Annual Legislative Report
2002 Legislative Report
Expanding Economic Opportunities for Working Families
Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits. The Senate unanimously passed a reauthorization of federal unemployment benefits allowing people currently receiving federal unemployment benefits to continue receiving those benefits until June 1, 2003, and allowing people who exhaust their state unemployment benefits to receive 13 weeks of federal unemployment benefits. Senator Levin was an original cosponsor of further legislation that would have provided up to 33 additional weeks of extended unemployment benefits to states while extending temporary benefits through July 1, 2003.
Minimum Wage Increase. Original cosponsor of legislation which would have raised the minimum wage by $1.50 in three increments.
Meaningful Ergonomics Standard. Original cosponsor of bill which would have directed the Department of Labor to draft a new ergonomics standard within two years.
Fighting Fraud Against Senior Citizens. Authored Senate-passed resolution which designated the last week in August as "National Fraud Against Senior Citizens Awareness Week."
Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would have provided basic protection to ensure fairness in the workplace. Employment discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation denies qualified individuals equality and opportunity in the workplace. Currently, federal law provides basic legal protection against employment discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin or disability.
Fighting for Fair Trade Practices. As co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus and the Senate Auto Parts Task Force, fought for Senate passage of an amendment to the fast track bill making it a priority negotiating objective of the United States to increase market access for U.S. autos and auto parts in foreign markets, especially in Japan and Korea where American autos and auto parts have been all but shut out for decades. Unfortunately, the provision was dropped by the House in the conference committee.
Fighting for Fair Steel Trade. Successfully urged the President to use the authority given him by the Section 201 statute of the Trade Act of 1974 to impose tariffs on the flood of cheap imports which are unfairly dumped in the U.S. marketplace. While the President imposed tariffs on certain steel imports in March 2002, the remedies were less than Senator Levin had pressed for, especially with regard to steel slab imports. Slab steel dumped in the U.S. market is particularly injurious to the domestic iron ore industry and displaces iron ore mined in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
- Secured funding to assist Detroit's Focus: HOPE in its mission to provide education, training and placement in technology and manufacturing jobs. Secured $7.5 million for the Army's Mobile Parts Hospital, a state-of-the-art project that when completed will enable the Army to machine and fashion replacement parts for military systems in the field.
- Secured $450,000 to renovate Focus: HOPE's job training facility, the Machinist Training Institute (MTI). The Machinist Training Institute has opened a path of economic opportunity in manufacturing jobs for thousands of Detroit students. The renovation and expansion of the facility will allow MTI to continue its innovative training program to provide Michigan state-licensed training in precision machining and tool work.
The Automotive Research Center (ARC). Secured $2.8 million to enable the U.S. Army's Automotive Research Center in Warren to increase its assistance to the ARC for basic research programs. The ARC is a university-based, U.S. Army Center of Excellence tasked with creating advanced simulation software and conducting studies of related technologies for military and civilian ground vehicles. The University of Michigan leads an eight university consortium including Wayne State University and Oakland University.
Casting Emissions Reduction Program (CERP). Secured $6.6 million for the Casting Emissions Reduction Program, the nation's largest experimental, full production casting facility. CERP is a partnership between private industry and the U.S. Army. One million of these funds will be used to assist GM's Malleable Iron Plant, located in Saginaw, Michigan, with efforts to develop new, environmentally friendly metal casting technology at this facility.
Mott Community College. Helped secure $1.1 million for Mott Community College's Workforce Development for Manufacturing Simulation Project, a program designed to increase permanent employment opportunities in high skill technology industries nationwide. A clearinghouse and electronic library for industry specific manufacturing specialties will be established.
Alter Kercheval Housing Project. Helped secure $450,000 to develop 214 new affordable homes and rehabilitate 152 homes on Detroit's east side. The Michigan Regional Carpenters Council will offer career training through the Detroit Carpentry Apprenticeship Program to residents involved in the project. This program, designed to develop skilled carpenter journeymen, will create jobs for neighborhood residents. The program will also help low income families purchase homes and will provide training for low and moderate income first time homeowners.
NorthStar Varsity Park Redevelopment Plan. Helped secure $450,000 for the rehabilitation and development of 100 homes in the Varsity Park neighborhood in northwest Detroit. These homes will be both rental/lease-purchase and for sale units.
Boysville of Michigan for the Samaritan Outreach Center. Helped secure $650,000 for the Samaritan Outreach Center in Detroit. The center, which is the site of the old Detroit Mercy Hospital, is envisioned as a hub of social services for children, youth and families, including educational and career needs, and business and home development support services.
Keeping Our Families Safe and Healthy
Fighting Heroin Addiction. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved buprenorphine/naloxone, an anti-addiction medication for the treatment of heroin addiction. FDA approval, along with enactment of legislation introduced by Senators Levin and Hatch, R-Utah, in 2000, allows for the dispensing and prescribing of this new medication in a physician's office. This revolutionary new system will accommodate the treatment needs of tens of thousands of new patients.
Addressing the Nursing Shortage. Original cosponsor of legislation which addresses the pending nursing shortage by authorizing nursing scholarships and grants to schools of nursing. The bill was signed into law by the President on August 8, 2002.
Drug Reimportation. Original cosponsor of legislation which would have allowed American citizens as well as U.S. licenced pharmacists and drug wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada. This legislation was passed by the Senate in July by a 69-30 bipartisan vote.
