Annual Legislative Report
2004 Legislative Report
Every year, Senator Levin prepares a report summarizing his key legislative activities. You can jump to a topic below by clicking on the link.
Extending Unemployment Compensation Benefits. Original cosponsor of legislation that would have authorized an additional 13 weeks of federal unemployment assistance for a total of 26 weeks and allow more states to qualify as high unemployment states, thus qualifying them for additional federal assistance.
Minimum Wage Increase. Original cosponsor of legislation that would have raised the minimum wage by $1.50 in three increments.
Overtime Protection. Voted for an amendment that would have protected the overtime pay for millions of working men and women from unfair regulations.
Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that seeks to provide 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.
Protecting Michigan Jobs. Led the effort, with Congressman John Dingell and Senator Debbie Stabenow, to save 160 jobs at the Detroit Mail Transportation Equipment Service Center (MTESC) in Brownstown, Michigan. The Postal Service had not decided to exercise an option in the original contract and was considering contracting the work out to a new facility in Cleveland. Senators Levin and Stabenow and Congressman Dingell sent letters to the Postmaster General and met with Postal Service officials to ensure that Resource Consultants, Inc., which had run the center since 1999, had the chance to fairly compete to keep the Brownstown facility open. In August, the Postal Service finalized a contract with RCI that keeps the Brownstown employees on the job.
Abolishing Federal Prison Industries' Monopoly on Government Contracts. A decade-long effort by Senator Levin and others finally succeeded in ending the Federal Prison Industries' monopoly on government contracts, ensuring that private sector companies can compete against Federal Prison Industries for federal contracts that are paid for with their tax dollars. Until now, federal agencies other than the Department of Defense were required to award contracts to Federal Prison Industries, even if private businesses offered better products at lower prices. The provision in the omnibus spending bill extends to all federal agencies legislation authored by Levin that ended Federal Prison Industries' monopoly on Department of Defense contracts in 2001.
Small Business Intermediary Lending Pilot Program. Authored a provision included in the Small Business Administration 50th Anniversary Reauthorization Act of 2003, which passed the Senate, to establish the Small Business Intermediary Lending Pilot Program to address the needs of expanding small businesses. The pilot lending program is aimed at businesses that need loans that are larger than those available under the SBA Microloan Program but are unable to secure the credit they need through conventional lenders. The House failed to enact its companion reauthorization bill.
Drought Assistance for Small Business Hurt by Low Water Levels on Great Lakes. Authored a provision in the Small Business Administration 50th Anniversary Reauthorization Act of 2003, which passed the Senate, to provide disaster relief to small businesses damaged by drought. The provision would make low interest rate loans available to small businesses that were hurt by low water levels on the Great Lakes. The House failed to enact its companion reauthorization bill.
Fighting for Fair Trade and a Level Playing Field for U.S. Manufacturing. As co-chairman of the Senate Auto Caucus and Senate Auto Parts Task Force, Senator Levin pressed the administration to take strong measures to persuade China, Japan and other trading partners to end the practice of undervaluing their currencies, which makes their exports less expensive and puts U.S. workers and exports at a disadvantage. He also urged the administration to press China to adhere to the market opening commitments it made when joining the World Trade Organization, particularly regarding automotive manufacturers' ability to fully participate in the Chinese automotive market.
Fighting to Preserve American Automotive Jobs. Introduced S.Con.Res.90 with fellow Senate Auto Caucus co-chairman, Senator George Voinovich, R-Ohio, which expresses concern that an improperly negotiated Thailand Free Trade Agreement could result in the displacement of thousands of American pick-up truck assembly jobs. The resolution warns against giving Thailand privileged access to critical segments of the United States automobile market in an FTA if third-country automobile producers, such as Japan, South Korea and India, are able to gain a backdoor into the United States market without being required to reduce their tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. automobile producers. To avoid this scenario, the resolution urges that sensitive automotive negotiations be conducted multi-laterally. The resolution has 37 cosponsors and an identical House resolution has 208 cosponsors.
Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP). Helped secure a funding level of $109 million for the MEP program, an increase of 175 percent in funding over FY 2004's $39.6 million to fully fund the national MEP network in the current fiscal year. The MEP program co-funds a nationwide system of manufacturing support centers to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers modernize in order to compete in a demanding marketplace by providing technical assistance and helping small firms boost productivity, streamline operations, integrate new technologies, and lower costs. In the last four years, MEP projects have resulted in $1.9 billion of cost savings, $8.7 billion of sales, and more than 104,000 manufacturing jobs. As manufacturers face increasing pressure from the global economy, improved efficiency and competitiveness are essential if we expect to retain jobs here in the United States. MEP is one of the few federal programs that provide tangible assistance to American manufacturers to help them retain and create jobs.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms (TAA). Helped secure $12 million in funding for the Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms program in the FY 2005 Omnibus Conference Report. The TAA for Firms program assists hundreds of mostly small and medium-sized manufacturing and agricultural companies that experience loss of jobs and sales because of foreign imports. Qualifying companies receive technical assistance in areas such as marketing, financing, production, product development, distribution, management information systems and exporting. Since 1999, the program has helped to retain or create over 48,039 jobs in communities and increased sales at participating companies by $6.2 billion. The TAA for Firms program serving the Great Lakes region is located at the University of Michigan.
- Secured funding to assist Detroit's Focus:HOPE in its mission to provide education, training and placement in technology and manufacturing jobs. Secured $4.5 million for the Army's Mobile Parts Hospital (MPH), a state-of-the-art project that will enable the Army to machine and fashion replacement parts for military systems in the field. The MPH is a vital tool for soldiers in the field in Iraq. The Army is in the process of procuring another Mobile Parts Hospital unit. This additional purchase will result in additional opportunities for Focus:HOPE machinists and engineers to contribute to the war in Iraq.
- Senator Levin worked to secure $1.9 million for the development of advanced manufacturing technologies for the Army. It is important that the Army develop fully integrated, cost-efficient manufacturing technologies that can be used to support depot operations and other Army efforts. Focus:HOPE of Detroit has worked on numerous manufacturing programs with the U.S. Army and is a national leader in the training of manufacturing engineers.
- Helped obtain $107.7 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides foodstuffs to the elderly, young mothers, and children. Focus:HOPE, the nation's largest participant in this program, feeds tens of thousands each month.
- Helped secure $250,000 to fund the relocation and renovation of Focus:HOPE's existing food program warehouse, which is severely outdated. For 35 years, Focus:HOPE has revitalized the area of Oakman Boulevard, taking abandoned and underutilized buildings and land, and redeveloping and reusing them. Focus:HOPE has also created an unprecedented and unequalled job training program. These renovated buildings are used to train Detroit residents and others in machining, manufacturing engineering and technology, as well as in information technologies.
Detroit Riverfront Revitalization Project. Helped secure over $1.3 million for the revitalization and shoreline restoration of the Detroit Riverfront. These funds will help create an extensive, pedestrian-friendly greenway system that will connect the East Riverfront Greenway System to the planned Southwest Detroit Greenway System, connecting Riverside Park, Clark Park and Historic Fort Wayne. It will also provide a connection between the neighboring communities and the river. Establishing a riverfront greenway system and connecting it to existing parks will help increase tourism in Detroit, raise property values, lower crime, improve air quality and health and make nearby neighborhoods stronger and more attractive places to live.
Motown Center. Helped secure $300,000 for the construction of the Motown Center, which will aid the transformation of an under-developed section of Detroit. The Motown Center is designed to be a museum and education center with state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, educational opportunities, research areas and classroom space. The center will depict the story of the development, growth and success of the Motown music industry.
State Theatre of Bay City. Helped secure $350,000 for the restoration of the State Theatre of Bay City, a historic and architecturally significant building in downtown Bay City. The theatre is recognized by the League of Historic American Theatres as one of two remaining Mayan themed movie palaces left in the U.S. The theatre is also listed in the national and state registers of historical places.
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. Helped secure $169,750 for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services for the construction of the Arab American National Museum and Cultural Center. This 38,500 sq. ft. building will help preserve and document the experiences and accomplishments of Arab Americans as a community in the United States, celebrate and support the work of Arab American artists, and present the cultural heritage of the Arab American community to a wider American and international audience. The center will provide exhibition space for museum displays and art exhibits, several meetings and gatherings spaces, as well as an auditorium and performance space for music, theatre and dance.
Boysville Samaritan Center. Helped secure $330,000 for the Boysville Samaritan Center, a comprehensive community resource hub that provides social, educational, medical and mental health services, job training and development, and various other programs and services to residents in the neighborhoods of East Detroit. This funding will be used to help fund the reconfiguration of medical space and common areas into multi-tenant service areas, renovations to mechanical and safety systems, and other structural upgrades such as parking lots, sidewalks and ramps, doors and windows, and public restrooms.
