December 12th, 2008
05:19 PM ET
3 years ago

Dingell blames 'some Southern senators' for auto bailout defeat

Dingell has served in Congress for more than five decades.
Dingell has served in Congress for more than five decades.

(CNN) - Michigan Rep. John Dingell blasted “some Southern Senators” Friday for the failure of the auto bailout plan.

“Last night, some Southern Senators kicked American workers in the gut,” Dingell said in a statement released by his office. “Let’s be clear about what happened in the Senate: Senators from states where the international automakers do considerable business unpatriotically blocked a bill that was supported by the White House, that passed the House with a bipartisan majority, and that had the support of 52 Senators.”

Dingell said that Republican critics of the proposal could have had “many reasons for blocking this bill and thwarting the will of a majority of Congress,” although he said they had not allowed their objections over pay and benefit provisions “to be resolved in the proper tradition.”

But, he added, “It could also be that a block of southern Senators saw an opportunity for their states to benefit from the losses of those of us in all parts of the country.

"Perhaps they wanted to crush a long time political rival – the United Auto Workers – without any concern about the considerable damage done to the nation’s economy and the millions of American workers who would be without work. That they would take any or all of these positions is troubling, but that they would do so during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression literally shocks the conscience."

Dingell and Michigan representatives of both parties sent a letter Friday to President Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calling on them to use existing bailout funds to aid the struggling auto industry.


Filed under: Auto Bailout
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. DE

    Hey libs, Bush supports and helped write the bailout, where is the loving adoration for him? This is too funny, the person that democrats and bloggers hate and loathe, Bush, is now their partner in the bailout. This must immediately make him a super intellectual. It now sounds like Bush may do what the democrats couldn't accomplish and give the UAW, I mean auto companies, their 15 billion out of the 350 billion at his disposal for the banks. If and when that happens it will be great to hear all of you who spew hate and racists remarks towards republicans, proclaim that Bush is now the second coming of messiah. Come on libs lets hear it, he is on your side, lets hear the love.

    December 12, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. No incumbents 2010

    Amike- who would bail out the insurance employees that would be unemployed? Just sayin'

    December 12, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. J.C.

    Temporarily relief for the workers is necessary, but rescuing three failing companies would be useless. Obviously, they did not care what customers want and continued producing unwanted cars. They have to shape up before we can give them any bailout. It is illogical to ask the customers and/or taxpayers to bail them out at this point.

    December 12, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. Matt

    Well, if the shoe fits. I fully expect "southern senators" (read: the last bastions of racist politics) to recoil from the fact that they must evolve to fit the societla mores of the 21st century and to entreanch themselves in the politics that have turned the GOP into a behemoth pariah. Just watch. Should be a grand 4 year soap opera of sour grapes and bitterness.

    December 12, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. AUC

    It is amazing that the Senators of Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky have foreign car plants in their states and they especially Bob Corker's racist butt from Tennessee have sold their constituents down the river. I hope the Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee who had workers vote for Corker against Harold Ford Jr. two years ago are happy with their choice. What a joke that little "country a$$" person is! He's an embarrasement to all Tennesseans!

    December 12, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. tammy in florida

    Houses are a necessity!!!!!!!!!!!! Cars are a luxury!!!!!!!!! End of story!

    December 12, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  7. gene

    I am a 40 year straight ticket voting Republican who will change to straight ticket Democrat after the hypocrisy shown by the Southern fools so-called senators. This is nothing more than Us vs Them and now I know who Them are. The next time Katrina hits the South I hope they rot in their mess. I am for cutting every penny off from below the Mason-Dixon line. I hope Rush hears this too, because I am not alone in this. I loved the conservative ideal, but crooks have taken over the party and I want nothing to do with them.

    December 12, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Matt

    They view it as punishing the union for not backing down to their demands that the innocent workers who relied on the mindless imbeciles running the country take a hit to their paycheck in order to save the company. The GOP would much rather see that than force the narrow-minded self-serving executives to forfeit their ill-gotten gains from the past few years when this entire catastrophe was completely foreseeable but they refused to do anything because they were in it with Big Oil and willing to send the companies to hell to make ridiculous money for themselves, all while fighting against the R&D expense of coming up with alternative energies, better cars and emissions standards. Line 'em up CNN. Who were their lobbyists who have fought Congressional measures to have things like better missions standards? How much did those bastards haul in over the past few years? Corner them. I want to hear what they have to say for themselves and about the people who paid them.

