Rep. Levin Works for Effective Response to Zika Virus

May 18, 2016

On May 17th, House Republicans brought the misleadingly-named Zika Vector Control Act to the floor for a vote. Despite the bill’s name, this legislation will not impact the spraying of mosquitoes to combat the Zika virus. Instead, the bill is yet another attempt to undermine environmental protections by removing Clean Water Act safeguards, which are critical to ensuring that pesticide discharge into our rivers and streams does not lead to severe contamination of our drinking water. Rep. Levin voted against this bill. 

The Zika virus represents a serious public health threat, causing severe brain-related birth defects. The House needs to fully fund the President’s request for emergency funding to combat the Zika virus, which would be used to reduce the risk of transmission of the Zika virus, develop new tools to combat the Zika virus, and fund vital research. Rep. Levin has sent multiple letters to Speaker Ryan to take action and cosponsored legislation funding the President’s request.  Unfortunately, House Republicans refuse to consider the President’s Request, and, instead, putting forth legislation that the President calls “woefully inadequate to support the response our public health experts say is needed.” 

Rep. Levin Presses to Strengthen Child Nutrition Standards

On May 16, Rep. Levin joined more than 100 Members of Congress in writing a letter to House leaders urging them to strengthen nutrition programs in the child nutrition reauthorization – the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 – rather than enact misguided changes that would hurt our children’s access to nutritious meals, as the legislation currently does.

The legislation, as currently written, includes detrimental changes to the Community Eligibility Provision, the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer program, the school meals verification process, and nutrition standards that would cause too many children, especially low-income children, to lose access to vital programs and healthier meals. At a time where 31 million children rely on school meals for most of their daily nutrition, we should be using the child nutrition reauthorization to strengthen these programs, not regress and roll back on progress that has been made. You can read the full text of that letter here.

Rep. Levin Commends Local Youth Assistance Programs

On Thursday, May 12th, the Hazel Park Youth Assistance Program celebrated students in Hazel Park who have overcome adversity and contributed to the school in a positive way. This Youth Recognition Night highlighted the compassion, work ethic, and resilience of the students. Rep. Levin supports the Youth Assistance Program, which was started in Hazel Park by his longtime friend, Dr. Wilfred Webb. Dr. Webb started Youth Assistance to strengthen students and families and to reduce the incidence of delinquency, abuse, and neglect through community involvement. The prevention work of Youth Assistance, now throughout Oakland County, is only possible with community involvement. You can participate in Youth Assistance in your local school district or choose to mentor a student as a role model through the Mentors Plus program.

Rep. Levin Continues to Support LGBT Civil Rights

May 17th was the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia which calls attention to the discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) individuals face on a daily basis. Rep. Levin is proud to stand with 72 Democratic representatives in cosponsoring legislation which would recognize International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in the United States. For many people who identify as LGBT, community environments – such as schools, clinical settings, and the workplace – are can be unsafe and unwelcoming, and discrimination against LGBT individuals remains legal in many states, including Michigan. Representative Levin has long supported legislation aimed at expanding civil rights protections to all Americans including the Equality Act [H.R. 3185] which would expand the Civil Rights Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation.  

On the Floor of the U.S. House this week: The House is considering the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2017 (H.R. 4909).  We will also begin work on funding bills for the next fiscal year, starting with the Military Construction and Veterans’ Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY 2017 (H.R. 4974).  Later in the week, the House will consider legislation that provides funding to respond to the Zika virus.