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The Congressional Connector

Week of October 31 - November 4, 2005

Sweeping Budget Bill Advances to House Floor
On 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 assistance, and health care for children, the elderly, and the disabled.  Proponents of the bill claim that the budget package will help pay for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; in fact, the bill would hurt those most affected by the Hurricanes by slashing key funding to programs designed to help them in their recovery.   Rep. Levin blasted the budget measure’s approval:  “Generating savings by reducing health care their student loans and puts their access to health care at risk just to fund more tax cuts for the very wealthy.  It simply makes no sense.”  .

Michigan Lawmakers Call on EPA to Complete PCB Cleanup in St. Clair Shores
On November 3, Members of the Michigan Delegation released a joint letter to the Environmental Protection Agency urging the EPA to “take immediate action to remediate the additional PCB contamination that has been discovered in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.”  The letter was signed by Senators Levin and Stabenow , and Rep. Sander Levin.  The letter reads, in part: “We strongly believe the next step must be for EPA to complete its PCB cleanup effort and to mobilize a removal action that addresses the PCBs at their source as well as the re-contamination of the Ten Mile Drain system. Unless effective action is taken in the near future, the renewed PCB contamination could completely undo EPA’s previous cleanup efforts and leave a significant human health and environmental threat unabated.

House Rejects Resolution Calling for Investigation of Iraq War Policies
On November 3, Rep. Nancy Pelosi offered a resolution that called on the Leadership of the House to conduct oversight hearings on a number controversial policies related to Iraq, especially the issue of pre-war intelligence.  Speaking in support of her resolution, Rep. Pelosi said: “The intelligence used as the justification for the administration's decision to go into war in Iraq was wrong.  That Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, that was wrong.  I said at the time that the intelligence did not support the threat that the administration was describing, but, nonetheless, the intelligence that they were using was wrong.  Given the enormous consequences of that decision, more than 2,000 American soldiers have been killed; more than 15,000 wounded, many of them permanently; more than a quarter of a trillion dollars spent; and enormous damage done to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world . . . Congress has an obligation to identify and correct the problems that led to the production of false intelligence. . . .  Neither the issue of the quality of the intelligence nor the equally important issue of whether intelligence was politicized have been investigated by this Congress.” The Pelosi resolution was rejected on a vote of 220 to 191.  Rep. Levin voted for the measure.

Michigan Delegation Pushes House Leadership to Bring Trash Bill to the House Floor
Earlier this week, ten members of the Michigan Delegation, including Rep. Levin, wrote to House Speaker Dennis Hastert to urge him to schedule Floor action on legislation to give states like Michigan new tools to block unwanted shipment of trash.  The letter reads, in part: “The issue of waste coming into Michigan from Ontario, Canada for disposal is one of great concern to the people we represent.  Currently, more than 400 trash trucks come across the bridge into the Michigan each day.  The goal of HR 2491 simply is to implement and enforce an existing bilateral agreement that has been too long ignored and to give states some tools to manage foreign municipal solid waste being disposed of within its borders.” 

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