Michigan Research Institute. Helped secure $1.25 million for the Michigan Research Institute for the creation of incubator facilities and programs that support the creation of new start-up companies in the life sciences.
Revitalizing Port Huron. Helped secure $350,000 for the Revitalizing Port Huron B the Homes from Houses initiative. Through this initiative, the city plans to purchase, restore and resell vacant homes that are structurally sound and in disrepair. One of the goals of Revitalizing Port Huron is to stimulate reinvestment in older neighborhoods by preserving older housing stock whenever possible in order to retain the architectural character of the area. The request would fund a revolving loan pool for the purchase, restoration and resale of vacant dilapidated houses.
Automation Alley. Helped secure $450,000 for Automation Alley's Technology Center and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences in Southeast Michigan to create the Digital Manufacturing Network.
Schoolcraft College. Helped secure $100,000 for Schoolcraft College in Livonia for advanced manufacturing.
Protecting Medicare for Michiganders. Original cosponsor of legislation that would exempt Michigan Medicare recipients from the privatization of Medicare.
Drug Reimportation. Original cosponsor of legislation that would have allowed American citizens as well as U.S. licensed pharmacists and drug wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada.
Protecting Small Business Health Care. Original cosponsor of legislation that would create a new model from which small businesses can more easily provide health care to their employees.
Health Care Parity for U.S. Citizens and Members of Congress. Original cosponsor of a resolution calling for legislation to be enacted to provide every individual in the United States with the opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage that is the same as or is better than the health insurance coverage available to members of Congress.
Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA). Secured Senate passage of legislation to lift the 30 patient limit on physician group practices under DATA, which permits private, office-based treatment utilizing the new anti-addiction medication called buprenorphine. The Levin-Hatch amendment removes the unintended limit on large group medical practices from 30 patients per group to 30 patients per each physician within the group.
Funding for health care facilities and programs in Michigan. Senator Levin helped secure federal funding for the following facilities and programs:
- $405,500 for Marquette General Hospital for the construction of an emergency service facility and for equipment.
- $500,000 for Kids Kicking Cancer program in Birmingham.
- $390,000 for Altarum Institute of Ann Arbor for Center of Excellence.
- $200,000 for Bay Area Medical Center in Menominee.
- $140,000 for Cherry Street Health Services in Grand Rapids.
- $700,000 for Hurley Medical Center in Flint for replacement of its clinical patient info system.
- $100,000 for Lapeer Regional Hospital for facilities and equipment.
- $225,000 for Mercy Hospital Cadillac for facilities and equipment.
- $200,000 for Mercy Hospital Port Huron for facilities and equipment.
- $100,000 for the telehospice program at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
- $250,000 for Muskegon Community Health Project for facilities and equipment and $225,000 for the ACCESS Health Program.
- $200,000 for Oakwood Health System in Dearborn for facilities and equipment.
- $200,000 for Port Huron Hospital for facilities and equipment.
- $500,000 for Saint John's Health of Southeast Michigan.
- $600,000 for the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor for infectious disease laboratory facilities and equipment.
- $360,000 for Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids for facilities and equipment for the multiple myeloma lab.
- $700,000 for the Wayne County Department of Public Health for its maternal and child outreach, coordination and advocacy program to reduce infant mortality and low-weight or pre-term births.
- $1 million for cancer prevention and research at the Karamonos Cancer Institute in Detroit.
- $425,000 for mental health support services and long-term care management for adults with developmental disabilities at the Jewish Association for Residential Care in Farmington Hills.
- $600,000 for the City of Detroit for a project to improve access to primary care and preventive health services for low-income and uninsured persons.
- $500,000 for the Commission on Jewish Eldercare Services to establish a naturally occurring retirement community (NORC) in Detroit. NORCs refer to residential housing constructs, such as rental apartments, cooperatives or condominiums, or defined residential neighborhoods or clusters of homes, where large concentrations of people have aged in place.
- $150,000 for Every Woman's Place/Webster House in Muskegon.
Grants to Local Firefighters. Helped extend and improve the federal program to provide grants to local fire departments for six more years, through 2010, and increased the authorized funding level to $1 billion a year by 2007.
Emergency Fire Equipment. Helped secure millions of dollars in funding for fire departments throughout Michigan for training, firefighting equipment, protective gear, and prevention programs that keep our citizens safe.
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.
Assault Weapons Legislation. Cosponsored legislation to reauthorize the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. The legislation passed as an amendment in March but died when the Senate failed to pass the underlying bill. The House Republican leadership opposed reauthorizing the law and President Bush did little to keep the law alive. In September 2004, the Assault Weapons Ban expired, leaving Michiganders and all Americans vulnerable to the guns known in the law enforcement community as the weapons of choice for criminals.
Gun Show Loophole. Cosponsored legislation that 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 would simply apply existing law requiring background checks on gun purchasers to people who buy guns at gun shows. This commonsense legislation is supported by major law enforcement organizations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The legislation passed as an amendment on the Senate floor in March but died when the Senate failed to pass the underlying bill.
Protecting America's Seniors from Fraud. Cosponsor of a resolution designating October 2004 as “Protecting Older Americans from Fraud Month.”
Protecting America's Children from Lead Poisoning. Cosponsor of a resolution designating the week of October 24, 2004, through October 30, 2004, as “National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week.”
Energy Assistance. Helped secure $1.9 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, over $102 million of which will go to Michigan.
Funding for Safety Initiatives in Michigan. Senator Levin helped secure federal funding for the following projects:
- $300,000 for the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department Communications towers and equipment upgrades.
- $200,000 for Downriver Mutual Aid communications equipment.
- $100,000 for Macomb County for law enforcement technologies.
- $50,000 for Shelby Township Police Department for law enforcement technologies.
- $100,000 for Wayne County Jail Diversion and Assistance Initiative.
- $1,500,000 for Oakland County Sheriff's Department for an Identification Based Information System (IBIS) including portable hand-held digital fingerprint and photo devices for patrol cars.
- $200,000 for Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Network.
- $50,000 for Alger County for law enforcement technologies.
- $700,000 for Wayne County for a juvenile mentoring program.
- $100,000 for Operation Take Back Narcotics Enforcement in Detroit.
- $200,000 for Mayor's Time disadvantaged and at-risk youth program in Detroit.
- $100,000 for Wayne County Teen Court.
- $500,000 for Detroit WSU for police initiatives.
THE GREAT LAKES
Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Program. Worked to secure $2.5 million in funding for the Great Lakes Basin Soil Erosion and Sediment Control program. 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.
Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration. Helped secure $618,000 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.
Biohydrology Inventory. Helped secure $50,000 for the Army Corps of Engineers to finish compiling information within the federal government that is relevant to sustainable water use management. This information will be needed to make decisions about the appropriate, sustainable use of Great Lakes water.
Invasive Species. Won congressional passage of the necessary authorization for the construction of the permanent, second electric dispersal barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and helped secure $2 million in funding for its construction. This barrier is needed to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes. Senator Levin also secured the necessary authorization to allow the Maritime Administration to give priority, beginning in 2006, to proposals under the National Defense Tank Vessel Construction program to applicants that use approved ballast water technology.
Great Lakes Water Levels. Helped secure $1.019 million for the International Joint Commission (IJC) for the fifth and final year of the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Study. This five-year study provides 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.
Navigation. Helped secure $2.6 million for the construction of 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.
Great Lakes Strategic Plan. Worked to fund the third 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.
Contaminated Sediments. Helped secure $22.5 million to fund the newly enacted Great Lakes Legacy program. This funding for the Environmental Protection Agency will reinvigorate current cleanup efforts at Areas of Concern.
Drilling Moratorium. Supported the extension of the moratorium on new oil and gas drilling permits under the Great Lakes. The moratorium was extended until the end of fiscal year 2007.
Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia. Helped secure passage of S. 3014, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Amendments Act of 2004. The bill reauthorizes the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act of 1998 and authorizes $1 million annually for a scientific assessment of Great Lakes and freshwater harmful algal blooms and includes the Great Lakes in a national scientific assessment of hypoxia.
Thunder Bay. Secured $1 million for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve to purchase exhibits for the new Visitors Center in Alpena. These exhibits will provide educational opportunities that promote understanding, appreciation and involvement in the protection and stewardship of historic shipwrecks in Michigan's waters, a regional treasure.
Coast Guard's Muskegon Search and Rescue Facility. Authored bipartisan, bicameral legislation included in the 2004 Coast Guard authorization bill that will improve the Coast Guard's Muskegon search and rescue facility. The language allows the Coast Guard to enter into a long-term lease with Muskegon County Airport, opening the door for a permanent facility. Since the spring of 1997, the Coast Guard has operated out of a rented hangar and mobile home for employees. Much of the infrastructure needed for a permanent facility was previously constructed by Muskegon County with the hopes of securing a long-term commitment from the Coast Guard. The 2004 Coast Guard authorization bill gives the Coast Guard the authority to enter into a long-term lease with Muskegon County, which will lead to significant improvements at the facility. Previously, the Coast Guard only had the authority to enter into one-year leases.
