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Michigan Board Certifies State's Election For Joe Biden

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President-elect Joe Biden can finally begin his transition to power. The General Services Administration has now ascertained that Biden likely won. The head of the agency said legal developments in part convinced her it was time. She's likely pointing to the Trump campaign's court challenges, which have mostly failed. Finally, Biden and his team will get more classified briefings and be able to meet with Trump administration officials. Now, most Republicans are still not publicly acknowledging Biden's when Congressman Fred Upton, a Republican from Michigan, was an early GOP voice, though, to congratulate Biden. And he joins us this morning. Congressman, welcome.

FRED UPTON: Well, thanks. Always a pleasure.

GREENE: So for three weeks in the middle of a deadly pandemic, an incoming president was not able to hold important meetings with people inside the current government. How do you feel about that?

UPTON: Well, you know, it's really tragic. In my district last week in southwest Michigan, in my - a thousand people in my home county tested positive.

GREENE: Wow.

UPTON: We're losing somebody literally across the country every minute. And you got to have that transition. I'm excited about the vaccine. Pfizer is my largest employer. And, of course, they're making it in my district. We expect it to be approved by the FDA very shortly in the next literally number of days. And AstraZeneca is right behind him and Moderna, as well. So great news, but we got to make sure that we are able to distribute that. And guess what? It's going to carry into next year. And it's so important that not only the briefings on intelligence go forward but also just domestic policy that Americans care about so much, so - that we all care about. So it's - you know, it's time. The election's over. Here in Michigan, the voters spoke - 154,000 vote difference. And it's time to move forward. And it's not going to be overturned - no evidence of fraud.

GREENE: Are you sending that message to your colleagues? I mean, why do you think so many of your Republican colleagues are not coming out and saying what you're saying?

UPTON: Well, I don't know. I don't like to speak - you know, a little general rule is you don't speak for others. I was, I think, maybe the first House Republican to congratulate Vice President and now President-elect Biden back on November 7. But I saw a list earlier this morning. There are a good number of members now, both Republicans, both in the House and the Senate that have come out, one in our leadership, Liz Cheney, who's our conference chair. It's - the dam is broken. It's it's coming together. It's a little bit late, but it's coming together.

GREENE: I mean, your state has been so important in both of the recent presidential elections. Your party lost this one, as you say. I mean, what do you think needs to happen? What case needs to be made to Michigan voters to to get Michigan back into the red in the next election?

UPTON: Well, you know, a number of things. You know, I'm a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus. I'm actually one of the vice chairs. We have four members currently from Michigan. I think we'll expand those numbers. But we have divided government. What I see people saying not only in Michigan but around the country - they don't care necessarily if you're Republican or Democrat. Yes, of course, you have values. They want the job to get done. And they're tired of partisan politics. And that's why the Problem Solvers Caucus has been pretty successful on a number of fronts. We omitted (ph) the 35-day shutdown last year. We passed a major immigration bill. And we were the very first group to meet in the Situation Room with Deborah Birx on COVID. We're still pushing hard to get another COVID package done, completed to the president that he can sign this next month versus waiting until 2021. That's - people want to see results. And that's what...

GREENE: Do people want to see that, though, Congressman? I have to ask you that. I mean, more than 70 million people voted for a president who is, you know, in many ways poisoning the bipartisan well by holding out and not conceding an election. I mean, some of what he says seems, you know, not so bipartisan. I mean, if he...

UPTON: Well, you know, that...

GREENE: Do you want him to remain the face of your party, if your goal is to do bipartisan work and get things done?

UPTON: Well, you know, at the end, he was saying that - you know, as you look at the next COVID package, he was he was wanting to get a package done that was going to exceed, in fact, what the House voted on. But, you know, at the end, too, he wanted to stay as president and wasn't accepting that there were - at least here in Michigan, there were 154,000 vote difference. I mean, it's over. They couldn't identify fraud or misuse or station wagons or truckloads of ballots that weren't being counted. You know, this is not the chads from the year 2000. You know, here in Michigan, we vote on a machine. They save the paper ballot. It was certified by all 83 counties and again by the state Board of Canvassers yesterday on a 3-1 vote.

GREENE: Just in a few seconds, in a few words, do you want Donald Trump to remain the face of the Republican Party?

UPTON: Well, let's see what happens. And we got a long time before 2024.

GREENE: All right. Republican Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan. Thanks so much for your time, Congressman.

UPTON: You bet. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.