Ranking Member Sander M. Levin
Rep. Sander “Sandy” Levin was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982. The 9th Congressional District includes communities in Macomb and Oakland counties and spans from Lake St. Clair to Bloomfield Township.
He is the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over all tax, trade and economic growth policies and entitlement spending, including Social Security, Medicare, welfare and unemployment compensation. He has served on four of the six Ways and Means Subcommittee (Social Security, Health Care, Income Security and Family Support, Trade) except for the Oversight and Select Revenue Subcommittees.
Earlier in career, Rep. Levin was elected to the Michigan State Senate in 1964 and served as the Michigan State Senate Minority Leader from 1969 – 1970. In 1970 and 1974, Mr. Levin was the Democratic candidate for Governor. After a four year assignment as Assistant Administrator in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), he was elected to Congress in 1982.
Levin resides in Royal Oak, Michigan. He was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He earned his B.A. at the University of Chicago, his M.A. in international relations from Columbia University, and a law degree from Harvard University. He is married to Pamela Cole, a professor of Clinical Child Psychology and Human Development at Penn State University. He and his late beloved wife, Vicki, were married for over 50 years and raised their four children in Berkley, Michigan, a suburb north of Detroit in Oakland County. He has ten grandchildren and his brother Carl serves in the United States Senate. Mr. Levin is an avid sports fan, especially Red Wings hockey, plays squash with his brother, enjoys basketball, and likes classical music.
After the sudden death of Rep. Bob Matsui in early 2005, the Democratic Caucus tapped Rep. Levin to take over as the Ranking Member of the Social Security Subcommittee. In that capacity, he played a lead role in the successful battle in the House against President Bush’s campaign to privatize Social Security.
Business and Tax Reform
Rep. Levin is an outspoken supporter of federal funding to spur advanced battery manufacturing in the United States. In early 2009, he helped lead a successful effort that led to adding $2 billion to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support U.S. development of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems.
Rep. Levin has recently introduced the Manufacturing Modernization and Diversification Act (H.R. 4629) to help manufacturers access the credit they need to expand, diversify and hire new workers. Based on a successful credit support model developed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the legislation would provide resources to states resources to partner with financial institutions to directly address the cash flow and collateral problems that are preventing too many manufacturers from accessing credit, and complements President Obama’s call to expand access to credit as central priority of economic recovery efforts.
Rep. Levin has introduced legislation (H.R. 4236) to eliminate capital gains tax on investments in qualified small business stock during 2010. This will provide a strong incentive for timely equity investments in qualified small businesses.
Rep. Levin has introduced legislation (H.R. 2150) to increase from $25 billion to $50 billion the Sec. 136 loans provided by the Department of Energy to help auto manufacturers and suppliers retool to produce advanced technology vehicles.
Rep. Levin has introduced legislation (H.R. 3367) to extend and expand the tax credits for medium and heavy duty hybrid vehicles. The bill would extend the availability of these tax credits for five years, through the end of 2014, and double the credit amounts to better reflect the true incremental cost of the hybrid platform and provide a more effective incentive.
Rep. Levin has introduced legislation to treat the “carried interest” compensation received by investment fund managers as ordinary income rather than capital gains. In exchange for providing the service of managing their investors’ assets, fund managers often they receive a portion of the fund’s profits, or carried interest, usually 20 percent. Mr. Levin’s legislation would ensure that these investment professionals pay the same tax rates as other Americans on their compensation for services. This proposal has been passed by the House of Representatives on three occasions, most recently as part of the Tax Extenders Act of 2009.
Rep. Levin is a longtime champion of the R&D tax credit to ensure that all companies have a strong incentive to invest in R&D here in the US. He has co-sponsored legislation with Rep. Dave Camp on this issue.
Rep. Levin is a longtime leader on international tax reform and worked for years with former Rep. Amo Houghton to make US businesses more competitive.
Rep. Levin was the original author of Johanna’s Law, which established a nationwide campaign to educate the public and health care providers about gynecological cancers.
Rep. Levin is a leader in efforts to improve the translation of cutting edge medical research into bedside care. He is the author of legislation called the Healthcare Improvements for Generating High Performance Act, or HIGH Performance Act, which aims to facilitate dissemination of best practices in medicine more quickly and effectively.
Rep. Levin is a longtime supporter of medical research funding through the National Institutes of Health and other research facilities. His late wife worked on infant mental health and development at NIH for over 30 years.
As the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee (then Income Security and Family support) during the late 1990s, Rep. Levin worked with the Clinton Administration to help reshape the nation’s welfare laws in 1996. Thereafter, Rep. Levin worked actively across party lines to make a series of some benefit restorations to legal immigrants affected by welfare reform legislation passed in 1996. In 1997, he was instrumental in restoring SSI and Medicaid benefits to legal immigrant seniors and people with disabilities. In 1998, he helped usher through legislation that made fundamental changes to the country’s child support system - making it simpler for children to receive the benefits that they need. In 1999, the Congressman, working with former Rep. Charlie Stenholm, restored food stamp benefits for low income legal immigrant families, seniors and children.
Rep. Levin was the author of the "Food Stamp Outreach and Research for Kids Act,” popularly known as "FORK,” which provides grants to community organizations to help find people who need food assistance and enroll them in the Food Stamps program.
Rep. Levin has served as Chair of the Trade Subcommittee during the 110th and 111th Sessions, seeking ways to use trade policy to shape globalization. He believes in expanding and shaping the rules for two-way competition in trade to advance the interest of U.S. businesses and workers in the global marketplace.
He was involved in Uruguay Round negotiations, including playing a major role in maintaining strong U.S. trade remedy laws. He worked in the House on legislation implementing the Uruguay Round, the last completed round of multi-lateral trade liberalization, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO).
He worked with the Clinton Administration to create new trade policies in the Cambodia Textiles Agreement and the Jordan Free Trade Agreement to include innovative provisions on worker rights.
He authored, with former Rep. Doug Bereuter, provisions to strengthen the legislation granting China Permanent Normal Trade Relations when they entered the WTO. These provisions provided for an annual review of China’s adherence to their WTO obligations, the Section 421 safeguard to address market surges, and established the Congressional-Executive Commission on China to monitor the human rights and the development of the rule of law.
He was a key sponsor of legislation to grant trade preferences to the Caribbean Basin and Sub-Saharan African region. He supported the Chile, Singapore, Morocco, Australia, and Bahrain Free Trade Agreements.
He opposed Central America Free Trade Agreement which failed to include adequate labor and environmental standards. Levin, and Rep. Charles Rangel, brought about the inclusion of fully enforceable labor and environmental standards, including internationally-recognized core labor standards in the Peru FTA. They also brought about changes to better balance health needs to with strong intellectual property protections, ensured investment provisions of FTAs do not give foreign investors greater rights than U.S. investors have under U.S. law, clarified that labor standards can be considered in awarding government procurement contracts, and clarified provisions related to actions taken to promote U.S. national security.
He has authored, with Rep. Charles Rangel, legislation to improve trade enforcement and dramatically expand the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. TAA expansion was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
He is working with the Administration to address key outstanding issues with the Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements.
Energy and Environment
Rep. Levin introduced legislation in the 110th Congress, Super-Efficient Appliance Incentives and Market Transformation Act, to provides tax credits for the production of super-efficient dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators and dehumidifiers. This legislation, which was enacted in 2008, was designed to create jobs here in the US while saving consumers billions of dollars on utility bills and protecting the environment.