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. Original cosponsor of legislation that would add a voluntary, affordable prescription drug benefit to the Medicare program.
Helping Health Care Providers Deal with Substantial Medicare Cuts. Cosponsored legislation that would have added $43 billion over 10 years to Medicare and Medicaid to alleviate scheduled cuts to hospitals, physicians, home health agencies, nursing homes and other providers.
Automated Clinical Practice Guidelines. Helped secure $6.375 million for a coordinated program between Ford Health Systems and Tripler Army Hospital to automate clinical practice guidelines. The goal of this partnership is to create a system for the collection and coordination of medical data so that medical services can be tailored to individual needs.
Research into Chronic Multi-Symptom Illnesses. Helped secure $5.2 million for research into the internal mechanisms and the most effective treatment of Gulf War illnesses and other undiagnosed post-deployment illnesses. This research is being conducted by the Center for Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research, located at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and is overseen by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and its peer review process.
Tuberous Sclerosis Research. Secured $2 million in the FY2003 DOD appropriations act for research into the combination of seizures and brain tumors that leads to cognitive impairment in individuals who have tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disease characterized by seizures and the growth of tumors in vital organs. Research on this disease has the potential to assist those suffering from tuberous sclerosis and provide valuable information on the growth of tumors and the nature of seizures.
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan Treatment Center. Helped secure $2.005 million for a domestic violence and residential treatment center in Mt. Pleasant. The center will address the issues of substance abuse and domestic violence in a culturally sensitive environment.
Detroit Medical Center. Helped secure $1.25 million for the construction and renovation of the Hutzel Hospital and Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
W.A. Foote Hospital, Jackson. Helped secure $500,000 for Foote Hospital to improve its emergency room facility.
Oakwood Hospital, Dearborn. Helped secure $450,000 for capital improvements.
Jewish Association for Residential Care, Farmington Hills. Helped secure $500,000 to develop and expand mental health support and long-term case management.
Commission on Jewish Eldercare Services, Bloomfield Hills. Helped obtain $450,000 for the commission to reach out to additional seniors in Oakland County who require services to remain living independently.
Maria-Madeline, Oak Park. Helped secure $120,000 for the Experience Senior Power Program to help underprivileged seniors bridge the "digital divide" and learn computer skills.
Northern Michigan University, Marquette. Helped obtain $200,000 for the Center for Gerontological Studies at Northern Michigan University.
Disaster Assistance for Upper Peninsula Flood Victims. Secured approximately $11 million in Army Corps of Engineers flood assistance funding for flood victims in the Upper Peninsula. Also secured $1.1 million in financial assistance and $200,000 in technical assistance from the Emergency Watershed Program of the Department of Agriculture to address damage caused by flooding in the Upper Peninsula.
Emergency Fire Equipment. Helped secure $8.2 million in funding for fire departments throughout Michigan.
Energy Assistance. Helped secure $1.8 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in the FY2003 omnibus appropriations bill, $97.6 million of which will go to Michigan. Further, worked to secure the release of $300 million in emergency funds. Michigan will receive $16.1 million of these funds.
Security at the Soo Locks. Worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to secure an additional guard at the Soo Locks, allowing a second gate to be reopened for visitor access to the Soo Locks Park and viewing platform.
Hate Crimes Legislation. Cosponsored the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, also known as the "Hate Crimes" bill. Too many acts of violent bigotry in the last several years have put our nation's commitment to diversity in jeopardy. Law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs' Association and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association all support passage of federal hate crimes legislation.
Gun Show Loophole. Cosponsored legislation which would close the gun show loophole which allows unlicensed private gun sellers to sell guns at gun shows without conducting background checks. A 1999 Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms study found hundreds of cases of fraud at gun shows, involving tens of thousands of guns. The legislation simply applies existing law requiring background checks on gun purchasers to people who buy guns at gun shows. This common sense legislation is supported by major law enforcement organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Flint Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Helped secure $250,000 for the City of Flint to implement 911 system upgrades to improve emergency response.
Downriver Mutual Aid Data Network. Helped obtain $1 million to enhance and update the wireless capabilities of the Downriver Mutual Aid Data Network communications system.
Newago County First Responder Program. Helped obtain $300,000 for Newago County to enhance and update its first responder and emergency services communication system.
Mount Morris Township Police Department. Helped secure $30,000 through the COPS Law Enforcement Technology Program for the Mount Morris Police Department to purchase closed circuit video cameras for each of its 10 police cruisers.
Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. Helped secure $250,000 for Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries to expand its youth programs to accommodate more than 1,200 additional at-risk youth in Detroit, Flint, Lansing and other communities.
Eastern Michigan University Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement. Helped obtain $1 million for the Center for Community Building and Civic Engagement, which will focus on preventing youth violence by strengthening neighborhood associations, building new organizations and linking emergency preparedness with crime prevention.
Protecting the Great Lakes and Michigan's Environment
THE GREAT LAKES:
Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Program. Worked to ensure that the Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion and Sediment Control program was authorized in the 2002 farm bill and helped secure $2.5 million for the program. The Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion program is a federal-state partnership managed by the Great Lakes Commission in consultation with the USDA, EPA and the Great Lakes states. The soil erosion control program is designed to prevent and control sediment runoff in the Great Lakes basin. Soil erosion and sedimentation degrade water quality, reduce agricultural productivity, harm fish and wildlife habitat, limit water-based recreation, and damage water treatment and public water supply infrastructure. Nearly 60,000 acres of land in the Great Lakes basin are under some form of conservation treatment as a result of the program. Collectively, 69 demonstration projects have kept more than one-half million tons of soil and nearly 650 tons of phosphorus and nitrogen from entering the basin's lakes and streams in their initial project year alone.
Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act Grants. Helped secure $500,000 for grants to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, states, Indian tribes and other interested entities to restore fish and wildlife resources to the Great Lakes basin. These grants may also be used to provide assistance to encourage cooperative conservation, restoration, and management of fish and wildlife resources and their habitat.
Great Lakes Joint Ventures Program. Helped secure $650,000 for the Joint Ventures Program which encourages partnerships among federal, state, and local governments to meet our commitment to the international North American Wildfowl Management Plan. By working cooperatively through voluntary, non-regulatory agreements, partners conserve important migratory wetland and grassland habitat. Nationwide, these programs have helped protect over 5.3 million acres of wetland habitat, primarily through the six regional programs.
Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration. Secured $174,000 for a program which allows the Army Corps of Engineers to cooperate with other federal, state and local agencies and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to plan, implement and evaluate projects supporting the restoration of the fishery, ecosystem and beneficial uses of the Great Lakes. Fiscal Year 2003 funds will be used to finish developing and begin implementing a plan to support the management of Great Lakes fisheries.
Biohydrology Inventory. Secured funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to finish compiling existing information within the federal government which is relevant to sustainable water use management. This information will be needed to make decisions about the appropriate, sustainable use of Great Lakes waters.
Pipeline Study. Helped win Senate passage of a study on the cumulative impacts of building energy infrastructure in the Great Lakes. There are several proposed projects to build pipelines and other energy infrastructure in the Great Lakes.
Invasive Species. Authored a bipartisan, bicameral bill which would reauthorize the National Invasive Species Act. Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to the ecosystem health of the Great Lakes.
Ban on Oil and Gas Drilling in the Great Lakes. Worked with other Senators to extend the moratorium on issuing oil and natural gas permits for slant drilling in the Great Lakes. The moratorium now expires at the end of FY2005.
Great Lakes Water Levels.
- Authored amendment to the Small Business Drought Relief Act, S. 2734, to ensure that small businesses, such as marinas or charter fishing operations hurt by disastrously low water levels on the Great Lakes, were eligible for SBA economic injury disaster assistance loans. However, S. 2734 was not acted upon by the full Senate before the end of the 107th Congress.
Helped secure $2.3 million for the International Joint Commission (IJC) for the third year of the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Study. This five year study will provide the information needed to evaluate the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Orders of Control (orders that dictate the regulation of Great Lakes water), which have not been formally reviewed for 50 years. Also helped secure $1.2 million for the IJC to begin work on the Upper Great Lakes Plan of Study.
Fish Consumption Study. Secured passage of legislation directing the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to establish a pilot program in Michigan in conjunction with the Great Lakes Human Health Effects Research Program to develop risk communication strategies to reduce toxic chemical exposures from contaminated fish from the Great Lakes and to evaluate the effectiveness of targeting health education to specific audiences who eat fish caught in the Great Lakes, such as women of reproductive age and minority anglers.
- Helped secure $300,000 reimbursement for the City of Escanaba to cover some of the costs of repairing the north wall of the Municipal Dock. The 60+ year old north wall had deteriorated to the point of collapse from age, weather and vessel damage.
- Helped secure $2.5 million for construction funds for the larger replacement lock at Sault Ste. Marie. Over 80 million tons of cargo move through this lock complex, so it is vital to the regional industries, the lake carriers and the ports that larger ships be able to navigate through this passage.
- Worked to fund the second year of a comprehensive Great Lakes Strategic Plan in which the Army Corps of Engineers would provide Congress with recommendations for navigation improvements, environmental restoration activities, water level control, flood damage reduction and other activities.
- Worked with the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review the progress of cleanup at Areas of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes as prescribed by the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. GAO released its report in May 2002 and reported that cleanup has been slow.
- Amended and secured Senate passage of the Great Lakes Legacy Act. The GAO identified the slow progress of cleanup at AOCs, and this legislation will reinvigorate current cleanup efforts by authorizing an additional $50 million to the Environmental Protection Agency for AOC cleanup.
Belle Isle. Secured $100,000 for the planning and design analysis of the Belle Isle South Shore and $160,000 for plans and specifications and construction of the Belle Isle Piers.
Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River. Helped secure $124,000 for the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair management plan; $694,000 for operations and maintenance and $128,000 for channels in Lake St. Clair.
Houghton Lake/Cisco Chain of Lakes. Secured $250,000 for Houghton Lake and $100,000 for the Cisco Chain of Lakes to eradicate harmful Eurasian water milfoil, which can make navigation difficult and kill fish by lowering oxygen levels in bodies of water.
Rouge River. Secured $100,000 for watershed management in the Rouge River and $100,000 for environmental dredging of the Rouge River.
Luna Pier. Secured $100,000 to complete feasibility study and initiate plans and specifications for the Luna Pier shoreline project.
Black River. Secured $500,000 to complete plans and specifications and initiate maintenance dredging of the Black River in Port Huron.
Clinton River. Secured $10,000 in operation and maintenance funding for the Clinton River.
Grand River. Secured $100,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a greenway corridor study in Lansing.
Michigan Harbors. Helped secure millions of dollars for the operation and maintenance of Michigan harbors.
