Levin speaks out against bailout bill

Michigan Senator Carl Levin is criticizing what he calls a Republican attempt to cut federal funding from existing programs in detroit and other struggling cities.

Levin, a Democrat, spoke out on the Senate floor today against a request by Republican David Vitter of Louisiana.

Vitter asked for a vote on a bill he wrote, banning a federal bailout for Detroit and other cities.

The bill would specifically prevent the use of federal transportation or housing money to help a city or state avoid bankruptcy.

Detroit has not asked for a federal bailout.

“Despite the stated intention, the effect of this bill is to endanger the financial health of hundreds of cities and counties in every corner of this country,” Levin said. “It would weaken the safety and security of countless Americans who call those communities home.”

Levin said the bill would also apply to many communities at risk of bankruptcy and that it would prevent them from receiving federal grants for existing programs.

“Why, in heaven’s name, struggling communities, whether it’s my hometown of Detroit or any other community in this country, would be denied the ability to seek grants — not loans, because it’s not limited to loans, but grants — is beyond me,” Levin said.

Vitter’s bill never came up for a vote.

Detroit recently filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.