Acknowledged “Super Committee” Role Creates Vulnerability In November 2011, Upton acknowledged that his seat on the Congressional “Super Committee” made him a vulnerable target in his 2012 re-election bid. Conservatives have railed Upton for not toeing the party line while liberals have called him for his seeming efforts to appease conservative critics. [Politico, 11/06/11]
Impact of the Republican Budget on Medicare According to the Energy and Commerce Committee, Ryan’s budget affected Congressman
Upton’s district in the following ways:
Increase prescription drug costs for 7,100 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $70 million for drugs over the next decade.
Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 110,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.
Deny 500,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the district access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.
Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 108,000 individuals in the district who are between the ages of 44 and 54.
Require the 108,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $25.2 billion for their retirement – an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual – to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs.
Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 58,000 individuals in the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 394,000 individuals in the district who are age 43 or younger. [Committee on Energy and Commerce, June 2011]
Business and Consumer Issues
Campaign Finance Issues
Club for Growth Recruited a Potential Challenger In November 2011, Jack Hoogendyk floated his name to challenge Upton in the 2012 congressional election after meeting with the conservative Club for Growth. Hoogendyk said that “What comes out of the supercommittee will obviously be a factor on a lot of things, including whether I run.”
In 2010, Hoogendyk had challenged Upton and was outspent by about $1.5 million but managed to still win 42.5 percent of the vote. [M-Live, 11/07/11]
Had $117,000 in Campaign Donations from “Big Oil” in 2010 In 2011, the Herald Palladium reported that Upton had seen gradually increasing campaign contributions form Big Oil companies since 2006. The reported showed that since ’06 Upton had seen a sevenfold increase in campaign funds. [Herald Palladium, 3/09/11]
Increase in Donations Paralleled with More Radical Positions In March 2011, the director of the National Resources Defense Fund's Action Fund said Upton used to be considered a moderate on environmental issues, but in recent months, she said, "There's been an uptick in his radical positions." [Herald Palladium, 3/09/11]
Facing Democratic Naval Veteran in 2012 In August 2011, John Waltz, a naval veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, announced he would challenge Upton in the upcoming 2012 election. [Associated Press, 8/15/11]
Financially Benefitted from Position as House Energy and Commerce Chairman In March 2012, Politico reported that “Major corporate donors and PACs from the energy, health care and technology industries are giving to the House Energy and Commerce chairman at a breakneck pace.” Upton raised $1.14 million from PACS in 2011 and early 2012, compared with $1.34 from the entire previous two years. [Politico, 3/15/12]
Crime & Public Safety Issues
Economic and Financial Issues
Supported the Auto Bailout In a February 2012 radio interview, Upton spoke of the auto industry near bankruptcy saying, “There was no one that was willing to come up not only with the cash to keep them afloat but also to serve the warranties of everyone, you and I that drive all these cars. There was no one that could have picked up those pieces other than the federal government.” [WMUK, 2/21/12]
Note: a recording of this interview segment is available on the drive. Education Issues
Supported and Lobbied for Clean Energy Loans…Then in 2012 Became Outspoken Opponent Despite having previously lobbied the Department of Energy for loans for at least four energy projects in his home state through the same program as the loan to the failed Solyndra, Upton decried the DOE loan guarantee program for "picking winners and losers."
Upton then said that the $7 billion in conditional loans for green energy firms may amount to "risky investments for American taxpayers."
USA Today said of Upton, “The Republican lawmaker leading the charge against an Obama administration loan guarantee program for clean-energy companies wasn't always so skeptical of government attempts to boost the green economy.”
He has previously:
2005: “Voted for an energy law that included a loan guarantee program to help support companies looking to develop renewable energy projects as well as nuclear and coal.”
2007: “Backed legislation that created the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program, targeting manufacturers and suppliers looking to retool U.S. factories to build high-fuel economy vehicles.”
2009: Despite voting against the stimulus that created 1705 loans for renewable energy companies, “Upton was among a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers who praised Chu for "efforts to promote the development of clean energy in Michigan and across the country," according to a December 2009 letter to the Energy Department that was co-signed by Upton.” [USA Today, 9/26/11]
Owned Nearly $1 Million in Energy-Related Assets In July 2011, Politico reported that Upton and his family owned as much as $930,000 in energy-related assets and investments in 2010, including in enterprises such as GE, Exxon-Mobile, and Chesapeake Energy. As much as $500,000 of those assets, however, are being held in family trusts not under Upton’s direct control. [Politico, 6/15/11]
Criticized by the Conservative “Club for Growth” for his Support of Energy Subsidies In February 2012, the conservative anti-tax group “Club for Growth” criticized Upton for his support of United Solar Ovonics, a subsidiary of Michigan-based Energy Conversion Devices. Energy Conversion Devices recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2009, Upton urged the Department of Energy to approve funding assistance for United Solar through the same loan program that funded Solyndra. [eenews.net, 2/16/12]
Called a “Conservative When it Suits Him” According to Environment & Energy Publishing, Club for Growth said that Upton’s previous support for United Solar and his current investigation of Solyndra offer a perfect of example of how Upton has decided to become a conservative when it suits him. “Every Republican supports an investigation of Solyndra -- the question is, where you before were?” said club spokesman Barney Keller. “Fred Upton has a long record of supporting market distorting energy subsidies.” [eenews.net, 2/16/12]
Backed Phase-Out of Incandescent Bulbs, then Pushed for Repeal. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Upton, as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, backed the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs that was signed by Mr. Bush in a broad energy bill. Last year, as chairman of the committee, he pushed for its repeal, having apparently changed his mind.” [New York Times, 2/26/12]
Criticized President Obama’s Energy Policy In an April 2012 op-ed, Upton criticized President Obama’s “affinity for massive taxpayer spending on more expensive energy sources.” Upton accused Obama of refusing “to acknowledge the great potential of America’s energy resources thanks to new technologies that help us unlock them.”