Belle Isle. Helped secure $ 50,000 for Belle Isle shoreline restoration.
Ontonagon Harbor. Secured $569,000 for Ontonagon Harbor for dredging critical shoals.
Rouge River. Secured $25,000 for the supplemental plan of the Rouge River; $55,000 for Rouge River navigation improvements; $75,000 for Lower Rouge River to continue the feasibility study for removing the concrete channel on the river and creating a habitat; $80,000 for Oxbow Restoration to continue the feasibility study; $900,000 for the Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project; and $1.241 million for operations and maintenance.
Michigan Harbors. Helped secure millions of dollars for the operation and maintenance dredging of Michigan harbors.
Macomb County/St. Clair County. Helped secure $650,000 for Macomb and St. Clair Counties to implement comprehensive water quality monitoring program.
Lake St. Clair/St. Clair River. Helped secure $75,000 to continue the management plan and develop a Lake St. Clair Watershed Team to facilitate the plan.
Northwestern Michigan College Maritime Academy Harbor in Traverse City. Helped secure $50,000 to initiate the project.
Assessment of Great Lakes Monitoring. Worked with the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review and assess federal and state monitoring programs in the Great Lakes. In its September report, titled “Great Lakes: Organizational Leadership and Restoration Goals Need to Be Better Defined for Monitoring Restoration Progress,” GAO identified the major obstacles to the development of indicators and an overall monitoring system, and identified what needs to be done before indicators and monitoring can be developed and put in place.
Clearwater Plaza. Helped secure $150,000 to convert a decommissioned water treatment facility in Grand Rapids to a cutting edge water research facility called Clearwater Plaza.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs. Worked with other senators to secure funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs such as weatherization assistance, the state energy program and the Energy Star program.
Silicon Substrates for Solar Cells. Helped secure $1 million in funding for this program to develop silicon substrates for advanced solar cells. Work will be performed at DOW/Corning of Midland.
Solar Structures. Helped secure $3 million in funding to incorporate solar structures such as roofing shingles or freestanding solar shades into new or existing military construction projects to promote energy conservation while improving working conditions.
Advanced Vehicle Technology
- Secured $8.5 million in funds to develop lightweight, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries using nanomaterials technologies. Such batteries could be considerably lighter, much more capable and more affordable than current state-of-the-art batteries. These batteries are being developed for use in the Army's Future Combat Systems' multi-purpose ground vehicles. T/J Technologies of Ann Arbor is a leading innovator in the development of these types of advanced battery systems.
- Secured $8.1 million for the development and demonstration of advanced mobile micro-powergrids. The program includes development of power generation technologies such as engines, turbines, hybrid vehicles and fuel cells for plug and play integration into a mobile micro-powergrid that can be overlaid onto an existing utility grid to provide electrical power to deployed forces or provide backup power in the event of a catastrophic terrorist attack. This program would be carried out in cooperation with the National Automotive Center (NAC), Selfridge Air National Guard Base, DTE Energy and NextEnergy.
- Secured $7.5 million for developing the Army's next generation of tactical truck, as part of the Army's Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy. This work leverages advances made by the NAC's Future Tactical Truck System (FTTS) and 21st Century Truck programs, which have developed new vehicle capabilities by integrating key technologies such as hybrid electric engines, advanced lightweight materials, intelligent control systems, and embedded diagnostics into military vehicles. This effort is managed by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren.
- Secured $3.25 million for N-STEP (Network-Standardized Exchange of Product Data) Enabled Manufacturing Cell for Future Combat Systems. These funds will assist the N-STEP program, which will allow the Army to develop computerized data files like many businesses use to reduce the cost of maintaining the Army's existing combat and combat support vehicles. This system enables the timely and accurate delivery of replacement parts for the Army's equipment. The National Automotive Center (NAC) and the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren have demonstrated a need for this program.
- Secured $3 million to continue development of technologies for the rapid prototyping of vehicle parts at the University of Michigan at Dearborn.
- Secured $2.6 million to continue the development of an advanced thermal management system to increase engine efficiency for Army vehicles. Engineered Machined Products in Escanaba has partnered with Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in the development of these systems.
- Secured $2.2 million for technical assessments and analyses of promising alternative fuel technologies that can support military missions, as part of the Advanced Energy and Manufacturing Technology program. Performed by TARDEC in conjunction with the University of Michigan and the Center for Automotive Research, this work will evaluate the potential for manufacturing a number of fuel processing technologies, which could enable military vehicles to be powered by fuels produced from JP-8 or by liquid synthetic fuels, synthetic gas produced from coal and other non-traditional fuels.
- Secured $2.2 million for the Center for Innovative Materials and Infrastructure Security at Lawrence Technological University. This center will focus on the research and development of materials to strengthen existing U.S. military structures and vehicles against terrorist attacks and/or natural disasters.
- Secured $2 million for fundamental research on the effects of low temperature environments on the performance of Army vehicles and other military equipment. Wayne State University has been working with the Army for over 20 years in addressing these issues for military systems.
- Secured $1.5 million to develop software tools to assist in the design of future Army tactical vehicles. ThermoAnalytics, Inc. of Calumet has been working with TARDEC on developing these new engineering design tools.
- Secured $1.5 million to continue research efforts at Oakland University on mechanical fastening and joining technology that is used in Army vehicles and by the automotive and aerospace industries.
- Secured $1 million to enable Eastern Michigan University to continue work in developing coatings that could limit corrosion on Army ground vehicles operating in harsh environments.
- Secured $1 million to develop an engine with an opposable piston and opposable cylinder. Focus:HOPE is working with several engine makers to develop this engine for Army vehicle applications.
- Secured $1 million for Project IMPACT (Improved Materials and Powertrain Architectures for 21st Century Trucks), which will assist the U.S. Army TACOM in Warren and Ford Motor Company in promoting the manufacturing of military and commercial trucks that are more environmentally compliant and fuel-efficient. This program will conduct research into lightweight steels, corrosion control and vehicle shape optimization. This effort arose from the successful partnership between the commercial sector and the Army, which operates an extensive truck fleet.
Fuel Cell Initiatives
- Secured $5.25 million for the vehicle fuel cell program that was initiated by Senator Levin in 2002 to coordinate fuel cell activities throughout the military and to focus specifically on vehicle technologies. This program develops and demonstrates vehicle propulsion technologies and fuel cell auxiliary power units. The program also includes development of technologies necessary for hydrogen fuel infrastructure as well as research on reforming technologies that could enable use of JP-8 fuel in fuel cell vehicles. JP-8 is a kerosene-type fuel that is used in both aircraft and ground vehicles, which the military is looking at as a possible single fuel for military use in order to reduce its overall logistics footprint.
- Secured $4.6 million for research, development and demonstration of ground support equipment powered by fuel cells. The first phase of the project will involve a large-scale field trial using current generation proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells in ground support equipment ranging from light carts to aircraft loaders. The second phase of the project will include development and delivery of next-generation PEM fuel cell technology for mobile power applications on military bases. Project partners include Ballard Power Systems, TACOM, Kettering University and the Air Force. Testing of these systems will take place at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
- Secured $2.6 million for design, development and demonstration of Army light trucks powered by a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. The project will consist of a 16-month evaluation of fuel cell vehicles carried out by General Motors working with the NAC.
PARKS, FORESTS and MUSEUMS
Seaman Mineral Museum. Secured $300,000 for the Seaman Mineral Museum in Houghton. The museum displays a rich record of mining in Michigan, housing nearly 60,000 mineral, rock and fossil specimens. The funding is needed for historical building restoration/renovation and for construction of a new building to replace the current facility.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Secured $1.5 million for land acquisition at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Keweenaw National Historical Park. Secured $800,000 for Main Street Calumet's historic preservation program within the Village of Calumet.
North Country Trail. Helped secure an additional $75,000 for capital improvements and maintenance of the North Country Trail.
Grand Traverse Civil War Monument. Secured $30,000 for the Grand Traverse Civil War Monument.
Ottawa National Forest. Helped secure $505,000 for the snow country byways land acquisition in the Ottawa National Forest.
Canadian Baby Seal Hunt. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee favorably reported a resolution authored by Senators Levin and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and cosponsored by 24 senators urging the Government of Canada to end the unconscionable slaughter of baby seals off the east cost of Canada.
