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 his 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.

Legislative Snapshot

Social Security

In 2005, Rep. Levin played the lead role as Ranking Member of the Ways and Means Social Security committee in the battle in the House to prevent President Bush’s campaign to privatize Social Security.

Now, as Ranking Member of the full Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Levin continues to fight to preserve Social Security so that seniors and people with permanent disabilities can receive the benefits they deserve.

Health Care

Rep. Levin is working to effectively implement health care reform – the Affordable Care Act.  He opposes efforts to end the guarantee of Medicare and turn it into a voucher system.  He is working towards smart policies that improve quality and produce savings so that Medicare can be around for generations to come. 

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.

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.

Human Resources

Rep. Levin has fought to preserve federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation in tough economic times to support workers who are jobless through no fault of their own while they look for work.

Rep. Levin is working to improve the lives of children; he was an original cosponsor of the bi-partisan Protect Our Kids Act, which establishes a national commission to develop recommendations to reduce the number of children who die from abuse and neglect.

Rep. Levin worked with the Clinton Administration to help reshape the nation’s welfare system so that it supported moving individuals to work and  independence.  He worked  across party lines to make a series of some benefit restorations to legal immigrants affected by welfare reform, restoring SSI and Medicaid benefits, and food stamps  to eligible 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.

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 support families who need food assistance through the food stamp program.

Business and Tax Reform

Rep. Levin is actively involved in the ongoing tax reform debate.  Congress last enacted comprehensive tax reform in 1986, when Rep. Levin was in his third term in Congress, making him one of only two sitting committee members that served in Congress when the 1986 tax reform act was passed.  Rep. Levin brings this breadth of knowledge and experience to the current tax reform debate.

Rep. Levin believes that the tax code should be fair and progressive, and has long advocated for provisions that would ensure the competitiveness of American businesses and help move the economy forward.  He has championed tax legislation that supports clean energy, manufacturing, and research and development – recognizing that manufacturing and innovation are critical to America’s success.  The following legislation highlights Rep. Levin’s commitment to these ideals as Congress continues to debate 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 to add $2 billion to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support U.S. development of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems.

Rep. Levin championed the Manufacturing Modernization and Diversification Act 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 provides resources to states to partner with financial institutions to directly address the cash flow and collateral problems that are preventing too many manufacturers from accessing credit. It complements President Obama’s call to expand access to credit as central priority of economic recovery efforts.

Rep. Levin in 2010 introduced legislation to eliminate capital gains tax on investments in qualified small business stock. This will provide a strong incentive for timely equity investments in qualified small businesses.

Rep. Levin introduced legislation 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 on multiple occasions 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. 

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 United States. He has co-sponsored legislation with Rep. Dave Camp on this issue.


Rep. Levin served as Chair of the Trade Subcommittee during the 110th and 111th Congress, 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).

During the Clinton Administration Rep. Levin worked 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.

As Ranking Member Rep. Levin worked with the Obama Administration to address key issues with the Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements.  In the 112th Congress, Rep. Levin helped to shepherd those free trade agreements to final passage in the House. 

In the 113th Congress, Rep. Levin is engaged in a significant legislative agenda, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the ongoing negotiations for the U.S.-E.U. Free Trade Agreement, and Trade Promotion Authority legislation.  In August 2013, Ranking Member Levin traveled to Bangladesh to see first hand the dangerous labor conditions many garment sector workers face. 

Energy and Environment

Rep. Levin is an advocate in the House of Representatives on energy and environmental issues.  In its most recent (2012) National Environmental Scorecard, the League of Conservation Voters awarded Rep. Levin a 96% lifetime rating for his votes on energy and environmental issues.  He is especially active on protecting the Great Lakes and especially Lake St. Clair and its watershed.  Rep. Levin is a leading voice in the House in support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a three-year-old effort to protect, restore and maintain the Great Lakes ecosystem.  He is the co-author of a key provision of the 2007 Water Resources and Development that requires a Strategic Implementation Plan to restore Lake St. Clair.  Rep. Levin strongly supports the agreement hammered out by the Obama Administration, the State of California, environmental groups and the UAW to increase the fuel economy of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.