Citing America’s abundance of shale oil and gas, Upton said America’s energy “prospects are better than they have been in a long time. And the outlook will only improve if the government unleashes the private sector and stops getting in the way.” [The American Magazine, 4/10/12]
And Laid out His Views on Reforming America’s Energy Policy Upton outlined his strategies for reforming America’s energy policy. “First, government choosing technology winners does not work.
“Second, we need not stifle resources to protect the environment.”
“Third, we need an “all may compete” energy policy. In this hyper-partisan age, vilifying certain types of energy has become a common way of promoting others. This will not improve energy affordability.”
“Finally, given our new knowledge about resource abundance, including the power of technology to unlock supplies and use them in cleaner, more efficient ways, we should do all that we can to reduce barriers to responsible development of domestic resources.” [The American Magazine, 4/10/12]
Supported and Pledged to Push for Canadian Oil Pipeline As the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton supported a pipeline that would bring heavy crudeoil from Alberta, Canada, to the United States. The State Department is expected to decide this year whether to grant a permit so TransCanada can build more than 1,700 miles of pipeline to transport 700,000 barrels a day to the U.S. Upton said he will work to expedite the Keystone XL Pipeline because he believed it will be one of the biggest job creators the country has seen.
The Natural Resources Defense Council condemned Upton's backing of the pipeline after the 2010 Enbridge oil pipeline rupture that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of similar heavy crude oil that eventually made its way into the Kalamazoo River. [Detroit News, 5/12/11]
American Lung Association Targeted Upton’s Environmental Record In August 2011, Upton was targeted by the American Lung Association for sponsoring a bill that would limit the power of the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and refineries. “It doesn’t undermine the clean air act. We won’t let them regulate what they can’t legislate,” Upton said of his bill and his critics. Upton has argued that the EPA’s regulations have hurt job creation. Upton’s bill passed in the House. The American Lung Association had launched a previous billboard campaign against the congressman in March 2011. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/15/2011]
LA Times: Upton Is the Number One Enemy of the Earth In a December 2011 Los Angeles Times editorial board ranking, Upton was ranked number one on the “10 biggest enemies of the Earth.” The newspaper noted, “Upton is the gatekeeper for many of the disastrous anti-environment bills that have been approved or proposed in the House this year.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/14/11]
Upton Hired a Former Campaign Lobbyist to Serve on Energy and Commerce Committee In December 2010, Upton announced he had chosen a former health care lobbyist to serve in an all-purpose role on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Howard Cohen, president of the health care lobbying firm HC Associates, is expected to have broad responsibilities overseeing health care issues for the panel. Cohen has represented a number of clients who have business before Upton's committee, including the Federation of American Hospitals, Genzyme and PhRMAJames. [Politico, 12/24/10]
Had Staff Members Meet with Special Interests to Combat EPA Regulations In January 2011, Upton asked top staff members for certain House and Senate Republicans meet in a closed-door session with energy industry interest to discuss blocking regulation from the EPA on greenhouse gases including power plants and refineries. Although attendance was not released, it is believed that among those at there meeting were representatives from the American Petroleum Institute, National Mining Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others. [Politico, 1/20/11]
Kalamazoo Gazette: “Protesters object to U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's performance in office near his Kalamazoo headquarters” [Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/17/11]
Kalamazoo Gazette: “Protesters object to U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's performance in office near his Kalamazoo headquarters” “Protesters gathered at the corner of East Michigan Avenue and South Kalamazoo Mall on Wednesday morning to voice their concerns about U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's performance in office. […] ‘We're not here to cause havoc,’ Mure said. ‘We're here to ask the question, 'Where are the jobs?’ […] Upton began losing Mansberger's support last year, she said, when he was elected as chairman of the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Since then, she said she believes he has become increasingly conservative. ‘I'm upset by the hard swing to the right," Mansberger said. "This doesn't represent the Michigan that I know.’” [Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/17/11]
Kalamazoo Gazette: “Congressman Fred Upton faces disruptive crowd during senior issues forum” [The Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/16/11]
Aide Is a Former PhRMA Lobbyist In September 2011, the Washington Post noted that a top aide to Upton also used to represent PhRMA as a health-care industry lobbyist. [Washington Post, 9/03/11]
