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Congressman Sandy Levin


Congressional Connector

The Congressional Connector
Week of May 22 - 26, 2006

House Narrowly Approves Oil Drilling in Arctic Refuge
On 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 reach the market for at least ten years.  They also objected to rewarding the oil industry when oil companies are posting record profits.  Speaking in opposition to H.R. 5429, Rep. Levin said, "Drilling in ANWR will not bring down gasoline prices - not today and not tomorrow.... For the last six years, the Majority leadership and the President have set the energy policy for the United States.  The Bush Administration unveiled its energy plan in 2001.  Although over 95 percent of the recommendations in that plan have been implemented, our nation still confronts sky-high gas prices, growing dependence on foreign sources of energy, and record profits for the oil industry.  In 2005, the six largest oil companies reported $110 billion in profits.  These profits will likely set a new record this year.  The Majority's philosophy is that what's good for Exxon-Mobile is good for American consumers, but we have learned that this is not the case."  For more information, click here.  

Veterans Identity Protection Act Introduced in House
On Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that as many as 26.5 million veterans' names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers were lost as a result of a VA employee having this data stolen from his home on May 3, 2006.  The VA employee was not authorized to possess this information outside of his office.  Responding to the security breach, Rep. Levin said, "The federal government is supposed to be leading the effort to prevent identity theft, not contributing to the problem.  We need to take action immediately to help veterans protect themselves if, indeed, the lost data has fallen into the wrong hands."  The Veterans Identity Protection Act [H.R. 5455] was introduced earlier this week with over 90 House cosponsors.  The measure would provide one year of free credit monitoring to affected individuals.  It would also provide veterans with free credit reports.

A Clean Lake St. Clair is Worth Fighting For 
On May 22, clean water advocates from the U.S. and Canada met to discuss progress in the effort to restore the environmental health of Lake St. Clair.  Addressing the meeting, Rep. Levin noted that, since 1995, the federal government has provided nearly $300 million through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to help build water infrastructure in the Lake St. Clair watershed to clean up the sewage that was killing the Lake.  Calling for additional restoration efforts to continue the progress that has been made, Rep. Levin said, "a clean Lake St. Clair is worth fighting for."

Lawmakers Write President in Support of Justice for Lockerbie Bombing Families
This week Rep. Levin joined dozens of other House lawmakers in co-signing a bipartisan letter to President Bush to urge that the United States insist that Libya honor its commitments to the families of the 189 Americans who were killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland.  Libya was found liable in the terror attack that killed 270 people.  189 of the victims were Americans and 6 were from Michigan.  In August 2003, Libya accepted responsibility for the bombing and agreed to provide financial compensation to the families of the victims, but $536 million of the settlement is still outstanding.  The Bush Administration recently decided to remove Libya from the list of designated state sponsors of terrorism and restore diplomatic relations with that country.  The lawmakers' letter to President Bush underscores "the importance of Libya fully honoring its commitments to these American families.  Otherwise, we send a dangerous message to Libya and other nations that the United States government does not expect commitments to be honored."


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