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Congressman Sandy Levin


Congressional Connector

The Congressional Connector
Week of April 24 - 28, 2006

Levin Calls for Rollback of Tax Breaks for Big Oil as Gas Prices Soar
On 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.  These subsidies were included in sweeping energy legislation approved by Congress last summer, which President Bush signed into law.  "At a time when energy companies are posting record profits and prices for oil, natural gas and gasoline are near all-time highs, the energy industry does not need additional taxpayers subsidies to go out and drill for oil and gas," said Rep. Levin.  "Rather than give industry subsidies the energy companies themselves admit they don't need, we should use these funds to help consumers and businesses struggling to pay their energy bills."  For additional information, click here.  Later in the week, the House debated a motion by Rep. McDermott of Washington State to accept a Senate proposal to eliminate three abusive tax breaks for large oil companies.  Rep. Levin was on the House Floor urging support for the motion, but the House voted 232 to 190 (largely along party lines) to allow the oil industry to keep these abusive tax loopholes.  To read Rep. Levin's remarks, click here.

Meanwhile Energy Companies Report Huge Profits this Week
On April 26-27, large oil and gas companies reported billions of dollars in profits for the first three months of 2006.  Chevron's earnings soared 49 percent to $4 billion in the first quarter of this year.  The world's largest oil company, Exxon-Mobile, posted $8.4 billion in earnings over the same period.  ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil and gas producer, reported that its first quarter profit rose13 percent.

Lawmakers Condemn Political Interference with Scientists' Findings on Climate Change On April 19, a bipartisan group of 45 House members, including Rep. Levin, wrote to President Bush to urge him to allow the government's top scientists to publish their climate change findings without interference from the Bush Administration's political appointees.  The letter read, in part: "It is our understanding that a number of studies by our government's top scientists have been edited by political appointees with no scientific background....  James Hansen, head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and one of the world's most renowned climatologists, recently revealed that he has been prohibited from freely speaking to the press regarding climate change.  Mr. Hansen has also stated that his remarks and reports have been heavily edited by political appointees that did not agree with his conclusions on climate change."   To read the entire letter to President Bush, click here.

Speaking Up for Federal Assistance for Local Communities
Last week, Rep. Levin was home in his District speaking with local officials and community leaders in opposition to a proposal in the President's budget to make deep cuts in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.  This is not the best known program in the federal budget, but it has a broad impact in local communities.  The CDBG program funds homeownership, housing rehabilitation, public improvements, public services, and economic development projects. 

Rep. Levin Scores 100% Voting Record on Issues Affecting America's Seniors
The Alliance for Retired Americans (ARA), a nationwide senior organization, awarded  Rep. Levin a 100 percent voting record rating on issues affecting America's seniors during the first session of the 109th Congress.  ARA calculated the rating by evaluating Member votes on a range of issues affecting retired workers and their families, including pension protections and reform, cutting senior programs, Medicare Part D, and Social Security solvency.  "We applaud Rep. Levin for his leadership and resolve in protecting the health and economic security of older Americans," said George J. Kourpias, president of the Alliance.  "He's done it by the leading the fight during the past two years to stop the Bush Administration from privatizing Social Security." For additional information, click here.




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