Michigan deserves tax reform
By Fred Upton, Tim Walberg, Bill Huizenga, John Moolenaar, Dave Trott, Mike Bishop, Jack Bergman, and Paul Mitchell
October 14, 2017
The last time our tax code was updated was 1986. Since then, it has become a complicated mess with too many special-interest loopholes. We have all heard countless stories from constituents impacted by a tax code that is outdated, unwieldy, and too often rewards special interests at the cost of regular folks. It has become abundantly clear that our outdated tax code is a major drag on our economy and on Michigan families struggling to get by.
That is why we all support efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to advance pro-growth, pro-American tax reform and relief.
Last month we laid out a basic framework for our vision of what this tax reform and relief looks like; we need to make our tax code simpler, fairer, and easier to understand, we should free up more money for workers here in Michigan and across the country by allowing them to keep more of their paychecks, we must level the playing field for businesses and workers to make America a worldwide jobs magnet, and we have to bring back trillions of dollars that are currently kept overseas so we can reinvest and reinvigorate our economy right here at home.
More specifically, we are aiming to help Michigan families keep more of their hard earned money by doubling standard deductions and increasing the Child Tax Credit. Under current law, the standard deduction is $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families. Under our plan we propose raising the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals and to at least $24,000 for families. Importantly, by doubling the standard deduction many more low-income families will pay 0 percent in federal income taxes. Yes, you read that right. On top of the increased standard deduction, our plan will also increase the Child Tax Credit — providing even more relief for middle-class families.
We also want to provide relief for families and businesses who spend too much time and money filing their taxes. Independent estimates show that taxpayers spend a combined $99 billion each year complying with their taxes — money they could otherwise use on what is important to them and their families. Imagine the simplicity of a “postcard” tax filing for the vast majority of Americans. That’s our goal.
Building out from this framework, we will deliver a 21st Century tax code that is built specifically for economic growth, Michigan middle-class families, and putting America’s interests first.
In Michigan we’re known for our blue-collar work ethic. We all strongly believe that our tax code should be a fair system that rewards hard work and playing by the rules. Our framework is not a final product and there is much work to be done to make tax reform a reality.
We encourage you to make your voice heard and let us know what you want out of tax reform here: fairandsimple.gop. Working together, we can and we will provide tax reform and relief for all Americans.
The authors, all Republicans, represent Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Read online, via the Detroit News, HERE.
Rep. Upton files bill to ‘harmonize’ mpg rules
October 12, 2017
Washington — U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, has introduced legislation that would allow automakers to apply credits for gas mileage improvements from model years as far back as 2009 to help comply with emission rules that require them to produce car and truck fleets that average more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.
Upton said making the change, a priority of U.S. automakers, would “harmonize” federal emission standards by addressing conflicts in existing rules that are enforced by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Environmentalists and consumer advocates argue the measure would weaken U.S. gas mileage rules by allowing automakers to get credit for previously achieved mileage improvements.
The measure is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn.
“The high cost of the current conflicting regulatory requirements automakers are facing drives up manufacturing expenses, which are then passed along to consumers,” Upton said in a statement.
The measure, known as the Fuel Economy Harmonization Act, would allow automakers to apply credits for auto pollution reduction earned after the 2009 model year to help meet federal emission standards for the model years between 2016 and 2025. A similar bill wasintroduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
The rules for 2021 and beyond are being reviewed by the Trump administration, which has hinted it will roll them back.
Backers of the “harmonization” bills say the measures address long-standing conflicts between NHTSA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas emissions programs, which the Obama administration announced in 2009 would be managed as one program. Under the current rules, the EPA has greater authority to fine automakers than the transportation department.
Automakers have complained the harmonization has been far from a smooth process.
“Today, there are still separate regulatory programs, created under separate statutes, managed by separate regulatory agencies. As a result, the mechanics of the programs differ,” the Washington, D.C.-based Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, which lobbies for major automakers, said in a statement. “Automakers could comply with requirements under the EPA program and still face fines from NHTSA for the same product portfolio because of the different structure of the CAFE program….”
Read the full article online HERE.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 4011, that would harmonize separate sets of fuel economy regulations at the state and federal level into one consistent standard. U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Ann Arbor, is the lead co-sponsor and similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.
“The most important aspect of this bill: Affordable autos for all Americans,” said Upton. “The high cost of the current conflicting regulatory requirements automakers are facing drives up manufacturing expenses, which are then passed along to consumers. Our common-sense, bipartisan legislation would help deliver on the promise of a strong national fuel economy standard, replacing the current patchwork of federal and state laws. I continue to support one strong national standard that increases fuel economy, reduces carbon emissions, creates jobs here in Michigan, and ensures affordability and choice for all.”
Despite attempts from the Obama administration to harmonize the various fuel economy programs as fully as possible currently automakers and manufacturers still contend with two different sets of fuel economy regulations at the federal and state level. Those include the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Corporate Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) vehicle carbon dioxide (fuel economy) reduction program.