Brownfield Redevelopment. As co-chairman of the Senate Smart Growth Task Force, championed with Senator Jeffords, I-Vt., legislation that calls on the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to promote the redevelopment of brownfields, which are environmentally contaminated, abandoned industrial and commercial properties. The language was included in the Economic Development Administration Reauthorization Act of 2004. Brownfields redevelopment helps to create jobs, encourage economic stability, and improve public health in our cities and towns. The Levin-Jeffords provision bolsters EDA's role in the economic redevelopment of brownfield sites by promoting the productive reuse of abandoned industrial facilities and establishing the redevelopment of brownfields as a priority activity for EDA.
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, including $150,000 for the George Kuhn/Twelve Towns sewer project; $200,000 for sewer infrastructure improvements in Negaunee; $200,000 for Oakland County to identify and eliminate sewage contribution from older urban areas in the Clinton River; $263,000 for Genesee County environmental infrastructure; $350,000 for the City of Detroit for the Woodmere Sewage Pump station rehabilitation; $1 million for the Oakland County Drain Commissioner for the Evergreen/Farmington sewer project; $200,000 for Oakland County to identify and eliminate sewage contribution from older urban areas in the Clinton River; $250,000 for L'Anse Township water and sewer improvements; $1 million for Benton Harbor water infrastructure improvements; $500,000 for Seney Township sewer infrastructure improvements; $500,000 for Saginaw sewer infrastructure improvements; $1 million for Macomb County sewer infrastructure improvements.
Congressional Gold Medal. Congress passed bipartisan legislation authored by Senator Levin and Representative John Lewis, D-Ga., to authorize the President to award a gold medal on behalf of the Congress to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (posthumously) and Mrs. Coretta Scott King in recognition of their contributions to the nation on behalf of the civil rights movement.
Detroit Science Center. Helped secure $250,000 for the Detroit Science Center. This funding will be used to help to establish a “Space Science Discovery Institute” at the Detroit Science Center's newly renovated facility, which will provide field trips for students, create new interactive exhibits, provide summer camp experiences for at-risk youth and offer several space science workshops for teachers. Also h elped secure $950,000 for the Center's Science in Motion and School Outreach Program, which is designed to bring over 50,000 elementary and middle school students to the center for focused informal science learning experiences related to life sciences, physics, astronomy, space exploration and mathematics.
Michigan Jewish Institute. Helped secure $475,000 for the Michigan Jewish Institute (MJI) to construct a college center building, which will serve as the main hub for the new MJI campus. Envisioned as a 7,500 square-foot facility, this building will be the primary learning site for both MJI's degree students and for community educational pursuits. The building will include classrooms, a fully equipped computer-instruction lab, administrative, conference and counseling facilities. Also helped secure $500,000 for a cooperative computing program for the MJI in Oak Park, and $150,000 for a new computing curriculum at MJI in Oak Park and Bloomfield.
Grand Valley State University. Helped secure $500,000 for acquisition of a research facility, training and education space for the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University in Muskegon.
Delta Schoolcraft Intermediate School District. Helped s ecure $500,000 to develop a National Training Center for K – 12 Information Technology in the Global Economy.
U.S. Olympic Education Center in Marquette, Northern Michigan University. Helped secure $988,000 for scholarships to athletes who are training for the Olympics and pursuing post secondary education.
YouthFriends, Traverse City. Helped secure $100,000 for school based mentoring program.
Youth Sports and Recreation Commission, Detroit. Helped secure $100,000 for youth education and training.
Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant. Helped secure $100,000 for education and training programs.
Cleary University, Ann Arbor. Helped secure $210,000 for equipment and technology for Washtenaw campus of Cleary University.
Cleary University, Howell. Helped secure $200,000 for technology improvement.
Delta College, University Center. Helped secure $200,000 for equipment and technology for its technical trades and manufacturing complex.
Oakland University School of Nursing. Helped secure $125,000 for facilities and equipment.
Lansing Community College. Helped secure $200,000 for equipment for a medical training facility.
Southeastern Michigan College, Dowagiac. Helped secure $100,000 for facilities and equipment.
Afterschool Alliance, Flint. Helped secure $150,000 to develop and disseminate model practices and to provide technical assistance for after school programs.
ART of Leadership Foundation of Birmingham. Helped secure $100,000 for its mentoring program.
Saginaw Valley State University, University Center. Helped secure $200,000 for intervention training center.
Walsh College, Troy. Helped secure $125,000 for program development and software for the Center of Excellence and information Assurance Education.
Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Service, Kalamazoo. Helped secure $400,000 for science equipment.
Troy Education Programs. Helped secure $175,000 for character education program.
Chaldean Community Center, West Bloomfield. Helped secure $200,000 for Center programs and $100,000 for teacher training programs regarding Chaldean language, history and culture .
Michigan Virtual University/High School. Helped secure $100,000 for the continued development of the virtual Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy in Lansing.
Grand Valley State University. Helped secure $50,000 for a Teacher Academy program at Grand Valley State University in Allendale to address the unique needs of and demand for teachers in urban districts.
Lansing Public Schools. Helped secure $198,000 to implement the Help One Student to Succeed (HOSTS) reading-centered school program.
SUPPORT FOR THE WAR IN IRAQ AND WAR ON TERROR
Supplemental Funding for Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Helped lead the effort to enact $25 billion in supplemental funding to support our troops in the field for the first five months of fiscal year 2005. This funding is essential to avoid severe disruption to the military services, particularly the Army that would have resulted if no funding had been provided until a full 2005 supplemental spending bill is submitted next year.
New Funding Flexibility to Address Wartime Contingencies. Helped enact provisions that provide our armed forces new flexibility to respond to changing circumstances on the ground by authorizing the use of up to $300 million for the Commanders' Emergency Response Program in Iraq and Afghanistan, under which commanders may use funds for small humanitarian and reconstruction projects; authorizing the use of up to $500 million for assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan military or security forces to enhance their ability to combat terrorism and support U.S. or coalition military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; and authorizing the Special Operations Command to expend up to $25 million of existing funds to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals, engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing military operations by the U.S. special operations forces to combat terrorism.
New Acquisition Flexibility to Address Wartime Contingencies. Helped enact provisions that would establish a new rapid acquisition program to enable the Department of Defense to quickly acquire equipment needed by a combatant commander to eliminate deficiencies in equipment that have resulted in combat fatalities and raise the thresholds for the use of streamlined acquisition procedures in support of contingency operations like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
PROTECTING THE HOMELAND
Defense Against Chemical and Biological Weapons. Helped enact a provision funding an additional seven National Guard teams to respond to the threat of biological and chemical weapons inside the United States, which will result in a total of 55 teams – ensuring one for every state and territory – by the end of fiscal year 2005.
Promoting Homeland Defense. Worked to promote the Selfridge Air National Guard Base as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Regional Headquarters as well as the home of the new Northern Border Air Wing.
Portable Chemical-Biological Agent Detection System. Secured $2 million for the development of a portable chemical-biological agent detection system that will be able to analyze the presence of such contaminants. Handylabs of Ann Arbor will work with the U.S. Army to develop this product.
Canadian Trash Imports. Secured Senate passage of legislation that would stop the importation of Canadian waste if the Department of Homeland Security cannot show that the methodologies and technologies used to screen municipal solid waste imported into the United States for the presence of chemical, nuclear, biological and radiological weapons are as effective as those used to screen for such materials in other items of commerce entering the United States by commercial vehicle. Unfortunately, the provision was taken out in conference.
Improving Security at Critical Infrastructure. Large numbers of critical non-governmental facilities, from power plants to schools to hospitals, are protected by private security firms and their civilian security officers. Keeping these facilities secure from terrorism or other forms of violent attack is critical to our national security. Yet currently most private security employers cannot obtain timely national criminal background check information on the very people they need to hire to protect these key facilities. During Senate consideration of intelligence reform legislation, Senator Levin offered an amendment that will help correct that problem while protecting the privacy of employees and prospective employees. The amendment was included in the final intelligence reform legislation signed by the President in December.
IMPROVED OVERSIGHT AT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Oversight of Iraq Pre-War Intelligence. Worked to ensure that the Intelligence Committee report issued in July on pre-Iraq War intelligence failures was balanced and comprehensive. Also worked to ensure that the Committee agreed to expand its inquiry into looking at the use of the intelligence by administration officials and whether the intelligence activities of the Defense Department's Policy Office were objective and accurate. Conducted review of how pre-war intelligence was exaggerated by high-ranking officials in the Department of Defense to support the administration's decision to invade Iraq and issued a report entitled, “Report of an Inquiry into the Alternative Analysis of the Issue of an Iraq-al Qaeda Relationship.”
Prohibition on Torture. Helped enact legislation reaffirming the prohibition against subjecting any person in the custody or under the physical control of the United States to “torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States” – sending an important message to the world that the United States will not permit, condone, tolerate or encourage the kind of behavior so graphically depicted in the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Helped ensure congressional review of abusive treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
Improved Management of Funds for Operations in Iraq. Helped enact a provision addressing deficiencies in the oversight and management of contractors on the ground in Iraq and requiring the issuance of specific guidance to enhance the safety of contractor employees and improve coordination between our armed forces and the contractors who are there to support their rebuilding efforts. Helped enact a provision reauthorizing and extending the Special Inspector General for the Iraq Reconstruction Fund to ensure continuing oversight over fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of funds for the rebuilding of Iraq.
