House Approves Full Funding for A-10 Warthogs

May 20, 2015

House Approves Full Funding for A-10 Warthogs

On May 15, the House passed the annual policy bill for the Department of Defense [H.R. 1735].  One notable provision of the bill calls for full funding of the A-10 “Warthog” aircraft, 21 of which are stationed in Michigan at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.   In addition to funding, H.R. 1735 prohibits retirement of any A-10 aircraft, as the Pentagon has prematurely proposed.  The A-10 provides proven and effective support for our ground troops in combat, and serves as an important anchor for our area.   Rep. Levin has consistently supported funding for A-10.  Here is a letter to the defense appropriators Rep. Levin joined earlier in the year. 

Rep. Levin Cosponsors Bill to Protect Online Privacy

Rep. Levin has joined a bipartisan group of more than 260 House lawmakers who have co-sponsored legislation to strengthen online privacy.  Their bill – the Email Privacy Act [H.R. 699] -- would end the warrantless searches of Americans’ email records.  Under current law, law enforcement agencies can obtain emails without a warrant if they have been stored electronically for more than 180 days.  H.R. 699 would require the government to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause to obtain the content of Americans’ email and other electronic communications when those communications are requested from a third-party service provider, like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and countless other c! loud services.

House Votes to End Bulk Collection of Phone Records

In a related story, on May 13, the House of Representatives voted 338 to 88 to approve a bill [H.R. 3361] to end the government’s bulk collection of American’s phone “metadata.”  Metadata includes the date, time and duration of calls but does not include the content of the calls or personal identification information.  Among other reforms, the House-passed bill creates a new, transparent process in which the government must get approval on a case-by-case basis from a special court before asking phone companies for specific call records.  For more information,click here.

The House vote was in response to reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) was routinely accessing phone “metadata” of most calls made within the United States.  Approval of H.R. 3361 by the House stands in stark contrast with the path set by the Republican Leadership in the Senate, which supports a straight continuation of the NSA’s bulk phone records program, without any reform.

Rep. Levin Backs Bill to Save Bees

One out of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by bees.  But in recent years, bee colonies in the U.S. have been in serious decline.  While there are a number of causes for bee colony collapse, two new research studies found that a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids (or neonics, for short) are much more damaging to bees than previously believed. 

Rep. Levin has joined 34 other House lawmakers in cosponsoring H.R. 1284, the “Saving America’s Pollinators Act.”  This legislation would require the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action to prevent future mass die-offs and protect the health of honey bees and other critical pollinators by suspending the use of neonics.