113th Congress Convenes
113th Congress Convenes
The new 113th Congress convened at noon on January 3. It replaces the 112th Congress, which adjourned just a few hours earlier, after permanently extending the middle class tax cuts and allowing tax rates for the very wealthy to return to Clinton era rates. Meeting for the first time last week, the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives re-elected John Boehner of Ohio as Speaker.
The early weeks of the new session are expected to be devoted to budget issues. In addition, the House and Senate will need to grapple with a wide range of major bills leftover from the last Congress, including disaster assistance for states damaged by Superstorm Sandy; an overhaul of the Farm Bill; reform of the U.S. Postal Service, and renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. Other issues awaiting lawmakers’ attention are gun control, immigration reform, and an overhaul of the tax code.
The new 9th Congressional District
Rep. Levin looks forward to representing the new 9th Congressional District. The 9th is a similar combination of Macomb and Oakland County communities. New communities in the District include: Berkley, Bloomfield Township, the Villages of Franklin, Beverly Hills and Bingham Farms, Southfield Township and more of the cities of Royal Oak and Sterling Heights. The communities of Southfield, Lathrup Village, Oak Park and Royal Oak Township are now represented by Congressman Gary Peters. To view a map, click here.
Rep. Levin enjoyed meeting with local elected officials from the new communities last week.. To view his schedule, click here.
House Leaders Slow-Walk Disaster Relief Bill
Superstorm Sandy plowed into the Northeastern United States on October 29. It was the 2nd costliest storm in U.S. history, behind Hurricane Katrina. After Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, Congress passed a disaster relief package within 10 days. When the 113th Congress convened nearly ten weeks after Superstorm Sandy, Congress had yet to approve a disaster relief bill. The Senate had passed a $60 billion disaster aid bill in December, but the House refused to take up that bill.
After deep public criticism of Speaker Boehner by members on both sides of the aisle – including from New Jersey Governor Christie – the House finally voted 354 to 67 to approve a much smaller $9.7 billion aid package [H.R. 41] on January 4th. The Senate approved the House-passed bill the same day, and President Obama signed the measure into law. Speaker Boehner has promised that the House will consider a second, larger Superstorm Sandy relief bill this week.
Student Inaugural Address Competition
Rep. Levin is hosting a 9th Congressional District Student Inaugural Address Competition. High School students are invited to record a 2-3 minute Inaugural Address expressing their vision for the country. Videos are due by Friday, January 25th, 2013. Finalist will have their videos featured on Rep. Levin’s website and the winner will have lunch with the Congressman. For more information on the competition visit http://levin.house.gov/inauguration.
Congress Approves Protect Our Kids Act
Last year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study which found that every year “children in the United States die after being physically abused, severely neglected, or otherwise maltreated, frequently at the hands of their parents or others who are entrusted with their care. Infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable to such abuse and neglect....”
As the 113th Congress was nearing its end in late December, the House and Senate gave final approval to the Protect Our Kids Act [H.R. 6655]. Rep. Levin was an original cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation, which establishes a federal commission to develop a national strategy for reducing instances of child abuse and neglect and prevent child fatalities resulting from maltreatment. President Obama is expected to sign The Protect Our Kids Act into law in the very near future.