President Issues Major Disaster Declaration in response to August Floods

Oct 2, 2014

President Issues Major Disaster Declaration in response to August Floods

The President issued a major disaster declaration for the State of Michigan triggering the release of Federal funds to help individuals and communities recover from the severe floods.  Learn more here. All impacted households are encouraged to register so they may be evaluated for potential federal assistance.


Ebola: What You Need to Know

This week, Center for Disease Control officials confirmed that an individual who recently returned to the United States from Liberia has been diagnosed with Ebola.  The patient has been placed in isolation in a Texas hospital to prevent transmission. 

Given this new development, it is important to underscore some facts about Ebola.  Ebola can only spread from contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or died from Ebola.  It is not transmitted through air, water or food in the United States.  The United States has some of the best doctors in the world who are prepared to respond.  To learn more about Ebola, click here.


New Report:  3.6 Million Americans Have Lost UI Benefits

A new report shows the number of people in each state who have lost access to federal unemployment benefits through September as a result of the termination of the program. Through the end of September, more than 3.6 million people have been cut off unemployment insurance because of the expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program last December, according to new data from the Department of Labor, including 43,900 in Michigan. The report cites several studies that highlight the program’s benefits to the economy and millions of Americans since it was enacted in 2008.  For more information, click here.


Lawmakers Respond to Lake Erie Drinking Water Crisis

On August 2, microcystin-laced toxic algae in Lake Erie overtook the drinking water intake in Toledo, Ohio, resulting in the Toledo water system warning 500,000 of its customers to turn off their taps for three days.  Microcystin can cause vomiting, diarrhea and harm to the liver.

The algae bloom in Lake Erie was caused by dissolved phosphorus from agriculture, livestock and sewage systems.  While algae blooms are becoming more common in the Great Lakes and other areas of the country, the federal government has not set federal guidelines for unsafe consumption levels in drinking water.  Clearly additional steps need to be taken to limit the flow of algae-feeding nutrients in our waterways.  Rep. Levin and other lawmakers have also cosponsored the Safe and Secure Drinking Water Act to require EPA to promptly develop drinking water standards for microcystin.


Rep.  Levin Issues Report on the Transpacific Partnership Trade Negotiations

Rep. Levin issued a report outlining the major outstanding issues within the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and called for the establishment of an intensive bipartisan consultative process with Congress to determine how to address pending issues and shortcomings within the negotiations. The report, issued to the Council on Foreign Relations ahead of a discussion on TPP there this morning, highlights the need for the focus to remain on the TPP, and not on Trade Promotion Authority.

The seven-page report lays out specific areas within several key elements being negotiated that remain outstanding, including worker rights, environmental protections, access to medicines, human rights, currency manipulation, auto market access in Japan, agricultural market access, state-owned enterprises, food safety measures, investment and dispute settlement and tobacco controls.