Immigration reform
7:31 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Congressman Fred Upton discusses immigration, student loans and more

File photo of cherry farmer Patrick McGuire of Atwood. He says the immigration controversy has caused a labor shortage
File photo of cherry farmer Patrick McGuire of Atwood. He says the immigration controversy has caused a labor shortage
Credit The Associated Press

West Michigan Congressman Fred Upton says he expects the House to take up immigration reform in separate bills as opposed to comprehensive legislation. 

Upton says the vote in the Senate "puts some pressure" on the House to pass legislation to reform immigration. He says there is broad agreement that the current system is broken. Upton says any bill that does pass should have bi-partisan support. 

Fred Upton - file photo
Fred Upton - file photo
Credit WMUK

Other issues:

Student Loans

Upton says he expects a deal soon on student loans. The interest rate for student loans doubled on July first from 3.4% to 6.8%. Upton says he expects the Senate to pass a bill soon that would put the rate slightly above 3.4%. But he says they are also hoping to reach a permanent fix to avoid future political battles over federal student loan rates. 

Fracking

Upton recently defended hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" in a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers. He says finding deposits is one way to help North America become energy independent. Upton says there has not been one case where fracking was shown to cause groundwater contamination. Michigan state House Democrats have proposed legislation that would require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking in Michigan. Upton says many states have similar rules, but he's not sure that federal legislation is needed to require disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking. 

Politics

The National Journal recently profiled Upton. The story says the Saint Joseph Republican who has often sought bipartisan solutions and compromise seems to swimming upstream in a more partisan House. Upton says he came to the House at a time when Republicans hadn't controlled the House for decades. He says that led him to seek Democratic support. Upton says that continues to be his approach. 

Upton says he probably won't run for U.S. Senate for next year. He says running for the Senate seat currently held by Carl Levin would be about a $20-million campaign. Upton says he has a good job as a member of the House and Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. He says there are also family considerations. Upton says the "door is shut, but the question is whether it's locked." The Saint Joseph Representative says there are people who have asked him to consider a Senate run, but he says "in essence we've ruled it out."