The Fuel Economy Harmonization Act would help deliver on the promise of creating one national fuel economy program, making it easier and less costly for manufacturers and automakers to meet the important goals of federal fuel economy programs.
More information on H.R. 4011 can be found here.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today supported a bipartisan aid package that totals $36.5 billion for urgent, short-term needs related to recovery from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and wildfires in the U.S. The package passed with wide, bipartisan support 353 to 69.
Upton released the following statement:
“There is a needed level of urgency behind today’s vote. These funds are vital to our neighbors and fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida and out west. They need assistance now. And help is on its way with more to come in the future. I urge my colleagues in the U.S. Senate to take up this aid package as soon as possible. We can only fully recover from these natural disasters when we all work together.”Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of a bipartisan “Member Day” on the opioid crisis. The bipartisan Member Day allowed representatives both on and off the committee to testify about the opioid epidemic, share local and personal stories, and highlight potential legislative solutions.
Upton’s full remarks as prepared can be found below:
MR. CHARMAN Thank you for holding this very important “Member Day” hearing on a crisis that has been plaguing our nation over the last several years - opioid addiction and abuse. This silent epidemic has torn through families, neighborhoods, and communities both in my home state of Michigan and indeed across the entire country. In 2015, there were nearly 2,000 opioid abuse related deaths in Michigan alone. Even more tragically, more than 22,000 babies are born every year across the country with Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome.
This terrible epidemic has hit home both in my community and yes, even my own family. This is personal to me.
In the last few years I have been meeting with first responders, crisis center employees, advocacy groups, and yes – individuals suffering. All of these folks have said that, tragically, the death toll continues to rise.
This is why we have been taking concrete action here in the Energy and Commerce Committee to combat this widespread epidemic. Just last year, the president signed into law a sweeping package aimed at attacking the opioid epidemic from all sides.
As part of my landmark, bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, an additional 1 billion dollars was allocated to states, like Michigan, to address opioid addiction treatment and prevention. Just this year, the first round of that funding was delivered.
Michigan received more than 16 million dollars. This grant funding will make a real difference. To those suffering, I just say this: Help is on the way.
As a result of my legislation as well as administrative action, my good friend Dr. Francis Collins is helping to lead the charge in his position as director of the National Institutes of Health. This summer, the NIH started meeting with experts in academia and the biopharmaceutical industry to talk about innovative ways in which government and industry can work together to address this crisis. I strongly support this work and look forward to seeing the results of the research NIH is doing with its industry partners.
There are also things we in Congress can help NIH with in these endeavors. First, we need NIH to develop more options for overdose reversal. Second, we need the evidence NIH can develop on effective therapies for addiction. And finally, we must accelerate the development of non-addictive pain medicines. The sooner we in Congress supply the resources necessary to conduct this work, the sooner we can supply powerful new tools for our communities. These efforts can't happen fast enough, and these are some of the many reasons that I continue to support robust NIH funding.
There is more work to be done. Clearly. And here in Congress we will continue to take steps to address this epidemic. In this committee, we’re on the front lines in advancing meaningful, bipartisan legislation that will make a difference. Together, we can take this “silent epidemic” and bring it out of the shadows.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today released the following statement on the issue of bump stocks:
“In the wake of the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas it’s clear that we cannot with a straight face justify the legality of these tools that can so easily be manipulated to do unimaginable harm and are specifically designed to get around the automatic weapon ban. There is no place for them in a civil society. None.
“I am currently working with other members of Congress who share my concerns on a letter to the ATF. It is my hope that after a thorough examination, the ATF will agree with us and conclude these mechanisms violate the law and will be banned.
“It is our responsibility to look at what happened in Las Vegas and find ways to take action. This is a step we can and should take. I’m proud to stand up and push this common-sense effort to ban bump-stocks.”Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, and his colleagues on the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently advanced 10 pieces of legislation including H.R. ___, the HEALTHY KIDS Act. This legislation would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through Fiscal Year 2022. The Committee also cleared legislation that would extend funding and make improvements for Community Health Centers.
“The HEALTHY Kids Act is an important public health bill that keeps our promise to the most vulnerable among us.” Upton said. “If Michigan’s CHIP program, which currently has more than 39,000 low-income children enrolled, is not extended soon it would be disastrous for our communities. We must work together to reauthorize this critical program. This legislation is good for Michigan children and families and I will continue to work hard to get the job done for them. I am also pleased we are working to extend funding for Community Health Centers, which serve thousands here in Southwest Michigan.”