Lake Superior State University. Secured $720,000 for the Lake Superior State University Aquatic Research Laboratory for research on aquatic biota and their associated habitats.
Review of Federal Great Lakes Programs. Working with the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review all federally authorized Great Lakes protection and environmental restoration programs. As part of this assessment, GAO will inventory all of the existing programs, their respective purposes, the various agencies involved, their roles and responsibilities for each of the programs, and report what overall progress has been made under these programs.
Western Michigan University. Helped secure $450,000 for the Great Lakes Hydrological Center of Excellence at Western Michigan University for the development of watershed-scale methods to restore and maintain stable, diverse and self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic organisms, wildlife and plants.
National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. Helped secure $2.25 million for the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium. These funds will help 20 member institutions, including Lansing Community College, develop training curricula and materials for technicians who service alternative fuels vehicles.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs. Worked with other Senators to increase funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs such as weatherization assistance, the state energy program and the Energy Star program.
Advanced Spacecraft Technology. Secured $7 million in funding for the development of solar panels that are potentially cheaper, lighter and more efficient than current solar arrays. Lighter weight solar arrays will drastically reduce the cost of satellite launches. Unisolar Corporation, a joint venture between Energy Conversion Devices and N.V. Bekaert S.A, of Auburn Hills, Michigan, will participate in this program.
Russian American Observation Satellite. Secured $7.0 million in funding for this program that will help develop near term solar cell technology for satellite and other space applications. Unisolar Corporation of Auburn Hills, Michigan, will participate in this program.
Silicon Substrates for Solar Cells. Helped secure $1.4 million in funding for this program to develop silicon substrates for advanced solar cells. Work will be performed at DOW/Corning of Midland, Michigan.
PARKS and FORESTS:
Munising Range Lights. Successfully passed legislation to adjust the boundary of Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore to include the Munising Front and Rear Range Lights. The boundary adjustment was necessary to complete the transfer of ownership of the Range Lights to Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore.
Traverse City Area Public Schools. Successfully passed legislation to allow Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) to transfer land formerly owned by the Coast Guard to the YMCA to develop a community recreation center and swimming pool. In 1996, Senator Levin and Rep. Bart Stupak passed legislation to transfer the Coast Guard property to TCAPS for use as soccer fields. This bill allows TCAPS to modify the original transfer language so that the YMCA can build a recreation center and pool.
Keweenaw National Historical Park. Secured $395,000 for building rehabilitation and $600,000 for land acquisition at Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Secured $1 million for land acquisition at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Isle Royale National Park. Secured $500,000 for the acquisition of replacement boats at Isle Royale National Park.
Ottawa National Forest. Helped secure $2.5 million for land acquisition for the Ottawa National Forest.
Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Cosponsored legislation in the Senate to expand the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Helped secure $3.5 million for land acquisition for the refuge.
Willing Seller Legislation. Secured Senate passage of legislation that would have given clear federal authority for land acquisition to protect critical resources along three additional national scenic and historic trails, including the North Country National Scenic Trail which runs through Michigan.
National Wildlife Refuge System. Worked with other Senators to obtain an increase in funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System as it reaches its centennial in 2003.
Sewer Funding. Worked to secure funding for Michigan communities to pay for necessary improvements to municipal sewer systems in order to prevent discharges into our rivers, lakes and streams. Senator Levin also helped to secure funding for several sewer systems in Michigan, including $900,000 for Eastern Calhoun County; $900,000 for the City of Saginaw; $900,000 for the Port Huron Combined Sewer Overflow project; $450,000 for the City of Flint to upgrade the Pierson Road water main system; $650,000 for Genesee County; $575,000 for Negaunee; $1.2 million for the George Kuhn Drainage District in Oakland County; and $1.35 million for the Evergreen-Farmington Sanitary Overflow demonstration project in Oakland County.
Detroit Revitalization. Helped secure $900,000 for Detroit Riverfront development. Also helped secure $800,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers to continue its work along the Detroit River shoreline at the Bates Street outfall; $150,000 for a feasibility study for dredging contaminated sediments from the Detroit River; $150,000 for the continuation of the Detroit River Master Plan study; $150,000 for continued studies of the Detroit River Seawalls; and $360,000 for the Detroit Water and Sewer Department for infrastructure improvements.
Brownfields Redevelopment. Introduced two bills to help communities expedite the economic redevelopment of brownfields, which are abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial properties, where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. The Brownfields Site Redevelopment Assistance Act would have authorized the Commerce Department to engage in brownfields redevelopment activities. The Brownfields Economic Development Act would have made it easier for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to give economic development grants to local governments. Although neither bill passed in the 107th Congress, Senator Levin plans to continue his efforts to address these issues.
Smart Growth Task Force. As co-chairman of the Senate Smart Growth Task Force, organized briefings for Senators and staff to educate them about smart growth issues and legislation. Senator Levin cosponsored numerous smart growth bills with Smart Growth Task Force co-chairman Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.
Focusing on Education
Post Secondary Education. Authored legislation with Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., that would have given welfare recipients the opportunity to pursue two years of post-secondary education, including community college, in an effort to boost their earning potential and ensure that they will not return to the welfare rolls. The Levin-Jeffords proposal was included in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, which was approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
Border Commuter Student Bill. Cosponsored legislation to extend eligibility for student visas to part-time commuter students who are Canadian or Mexican nationals after the Immigration and Naturalization Service announced in 2002 that it would discontinue its practice of allowing part-time students to cross the border to attend school. Thousands of Canadian nationals commute to the United States to attend schools part-time, and hundreds of these part-time students commute to schools in Michigan. The legislation also sought to enhance national security by ensuring that part-time commuter students are tracked through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, a system set up to make the federal government aware of changes in a student's status that could affect eligibility to remain in the United States. The bill was passed by the Senate and the House and signed into law by the President.
