U.S. Economy Added 248,000 Jobs Last Month

Oct 14, 2014

U.S. Economy Added 248,000 Jobs Last Month

The U.S. job market surged in September as the economy added 248,000 jobs – far more than private economists had predicted.  The unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent.  In a speech last week at Northwestern University in Illinois, President Obama noted that when he took office in 2009, businesses were laying off 800,000 Americans a month and the jobless rate was 10 percent, so the U.S. economy has come a long way since then.  As the President noted, “All told, the United States has put more people to work than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.” 

This makes you wonder how much better things could be if the Leadership of the House of Representatives would pass jobs legislation, or increase the minimum wage, or finally approved the Paycheck Fairness Act so that women would receive equal pay for equal work.

 

Rep. Levin Supports Student Loan Refinancing Bill

Today, 71 percent of Americans earning a bachelor’s degree graduate with debt, and total student loan debt has reached a staggering $1.2 trillion.  Unlike car loans or home mortgages, Federal student loans are not eligible for refinancing; as a result, many students are locked into high interest rates, often 8 to 12 percent.  Average student loan debt is at $30,000 and growing.  This is a heavy burden for these young Americans and their families.

To address this problem, Rep. Levin has cosponsored the “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act,” [H.R. 4582] which would allow students to refinance their Federal loans at the lower rates that were available to new borrowers in the 2013-2014 school year.  The bill has 140 House cosponsors.  

 

New Data Show that the Affordable Care Act is Helping Michigan Residents

In September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released state-by-state fact sheets that underscore what we already knew—the Affordable Care Act is making a real difference for thousands of Michiganders.  Click here to learn more about how the ACA is working to make health care more affordable and accessible for Michigan residents.

 

Lawmakers Tell Social Security Administration to Increase Outreach Efforts to Same Sex Couples

Rep. Levin joined over 120 other concerned Members of Congress in urging the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve outreach to same-sex couples.  Generally, same-sex couples are only eligible to receive Social Security spousal and survivor benefits if they reside in states where their marriages or civil unions are recognized.  As the number of states that recognize marriage equality continues to rise, it is important to ensure that same-sex couples be made aware that they may now be eligible for these earned benefits. 

In a letter to SSA Commissioner Colvin, the lawmakers encourage the SSA to “to identify all individuals in same-sex relationships who have applied for spousal benefits and been denied…in order to educate them regarding changes in state and federal law and inform them that they may reapply for benefits.”

 

Rep. Levin Backs Bill to Improve Contraception Access for Women in the Military

The Department of Defense provides health care to over three million women through the military’s health program, TRICARE.  Under TRICARE, active duty servicewomen have access to all prescription drugs at no out-of-pocket costs, including contraception, regardless of where they acquire their prescription.  However, non-active duty servicewomen and female dependents are responsible for out-of-pock costs, should they decide to fill a prescription outside of a military treatment facility. 

In response, Rep. Levin and 65 other House lawmakers have co-sponsored the “Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act,” [H.R. 5524] to ensure that all servicemembers receive comprehensive contraception, with no out-of-pocket costs, regardless of where they obtain their prescription.  This bill would align TRICARE’s contraceptive coverage measures with those offered by the Affordable Care Act to ensure that all female servicemembers have access to the same basic contraception and family planning services as the women they protect.