Ukraine Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Independence

Aug 24, 2016

Today, August 24th, Rep. Levin joins the community in commemorating Ukraine’s 25th anniversary of independence. The United States and the international community must stand with the people of Ukraine against Russian aggression and continue to help Ukraine develop the rule of law and strengthen its democracy.

Animal Welfare Act Turns 50 

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), a landmark piece of legislation, which for the first time regulated the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport and commercial sale. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 24, 1966, the original bill focused on the humane treatment of dogs and cats. However, throughout the years, it has been expanded to establish a greater range of standards. During Rep. Levin’s time in Congress, he has worked to ensure that the AWA is enforced and fully funded.

August is Water Quality Month 

The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 and is the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and maintaining quality standards for surface waters.  The Clean Water Act is a vital law that has made considerable progress in cleaning up our nation’s rivers, lakes, and streams.  There are also individual efforts that we can make to help protect our water supply. (1) Avoid chemical fertilizers (2) Pick up after your pets (3) Ensure proper disposal or unwanted or expired medications (4) Fix leaks that drop from cars (5) Choose nontoxic household chemicals when possible.

IRS Warns of Back-to-School Scams; Encourages Students, Parents, Schools to Stay Alert 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned taxpayers against telephone scammers targeting students and parents during the back-to-school season and demanding payments for non-existent taxes, such as the “Federal Student Tax.”
People should be on the lookout for IRS impersonators calling students and demanding that they wire money immediately to pay a fake “federal student tax.” Scammers are constantly identifying new tactics to carry out their crimes in new and unsuspecting ways. Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately and:

More information on tax scams is available on the IRS website.

Updates to "my Social Security"

The “my Social Security” online account is a personal online service beneficiaries can use to check Social Security information and do business with the Social Security Administration. Users can estimate future revenues, receive benefit verification, and have instant access to their Social Security Statement at any time.

As of August 1, my Social Security began requiring account holders to use a cell phone and receive a text message verification code. This additional layer of security was designed to help protect the public’s personal information.  However, this created issues for users without cell phones. my Social Security has removed the requirement to use a cell phone for text verification, although online users may still opt to use text verification and are encouraged to take advantage of this additional security measure. My Social Security will continue to work to ensure all accounts are both secure and accessible.

Rep. Levin supports efforts to “Protect and Grow” Michigan’s Defense Sector

On Thursday, August 18, Rep. Levin joined with other elected officials at an event to highlight the Michigan Defense Center’s “Protect and Grow” initiative. The initiative, launched in 2015, revealed its comprehensive plan to protect Michigan’s federal and state military facilities while growing opportunities for Michigan companies. You can find out more about the Protect and Grow Initiative here.

FAA Extension with Air Traffic Control Hiring Provisions Signed Into Law

In July, President Obama signed into law the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act (H.R. 636), extending various Federal Aviation Administration programs through September 2017.  The new law also includes provisions to address issues in the air traffic controller hiring process and reverse the current shortage of controllers by increasing the hiring pipeline. The law will streamline the hiring process so that vacancies can be filled more quickly with experienced candidates, such as qualified controllers, military veterans, and FAA Collegiate Training Initiative graduates.  Other members of the public who apply will be considered in a separate applicant pool.  The law also increases the maximum entry age from 31 to 35 as long as the controller has 52 weeks of experience. 

Rep. Levin cosponsored legislation this Congress containing similar hiring provisions to ensure we have a sufficient air traffic control workforce so that air travel remains safe for millions of Americans.

Zika Spreads by Mosquito Transmission in Florida; Rep. Levin Continues to Call for Congress to Fully Fund the President’s Emergency Funding Request 

Until late July, the CDC only reported cases of Zika Virus in the United States that were acquired by people traveling to a region where the virus was prevalent or through sexual contact with someone who had contracted the virus. Since then, there have been mosquito-caused transmission of the Zika Virus in three regions of Florida.  For many people, the Zika Virus results in flu-like symptoms. However, the Zika Virus has been proven to cause neurological birth defects when transmitted from pregnant mother to her child and has been linked in rare instances to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a paralytic condition.  If you are planning to travel to South Florida, the CDC has issued a travel warning, offering advice about whether to travel there and how to protect yourself from the Zika Virus.

Recognizing the potential public health threat of the Zika Virus, Rep. Levin has continuously called on Congress to fully fund the Administration’s emergency funding request to combat the Zika Virus, sending multiple letters to Speaker Ryan and House-Senate Conferees negotiating a Zika funding bill, cosponsoring legislation to fund the request, and signing a discharge petition that would force a floor vote on funding the request. Instead, Republicans have refused to fund this in full and even attached a host of extraneous provisions to Zika funding that attack a women’s constitutionally-protected right to choose. This partisan proposal has unfortunately passed the House, but does not have the votes to pass the Senate and would be vetoed by the President. Rep. Levin will continue to fight to ensure that Congress provides the Administration with the necessary funds to protect the American people from the Zika Virus and not saddle them with partisan politics.