University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Helped secure $2 million for the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy to assist in establishing an endowment.
City of Detroit. Helped secure $600,000 for assessing, tracking and improving Detroit's after school programs.
Grand Valley State University Teacher Academy. Helped obtain $500,000 for a master teacher program designed to address the unique needs of and demand for math and science teachers in urban school districts.
Saginaw Valley State University. Helped secure $500,000 for equipment, wiring and computer upgrades at the Regional Education Center.
Upper Great Lakes Educational Technologies, Inc., Marquette. Helped secure $400,000 for technology and support costs to design, coordinate and implement Operation UP Link, technology infrastructure for Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Oakland Community College, Bloomfield Hills. Helped secure $250,000 for Combined Regional Emergency Services Training (CREST). The CREST center is a 22 acre simulated city designed for realistic, scenario-based training for first responders. Funding will be used to develop a national curriculum for the training to be conducted at the center.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Detroit. Helped obtain $250,000 for the expansion of infant care and after school services.
Jason Foundation Funding. Helped obtain $2.5 million in funding for the Jason Foundation for Education/Institute for Exploration, which seeks to increase student aptitude in math and science by using state-of-the-art educational technology to create hands-on learning experiences.
Fighting Terrorism by Curbing Money Laundering. Worked to implement key Levin-authored anti-money laundering provisions in the Patriot Act to stop terrorists from using U.S. financial institutions to carry out illicit activities. Worked for strong Department of Treasury regulations imposing a new ban on shell banks sending funds through U.S. accounts and requiring U.S. financial institutions to use enhanced due diligence before opening accounts for high risk foreign banks.
Promoting Homeland Defense. Worked with Governor Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, and the Administration to address needs at the Port of Detroit and Southeast Michigan, including keeping the National Guard in place at federal expense. They were due to leave in August but stayed in place longer in response to Senator Levin's request.
Reverse Customs Inspections. Won passage of legislation to authorize "reverse customs inspections" which are necessary to ensure that potentially dangerous vehicles are inspected prior to crossing our bridges and tunnels. Worked closely with the U.S. Customs Service to develop legislation to address this problem. Successfully included legislation in the FY03 omnibus appropriations bill to give the Customs Service the authority to establish "Integrated Border Inspection Areas," including reverse customs inspections.
Border Security Amendment. Cosponsored the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act that passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by the President in May. The act established new programs to enhance our ability to identify terrorists and other people who should not be allowed to enter the United States and to ensure that visitors to the United States live up to their responsibilities under our immigration laws. Senator Levin authored two amendments: one ensures that Border Patrol agents are properly trained to understand and enforce immigration laws and the second requires the Department of Justice to report to Congress how many aliens arrested entering the country outside a port of entry fail to show up for their removal hearings. In November 2001, Senator Levin chaired a hearing of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations highlighting the problem. His amendment ensures that Congress can track whether the situation improves.
Whistle-blower Protection. Lead sponsor of legislation which would have strengthened laws protecting federal employees who blow the whistle and inform Congress and the public of serious cases of waste, fraud and mismanagement in government. In the past few years, courageous individuals have stepped forward to blow the whistle on significant lapses in our efforts to protect the United States against potential terrorist attacks. Most notably, FBI Agent Coleen Rowley alerted Congress to serious institutional problems at the FBI and their impact on the agency's ability to effectively investigate and prevent terrorism. Also, Michigan Border Patrol Agents Mark Hall and Bob Lindemann risked their careers when they alerted Congress to Border Patrol and INS policies that were compromising security on our borders.
Border Personnel. Fought for increased staffing levels of Border Patrol agents, INS and Customs inspectors along Michigan's Northern Border. Funds that Senator Levin helped secure in 2001 and 2002 ensures that trained personnel and improved technology for monitoring that began to be deployed in 2002 will continue to be deployed in 2003.
Nanoemulsions for Decontamination. Secured $3.5 million to assist Nanobio Corporation of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the testing of a decontaminant that can possibly kill biological agents such an anthrax.
Mustard Gas Antidote Research. Secured $2.1 million to fund ongoing research on ways to mitigate the effects of mustard gas, one of the first chemical gases used as a weapon. This research is being conducted in part by faculty at the University of Michigan.
Handheld Device for the Detection of Biological Agents in Water. Secured $3.5 million in funding to develop a hand-held water quality sensing device that will aid in the detection of chemical, biological and pollutant agents in drinking water. When completed, this project will enable the military and public health officials to conduct real-time monitoring of water quality. Funds from this program will be used by the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) located in Warren, Michigan.
Combating Bioterrorism. Cosponsored legislation, which has been signed into law, that strengthens our nation's ability to combat bioterrorism attacks by protecting our national food supply, developing new countermeasures and improving our federal pharmaceutical stockpile.
Keeping America Strong
Congressional Resolution on Iraq. Sponsored alternative congressional resolution which would have (1) urged the United Nations to adopt a resolution requiring immediate, unconditional inspections in Iraq and authorizing the use of force by the U.N. member nations to enforce such a resolution; (2) authorized the use of U.S. military force pursuant to such a U.N. resolution; and (3) provided for Congress to stay in session to consider a proposal on Iraq if the U.N. did not adopt such a resolution. The Levin resolution would have promoted a multinational approach to disarm Iraq, preferably peacefully, rather than a unilateral, preemptive approach.
