Upton discusses recent work, national, international topics

Published 9:47 am Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sponsoring a piece healthcare-related legislation capable of surviving a vote on the house floor would be quite the tall order for any congressman — much less creating one that would pass with the overwhelming support of both Republicans and Democrats.

Rep. Fred Upton managed to accomplish just that goal, adding another item to his sizable list of accomplishments.

This past July, the House passed HR 6, also known as the 21st Century Cures Act, by a vote of 344-77.

The bill, sponsored by Upton and Diana DeGette, D-Colo., aims to support the discovery and development of new medical treatments through a number of different methods, including providing nearly $10 billion worth of funding to federal agencies for research.

“It was a very strong, bipartisan bill,” Upton said. “We’re working with the Senate to get in on their docket. Hopefully we’ll have some news in the next couple weeks on what they’re doing.”

Shortly after receiving an award from several children advocacy groups in Niles for his work in Washington helping at-risk children and their families Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker visited the offices of Leader Publications. During his stop, Upton discussed his recent work on Capitol Hill, and shared his thoughts about a number of national and international issues concerning the nation.

For the last several months, the Chair of House Energy and Commerce Committee has worked to create and push the 21st Century Cures Act alongside lawmakers across both sides of the aisle. Created with the advice of experts throughout the healthcare industry, the bill is designed to expedite the approval of new drugs and medical devices to treat the diseases that plague U.S. residents today, Upton said.

“Every family is impacted,” Upton said. “I look at my family — my dad has diabetes, my wife has lupus, my mom is a cancer survivor; she had a stroke last year. I’m no different from anybody else. What is it we can do to find cures for these diseases, which is ultimately going to save money?”

Another major victory of the bill is that, if signed into law, it would not increase the national deficit, Upton said.

As one would expect, energy remains a top priority for the lawmaker as well. Upton and the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee have worked on reform energy legislation that, among other changes, would lift a 40-year-old ban on the export of U.S. drilled crude oil.

Though the country in recent years becoming one of the top energy producers in the world, the U.S. remains one of the few countries in the world prohibited from selling crude oil to other nations, Upton said. By lifting the ban, passed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, U.S. companies could see an increase in oil production, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Administration.