Sander Levin

Official White house Portrait

Michigan’s congressional delegation had a mixed reaction to the president’s State of the Union address last night.

Democrat John Dingell says Congress is capable of acting on the president’s call for a higher minimum wage and restoring federal jobless benefits.

“Whether they will or not I don’t know because as you know, the Republicans run Congress,” Dingell said after the president’s speech.

Some top members of the US House—including one from Michigan—say Congress should act on unemployment insurance this week.

Emergency federal benefits for the long-term unemployed expired in late December. 1.3 million people lost unemployment benefits immediately—including more than 43,000 in Michigan.

Michigan Congressman Sander Levin is one of the Democrats who argue it’s counter-productive to cut off the long-term unemployed.

Detroit-area Congressman Sander Levin says the federal government must extend federal unemployment benefits.

Levin,  the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, and other Democrats introduced bills Wednesday that would renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for another year.

Two Michigan Congressmen say Washington has some serious problems—and things aren’t likely to get better any time soon.

Democrat Sander Levin and Republican Mike Rogers talked about the current state of national politics at the Detroit Economic Club Monday.

Rogers said stark ideological divides and constant pressure from “third party outside political groups” to toe a hard line amount to “a recipe for bad governance in the next few years.”

But Rogers said it isn’t just Congress. He thinks there’s a “fundamental rift in America today.”

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Last night’s vote to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling divided Michigan’s Republican congress.

The legislation reopens the government through Jan. 15th and permits the U.S. Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7th or perhaps a month longer.
 

Congress faced a midnight deadline Thursday. That's when U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

http://www.house.gov/levin/

Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending, on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown.

In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt.

Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the latest in the impasse.

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater. Did you know Michigan once had more than 100 drive-ins? Today just a hand full are still in operation.

Also, Amtrak is making some improvements. We spoke with Tim Hoeffner of the Michigan Department of Transportation about what Michigan train passengers can expect.

And, Michael Stern from Roadfood.com, and frequent guest on The Splendid Table, stopped by to tell us about his recent trip to the Upper Peninsula and the culinary marvels he found up there.

But, first on the show, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown. In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the impasse.

The auto industry has been forever linked to the city of Detroit, but if that's the case, why is Detroit seeing such financial hardships while U.S. automakers are enjoying a boom?

On today's show we discuss the not-so-entwined Big Three and Detroit.

Then, Governor Snyder visits China . We'll find out why he's pushing so hard for a relationship between eastern Asia and Michigan.

But first, speaking in Sweden today, President Obama said responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria's government is the "moral thing to do." The President is on a three-day trip in Sweden and Russia for the G-20 summit. This is happening while senior officials in his administration are working to get support for intervention in Congress. 

Today we continue to get the view from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Yesterday on Stateside we heard from Republican Congressman Justin Amash and Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. Now we turn to Democratic Representative Sander Levin to explain why he supports a targeted and focused response.

levin.house.gov

We talk with Democratic U.S. Representative Sander Levin about the effects of automatic federal budget cuts on the Great Lakes region. Today, Levin met with members of the League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action in Clinton Township. 

Macomb Co.

Newark Mayor Corey Booker did it.

And last week, both Congressman Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) did it.

They all made a pledge to live on the average food stamp budget for a week.

That’s roughly $31.50 for a week’s worth of food.

 The federal budget cuts known as the sequester are hitting home across Metro Detroit.

That’s the message Congressman Sander Levin took on the road in his district Friday.

Levin met with seniors, defense industry employees, and hospital staff in Macomb County. All have been affected to some degree by the sequester.

At St. John’s Macomb hospital, a 2% cut to Medicare payments has taken a $4.5 million bite out of the budget. About 70% of the hospital’s patients are covered by Medicare.

The across the board spending cuts, known as 'sequestration' are set to begin today, unless Congress comes to an agreement to avert the $85 billion in military and domestic spending cuts.

The White House says Michigan would face about $140 million in cuts if the sequester takes effect at midnight.

A detailed overview of where those cuts would be seen in Michigan can be found here.

On Morning Edition, Christina Shockley spoke with Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI 9th District) about what sequestration would mean in Michigan and the nation.

If you watched anything other than football on New Year’s Day, and turned to CNN or C-Span, you probably saw a soft-spoken, older man speaking on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. With his shock of white hair sometimes askew, he was urging his colleagues not to take us over the fiscal cliff.

He is, of course, Congressman Sander Levin, from Royal Oak, who has represented a group of mainly working-class suburbs in the House for 30 years. To us old-timers, however, that’s just his latest venture.

Sandy Levin was first elected to the state senate when his party’s current leader, President Obama was three years old. Rick Snyder was in grade school when Levin lost a race for governor in this state that was so close and so controversial there are still people today who feel he was robbed.

Sandy’s political success may in part have motivated his little brother to get into politics, first by being elected to Detroit City Council. Today, Carl Levin is the longest-serving U.S. Senator in state history. 

A committee of Republicans and Democrats from the U.S. House and Senate will convene to negotiate a year-long extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut.

U.S. Representative Sander Levin's office announced that Levin will be a part of that committee.

From their press release:

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), the Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Committee, today was appointed to the Conference Committee tasked with negotiating a year-long extension of the payroll tax cut and federal unemployment insurance.

Michigan Congressman Sander Levin says Congress should cancel its winter recess if members can’t reach a deal to extend unemployment benefits.