Nuclear Weapons. Led efforts to prevent precipitous action to develop new nuclear weapons by rejecting a House proposal to repeal the current ban on research, development and production of low-yield nuclear weapons; prohibiting the expenditure of funds to develop nuclear-tipped missile defense interceptors; and requiring the Secretary of Energy to specifically identify any funds requested for new or modified nuclear weapons.
Concurrent Receipt. Helped enact enhanced special compensation for military retirees with 20 or more years of service who incurred a qualifying combat-related disability, despite a veto threat from the Administration.
DOD Environmental Programs. Helped enact provisions to (1) authorize agreements between the Department of Defense (DOD) and non-federal entities to create environmentally-friendly buffer zones in lands adjacent to military installations; and (2) strengthen DOD's program for the acquisition of procurement items that are environmentally preferable or made with recycled materials. Helped prevent enactment of House proposal to roll back the applicability of the Endangered Species Act to DOD installations.
Military Pay. Helped enact an across-the-board pay raise of 4.1 percent, with an additional targeted pay raise for mid-career personnel that will result in pay raises ranging from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent. Helped establish a new Assignment Incentive Pay of up to $1,500 per month to encourage service members to volunteer for hard-to-fill assignments.
Acquisition Reform. Led efforts to ensure better oversight and management of missile defense programs; continue management improvements for the $50 billion of services contracts awarded by the Department of Defense every year; and require DOD to establish new internal controls to address problems with the abuse of purchase cards and travel cards by military and civilian personnel.
Testing of Weapons Systems. Helped enact initiative to address budget shortfalls and organizational shortcomings in DOD's test and evaluation infrastructure that have led to inadequate testing of major weapons systems.
Financial Management. Led effort to enact a provision addressing DOD's inability to produce reliable financial information by requiring the development of a comprehensive financial management enterprise architecture and deferring non-critical spending on new financial systems until the enterprise architecture has been developed.
Advanced Vehicle Technology.
- Secured $11.9 million for base funding for the 21st Century Truck program carried out by the National Automotive Center. The 21st Century Truck program offers the potential to reduce dramatically the fuel use and emissions of medium and heavy trucks and will accelerate development and fielding of advanced, state-of-the-art information and mobility technologies into the military's land warfare systems.
- Secured $3.5 million for development and testing of hybrid platforms under the Commercially Based Tactical Truck program, a cost-shared program with industry focused on development of a commercial vehicle that could replace a portion of the existing high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle fleet.
- Secured $5.25 million for development of lithium ion batteries, in-hub motors and high-power density inverters for hybrid electric technology.
- Secured $3.5 million for the Improved Materials and Powertrain Architectures for 21st Century Trucks program to develop advanced lightweight materials, advanced manufacturing processes, and advanced design architecture that will lead to a reduction in vehicle weight and cost, corrosion control and vehicle shape optimization for military vehicles.
- Secured $2.5 million for the National Automotive Center Standardized Exchange of Product Data program to develop technology to reduce the costs of maintaining the Army's existing combat and combat support vehicles through computerized management of product data required for component fabrication.
Fuel Cell Initiative. Initiated and secured funding for a $23 million initiative to boost federal funding for stationary and vehicle fuel cell technology that can be used for military purposes. This initiative will help in validating fuel cell technologies, in addressing storage and infrastructure issues, and in bringing down the overall cost. The initiative includes –
- $9 million for a stationary power demonstration program for proton exchange membrane fuel cell technology, which will demonstrate fuel cell stacks ranging in size from one to 20 kilowatts at U.S. military bases.
- $7 million for the DOD fuel cell rebate program that will expedite the introduction of fuel cell systems by providing grants of up to $1000 per kilowatt to offset the high initial costs associated with purchase of the system.
- $7 million for a new cost-shared vehicle fuel cell program at DOD. The program will identify and support technological advances necessary to develop fuel cell technology for use in DOD vehicles. The program will include development of vehicle propulsion technology and fuel cell auxiliary power units as well as pilot demonstration of such technologies. The program will also focus on technology to address hydrogen storage issues and to develop a hydrogen fuel infrastructure.
Feasibility Study – Military Hybrid Vehicle Systems. Authored legislation requiring a Defense Department-wide effort to develop military hybrid vehicle systems by directing the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to conduct a study of the feasibility of converting to an all-hybrid fleet, looking specifically at 1) the feasibility of converting 10 percent of the non-combat defense fleet to hybrid vehicles by fiscal year 2009; and 2) the feasibility of converting to all hybrids for non-combat and combat vehicles over a longer period.
Michigan Military Construction Projects. Led efforts to secure funding for the following military construction projects in Michigan:
- $16.9 million for a state-of-the-art Multi-Unit Readiness Center in Lansing. This facility will meet the growing needs of the Michigan Army and Air National Guard.
- $8.5 million to replace the current Joint Dining Facility at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mt. Clemens. The current facility, which was built 43 years ago, does not meet the needs of the 127th Wing, Michigan Air National Guard and the 927th Refueling Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve.
- $3.8 million for the construction of a vehicle maintenance shop at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. This new facility will nearly double the size of the base's existing maintenance facility. The current facility's size requires that repairs on many vehicles, including fire trucks and snow plows, be conducted outside.