Outsourcing of Federal Jobs. Led effort to enact a provision permitting federal employees to be heard, for the first time, in bid protests appealing the results of public-private competitions. Helped enact provision codifying longstanding standard for savings that must be achieved before federal jobs may be outsourced.
Acquisition Reform. Led effort to enact a provision that would extend the authority for energy savings performance contracts for an additional two years, enabling federal agencies to save hundreds of millions of dollars through improved energy efficiency. Led effort to enact provisions addressing abusive practice of “offloading” DOD contracts to other federal agencies.
Air Force Tanker Lease Proposal. Helped enact a provision to resolve the controversy over the Air Force's proposed lease of tanker aircraft by prohibiting the Air Force from entering a lease and instead requiring the use of a traditional multi-year contract to replace the existing tanker fleet.
Department of Defense Financial Management. Helped enact a provision requiring the Department of Defense to develop and implement a business enterprise architecture and transition plan to gain better control over its finances.
Defense Trade. Helped enact a provision directing the Secretary of Defense to develop policies and regulations to discourage other countries from imposing “offset agreements” in defense trade and thereby undermining our defense industrial base.
Energy Employees' Compensation Plan. Helped enact provisions transferring responsibility for carrying out the energy employees compensation program to the Department of Labor and streamlining the compensation process for workers who have developed cancers and other occupational-related injuries as a result of their work.
Strengthening the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Process. Led effort to direct the Department of Defense to take into account the relationships that technical facilities performing research and development have with local industrial and academic institutions and a highly skilled local workforce when assessing the value of these installations in the upcoming 2005 base realignment and closure round.
PROCURING MICHIGAN-MADE ITEMS FOR OUR NATONAL DEFENSE
As the arsenal of democracy, Michigan provides many items that are used by our nation's military. Senator Levin helped secure funding for the following items:
- $1.5 billion for the Army's Stryker armored vehicle. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the Stryker armored vehicle, including $600 million for an additional Stryker brigade to support Army operations.
- $596 million for the Army Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) program. Roughly one-third of the value of this contract is earned by Troy-based Arvin Meritor, which makes the axles, drive trains and windows for the FMTV.
- $292 million for the Army's Systems Enhancement Program (SEP) for the Abrams tank. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the SEP upgrade program.
- $117 million for the Army's Abrams tank modernization program. General Dynamics Land Systems of Sterling Heights is the prime contractor for the Abrams tank modernization program.
- $50 million for U.S. Navy procurement of sonobuoys. Sparton Electronics of Jackson produces sonobuoys for anti-submarine warfare. Half the sonobuoys used by the U.S. Navy are produced by Sparton Corp.
- $21.2 million for Polartec fleece products used by the military, which are assembled by Peckham Vocational Industries in Lansing. Included in the bill is funding for the following Polartec items: $5.6 million for the Army to purchase fleece liners for their Extended Cold Weather Clothing System, $3.8 million for the Army National Guard to purchase the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), $2.3 million for the Army Reserve to purchase ECWCS, $1.7 million for the Air National Guard ECWCS as well as $3.5 million for the Navy to purchase fire retardant aviator clothing and $2.8 million for the Marine Corps to purchase Mountain and Cold Weather Clothing and Equipment.
- $15 million to fully fund the Army's requirement for the M915A3 family of military vehicles. These vehicles are made by Freightliner, the engines are manufactured by Detroit Diesel and the drivetrains by Arvin Meritor.
MICHIGAN-BASED PROCUREMENT AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Senator Levin worked to secure funding for the following projects that involve Michigan-based companies, facilities or programs:
- $7.9 million for the Army's Advanced Lightweight Structures Initiative, which develops next generation titanium, ceramic and aluminum materials for cannons, vehicles and armor systems. Howmet Castings in Whitehall and Alcoa Automotive in Fruitport are among the partners in this initiative.
- $7.5 million for continued development of flexible solar cells for space applications. New technology based on amorphous silicon materials has the potential to produce solar arrays that are ten times cheaper and three to five times lighter than current solar arrays. Energy Conversion Devices of Troy has been working with the Air Force on this project.
- $7.5 million for the Air Force's Metals Affordability Initiative, a government-industry cooperative program to develop new aerospace materials and alloys. Howmet Castings in Whitehall is developing new materials that will reduce aircraft engine maintenance costs and help enable the next generation of fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles.
- $5.6 million for the Army's Flexible Display Initiative to develop lightweight, high definition, full color displays for both soldiers and vehicles. Dow Corning in Midland is a major participant in this industry-wide technology development program.
- $5.5 million for Automated Clinical Guidelines, a coordinated program between Ford Health Systems and Tripler Army Hospital to automate clinical practice guidelines used by medical practitioners.
- $4.8 million for procurement of the Army's Armored Security Vehicle (ASV). This vehicle's drivetrain and axles are made by Arvin Meritor of Troy
- $4.5 million for the Army's Modular Causeway System, a system of interchangeable components which improve military logistical operations by augmenting existing facilities and speeding the unloading of ships at ports or beaches. Oldenburg Lakeshore, Inc. of Iron Mountain produces the system.
- $4.5 million for research into the advanced power electronics that depend on the development of new materials capable of significantly higher power, higher speed and higher temperature operation. This research could help improve the capabilities of Navy airborne radar platforms, such as the E-2 Hawkeye. Dow Corning of Midland is a leader in producing these materials, known as wide bandgap semiconductors.
- $4 million for nano-engineered materials high performance armor which seeks to utilize transparent ceramics that can be used for lightweight armor that can serve a variety of applications. TAL Materials of Ann Arbor is a leader in the development of these materials.
- Secured $3.5 million for the Casting Emissions Reduction Program (CERP), a partnership between private industry and the U.S. Army. A portion of these funds will be used to assist efforts at GM's Malleable Iron Plant, located in Saginaw, to develop new, environmentally friendly metal casting technology.
- $3 million for the Shipboard Wireless Assistant, which is being developed by Cybernet of Ann Arbor. This program seeks to develop an integrated, wireless communications and computing environment for Navy ships.
- $2.6 million to continue a collaboration among U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), local health officials and Delphi Automotive in Shelby Township to develop a hand-held water quality sensing device that will aid in the detection of chemical, biological and pollutant agents in drinking water. This project, when completed, will enable the military and public health officials to conduct real-time monitoring of water quality.
- $2.5 million to develop a 12-screw ring extruder for fuel cell technology, which Century 3+ L.L.C., of Traverse City has developed. The 12-screw ring extruder could increase the quality and speed of manufacture of various plastic components including fuel cells.
- $2 million to develop a variety of new nanotechnologies that can be used for military applications in battlefield sensing, manufacturing and decontamination of military equipment. The Michigan Molecular Institute of Midland and the Michigan Biotechnology Institute of Lansing are institutions that conduct leading research in this important area.
- $1.95 million for the development of a nano-fabricated bio-artificial kidney. Nephros Therapeutics of Ann Arbor is working to develop a fully implantable bio-artificial kidney. This project could save billions of dollars in kidney dialysis costs.
- $1.9 million for development of control, vision and navigation systems for future Army robotic ground vehicles. Soar Technologies in Ann Arbor is a world leader in this area of research and engineering and has worked extensively with TARDEC on these systems.
- $1.7 million for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, a national organization that helps young people learn nautical skills while also building character and patriotism.
- $1.5 million for Navy research into advanced hybrid energy storage devices for use in air weapons. T/J Technologies of Ann Arbor is working on these systems, which can reduce the cost of Navy weapon systems.
- $1.2 million for copper based casting technology development. This program will develop new casting technologies for militarily critical copper and copper based alloys. A Belding company, Extruded Metals, Inc., is a potential participant in this program.
- $1 million to develop a Virtual Systems Integration Lab (VSIL) for the Army that is capable of reducing the cost associated with designing military vehicles. VSIL will enable the military to design, prototype and simulate electronic systems for military vehicles in a virtual environment dramatically reducing design costs. Cybernet of Ann Arbor has worked to develop a possible solution to this system.
- $1 million for the Soldiers Mobility and Rifle Targeting System (SMARTS), which provides soldiers with lightweight, low power helmet mounted thermal and visible sensors for use in close-quarter missions such as exploring caves in Afghanistan. Rockwell Collins in Ann Arbor is creating this system.
- $2 million for research on new composite materials to be used in advanced munitions. This program will work to develop and automate manufacturing methods using a new materials processing approach, ultrasonic consolidation, to reduce production costs of these advanced materials, known as metal matrix composites. Solidica, an Ann Arbor based firm, is a leader in the development of these materials and processes.
MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
Senator Levin supported over $1.5 billion for fundamental research to support the military at our nation's universities and government laboratories. Many Michigan universities, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, Kettering University, Lawrence Technological University and Michigan Technological University, perform high quality fundamental research for the Department of Defense in all fields of science and technology.
Some specific projects for which Senator Levin secured funding include the following:
- $3.75 million to enable the U.S. Army's Automotive Research Center (ARC) in Warren to increase its assistance for basic research programs. The ARC is a university-based U.S. Army Center of Excellence tasked with creating advanced simulation software and studying technologies for military and civilian ground vehicles. The University of Michigan leads an eight-university consortium that includes Wayne State University and Oakland University.
- $2.6 million for Wayne State University for the Center of Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems from NASA to continue the development of a clean room which will be used to create smart sensing devices.
- $6.75 million to fund ongoing research on mitigating the effects of mustard gas, one of the first chemical gases used as a weapon. The University of Michigan is a member of the consortium currently working with the Defense Department on this research effort to protect against the potential use of this weapon of mass destruction.
- $3.75 million for research into chronic multi-symptom illnesses conducted at the University of Michigan. The focus of this research is the development of treatments for Gulf War illnesses and other undiagnosed post-deployment disorders. This research is conducted by the Center for Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research, located at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and overseen by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
- $3.175 million for the development of computer models for the Defense Department's Chemical and Biological Defense Program to predict how long chemical agents remain dangerous after an attack. This will help our military forces better protect themselves and operate in contaminated environments. Kettering University of Flint is a technology leader in developing these computer models.
- $1.9 million for research on nanotechnology to develop revolutionary molecular-sized electronic circuitry. The Center for Nanomaterials Research at Michigan Technological University in Houghton partners with the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on the development on these miniaturized technologies.
- $1.1 million to continue Navy work at Eastern Michigan University developing nanotechnology-based coatings that could limit corrosion on naval vessels and at military installations. Corrosion of military equipment costs the Department of Defense billions of dollars in maintenance and repair each year.
Military End Strength. Helped enact a provision increasing the active duty end strength of the Army by 20,000 and the active duty end strength of the Marine Corps by 3,000 to help meet our worldwide commitments.
Health Care for Guard and Reserves. Helped enact legislation providing expanded TRICARE benefits for mobilized National Guard and Reserve members by (1) making permanent the temporary authority for free TRICARE health care coverage for National Guard and Reserve members and their families up to 90 days before a mobilized service member reports for active duty and for 180 days after release from active duty; and (2) authorizing a new TRICARE benefit for Guard and Reserve members and their families when the member is released from active duty.
Military Pay. Helped enact an across-the-board pay raise of 3.5 percent for military personnel. Helped enact provisions that make permanent an increase in the rate of special pay for duty subject to hostile fire or imminent danger and an increase in the rate of the family separation allowance; improve the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) by eliminating the reduction in SBP benefits for surviving spouses over age 62, phased in over 3 ½ years; repeal the phase-in of concurrent receipt of retired pay and VA disability pay to military retirees with service-connected disabilities rated as 100 percent; and authorize a new program of educational assistance to members of the Selective Reserve, based on the GI Bill.
Body Armor for Service Members in Iraq. Helped enact a provision authorizing reimbursement of service members and their families for purchases of body armor and other protective equipment at a time when the Department of Defense did not have sufficient protective gear in Iraq to protect our men and women in uniform. Helped enact increased funding for DOD purchase of armored vehicles and other protective gear for service members in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Improving the Housing of Military Families. Helped enact a provision that permanently extends the authority for the Department of Defense military housing privatization program, removes the limits on the size of the program and fully funds these authorities. This should enable military families across the nation to get newer, higher quality housing faster.
Michigan Military Construction Projects. Senator Levin led efforts to secure funding for the following military construction projects in Michigan:
- $27.6 million for an Army Aviation Support Facility in Grand Ledge. This funding will be used to accommodate the new mission of 22 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters that the Michigan Army National Guard is authorized to receive as part of the Guard's Aviation Transformation Program.
- $5.1 million for a new Fire Crash Rescue Center at Kellogg Air Field in Battle Creek, the home of the 110th Fighter Wing. The existing facility is overcrowded and reduces the ability of the Air National Guard to train and execute its fire protection plan for the fighter wing.
- $9.7 million for a new Joint Security Forces Operation Center at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. This project will enable both Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard security forces to consolidate their missions. Currently, both security forces lack the space needed to fulfill their duties. This facility will promote “jointness” while unifying operations that are currently conducted in several aging facilities.
- $4.0 million for a Visitors Center and Identification Complex at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base. The current facilities are located in a small undersized facility located near the installation's main gate entrance and do not meet the needs of units stationed at Selfridge. This new facility will allow the base to consolidate several functions into one joint facility, as well as upgrade the base's entrance to current force protection standards.
- $9.2 million for construction of a 65 unit lodging facility. The new lodging facility at Selfridge ANGB will provide modern accommodations for in-transit military families, personnel on temporary duty, and official guests. Currently, guests stay at one of two facilities that were built in 1930 and 1951 and are lacking conveniences such as kitchenettes and elevators. Neither facility is handicapped accessible. Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2005 and be completed in April 2006.
- $2.2 million for consolidation and expansion of a service station and small retail store. Selfridge ANGB will also benefit from a project to consolidate an existing gas station and Class Six beverage store. The new convenience store will incorporate expanded retail space with a single-bay automatic car wash and ten gasoline pumps under a canopy. The existing service station is located in a small and inefficient 60-year old facility with outdated equipment. The existing Class Six store is a 13-year old stand-alone facility with no previous major renovations. Construction is scheduled to start in February 2005 and be completed in January 2006.
Promoting Base Reuse. Authored language that will enable the Air Force to demolish any existing facilities at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, which will assist the local community's efforts to proceed with economic development.
Michigan National Guard Projects. Senator Levin worked to secure funding for a number of projects that will enable the Michigan National Guard to procure materiel that it needs to accomplish its mission. Included among those projects are the following items:
- $21 million for F-16 Block 42 engine upgrades. These will enable the Air National Guard to upgrade some of their fleet. Portions of the Guard's F-16 fleet are located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
- $10.5 million for Litening Precision Advanced Targeting Pods for use by the National Guard. With the help of Senator Levin, the 127th Fighter Wing at Selfridge Air National Guard base was among the first units in the nation to have this technology, which enables pilots to better deliver precision guided munitions. These pods have been used by Selfridge pilots when deployed overseas, and these additional pods will be used by National Guard units, including those at Selfridge, as they are deployed.
- $7.5 million for Air Force joint threat emitter systems for the Air National Guard. These systems simulate electronic combat signals produced by surface-to-air missiles and provide realistic electronic warfare training for pilots and aircrew members. Alpena is home to a key Air National Guard Combat Readiness Training Center that employs these types of training technologies.
- $5 million for research and development of engine upgrades for the A-10 aircraft, which are used to provide close air support for ground forces. The 110th Fighter Wing at W.K. Kellogg field in Battle Creek is home to some of these aircraft, which are scheduled to be used until 2028. These funds will enable them to ensure that this aircraft is modernized and able to perform its missions.
- $3.5 million for three dimensional modeling, design and engineering assessments of the A-10 aircraft. This project will play a role in sustaining these aircraft for continued National Guard use.
Securing Transportation Equity for Michigan. Lead Democratic author of the Highway Funding Equity Act of 2003, which sought to address the inequity in the current distribution of highway funds by increasing states' minimum guarantee highway funding to 95 percent of a state's share of contributions to the Highway Trust Fund in gas tax payments, up from 90.5 percent. Donor states like Michigan have historically sent more federal gasoline tax dollars to Washington than they receive back while subsidizing the road and bridge projects of other states.
On February 12 the Senate passed a six-year surface transportation reauthorization bill that achieves greater equity for Michigan and gives, all states, including Michigan, a 95 percent rate of return as called for in Senator Levin's bill. This would mean at least $2.1 billion additional dollars to Michigan over six years. The House passed a much smaller bill which did not provide equity to donor states and President Bush threatened to veto any bill that exceeds $256 billion over six years. As a result, Congress failed to pass a six-year highway bill in 2004.
Borders and Corridors. Authored a provision in the six-year Senate highway reauthorization bill that takes into account the levels of commercial and passenger traffic at border crossings in its borders program formula and would mean over $200 million additional dollars for Michigan. Under this amendment, the borders program would distribute funding to border states based on key criteria, such as border traffic, trade flow and cargo weight. This formula would ensure that our busiest border crossings such as those in Michigan would receive some of the funding they need to improve and expand their infrastructure. The 108 th Congress failed to pass a final six-year highway bill and instead passed a one-year extension.
