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Public Statements

Continuing Appropriations

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REID. Mr. President, we are going to take up legislation this week to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. I applaud the committee work done by Chairman Mikulski and Ranking Member Shelby. These two individuals are seasoned veterans. They have worked hard to get this legislation done, as only they could do. They are two of our most senior Members and two of the most respected Members.

The measure we are going to work on starting today was passed by the House of Representatives last week. It is not perfect, and we hope to improve upon that. There will be amendments offered. I am working on a process to consider those amendments. This week will offer another opportunity for the Senate to return to regular order, an opportunity for this body to legislate through cooperation, through compromise, as we used to do. This legislation will be a test of the Senate's good will. America's economy is poised to grow and expand. The last thing it needs is another manufactured crisis, such as a government shutdown, to derail its progress.

For some public servants the political fires are lit by their first trip to Washington or by being moved by a memorable party convention speech. For others the history of military service leads to a career in public service. For still others a single issue, such as a proposed freeway through a vibrant community, propels them into politics. But for Senator Carl Levin, serving Michigan families is something of a family business. Senator Levin's father served as a Michigan corrections commissioner. His uncle Theodore was chief judge for the district court in the Eastern District of Michigan for many years.

I was elected to Congress in 1982--the same year Senator Levin's brother Sander was elected to the House of Representatives. He has been ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He is a distinguished Member of the House of Representatives, having served that body for going on 31 years.

The first time I met Carl Levin was over here. I was in the House, going to run for the Senate. We met in his office. The first thing I said was, I came to Washington a few years ago with your brother, elected in the same class.

He said: Yes, he is my brother but also my best friend.

How about that? That is something I have never ever forgotten. These two brothers, natives of Detroit, have done much for the State of Michigan.

Carl Levin is truly an outstanding Senator and an even better man. He is the longest serving Senator in his State's history. He dedicated his life to Michigan families long before he was elected to the Senate. He served as general counsel to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission and as assistant attorney general for the State of Michigan. He served two terms on the Detroit City Council, one of them as president of the city council. As a Senator Senator Levin has consistently advocated for Michigan families, whether that meant supporting the auto industry, protecting Lake Michigan, holding credit card companies accountable or securing funding for sons and daughters serving in the U.S. military.

As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin is the Nation's most respected voice on national security and the most powerful advocate for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. As chairman of the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations, he has sought truth on behalf of American families time and time again. He led investigations of the 2008 financial crisis, abusive credit practices and abusive credit card practices, and a long, extensive, extremely enlightening bit of work on the Enron collapse.

His dedication to the Senate is matched only by his dedication to his own family. He and his loving wife Barbara have been married for more than 50 years. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.

I am confident Carl is looking forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, taking long walks through his and Sandy's tree farm. It is a wonderful place they go. They don't harvest anything; it is just a bunch of trees, and they love that tree farm.

I so admire Senator Levin. Clearly, when he retires in 2 years, the Senate will lose its powerful voice for military families and issues that need to be investigated by this body. Michigan is a much better place because of Carl Levin. Our country, the United States, is a much better place because of Carl Levin's service.


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