need for collaboration between innovators in the private sector and government regulators to advance technologies and treatments at greater speeds and reduced costs.

“It’s so hard for regulations to keep pace. It’s so hard for regulations to really help allow for new innovative methods to be tested and used,” said Parfet, who is chairman and chief executive officer of the privately held firm.

Parfet was joined on the impressive panel by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell; National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins; Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg; philanthropist Michael Milken; renowned inventor Dean Kamen; and Dr. Dan Theodorescu, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

“This really has been a collaborative effort, and we need everyone to continue providing us with specific ideas – none too big, none too small – about how we can make a significant reduction in the time and costs associated with the discovery, development, and delivery of safe and innovative new treatments and cures for patients who need them,” said Upton.

Members of the public may continue to submit ideas via cures@mail.house.gov. The public is also encouraged to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #Path2Cures.

Click here to watch this week’s roundtable

 Click here to learn more about 21st Century Cures
Read More

We will #NeverForget

2014/09/11

Thirteen years ago this morning, our nation was shaken as nearly three thousand innocent men, women, and children lost their lives in the September 11th terrorist attacks. We will never forget the horrific events of that fateful day, nor will we forget those lives lost and the countless loved ones they abruptly left behind.

This Patriot Day, flags across the country will be displayed at half-staff as we remember the thousands of innocents tragically lost and honor those heroes who bravely answered the call to duty when their fellow Americans needed them.

We also keep in mind those who have continued to work around the clock to keep our nation safe and secure from future terrorist attacks – from our local emergency responders to the members of our Armed Forces. They put their lives on the line and take risks every day for us – we owe them and their families a tremendous debt of gratitude.

The world as we knew it was forever changed that morning through the acts of violent extremism. The brutal destruction, heartbreak, and bloodshed that most of us only recognized from overseas news reports, history books, or the movies became a reality upon our shores.

Ongoing instability in the Middle East and elsewhere reminds us that those who would use terror and violence against others to achieve their goals still exist. The terrorist organization ISIS poses a very serious and credible threat to the world and here at home. There is no question that we must destroy that radical threat before its terrors reach our shores. The United States should be part of a broad coalition of forces to get that job done, and I look forward to hearing the specific details of such a strategy in the days ahead.

We live in a much different world today than we did before the terrorist attacks of September 11th. While much has changed, our American values and resolve remain strong. Read More

Upton responds to President’s remarks on ISIS terrorist threat

2014/09/10

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s evening address to the nation on countering the terrorist organization ISIS. Upton joined fellow House Republican leaders earlier today for an hour-long closed-door briefing on ISIS and the evolving situations in Iraq and Syria.

“ISIS poses a very serious and credible threat to the world and here at home. There is no question that we must destroy that radical threat before its terrors reach our shores. The United States should be part of a broad coalition of forces to get that job done, and I look forward to hearing the specific details of such a strategy in the days ahead.”

Read More

Upton, House vote to condemn administration’s unlawful Taliban prisoner swap

2014/09/09

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today supported a bipartisan resolution (H.Res.644) condemning the Obama administration for its failure to properly notify Congress before releasing five senior Taliban members from the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) – the federal government’s independent internal watchdog agency – found the action to be in violation of U.S. law, which requires Congress to be notified at least 30 days in advance of such a transfer. H.Res.644 passed by a vote of 249 to 163. 

“The administration broke the law, and in doing so deprived Congress of its responsibility to consider the sequences to our national security. The lack of accountability and regard for the law is appalling,” said Upton. “Time and again we have seen former captives return to the field of battle to take up arms against the United States and our allies. The five prisoners released in May were not casual observers; they were the ones the Taliban wanted back.” 

On May 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Defense released the five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the State of Qatar, which brokered the exchange between the United States and the Taliban. Pursuant to the agreement, these five individuals are to remain in Qatar for one year. Each of these detainees was a senior Taliban leader who previously had associations with al-Qaeda or had engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.

In 2010, the Obama administration undertook an evaluation of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay to determine those who could be transferred. The evaluation concluded that the five men involved in the Bergdahl exchange were too dangerous to transfer. 

While the Obama administration failed to properly notify relevant congressional leaders and committees of the exchange, approximately 80 to 90 administration officials and an unknown number of Qatari officials received notification prior to the transfer. 

The GAO also found the administration to be in violation of the Antideficiency Act for spending nearly $1 million in excess of available appropriations to facilitate the transfer.

Read More

Upton Announces New Location of Constituent Service Office

2014/09/04

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, announced the opening of his newly relocated constituent service office in St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. The office has moved half a mile from its former Ship Street location to 720 Main St. in St. Joseph. The office’s telephone and fax machine numbers remain the same.

“One of my most important responsibilities as a Member of Congress is providing assistance to individuals who are facing difficulties in dealing with the federal government,” said Upton. “Whether you are a veteran trying to access your benefits or obtain overdue service medals, a senior with questions about their Medicare or Social Security, or a family awaiting their passports before that big vacation, our well-trained team stands ready to assist. Our door is always open and we look forward to serving you.”

Upton represents Michigan’s Sixth Congressional District, which encompasses all of Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties as well as most of Allegan County. Upton operates two full-time constituent service offices that provide vital assistance and resources to Southwest Michigan residents and businesses in dealing with the federal government. Upton’s second service office is located in downtown Kalamazoo, Mich.

Updated Office Contact Information

St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (NEW LOCATION)
720 Main Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
(269) 982-1986
(269) 982-0237 (f)

Kalamazoo
157 South Kalamazoo Mall
Suite 180
Kalamazoo, MI 49071
(269) 385-0039
(269) 385-2888 (f)

Washington, DC
2183 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3761
(202) 225-4986 (f) Read More

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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

Dave Camp

MICHIGAN's 4th DISTRICT

Tim Walberg

MICHIGAN's 7th DISTRICT

Mike Rogers

MICHIGAN's 8th DISTRICT

Candice Miller

MICHIGAN's 10th DISTRICT

Kerry Bentivolio

MICHIGAN's 11th DISTRICT

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