Local Transportation Planning. The Senate Highway Reauthorization bill included a Levin amendment that increased from $10 million a year to $15 million a year funding for the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP). LTAP is a national network of centers that provide training and technical assistance to local transportation agencies, particularly to rural and small urban communities. LTAP plays an important role in assisting rural road commissions in their planning, road and bridge maintenance and repairs. Michigan's LTAP is housed at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. The 108 th Congress failed to pass a final six-year highway bill and instead passed a one-year extension.
Funding for Hybrid Buses in Michigan. Secured $4 million for the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) to be used to upgrade the public transportation system in Traverse City. The new system would replace the current diesel engine fleet with a fleet of hybrid electric buses that are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. The buses will be equipped with an auxiliary generator powered by a small turbine engine that runs on biodiesel fuel, the emissions of which compare to those of compressed natural gas. A new wind turbine electric generator will be used to supply zero-emission electricity for nightly recharging of the bus batteries.
Automotive Safety Design. Authored legislative language encouraging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to work closely with Wayne State University and a consortium including auto companies and suppliers to develop a set of computer models of human occupants that can be used in automotive safety design.
MotorCities National Heritage Area. Helped secure $500,000 for the MotorCities National Heritage Area, which supports automobile heritage educational programming and the economic improvement of communities through the development and promotion of auto heritage tourism and adaptive reuse of historic sites. MotorCities National Heritage Area encompasses southeast and central Michigan.
Funding for New Buses, Bus Facilities and Public Transit Infrastructure in Michigan. Senator Levin helped secure funding for the following improvements in public transportation infrastructure: $1.5 million for Ann-Arbor Detroit Commuter Rail; $1 million for Detroit Center City Loop; $550,000 for Automation Alley BuSolutions, Pontiac; extension of FY 2002 funds for Blue Water Area Transportation Commission Bus Facilities that were due to expire; $1.5 million for Allegan County Transportation; $500,000 for Alma Transit facility and replacement buses; $1 million for Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA) transit center; $40,000 for Barry County buses and bus facilities; $4 million for Bay Area Transportation Authority, Traverse City; $50,000 for Belding buses and bus facilities; $100,000 for Berrien County transit; $3 million for Blue Water Area Transportation Commission Maintenance and Storage Facility, Port Huron; $100,000 for Cadillac/Wexford Transit; $4.25 million for Capital Area Transportation Authority, Lansing; $40,000 Cass County transit; $100,000 for Clare County Transit Corporation; $1.250 million for Clinton Area transit system; $3 million for Detroit DOT bus replacement and facilities; $1 million for Flint Mass Transit Authority Intelligent Transportation System; $50,000 for Greenville Transit System; $200,000 for Harbor Transit; $600,000 for Intelligent Transportation System for the Rapid, Grand Rapids; $125,000 for Ionia County Dial-A-Ride; $300,000 for Isabella County Transportation Commission; $1.25 million for Interurban Transit Partnership (ITP)/The Rapid replacement and expansion buses, Grand Rapids; $80,000 for Kalamazoo County Care A Van; $3 million for Kalamazoo Metro Transit; $50,000 for Kalkaska Public Transit Authority; $500,000 Lake Erie Transit maintenance garage expansion; $100,000 for Livingston Essential Transportation; $1 million for Macatawa Area Express Facility; $3 million for Flint Mass Transportation Authority; $3 million for Michigan statewide buses and bus facilities; $125,000 for Midland Dial-A-Ride; $500,000 for Muskegon Area Transit System; $80,000 for North Oakland Transportation Authority; $500,000 for Northern Michigan bus and bus facilities; $50,000 for Roscommon County Transit System; $45,000 for Shiawassee Area Transportation Authority; $3 million for SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) buses and bus facility, $30,000 for Twin Cities Area Transportation Authority, Benton Harbor; $30,000 for Van Buren Public Transit; $200,000 for Yates Township Dial-A-Ride Transportation System; $300,000 for Job Access and Reverse Commute for DCC Community Health & Safety Transport Project; $1.75 million for Detroit's Job Access and Reverse Commute program; $2 million for Flint Mass Transit Authority Job Access and Reverse Commute program; $150,000 for North Oakland Transportation Authority Job Access and Reverse Commute program.
Funding for roads, bridges and general infrastructure improvements in Michigan. Senator Levin helped secure funding for the following transportation infrastructure improvements: $2 million for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) deployment at the Interurban Transit Partnership, Grand Rapids; $500,000 for Intelligent Transportation Systems deployment for the Tri-County ITS Coordination Initiative; $500,000 for Seventh Street Bridge Reconstruction, Port Huron; $300,000 for Leelanau County Road Commission; $1 million for M-6 Paul Henry Trail construction; $100,000 interstate maintenance on I-94 Near Benton Harbor and St. Joseph; $1 million for interstate maintenance on I-96 Beck and Wixom Road Interchange; $370,000 for Braves Avenue, City of Gladstone; $238,000 for City of Wyandotte Eureka Street Lighting; $500,000 for Clinton Township Hike/Bike Pathway; $360,000 for Crooks Road Widening and Resurfacing; $1 million for Edgewood/Fairplains Street construction, Walnut Street Construction and Industrial Park Drive Resurfacing, Greenville; $1.25 million for Eleven Mile Road Reconstruction; $500,000 for Grand River Avenue, City of Novi; $500,000 for I-75/Baldwin Road; $1 million for I-96/Latson Road; $1 million for Lincoln Park Street Improvements; $1 million for Livernois Road Widening and Improvement; $500,000 for Maple Road, City of Walled Lake; $500,000 for Port Huron Grade Separation; $500,000 for Tenth Street, Menominee; $1.2 million for Tienken Road widening; $1.2 million for Trenton Channel Bridge; $1 million for widening of Van Dyke Avenue, Traverse City; reprogramming of $3.3 million that had been earmarked in the 1991 ISTEA bill for a Traverse City bypass to be used to carry out a comprehensive regional transportation study on the multi- modal transportation needs in Grand Traverse County, and to implement recommendations resulting from the study.
Airport Funding. Senator Levin helped secure funding for the following airport projects: $1.25 million for terminal air traffic control facility replacement at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport in order to improve airport capacity in inclement weather conditions at Detroit Metro Airport; $1 million to demolish the Berry Terminal and construction of a new deicing pad at Detroit Metropolitan Airport; $1 million for a terminal project at Manistee County Blacker Airport; $2 million to relocate t-hangers at Oakland County International Airport; $500,000 for Perimeter access road and new entrances, expansion of auto parking lots, de-icing facility and new entryway signage at Pellston Regional Airport; $3 million for various improvements at W.K. Kellogg Airport; added legislative language encouraging FAA to apply FY 2005 funding at Detroit Metropolitan Airport to develop and implement multilateration technology on an accelerated basis.
Combating the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Helped lead efforts to obtain federal support for halting the spread of and eradicating the emerald ash borer. Secured $28.2 million from USDA to assist in efforts to contain and eradicate EAB. Led delegation efforts to obtain $414,605 in USDA grants for the Michigan State University Departments of Agriculture and Entomology for their efforts to control and combat EAB. Additionally, secured $5 million for the removal of trees killed by the ash borer.
Assistance to Michigan Apple Growers. Helped lead efforts to secure the balance of emergency funds approved for Michigan farmers whose apple trees were hit by fire blight. Helped secure $483,000 to support research on protecting future crops from fire blight, a bacterium that can kill apple trees.
Assistance to Michigan Fruit Tree Growers. Secured funding for the Tree Assistance program. 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.
Assistance to Michigan Cherry Growers. Helped secure $151,000 for the Armillaria Task Force, a research project at Michigan State University. Armillaria is a disease that renders soil unable to sustain fruit trees that is found in stone fruit regions worldwide, but losses are greatest in North America. There is no known method to control the disease.
Disaster Assistance to Farmers. Cosponsored an amendment that provided assistance to Michigan farmers who suffered losses in 2003-2004 of crops due to hail and flood damage.
Eradicating Bovine Tuberculosis in Michigan. Helped win approval for $14.9 million for bovine tuberculosis (TB) eradication efforts and $355,000 for bovine TB research at Michigan State University.
Other Agricultural Projects. Senator Levin helped secure funding for the following projects:
- $6.3 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.
- $212,000 for a USDA CSREES project to develop improved fruit practices at MSU.
- $387,000 for a USDA CSREES project regarding sustainable agriculture research at MSU.
- $559,000 for a USDA CSREES project at the Michigan Biotechnology Consortium researching the development of new uses for agricultural products.
- $1.5 million for a USDA CSREES grant to fund potato research. MSU is one of the institutions participating in this multi-state research program.
- $1.2 million for a USDA CSREES grant to fund research into the pasteurization of eggs at the Michigan Research Institute.
