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Congress Reacts To Auto Bailout

Members of Congress have been weighing in all day today on President Bush's decision to open loans to the automakers.

Here's a sampling of what they said in statements released to the press.

4575468House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.: "The President's announcement this morning provides an opportunity for the American automakers to become viable and competitive while securing millions of jobs. The auto companies and all other parties now must engage in comprehensive negotiations that will require all parties to make concessions. The White House proposal unfortunately singles out workers and clearly puts them at a disadvantage before negotiations have even begun. It is essential that the development of the restructuring plans proceed in a fair and equitable manner, that the necessary sacrifice be mutual, and all laws governing fuel efficiency, emissions and improvements in automotive technology be preserved."

(Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: "The action today is disappointing news for autoworkers and taxpayers, who deserve better -- particularly from their Congress, which essentially punted on this difficult issue and is gearing up to move radical environmental legislation next year that will wreak havoc on American jobs. The no-bailout restructuring plan House Republicans put forth this month, which relied on private funds rather than taxpayer funds, was the responsible way for Washington to respond to the troubles in the American auto industry. By declining to take the responsible approach, Washington has failed both autoworkers and taxpayers."
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Senate Banking Committee Chairman: "The Treasury plan unveiled by President Bush takes many of the appropriate steps toward stabilizing the domestic automobile industry. I am pleased that the Administration incorporated many of the ideas that were negotiated with Democrats in Congress, including short-term bridge loans and tough measures to hold the industry's feet to the fire. This plan will help save hundreds of thousands of jobs in Connecticut and across the country. However, the Administration's plan deviates from the legislation we agreed to in several important ways. For example, the plan does not require Cerberus – the wealthy private equity company with 80% ownership of Chrysler – to provide any guarantee for Chrysler's loan. That means if Chrysler goes bankrupt, American taxpayers will take the loss instead of Cerberus. Also, workers are singled out to make concessions while management and other stakeholders are held to far lower standards."

4572570Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: "I regret the President's decision to give away over $17 billion to the domestic automakers. I find it unacceptable that we would leave the American taxpayer with a tab of tens of billions of dollars while failing to receive any serious concessions from the industry."

4667868Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., left, and Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.: "The action to provide emergency loans to the U.S. auto industry announced this morning by the President will provide a bridge to the future for the industry and for millions of working families in communities across America… Today's action appropriately rejects the notion of bankruptcy. In addition to the specific actions listed under the restructuring plan, the White House documents list additional subjects which the companies are to use their best efforts to achieve. The President was wise to set those restructuring targets as non-binding goals which are subject to negotiations and which the negotiators can deviate from."

Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio: "On behalf of all Ohioans, I am grateful the president stepped in to help thwart a disaster that would have sent our state over the cliff… The president has supplied oxygen to a patient fighting to get healthy through restructuring and becoming more competitive… While we are not out of the woods, there are millions of hard-working Americans today who can breathe easier this holiday season."

Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.: "Unfortunately, this decision sets a troublesome new precedent that the next administration may use to expand government control over numerous specific industries that are having troubles during these difficult times. I also question whether General Motors and Chrysler will truly take the painful, yet necessary restructuring measures to ensure that these so-called loans aren't simply throwing good money after bad."

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich.: "I sincerely thank [President Bush] for his decisive action in this dire time for our community and the auto industry. Yet while momentarily relieved from the immediate onus of uncertainty regarding their futures, working families in Michigan and America will not be celebrating. We know full well the painful auto industry restructuring we have endured for years will continue in the days, months and, yes, years to come. But just as we have done throughout this immediate trial, we will unite; we will endure; and we will prove the doubters wrong."

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