In Floor Speech, Rep. Levin Calls for Release of Journalists in Burma

In Floor Speech, Rep. Levin Calls for Release of Journalists in Burma

Last week, Rep. Levin spoke on the House floor to call for the release of two Reuters journalists who have been imprisoned in Burma, also known as Myanmar. The reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, reported on specific cases of violence against the Rohingya people by Burma’s military. Rep. Levin denounced the genocide being perpetrated against the Rohingya, which the Burmese government has attempted to deny, and said that “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should not be imprisoned for shining a light on the truth.” Rep. Levin’s remarks can be read here.

Rep. Levin Fights Republican Efforts to Dismantle ACA in Rules Committee

Last Wednesday, Rep. Levin testified before the House Rules Committee against H.R.3798, a Republican bill that would undermine employer-sponsored health insurance by changing the current-law requirement that large employers provide coverage to individuals working 30 hours or more per week to 40 hours. During his testimony, he noted that a 2015 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate of a similar proposal found that about 1 million Americans would lose their employer-sponsored coverage as a result. He also emphasized that the CBO and Joint Committee on Taxation also found that this bill will add approximately $60 billion to the deficit.

House Ways and Means Committee Considers “Tax 2.0”

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee considered legislation to make permanent provisions of the GOP Tax Law set to expire at the end of 2025.  Rep. Levin voted against the bill, noting that it doubled down on the giveaway to corporate interests and wealthy taxpayers signed into law at the end of 2017.  The bill would lock in rate cuts at the very top of the income scale and a special deduction for pass through entities that would only benefit high-income Americans and could create more loopholes in the tax code.  It also makes permanent an increase in thresholds that exempted even more Americans from the estate tax and is now only is imposed on estates worth more than $11 million.  In total, it would cost $3 trillion to extend the GOP’s tax policy, unpaid for and too little focused on the middle class.

The House could consider this legislation as early as next week.

Constituent Casework Corner: Passports

Rep. Levin’s office routinely handles casework on behalf of constituents who are seeking assistance from various Federal agencies or are unable to reach a certain agency.  You can find details of the types of cases my office routinely handles here.

In addition to helping constituents with various passport issues when obtaining one, Rep. Levin’s office sometimes receives gets frantic calls from constituents that have lost their passports and/or luggage.  If a citizen abroad loses a passport, the first thing they need to do is file a police report. Then head to the nearest U.S. Embassy. U.S Embassy or Consulate staff can give you a replacement passport that will let you finish your trip or give you an emergency travel document that will get you home. They can also loan you emergency cash for certain emergencies.  Information on applying or renewing a passport can be obtained from the U.S. Department of State here.  Constituents with questions about passports can contact Rep. Levin’s district office at (586) 498-7122.

Water Infrastructure Legislation Passes the House

On Thursday, September 13, the House passed by voice vote the American Water Infrastructure Act (S. 3021).  It now moves to the Senate for consideration.  This legislation, which has been passed by Congress biennially since 2014 years in various form seeks to address pressing water resources needs from port and harbor maintenance, lock and dams, coastal infrastructure, inland waterways, and clean water.

The legislation approved last week authorizes 12 water infrastructure projects for construction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and permits the Corps to conduct or expedite feasibility studies on more than 65 proposed projects to address various needs.  Of note for the Great Lakes region, the bill allows the Army Corps to move forward with construction on the Soo Locks modernization project, a major construction effort important to the flow of commerce in the region and the nation’s economy.  This is an important step that now allows Congress to provide funding for the project.

This bipartisan bill also includes proposed funding levels, but not actual funding yet, to combat harmful algae blooms, invasive species like the Asian carp and Zebra mussels, and $4.4 billion for the State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund program.