- $1 million for added perimeter defense at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. This funding will be used for perimeter fences and monitoring devices, which will enhance security at the base.
Advanced Coatings Research. Helped secure $1.1 million in funds that will assist the Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's (TACOM) program studying advanced coatings which limit corrosion on military vehicles. Corrosion is one of the major factors in the deterioration of legacy weapons systems. Eastern Michigan University of Ypsilanti, Michigan, is a leader in developing solutions to address this problem.
Fastening and Joining Research. Secured $1.3 million in funds that will assist TACOM's efforts to conduct research into fastening and joining technology which is used in Army vehicles. This program would enable TACOM to pursue university partnerships to address the failure of fasteners, a cost on the Army's legacy systems.
Objective Force Cost Module. Secured $3.6 million for the Objective Force Cost Module, a computer module that will assist efforts at TACOM, in Warren, Michigan, as they develop the Army's next generation weapons system.
Advanced Thermal Management System. Helped secure $1 million in funds that will enable Engineered Machined Products in Escanaba, Michigan, to continue its work in automotive thermal management that it has conducted with the TACOM's National Automotive Center.
Rapid Prototyping. Secured $1.4 million in funding for this program that would enable TACOM and an university partner together to work on developing the rapid prototyping of vehicle parts.
Michigan Roads and Transport
Updating and Improving Michigan Airports. Worked to keep Marquette's Sawyer Airport in the Federal Aviation Administration's Military Airport Program (MAP) for an additional two years. MAP provides financial assistance for military airfields being converted to, or that have been converted to, civilian or joint-use airfields. Sawyer has been in the MAP program for five years and has received millions of dollars from the program. Senator Levin is a longtime supporter of the program and amended the legislation reauthorizing the FAA to make the former K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base eligible to apply for MAP funds in the first place. Senator Levin has secured over $14 million in FAA funding for Sawyer Airport since 1997.
Fuel Economy Standards for New Vehicles. Successfully led the fight in the Senate to defeat legislation containing overly stringent fuel economy standards that would have disadvantaged domestic automakers. Crafted an alternative that would have ensured that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration take into consideration key factors when issuing any new fuel economy standards, such as the impact on U.S. employment and safety; technological feasibility; the cost and lead time necessary for new technologies; and the effect that near-term expenditures to meet increased fuel economy standards will have on the resources available to develop leap-ahead advanced technologies. The alternative also would have increased funding for research and development of advanced technology vehicles and required the federal government to purchase advanced technology vehicles for fleet use, so that the purchasing power of the federal government could be leveraged to provide a market for advanced technology.
Fuel Cell Research and Development. Helped secure $2 million for the NextEnergy fuel cell demonstration project in Michigan, which focuses on fuel cell research, hydrogen safety testing, and developing industry standard and certification systems.
Funding for New Buses and Transit Infrastructure in Michigan.
- Helped secure $1 million for buses and bus facilities for transit authorities in smaller Michigan communities that did not receive specific grants.Helped secure additional bus and bus facility funding including: $2 million for Marquette County Transit Authority; $3.5 million for Oakland County SMART bus; $1 million for Lansing Capital Area Transit Authority; $2 million for Flint Mass Transportation Authority; $1.25 million for Ann Arbor Transportation Authority; $1 million for Port Huron Blue Water Area Transit; $500,000 for Saginaw Transit Authority; $2.9 million for Kalamazoo Transportation Center; $500,000 for Jackson Transportation Authority; $500,000 for Traverse City Bay Area Transportation Authority; $850,000 for Detroit Area Regional Transportation Authority.
- Helped secure $938,000 for Grand Rapids Reverse Commute Program and $1.05 million for the Flint Job Access Program.
- Helped obtain $1.5 million for Great Lakes Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) which encourage using advanced technologies to improve traffic flow and increase transportation safety; $1 million for Flint Mass Transportation Authority ITS program; $250,000 for Macomb County ITS integration; $4.8 million for Oakland County Smart Corridor and Emergency Routing Systems.
- Helped secure $200,000 for the Detroit Airport Rail Project.
- Helped secure $2 million for Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City for terminal construction.
- Helped obtain $2 million for Oakland Airport for noise mitigation activities.
Other Transportation Related Funding for Michigan.
- Helped secure $350,000 for Detroit streetscape improvements on Woodward Avenue, Broadway and Washington Boulevard at the main entrance plaza to the Cobo Center.
- Helped secure $200,000 for the Living Wall project in Farmington Hills to construct a noise barrier of vegetation between residential housing and I-275 using sound deadening technology.
- Helped secure $1.475 million for repairs to Baseline Road which services many rural districts in Isabella County.
- Helped obtain $500,000 to support pavements research at the Institute for Aggregate Research at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.
Automobile National Heritage Area. Helped obtain $500,000 for the Automobile National Heritage Area which interprets and preserves the automobile history in Michigan. The funds will be used for exhibits and support.
Preserving Michigan's Agricultural Resources and Family Farms
Emergency Agricultural Assistance. Cosponsored emergency agricultural assistance for farmers who suffered agricultural disasters in either the 2001 or 2002 crop year. The FY2003 omnibus appropriations bill included this disaster assistance package which will assist Michigan farmers including cherry, grape, corn, apple and bean growers who suffered devastating crop losses in the past year.