- $1 million for wolf predation management in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- $575,000 for a pilot program for conservation in the Great Lakes.
- $2.5 million for the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil and Erosion sediment.
- $150,000 to combat the cormorant overpopulation problem in Michigan.
Cracking Down on Abusive Tax Shelters. Authored bipartisan legislation (S.2210) to combat abusive tax shelters and uncooperative offshore tax havens used by businesses and individuals to dodge payment of their U.S. taxes. In May 2004, certain bill provisions to strengthen penalties on persons who promote abusive tax shelters or knowingly aid or abet tax evasion were adopted by the Senate as a Levin amendment (Amdt. 3120 to S.1637) in October 2004 and were partially incorporated into a tax bill passed by Congress (H.R.4520). In addition, in December 2004, the board that oversees the accounting industry proposed rules to limit the tax shelter services that accounting firms can provide to their audit clients. The proposed rules and tax shelter promoter penalties both resulted in part from a year-long Levin-led investigation which found that major accounting firms, banks, investment advisors, and law firms had become high-powered engines behind the design and sale of abusive tax shelters. Hearings and a lengthy report presented evidence of these tax advisors cooking up one complex scheme after another, packaging them as generic “tax products,” and then devising elaborate marketing efforts to peddle these products to thousands of people and businesses across the country.
Fighting to Close Tax Haven Loopholes. Led Senate to enact a prohibition on the award of future Department of Homeland Security contracts to U.S. companies that are dodging U.S. taxes by reincorporating on paper and setting up shell headquarters in offshore tax havens (H.R.4567). By undergoing these phony reincorporations, companies that have their production and service facilities here in the United States and benefit from U.S. infrastructure, banks, patents, fair trade laws, an educated workforce and more, take advantage of what the United States offers without contributing their fair share of taxes, leaving average taxpayers to make up the difference.
Fighting for Mutual Fund Industry Reform. Testified before the Senate Banking Committee about the need to protect consumers from conflicts of interest, hidden fees, and unfair pricing exposed in the recent mutual fund scandals, and about specific ways to tackle these abuses. Original cosponsor of comprehensive legislation (S.2059) to curtail conflicts of interest in the mutual fund industry and to clarify and strengthen disclosures of mutual fund costs and fees.
Fighting Stock Option Abuses. Led Senate effort to support a proposal by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to reform U.S. accounting rules that currently allow companies to omit stock options expenses from their financial reports, even when reporting these expenses on their tax returns to reduce company taxes. Organized a bipartisan letter signed by Senate and House Members of Congress supporting FASB's proposed stock option reform to promote honest financial reports, protect investors, and stop stock option abuses linked to excessive executive pay, inflated company earnings, and accounting fraud. Original cosponsor of legislation to protect FASB's independence on this issue (S.Res.412), and active opponent of legislation to bar FASB's efforts to reform stock option accounting.
Investigating Oil and Energy Prices. Numerous experts have stated that a major factor in the record high oil prices throughout 2004 was the Administration's continuous filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) without regard to price, since that policy reduced available U.S. commercial oil supplies and increased pressure on U.S. oil prices. In March 2004, the Senate adopted a Levin amendment to the FY2005 Budget Resolution to cancel oil deliveries into the SPR during FY2005, sell the oil on the open market, and use the money raised for deficit reduction and homeland security. This amendment had the potential to produce estimated taxpayer revenues of over $1.7 billion, while reducing gasoline prices at the pump by 10 to 25 cents per gallon. Because the Bush Administration opposed the amendment and the Senate never reached agreement with the House on a final Budget Resolution, the Administration continued throughout 2004 to fill the SPR with millions of gallons of high-priced oil.
Investigating the Credit Counseling Industry. Helped lead investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on which Senator Levin is the senior Democrat, into abusive practices in the credit counseling industry. A March 2004 hearing and report found that some credit counseling agencies, while claiming non-profit status, provided little or no counseling to consumers, charged excessive fees, and funneled substantial funds to for-profit affiliates controlled by the same or related owners. Two of the agencies examined by the Subcommittee, AmeriDebt and the Ballenger Group, were sued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2004 for engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices. The Ballenger Group has since paid a $750,000 fine, while the AmeriDebt suit is pending. In addition, the IRS initiated a major review of credit counseling agencies to determine whether they are violating their nonprofit status. Some large credit counseling agencies have pledged to modify their business practices.
Reforming U.S. Intelligence Community. Authored multiple amendments in the Governmental Affairs Committee and on the Senate floor to strengthen bipartisan intelligence reform legislation. The legislation is intended to address weaknesses in the U.S. intelligence community identified by the 9-11 Commission. Many of the Levin amendments were drafted to also address massive intelligence failures before the Iraq War that were, to a significant degree, the result of CIA leadership shaping intelligence to support Administration policy. The Levin amendments sought to strengthen congressional oversight and ensure that the new Director of National Intelligence and National Counterterrorism Center provide independent and objective intelligence assessments not shaped, or distorted, by Administration policy goals. The Levin amendments also sought to ensure the integrity of the military chain of command and to guarantee that American troops have access to needed intelligence on the battlefield. While a number of the Levin provisions were included in the final bill, the White House and House Republicans objected to provisions seeking to ensure independent and objective intelligence assessments. As a result, those provisions were eliminated from the final bill.
Fighting Money Laundering. Led investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on which Senator Levin is the senior Democrat, into the failure of U.S. banks and U.S. bank regulators to stop suspicious transactions involving millions of dollars tainted by possible money laundering, foreign corruption, and other misconduct. A July 2004 hearing and report prepared by Levin showed that, for a period of years, Riggs Bank had allowed Augusto Pinochet, former President of Chile, and Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea, to engage in numerous suspicious transactions. Riggs also ignored repeated directives by federal bank regulators to improve its anti-money laundering program, and regulators had failed to enforce the law. The investigation showed that the key federal bank examiner who oversaw Riggs' poor performance retired in 2003, and immediately took a job with the bank. In September 2004, Levin introduced S. 2814 to impose a one-year cooling off period before a federal bank examiner may take a position with a bank he or she oversaw. The Senate approved this bill in a Levin amendment (Amdt. 3867 to S.2845) that also required a federal study to strengthen U.S. anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing efforts. Congress included the Levin provision in the final bill enacted in 2004 (S. 2845).
Stopping DOD Tax Cheats. Helped lead investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on which Senator Levin is the senior Democrat, into companies doing business with the Department of Defense, getting paid with taxpayer dollars and then failing to pay the taxes they owe. A February 2004 hearing estimated that o ver 27,000 DOD contractors had unpaid taxes totaling at least $3 billion. In May 2004, Senator Levin joined Senator Coleman in introducing S. 2383 to strengthen the DOD tax levy program, which is supposed to withhold a percentage of contract payments made to DOD contractors with outstanding taxes. Currently this program is inefficient, collecting less than one percent of what it should . While the bill was not enacted into law, DOD and the IRS voluntarily agreed to make the recommended reforms to the DOD tax levy program. A more effective DOD tax levy program will help keep the tax cheat's hand out of the taxpayer's wallet.
Stopping Unemployment Compensation Tax Scams. Original cosponsor of legislation (S. 2662, later enacted as H.R.3463) that banned tax schemes that companies were using to avoid paying millions of dollars of state unemployment compensation taxes. Enacted in August 2004, this legislation ended a widespread tax abuse that had been damaging states' unemployment systems and hurting honest companies forced to compete against the tax dodgers. A Michigan company, Kelly Services, helped expose this tax fraud and fight for its elimination.
Investigating the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program. Helped lead investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on which Senator Levin is the senior Democrat, into allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program and Saddam Hussein's efforts to undermine U.N. sanctions to prevent Iraq from re-arming and developing weapons of mass destruction. The Oil-for-Food program was intended to allow Iraq to use the sale of Iraqi oil to purchase food, medicine and other humanitarian goods, while maintaining U.N. prohibitions on military sales and other trade with Iraq. In November 2004, a Subcommittee hearing detailed some of the ways that Saddam obtained billions of dollars in illicit income, including through kickbacks and improper oil sales, by abusing the U.N. sanctions and Oil-for-Food program.
Protecting Whistleblowers. Led Senate effort to strengthen federal law protecting federal employees who blow the whistle and inform Congress and the public of serious cases of waste, fraud and mismanagement in government. Original cosponsor of the Federal Employee Protection of Disclosures Act with Senators Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. The Governmental Affairs Committee approved this bipartisan legislation in October 2004. Federal workers take great risks and often face enormous obstacles in doing what they believe is right to stop government waste, fraud and abuse, and more must be done to protect them from retaliation.
Protecting International Tax Enforcement. Led Senate effort to block a proposal in the Omnibus Appropriations bill (Section 412 of S.2809) that would have barred or cut funding for key international tax enforcement efforts.