Rep. Levin Advocates for Women’s Access to Contraception

Sep 21, 2016

This week, Rep. Levin joined 109 House Democrats in sending a letter to the Administration in support of maintaining the current accommodation for religious nonprofits to the ACA’s requirement that every insurance plan cover FDA-approved contraception with no out-of-pocket costs.   The Obama Administration created an accommodation to ensure employees of religiously-affiliated nonprofits would maintain access to contraception while allowing the religiously-affiliated nonprofits to continue expressing their religious objection to contraception.

This accommodation was challenged recently in the Supreme Court case, Zubik v. Burwell. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower courts with the instruction that the religiously-affiliated nonprofits and the Administration reach a compromise that neither limits access to contraception nor burdens the nonprofits’ religion.  To aid in reaching a compromise, the Administration issued a request for information that Rep. Levin and the 109 other House Democrats are responding to with their letter. Earlier this year, Rep. Levin joined 122 members of Congress who were in office when the ACA was passed to submit a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the birth control coverage requirement in the ACA in Zubik v. Burwell.

Rep. Levin Speaks at the 25th Anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence
This month, Rep. Levin spoke at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. celebrating Ukraine’s 25th anniversary of independence hosted by Ambassador Chaly.  As a Co-Chair of the Ukraine Caucus, Rep. Levin reiterated his longtime support for the Ukraine people and the need to stand against Russian aggression.  He stressed that the events since the Maidan protest have clearly demonstrated the will for reform, and the United States should do its part in standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine.   

White House Releases Resources to Help K - 12 Schools Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assaults
Earlier this week, the White House launched Safe Place to Learn, an online interactive tool with information and materials for K-12 schools aimed at responding to, preventing, and eliminating sexual harassment and violence. In addition, the White House also released guidelines for school districts to consider when developing sexual misconduct policies. These resources aim to increase knowledge among the primary and secondary educational community on how to help craft meaningful policies, as well as appropriate actions schools need to take when sexual assaults happen and how to comply with existing law.

The House of Representatives also recently took action to improve the way sexual assault cases are handled. Earlier, this month Rep. Levin voted for the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. This legislation would guarantee survivors’ access to rape kits, gives them the right to know about any test results from the kit, and prevents kits from being destroyed before the state’s maximum statute of limitations expires. The bill also ensures survivors won’t have to pay for testing and they are notified 60 days before their kit is set to be destroyed.    

September is Hunger Action Month
There are nearly 48 million Americans that struggle with hunger in the United States, and 15.5 million of those Americans are children under the age of 18. While food insecurity exists throughout the country, not everyone struggling with hunger qualifies for federal nutrition assistance. There are ways we can help our communities overcome this hardship by donating to local food banks, volunteering time at a food pantry, or by making monetary contributions. For a list of food banks that serve Macomb and Oakland Counties click here.

National Passport day is this Saturday, September 24, 2016
The Detroit Passport Agency, at 211 W. Fort St. in Detroit, will be open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. to process new passport applications or renewals. Appointments are not required for this one day.  The agency only asks that applicants fill out the online application, and bring a printed unsigned copy and an accepted passport photo to expedite the process. Details of what documentation is required can be found online at travel.state.gov.

After you apply, routine processing takes four to six weeks, while expedited processing, with an added $60 fee, is two to three weeks. Same-day service is not available. There is limited metered parking available on West Fort St. for $1/hr. There are also several parking garages and surface lots within a three block radius of the agency that range from $5.00 - $10.00 per day.

President Obama Issues Proclamation Establishing Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week
On September 16, President Obama established September 18, 2016 through September 24, 2016 as Prescription Opioid And Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.  By doing so the Administration seeks to remember those who have died as a result of opioid addiction, those who are in recovery, and raise awareness of this epidemic that impacts individuals and families across the United States.  Rep. Levin voted for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to address the opioid epidemic, which modifies pain management practices and expands access to treatment programs.  President Obama signed the bill into law in July and Rep. Levin continues to fight for the funding needed to carry out the law’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

This Week on the House Floor:  The House will consider legislation that halts implementation of certain rules until all legal challenges are complete, which would likely add additional delays to regulatory process (H.R. 3438).  The House will also consider legislation concerning Iranian assets (H.R. 5461) and future payments to Iran (H.R. 5931).  Finally, the House will take up a bill that would allow employee stockholders in startup businesses to defer income taxes on stock options for up to seven years (H.R. 5719).  The bill is not paid for and will add $1 billion to the deficit.