Background: CHIP, enacted in 1997, provides health coverage to targeted low-income children and pregnant women in families with an annual income above Medicaid eligibility levels but have no health insurance. Federal funding for CHIP expired September 30, 2017. States are currently using unspent FY 2017 CHIP allotments and redistributed funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover current spending needs for CHIP programs. In 2013, Upton helped broker the bipartisan, bicameral deal that lead to the last reauthorization of CHIP.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in voting to advance the House Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The budget resolution establishes the budget for Fiscal Year 2018, budget levels for Fiscal Years 2019-2022, and proposes policies to meet those targets. Upton released the following statement:
“With the passage of this budget resolution, the path to tax reform has been made easier. This budget blueprint also outlines reasonable measures to reduce our deficit while charting a path on how we can get there. Importantly, this budget keeps spending levels in place for key domestic items such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the National Institutes of Health. While every budget is merely a blueprint, it’s important we move towards an agreement with the Senate so we keep the momentum going for our pro-growth tax reform initiatives.”Read More
NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - A local WWII veteran lost his home in a fire decades ago. But not only did he lose his home, but the medals he earned while serving.
But today, he was in for a surprise.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE VIA WNDU.
94-year-old Chester Dash, Sr., served in World War II as a rifleman. Shortly after returning home, he lost several of his war medals in a house fire.
Today at his humble abode, he received several gifts from congressman Fred Upton…gifts earned through his efforts in the war.
“They did their duty for their service, to the country and they just want to get home and get back to their life,” said Rep Fred Upton (R-MI) who surprised Dash with the medals at his Niles home. “You know it’s often an afterthought thinking about those medals that they were often deserving of.”
Dash received the Bronze Star Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 bronze service stars, WWII Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Bridge 1st Award, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.
His service through seven medals and seven decades later, three generations stood by his side as he received them.
“There are twelve of us,” said Pamela Behm, Chester’s youngest daughter. “I’m not even sure of how many grandchildren, I would have to sit and think about it for a minute.” She added concluding with levity that she believed her mom was pregnant for about 20 years.
Her mother, Ruth Dash, and Chester both moved to Niles after their home was destroyed in a fire decades ago. His medals were also casualties of the conflagration. Today, Chester remembers his wife his best friend.
“She wouldn’t talk much but she was a wonderful woman,” said Chester Dash, Sr., with emotion.
“With my grandpa, he’s always been my idol,” said Brandy Smith, Chester’s granddaughter who was also at the home where the surprise took place. “He’s always been my hero.”
No matter what generation this family is a part of, this moment will be remembered for many generations to come.
“But I do know this, it is something that it had to be done, and I was there to do it,” said Dash.
Congressman Upton hopes this story will inspire other veterans who have lost medals or in Chester’s case, they’ve been destroyed, to contact his office so they can have what’s rightfully theirs.Read More
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, recently sent a letter to the United States Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, which oversees the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering, to enlist help with the severe erosion problems plaguing the City of New Buffalo and New Buffalo Township. Signing onto the letter additionally was U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton.
“We write to you today to enlist your help with severe erosion that the City of New Buffalo and New Buffalo Township are experiencing due to the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to maintain the beach nourishment plan as agreed to when the New Buffalo Harbor was originally constructed. The erosion is not only causing destruction to private property, but is also threatening the water supply for the City of New Buffalo due to its pump house located in the area being eroded….The continued destruction of this Michigan shoreline and the potential destruction of a public utility cannot be allowed. I support the findings of the 2009 Corps study and the further findings of Edgewater Resources, and urge you to prioritize this significant project.” The letter reads.
The full text of the letter can be found here or below:
Mr. Douglas W. Lamont
Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310
Dear Assistant Secretary Lamont:
We write to you today to enlist your help with severe erosion that the City of New Buffalo and New Buffalo Township are experiencing due to the failure of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to maintain the beach nourishment plan as agreed to when the New Buffalo Harbor was originally constructed. The erosion is not only causing destruction to private property, but is also threatening the water supply for the City of New Buffalo due to its pump house located in the area being eroded.
The New Buffalo Shoreline Alliance, in conjunction with the support of the City of New Buffalo and the township, has retained Edgewater Resources, LLC to seek a permanent solution to the problem. Edgewater reviewed the 2009 Corps study and concurred with the basic findings of the study. However, due to the lack of nourishment over the past twenty-two years the findings of the 2009 study must be expanded from five to 10 breakwaters and beach nourishment to 33 breakwaters with 600,000 cubic yards of beach nourishment. This expansion will have an estimated cost of $22,000,000. This increase is due to the damage that has occurred because of the cessation of beach nourishment. The cost of these findings has been bore entirely by contributions from the affected homeowners’ associations and the board members of the New Buffalo Shoreline Alliance.
The continued destruction of this Michigan shoreline and the potential destruction of a public utility cannot be allowed. I support the findings of the 2009 Corps study and the further findings of Edgewater Resources, and urge you to prioritize this significant project.
Thank you for considering this request. If you have any questions or need additional information regarding the situation affecting Southwest Michigan’s shoreline from New Buffalo to Michiana please reach out to our Washington, D.C. offices anytime to facilitate this conversation.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.
Retweeted by housecommerce
Retweeted by housecommerce
Retweeted by housecommerce
Retweeted by housecommerce