Congressman Sandy Levin : The Congressional Connector
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Welcome to The Congressional Connector, the weekly E-Newsletter of my virtual office. If you would like to sign up for my E-Newsletter and receive updates on issues and events important to you, please click here or use the Sign Up button on the left sidebar.

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Week of September 4 - 8, 2006
House Leadership Schedules Debate on Horse Bill as Key Issues Go UnaddressedThe House of Representatives reconvened this week after a five-week summer recess.  With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, high energy and health care costs, unmet homeland security needs, a federal minimum wage that hasn't been raised in 9 years, and a large backlog of legislation to ...view more

Week of July 17 - 21, 2006
President Vetoes Stem Cell Research Bill - House Veto Override Attempt Falls 51 Votes Short On July 19, President Bush issued the first veto of his presidency on a path-breaking medical research bill approved by strong majorities of both the House and Senate, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act [H.R. 810]. The legislation would have expanded federal funding for ...view more

Week of July 10 - 14, 2006
Lawmakers Urge Bush Administration to Fight for U.S. Auto IndustryOn July 6, a bipartisan group of 38 members of the House of Representatives wrote to the U.S. Trade Representative, Susan Schwab, to urge her to address persistent unfair trade practices by South Korea in ongoing trade negotiations between the two countries.  While South Korean automakers enjoy access into ...view more

Week of June 26 - 30, 2006
Offshore Drilling Bill: Good for Oil Companies, Good for Four States, Bad for Everyone ElseOn June 29, the House of Representatives voted 232 to 187 for a bill [H.R. 4761] favored by energy companies to remove the longstanding drilling moratorium on certain offshore areas of the United States.  The most controversial provision of the measure would dramatically boost ...view more

Week of June 19 - 23, 2006
House Approves $762 Billion Estate Tax Cut, But Few Americans Stand to BenefitWhile gas prices are rising, the cost of health care skyrockets and college tuition climbs, the House of Representatives debated an expensive tax cut bill that has absolutely no impact on 99.73 percent of Americans.  On June 22, the House voted 269 to 156 to pass ...view more

Week of June 12 - 16, 2006
House Debates War in Iraq On June 15 and 16, the House of Representatives debated a divisive resolution on Iraq [H. Res. 861] written by the House Republican Leadership.  Here is an excerpt from Rep. Levin's Floor remarks in opposition to the Iraq resolution:  "...The situation in Iraq is not getting better.  It's getting worse.  As of today, ...view more

Week of June 5 - 9, 2006
House Approves Major Overhaul of Telecommunications LawsOn June 8, the House of Representatives voted 321 to 101 to adopt legislation [H.R. 5522] making sweeping changes in U.S. telecommunications laws.  Consumers could ultimately benefit from the provisions in the bill that spur head-to-head competition in the home video market between the cable industry and phone companies.  In most communities ...view more

Week of May 29 - June 2, 2006
Finding Long-Term Energy Solutions - The Need to Take RisksWith persistently high energy prices taking their toll on consumer's pocketbooks and the national economy, there is a clear need to find long-term solutions to our nation's energy problems.  The U.S. currently imports 58 percent of the oil we use.  Especially considering that the U.S. accounts for 25 percent of ...view more

Week of May 22 - 26, 2006
House Narrowly Approves Oil Drilling in Arctic RefugeOn May 25, the House of Representatives voted 225 to 201 to approve legislation [H.R. 5429] opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.  Opponents of the bill underscored the fact that opening the Refuge to drilling would do nothing to bring down gasoline prices, since no Refuge oil would ...view more

Week of May 8 - 12, 2006
Congress Approves $42,000 Tax Cut for Millionaires - Middle Income Households to Receive an Average Cut of $20 On May 10, the House of Representatives approved a $70 billion tax cut bill on a vote of 244 to 185.  The next day, the Senate agreed to the measure on a party-line vote of 54 to 44, and President Bush has ...view more

Week of May 1 - 5, 2006
Rep. Levin Works to Extend May 15th Prescription Drug Deadline  With the May 15th deadline quickly approaching and millions of Americans still deciding whether to enroll in a drug plan, Rep. Levin went to bat for seniors at an oversight hearing this week on the new Medicare Prescription Drug program.  The hearing was held before the Ways and Means ...view more

Week of April 24 - 28, 2006
Levin Calls for Rollback of Tax Breaks for Big Oil as Gas Prices SoarOn April 25, as oil and gas prices soar in Michigan and throughout the United States, Rep. Levin cosponsored the "Energy Consumer Relief Act" [H.R. 4479], which would roll back billions of dollars in tax breaks, royalty holidays and subsidies to oil and gas companies.  ...view more

Week of April 17 - 21, 2006
House Democrats Issue Call for Action on China Trade PolicyRep. Levin joined a group of senior House Ways and Means Democrats in sending a letter to President Bush calling for immediate action on a number of longstanding unfair trade practices in advance of Chinese President Hu Jintao�s visit to Washington, D.C.. The letter highlighted China�s currency manipulation, flagrant ...view more

Week of April 3 - 7, 2006
GOP Budget Negotiations CollapseOn April 6, Republican Leaders of the House of Representatives were forced to pull their 2007 budget from the House Floor and send members home for a two-week recess.  Congress is required to approve a budget each year setting broad spending and revenue goals that the House and Senate must adhere to.  During more than ...view more

Week of March 27 - 31, 2006
Investigators Successfully Carry Radioactive Materials Past U.S. Border CheckpointsOn March 28, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported to Congress that undercover GAO investigators successfully purchased radioactive material and transported it through border checkpoints in Washington State and Texas.  The GAO is the non-partisan watchdog arm of the United States Congress.  Nearly five years after 9-11 and after billions ...view more