Assistance for Michigan Apple Growers. Led effort to ensure that $94 million in apple market loss assistance was included in the 2002 Farm Bill. This assistance will greatly assist Michigan apple growers who have suffered significant crop losses in the past several years. Also helped secure $495,000 to support research to help protect future crops from fireblight.
Assistance to Michigan Cherry Growers. Helped obtain $160,000 for a research project at Michigan State University known as the Armillaria Task Force. Armillaria is a disease that renders soil unable to sustain fruit trees. It is found in stone fruit regions worldwide, but losses are greatest in North America. There is no known method to control the disease.
Specialty Crop Purchase Program. Worked to ensure that a new specialty crop purchase program was authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill authorized $1 billion for this program that will help fruit and vegetable growers while providing nutritious and delicious food products to schools, food banks and other important feeding programs.
Tree Assistance Program (TAP). Worked to reauthorize TAP in the 2002 Farm Bill. This program provides 75 percent of the cost of replacing trees that were damaged or lost due to natural disasters and has been helpful in assisting Michigan farmers whose trees have been killed by disease or weather related disasters. Tree loss and destruction can be financially devastating for growers, and this program helps to replace lost trees and renew the farmers' operations after natural disasters.
Eradicating Bovine Tuberculosis in Michigan. Helped win approval for $14.895 million for bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication efforts in Michigan and Texas and $348,000 for bovine TB research at Michigan State University.
Conservation Programs. Worked to successfully increase spending in the 2002 Farm Bill for important programs such as the Conservation Reserve Program, the Farmland Protection Program and the Wetland Reserve Program. Senator Levin cosponsored the new Conservation Security Act (CSA) which was authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill.
Farmers to Africa. Worked to authorize funding for the USDA's Farmer-to-Farmer program which assists farmers in Africa and the Caribbean Basin. The Farmer-to-Farmer program seeks to partner American agricultural expertise with farmers in developing countries and emerging democracies.
Other Agricultural Projects.
- Secured $6.17 million for a USDA Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service (CSREES) project to develop advanced technologies for hardwood utilization. Michigan State University (MSU) is one of the institutions participating in this multi-state research consortium.
- Secured $239,000 for a USDA CSREES project to develop improved fruit practices at MSU and $435,000 for a USDA CSREES project regarding sustainable agriculture research at MSU.
Fighting for Consumers
Exposing Corporate Misconduct. As Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Governmental Affairs Committee, led Congress' most in-depth examination into the collapse of Enron. Senator Levin's investigation exposed how Enron used complex financial transactions to dishonestly report better financial results than the company actually experienced, thereby misleading investors, employees and others who suffered substantial losses.
The Levin investigation exposed actions taken by the Enron Board of Directors and major U.S. financial institutions that failed to halt, and in some cases helped, Enron's dishonest accounting. In July, Senator Levin issued a bipartisan report which found that the Enron Board of Directors had failed to safeguard Enron shareholders and had contributed to the company's collapse. This report proposed a number of actions to revamp boardroom oversight and curb insider dealing and dishonest accounting.
Senator Levin chaired hearings in July and December showing that Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and other major U.S. financial institutions were designing, participating in and profiting from complex financial transactions explicitly intended to help Enron engage in deceptive accounting or tax strategies. Senator Levin issued a second bipartisan report detailing some of these transactions and calling on federal securities and bank regulators to stop U.S. financial institutions from aiding and abetting dishonest accounting.
Senator Levin's work on Enron encouraged Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase to establish new programs to prevent their firms from participating in deceptive accounting. Senator Levin is continuing to work with federal regulators to ensure such reforms are industry-wide.
Preventing Future Corporate Misconduct. Authored a Shareholders Bill of Rights and won passage of several of its provisions in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act increases criminal penalties for securities fraud, strengthens government controls to stop dishonest accounting, and clarifies the duty of corporate boards to ensure honest financial reports. Senator Levin helped win improvements in how accounting rules are established, new rules stopping auditors from auditing their own work, stronger authority for the Securities and Exchange Commission to bar wrongdoers from working at U.S. public companies, and a ban on companies issuing multi-million loans to corporate executives.
Investigating Gasoline Price Spikes. In June 2001, following the second straight springtime gasoline price spike in Michigan, initiated an in-depth investigation into retail gasoline prices and why prices at so many Michigan stations appeared to go up and down together. In April 2002, Senator Levin issued a 400-page report and held hearings detailing how U.S. retail gasoline prices are set. The report showed how oil industry mergers, refinery closings, and increasingly "tight" gasoline supplies had increased market concentration and given some refiners sufficient market power to reduce gasoline supplies and increase gasoline prices. Other factors leading to higher prices and spikes in the Midwest included regional pipeline limitations, price variations from different fuels, and the practice of "parallel pricing" in which retailers looked to competitors to set gasoline prices.
Senator Levin urged the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize future proposed oil industry mergers for their impact on market concentration and on U.S. gasoline prices, storage and transportation. Senator Levin also initiated an investigation into crude oil prices that affect not only gasoline, but also pricing for home heating oil, jet fuel, diesel fuel and other key commodities important to consumers.
Election Reform. Won passage of an amendment to the Help America Vote Act of 2002 that allows Michigan to maintain its successful system for provisional voting which permits voters to sign an affidavit and vote right away, even if they aren't listed on the voting rolls. The Help America Vote Act authorizes $3.9 billion to states for grants to improve voting systems. The Congressional Research Service has estimated that Michigan will be eligible for up to $103.8 million of this funding.