Kalamazoo Gazette: “Congressman Fred Upton faces disruptive crowd during senior issues forum” “The St. Joseph Republican spoke to a crowd of close to 200 people at a meeting of the Kalamazoo County Advocates for Senior Issues at the Coover Senior Center. About another 150 people were not allowed in due to space reasons, while some demonstrated outside against Upton and policies he supports. […] Upton was continually interrupted by people in the audience. Most shouted comments and questions about growing jobs in Michigan and what Upton plans to do. About 20 people who appeared to be in an organized group sometimes broke into chants. They declined to identify who they were with, with one woman telling a photographer her name is ‘I am jobs.’ At one point, as Upton was talking about reducing the cost of Medicare and ensuring its solvency, a man shouted, ‘Where are the jobs on your chart?’” [The Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/16/11]
Associated Press: Few Mich. congressional members hosting town halls “GOP Rep.Fred Uptonof St. Joseph thought he was meeting Monday with elderly constituents at a forum sponsored by Kalamazoo County Advocates for Senior Issues. But dozens of political activists also showed up at the Coover Senior Center, turning the event into an occasionally unruly clash between those chanting "bring back jobs!" and the veteran congressman as the seniors in the crowd looked on bemused.” [Associated Press, 8/20/11] Kalamazoo Gazette: Congressman Fred Upton faces disruptive crowd during senior issues forum (with video) “The St. Joseph Republican spoke to a crowd of close to 200 people at a meeting of the Kalamazoo County Advocates for Senior Issues at the Coover Senior Center.About another 150 people were not allowed in due to space reasons, while some demonstrated outside against Upton and policies he supports…During his 45-minute appearance at the Coover Center, Upton was continually interrupted by people in the audience. Most shouted comments and questions about growing jobs in Michigan and what Upton plans to do. About 20 people who appeared to be in an organized group sometimes broke into chants. They declined to identify who they were with, with one woman telling a photographer her name is ‘I am jobs.’” [Kalamazoo Gazette, 8/16/11] Foreign Policy Issues – Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea
Gay and Lesbian Issues
Health Care Issues
Immigration and Border Issues
Labor and Working Family Issues
The Hill: Republicans at home face Tea Party-style protests from liberal, labor groups “Protesters gathered near Rep. Fred Upton’s (R) office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Wednesday morning holding “Where are the jobs?” and “Show us the jobs” signs and even a paper-mache effigy of the congressman.” [The Hill, 8/19/11] Other Issues
Fought the Perception He Had Become More Conservative According to Politico, during Upton’s tenure in office, he has “fashioned himself as a moderate – backing environmentally friendly bills and an expansion of embryonic stem cell research and sponsoring legislation with Democratic Rep. John Dingell,” but, following seething criticism from Democrats for turning right and trying to appease conservatives, Upton defended himself, writing he had “not changed my stripes nor my number.” [Politico, 11/06/11]
Upton only This Year Began His Conservative Vote Streak According to the Lansing State Journal columnist Mickey Hirten, “Noteworthy is that for the 2010 legislative session, Upton lines up better with Club for Growth orthodoxy than Reps. Mike Rogers or Dave Camp. Upton gets a grade of 85 percent and with a “pro growth” rank of 111th among all 435 members of Congress […] Although Upton got with the program in 2011, his “Lifetime” grade is a failing 54 percent.” [Lansing State Journal, 1/08/12]
Former Denny Hastert Spokesman: Upton Has Built a Strong Conservative Record In January 2012, John Feehery, president of Quinn Gillespie Communications, wrote of the Club for Growth’s attack ads against Upton, “Fred Upton (Mich.) has done everything that the conservative Republican leadership has asked of him. He has battled Obamacare, pushed conservative energy policies, kept the EPA’s feet to the fire. He has been an excellent chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. But that conservative record isn’t enough for the Club for Growth, so they announced that they were going to throw good money after a losing cause, hoping to unseat Upton in the primary.” [The Hill, 1/16/12; Quinn Gillespie Public Affairs, accessed 1/17/12]
The Hill: Upton Is a Centrist In 2012, The Hill wrote on Upton’s centrist voting record: “Upton has a centrist record in the House that includes backing increases in the federal minimum wage, expanding the State Children's Health Care Insurance Program, providing more funding for Amtrak and supporting the “Cash for Clunkers” program that offered rebates for trading in for more fuel-efficient cars. He also opposed the 2007 troop surge in Iraq and supported federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research.” [The Hill, 1/16/12]
Claimed he is not a Career Politician
Despite having served in the House of Representatives for 25 years, Upton claimed that he was not a career politician. [MLive, 4/10/12]
Detroit News: Shifting to the Right According to the Detroit News, “Upton [..] once was considered a moderate Republican, but politicos have noted his positions have shifted further to the right since his heated challenge for the chairmanship.” [Detroit News, 8/16/11] Transportation Issues