Right now, the federal government supplements state unemployment programs to offer assistance for the long-term unemployed--up to 53 weeks of emergency benefits since the country slid into recession in 2008.

But those benefits will lapse January 1 if Congress doesn’t act this month.

When Gary Peters runs for Congress next year, there’s one vote he has no chance of getting.

His own. Thanks to redistricting, he lives just barely outside the district he plans to run in. Over coffee yesterday, he told me that his daughter will be a high school senior, and out of consideration for her, the family plans not to move until after she graduates.

There’s nothing illegal about that. Congressmen don’t have to live in their districts. But it highlights the general insanity of the redistricting process. Peters, who has served two terms in the House of Representatives, will be one of two candidates for Michigan’s biggest, toughest and most exciting race for Congress next year.

But that race won’t happen next November. Nor will Peters be facing a Republican. This battle will be fought out next summer, and settled by the August primary. There, the two youngest and most vibrant members of the Democratic delegation will be forced to try to end each other’s career.

Three Michigan members of Congress talked about jobs, the federal budget deficit, and partisan gridlock at the Detroit Economic Club.

Democrats Gary Peters and Sander Levin, and Republican Candice Miller all represent suburban Detroit districts in the U.S. House.

Miller says the current problems in Washington stem from ideological differences about the role of government. She thinks the government needs to slash what she calls “out of control spending.”

Congressman Gary Peters

DETROIT (AP) - U.S. Rep. Gary Peters says he's seeking election in the newly drawn 14th District.

The Democrat from Oakland County's Bloomfield Township serves the 9th District. He made the announcement on Thursday. Peters says the new district "bridges diverse communities," and he remains "committed to ... bringing our communities together."

The districts were redrawn by the state Legislature and signed into law in August by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

The 14th District is held by veteran Democratic Rep. John Conyers. It stretches from Detroit to Pontiac and dips below Eight Mile Road. The thoroughfare has come to symbolize the boundary between Detroit and its suburbs, black from white.

The redrawing puts Peters and U.S. Rep. Sander Levin in the same district. Levin has said he will run in the 9th District.

Congressman Sander Levin doesn’t like the proposed redrawn political maps that are based on new census data.

Levin says the maps drawn by Republican state lawmakers are grossly skewed in favor of Republican candidates.

“That so arrogantly places partisan interests ahead of voter interests. And whether the governor, who came to office pledging to put the interests of Michigan citizens ahead of partisan interests, will send a clear message right here and now, that his message is a real one.”

“I don’t think anyone can show a map that has come forth in this state, at least one in recent memory, that so distorts the ability of citizens to have the right to choose, and for the parties to compete with ideas.”

He wants the Michigan Senate to reject the maps approved by the state House last week.

Republican lawmakers say the G-O-P redistricting plan is fair and takes population shifts into consideration.

(Flickr swanksalot)

UPDATE 1:24 p.m.:   A spokeswoman for Governor Rick Snyder says the governor expects to sign the bill which would reduce the number of weeks jobless Michiganders will be able to recieve state unemployment benefits. Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel says:

"(The governor's) priority was to ensure no one receiving unemployment benefits was cut off abruptly. It's a lifeline for Michiganders right now - we simply can't risk tens of thousands of Michigan's families immediately losing their benefits in April.  He’s continuing to work tirelessly to help turn around Michigan's economy and create more and better jobs so that we can hopefully reduce the need for unemployment in the first place."

ORIGINAL POST 12:17 p.m.: Democrats are calling on Governor Rick Snyder not to sign legislation that will reduce state unemployment benefits to Michiganders from 26 to 20 weeks. The Republican controlled legislature passed the benefits  cut Wednesday, as part of  a bill to continue extended federal jobless benefits to Michigan’s unemployed.

Royal Oak Congressman Sander Levin says the governor should veto the bill that will eventually reduce benefits for Michigan’s most in need.  

"This is the worst time to do this for Michigan workers.  I think it is reckless.  It’s inexcusable.”

Cutting state benefits will reduce the cost to Michigan businesses that must pay into the unemployment fund.  Cutting state unemployment benefits by 6 weeks could also reduce federal unemployment benefits by up to 16 weeks for jobless Michiganders. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says the change will save state businesses $300 a year starting in 2012.

Levin says it’s unfair to shorten the period unemployed Michiganders can receive jobless benefits. 

“The governor can say to the legislature 'Get back.  Do what needs to be done here.  And stop the hijacking.'”

Federal jobless benefits for 35,000 unemployed Michiganders will expire April 1st  if Snyder vetoes the bill.

http://www.house.gov/levin/

A Michigan Congressman says U.S. automakers need more help to sell large numbers of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The Obama administration has set a goal of one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015.

There’s already a federal tax credit of $7,500 to help defray the cost of buying a hybrid or electric car.   But there’s a cap on how many of the credits are available to each automaker. 

Congressman Dave Camp with John Boehner.
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Michigan Republican Dave Camp is the chairman-elect of the House Committee on Ways and Means. Camp released a statement saying it is a great honor to be selected as chairman:

"Our nation is at a crossroads – facing record debt and an unemployment rate stuck at nearly 10 percent. The decisions we make and the policies we put forward will determine whether or not we get this economy back on track and Americans back to work."

The committee has jurisdiction over revenue for the U.S. government (taxes) and "other related issues" - things like unemployment benefits, tariffs, trade agreements, Social Security, and Medicare.

Camp will take over the committee from another Michigander, Democrat Sander Levin.