Not surprisingly, Sen. Carl Levin is working full time on issues relating to the biggest problem facing Michigan.
“The thing that is going on 24/7 is the auto industry. Everyone in the Michigan, Ohio and Indiana delegations — the auto states, we call them — is so involved, I can’t say,” said the Michigan Democrat, who spoke at a luncheon hosted by the Garden City Kiwanis Club.
The most important accomplishment of the delegation has been giving President Barack Obama and his administration a better understanding on the importance of the auto industry and manufacturing overall, Levin said.
“My brother and I worked in auto plants. We take it personally when colleagues have a negative stereotype about the auto industry,” said Levin. “No other country in the world would allow its auto industry to go down. In Japan, auto workers are literally on the government payroll — they won’t let the industry go with this worldwide economic slump.”
My thanks to the Foreign Policy Association for inviting me to be here tonight. It is an honor to speak to the members of an organization who have added so much to our nation’s foreign policy debate over the years.
In thinking about how I might try to live up to that tradition, I set out to sum up lessons learned from the war in Iraq and how we’re back on track, focusing on the right enemy – al Qaeda and the Taliban – in the right place – Afghanistan and Pakistan. I had planned to lay before you tonight a vision of a world inspired by a young American president who summons us to look beyond party and politics, to work together here at home, and to engage our allies around the world to confront the threat of religious extremists preaching fanatic intolerance. The power of President Obama’s message – dramatized in Prague and Berlin when multitudes showed up to cheer him – holds the promise of regaining the good will of people around the world. The President’s decision to end torture, to close Guantanamo, to talk to our enemies, and to reduce the threat of nuclear annihilation shows the world that America is willing not only to lead – but to listen.
But then last week, a voice from the recent past reemerged, claiming that America can do what we please, preaching unilateralism again, and embracing the arrogance that for too many years alienated our friends and set back efforts to achieve common goals. Former Vice President Cheney’s world view, which so dominated the Bush years and which so dishonored our nation, gained a little traction last week – enough to persuade me to address it head on here tonight.
I do so as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which recently completed an eighteen month investigation into the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody and produced a 200 page bipartisan report which gives the lie to Mr. Cheney’s claims. I do so because if the abusive interrogation techniques that he champions – the face of which were the pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib – if they are once more seen as representative of America, our security will be severely set back.
When former Vice President Cheney said last week that what happened at Abu Ghraib was the work of “a few sadistic prison guards” acting on their own, he bore false witness. And when he said last week there was no link between the techniques used at Abu Ghraib and those approved for use in the CIA’s secret prisons, he again strayed from the truth. The seeds of Abu Ghraib’s rotten fruit were sown by civilians at the highest levels of our government.
Ask most lawmakers and they will tell you that the political elements are aligned this Congress for military acquisition reform.
This year, both chambers rolled out legislation to overhaul how the Pentagon buys major weapons, and that is due in large part to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who has emerged as a key ally to President Barack Obama on military matters.
A bill proposed last week to regulate hedge funds in the U.S. could require them to start talking more — including about their investors.
The Hedge Fund Transparency Act was introduced by Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, and Sen. Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican. One part of the bill that caused a buzz among hedge-fund managers and lawyers over the weekend is a new requirement that hedge-fund investors’ names be routinely and publicly disclosed.
Two senior senators introduced legislation on Thursday to impose government oversight of hedge funds.
The legislation by Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, and Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, was filed as the Obama administration was preparing a broader legislative overhaul of the regulatory system, including an effort to more tightly regulate hedge funds.
Mr. President, Title II of this bill would authorize retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who collected intelligence information inside the United States in defiance of the clear requirements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as it was then on the books. The argument has been made that we must provide such immunity, because these telecommunications companies responded to requests from the government in a time of great uncertainty after the events of September 11, 2001. (more…)
Mr. President, day after day record-high oil and gasoline prices are hurting millions of American consumers and businesses. Unless something is done to make energy more affordable, the record-high prices will continue to reverberate throughout our economy, increasing the prices of transportation, food, manufacturing and everything in between. Skyrocketing energy prices are a threat to our economic and national security, and the time is long past for action.
Before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
Chairwoman Maloney, Ranking Member Biggert, and Members of the Subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to testify today and add to your legislative record a description of some of the work on unfair credit card practices that has been conducted in the other body, by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair. I would also like to commend this Subcommittee and the full Financial Services Committee for the important work you have been doing to expose credit card abuses. The Maloney-Frank bill you are considering today, H.R. 5244, includes valuable provisions which would alleviate many of the credit card abuses hurting American families. It’s impressive that the bill already has 95 cosponsors. (more…)
Welcome General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Thank you for joining us today, and thank you for your service to our nation. Please express our deep gratitude to the brave men and women serving in Iraq both in our armed forces and in the civilian agencies of our government. (more…)
Tax cheats come in all shapes and sizes, so it would be hard to pick out of a lineup the 100 Americans whom the IRS suspects of hiding funds in Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine country known for opening bank accounts and accepting large deposits of funds with few questions asked. (more…)
Americans are struggling with a very rocky economy while they are also holding almost $1 trillion in credit card debt. In most cases, those cards provide a little flexibility with the monthly bills. But an increasing number of people are defaulting because of the “tricks and traps” — soaring interest rates and hidden fees — in the credit card business. (more…)
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and senior Committee Member John Warner, R-Va., today asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review Iraqi oil revenues and determine how much money the Iraqi government has contributed to security and reconstruction efforts in the country. The senators voice concern that the Iraqi government has tremendous resources sitting in banks around the world while not doing nearly enough to improve the quality of life of Iraqi citizens. (more…)
I urge my colleagues to support the Intelligence Authorization conference report which includes a requirement that all government agencies, including the CIA, comply with the Army Field Manual on Interrogations in the treatment and interrogation of detainees. (more…)
Mr. President, last year Congress passed a temporary bill with a six month time limit that would give us the opportunity to carry out a thorough, thoughtful examination of how to utilize complicated new technologies in the surveillance of suspected terrorists without invading the privacy of innocent Americans. In the months since we passed that temporary act, we have worked in a bipartisan manner to consider the best course forward for permanent changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Despite the enormous complexity of these issues, we reached a bipartisan consensus on the key provisions contained in Title I of the bill we are considering today. (more…)
By John Poirier, Reuters, 02/08/2008
Congress is likely to move toward final legislation this year to reform often-criticized marketing and billing practices by credit card companies, a senior U.S. lawmaker said on Friday.
Wealthy Americans dodge more than $100 billion a year in taxes by hiding assets in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens, said a senior lawmaker on Friday who is trying to put a stop to it. (more…)