Week of March 13 - 17, 2006
House Votes 225 to 193 to Reward Iraq Contracting AbuseOn March 17, the House of Representatives approved a $92 billion emergency spending bill [H.R. 4939] to fund ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as hurricane recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast region.  After debating dozens of amendments, the House approved the war and hurricane measure ...view more

Week of March 6 - 10, 2006
Free Press Corrects the Record: Rep. Levin Voted Against Renewing Patriot ActOn March 9, President Bush signed legislation [H.R. 3199] to renew the Patriot Act, just hours before 16 of the Act�s most controversial provisions were set to expire. One day earlier, an article in the Detroit Free Press incorrectly reported that Rep. Levin had voted in favor ...view more

Week of February 27 - March 3, 2006
Port Deal Receives Closer ScrutinyAs the House returned to session this week, the issue of port security was clearly on the minds of Members of Congress.  After several days of intensely negative reaction to the Bush Administration�s decision to approve a controversial deal to turn over management of 6 key U.S. ports to a company owned by the ...view more

Week of February 20 - 24, 2006
House and Senate Lawmakers Call for National Security Review of Ports SaleThe House and Senate were in recess this week; however, media reports that the Bush Administration had signed off on a $6.8 billion deal that would put a government-owned United Arab Emirates company in charge of six major U.S. ports resulted in bipartisan outcry from members of ...view more

Week of February 13-17, 2006
House Report Blasts Government�s Response to KatrinaOn February 15, the special bipartisan committee that was appointed last fall to investigate the preparation and response to Hurricane Katrina issued a blistering report on the ineffective response to one of the costliest and deadliest disasters in U.S. history.  The 520-page report, entitled �A Failure of Initiative� charged that the failure ...view more

Week of February 6-10, 2006
EPA to Provide $1.2 million to Continue Cleanup of PCB Contamination On February 7, Rep. Levin and Michigan�s two Senators announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to return to St. Clair Shores to continue the PCB cleanup in the City�s Ten Mile Drain system.  EPA completed a $7 million cleanup of the Drain and Lange ...view more

Week of January 30 - February 3, 2006
Congress Reconvenes to Hear President�s State of the Union Message On January 31, President Bush delivered his fifth State of the Union message to a joint session of Congress.  Among other things, the President called on Congress to renew the PATRIOT Act, increase the use of so-called �health savings accounts,� and reduce U.S. dependence on Middle East oil ...view more

Month of January 2006
More than 100 Lawmakers to Introduce Legislation to Reform the House of Representatives Rep. Levin and more than 100 other House Democrats plan to introduce a 14-point package to reform the operations of the House of Representatives.  The package is designed to weaken lobbyist influence, strengthen fiscal discipline, curb abuses of power, outlaw the use of earmarks to ...view more

Week of December 12-16, 2005
House Votes to Renew PATRIOT Act On December 14, the House of Representatives voted 251 to174 to approve legislation to renew and make permanent most of the PATRIOT Act's expiring provisions.  The House and Senate approved very different versions of this legislation last summer, and negotiators have been meeting for weeks to iron out the differences and write ...view more

Week of December 5-9, 2005
House Extends Tax Cuts for the Very Wealthy On December 8, the House of Representatives approved a $56 billion tax cut bill that overwhelmingly benefits the very wealthy.  The House approved the measure on a vote of 234 to 197.  The centerpiece of the bill is a $28 billion tax cut for capital gains and dividend income.  Those ...view more

Week of November 14-18, 2005
House Adopts Midnight Raid on Child Care, Student Aid and Health Care At 1:12 a.m. on November 18, the House of Representatives began a showdown vote on a controversial package of $49 billion in spending cuts, primarily targeting child support enforcement, student loan programs, food stamps, and health services for children, the elderly, and the disabled.  The budget ...view more

Week of November 7-11, 2005
Veterans Day 2005Every November 11th our nation honors its veterans and expresses its deep gratitude for their service.  Rep. Levin will mark this Veterans Day by joining VFW Post 1669 and the Royal Oak Memorial Society at a memorial service and groundbreaking ceremony for Royal Oak�s new veterans monument.  Following the Royal Oak ceremony, he will speak to ...view more

October 31 - November 4, 2005
Sweeping Budget Bill Advances to House FloorOn November 3, the House Budget Committee approved a controversial budget package, setting up a showdown vote next week on the House Floor.  T`he budget measure, which was approved by the Budget Committee on a party-line vote of 21 to 17, would reduce federal support for child support collection, student loans, nutrition ...view more

October 17 - 21, 2005
Congress Clears Bill to Shield Gun Manufacturers from Lawsuits On October 20, the House of Representatives voted 283 to 144 to approve legislation making it more difficult for victims of gun violence to sue gun manufacturers and gun dealers.  Supporters of the measure claimed it would block frivolous lawsuits designed to bankrupt a responsible industry.  Opponents of the ...view more

October 10 - 14, 2005
Refinery Bill Barely Passes as House Leaders Hold Vote Open for 46 Minutes On October 7, the Leadership of the House held open what was supposed to be a five-minute vote for over 45 minutes in order to pressure a handful of House members to change their votes on a controversial refinery bill As the scheduled five‑minute vote ...view more

October 3 - 7, 2005
House Energy Bill Would Do Nothing to Reduce High Gas PricesAs the Connector goes to press, the House is debating an energy bill that its sponsors call the Gasoline for America's Security Act,or GAS Act.  The stated goal of the bill is to provide relief to the American people from the sharp rise in gasoline prices following Hurricanes ...view more