By LeAnne Rogers
OBSERVER STAFF WRITER
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.”
By JENNY STRASBURG
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.
By STEPHEN LABATON
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, 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.
David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON — Major oil companies “are getting away with murder” and “gouging” consumers as the price of oil continues to soar, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin said at a press conference today. (more…)
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…)
The progress this bill represents is overdue. The foreclosure crisis is dire, and there is much still to be done. But this bill offers some immediate help. (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…)
By Barrie Barber, The Saginaw News, February 20, 2008
In the midst of the worst foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin says federal lawmakers are looking for answers.
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.
By Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters, 02/08/2008
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…)
Read the entire bill below: (more…)
In an editorial published this week, The New York Times highlighted the predatory and deceitful practices that have become commonplace in the banking and credit card industries.
The editorial specifically commended and endorsed Senator Levin’s legislation to end these unfair practices.
A bill introduced by Senator Levin would limit “penalty” interest rates to an additional 7 percent above the previous rate. It would also prohibit retroactive penalties and double cycle billing, and it would limit the amount of fees companies could charge customers who exceed their credit limit.
Passing the Levin bill would be a good start. But Congress needs a comprehensive approach to this problem. Lawmakers need to ban deceptive card offers outright, strengthen federal oversight and toughen truth-in-lending laws.
Meanwhile, American consumers should think long and hard before they accept credit card offers that are too good to be true.
Click here to read the full editorial.
Senator Levin, Governor Granholm, and the Michigan Democratic Congressional Delegation unveil a comprehensive plan - the American Manufacturing Initiative - to revitalize our domestic manufacturing industry and reverse the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Mr. President, I am introducing today, along with Senator McCaskill, the Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act.
Credit cards are a fixture of American family life today. People use them to buy groceries, rent a car, shop on the Internet, pay college tuition, even pay their taxes. In 2005, the average family had 5 credit cards, and American households used nearly 700 million credit cards to buy goods and services worth $1.8 trillion.
Credit cards fuel commerce, facilitate financial planning, and help families deal with emergencies. But credit cards have also contributed to record amounts of household debt. Some credit card issuers have socked families with sky-high interest rates of 25%, 30%, and higher, and have hit consumers with hefty fees for late payments, for exceeding a credit limit, and other transactions. In too many cases, credit card issuers have made it all but impossible for working families to climb out of debt.
Detroit Free Press
While he gets most of his attention as one of the chief critics of the conduct of the war in Iraq, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin plunges today into a domestic issue of enormous impact for Americans: abusive practices by credit card companies.