    December 12, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. john

    why is it that these southern senators always block any legislation that benefits the country?.. that mitch mcconnell has done nothing positive since hes was elected.

    and why havent the southern people thrown these bums out?

    December 12, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  10. Henry

    This is for Nola. It is ignorant people like you that make this country as backwards as it can be sometimes. Blaming the country's financial problems on the wonderful people in South is stupid, and unfair. I hope to God that you are waiting in a line when we enter a depression.

    December 12, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. flying elvis

    Dingel is an idiot

    December 12, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. J. L. Wlker, Sr.

    Why should the US tax payer bail out poor management and over paid union workers who caused 90% of the problem the industry is in. a
    reorganization in bankruptcy is the only way. It gets ride of poor management and the non competitive union contracts.

    New competent management and competitive labor contracts are the only way. American ingenuity from the privet sector will do the rest.
    The government can help by participating in the financing during the bankruptcy reorganization. Any other solution will be putting good money after bad and unfair to the US taxpayer.

    December 12, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  13. Jack

    It looks like the moderators of this don't want to hear about fair labor wages. The republicans have represented the rich elite for over 100 years and they have been against organized labor that has fought for a living wage.

    December 12, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  14. brooke

    I live in Alabama and I support the LOAN (it's not a bail out). Senator Shelby has the foreign automakers in his back pocket. His statements about him believing in free markets and capitalism are just words. He took $75 million from federal government to bailout the fishing industry in May, 08 because he said that the fishing industry was vital to Alabama's economy. Now, if the Big 3 aren't vital to the US economy, I don't know what is. If he believed in free markets he wouldn't have bailed out the fishermen.

    By the way, I called his office to ask him to please vote for the bridge loan to the Big 3. His staff answered my questions from a script. When I asked who would supply our military with equipment if the Big 3 went under, there was a long pause...then, I'm not sure...then, thanks for your call...then, I was disconnected. So, I'm still not sure why my state re-elects him every time he runs.

    December 12, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  15. Jim

    scumbag republicans, I can't stand them, and the sad thing is the south is full of them, rednecks scumbags!

    December 12, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  16. Glenn, Cary, NC

    Funny, isn't it? All of these comments vaunting the superiority of the foreign car companies? Let's see. The foreign car companies don't even pretend to be willing to build a factory in this country unless they get tens of millions (nowadays it's hundreds of millions) of "incentives" (i.e., subsidies in the form of tax breaks and outright capital investments by state and local governments). Oh, and their home countries protect them with high tariffs and direct subsidies. Oh yeah, and they have universal health care that they (the companies) don't have to pay anything for. And, in this country at least, they haven't been in business long enough to have a lot of retirees. So anybody who doesn't like government subsidies to corporations should be up in arms and picketing daily in front of all the foreign car company plants in the US. Otherwise, you should just keep your ignorant, hypocritical mouths shut.

    As for Corker and Shelby: There couldn't possibly be two more despicable politicians. Corker was elected only because he ran a purely racist campaign and Shelby smeared a genuine US war hero, claiming that the real hero was a friend of terrorists. What scum.

    I would hate to suffer a stroke and become so stupid that I would think that this whole Republican charade was anything other than political posturing – they are just suckering the same people who are eager to blame hard-working, good American citizens for the hard times that the US auto industry is experiencing. It's not that simple, folks. The reality is a little more complex than that. But then, complexity is not exactly a Republican strong suit. Neither is real patriotism.

    December 12, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. Eric - Portland Oregon

    Let's see,

    Last week the auto unions said they were willing to come to the table; then yesterday the said we won't talk until the end of this contract. This, rightfully, upset some senators who understand that when your hourly labor cost is about 40-50% higher than your competitor you can't really compete. I am almost to the point of saying "let it fail", almost. The problem is that there are too many innocent bystanders who would end up as collatteral damage and that would be too painful.

    Given all of this I hope and PRAY that the UAW is taken to the woodshed when this contract is done, that is if they are still around and their workers still have jobs.

    December 12, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. Dan

    I'm registered Republican, voted Republican all my life until this year. It is no longer the "small Government, stay out of people's personal business" party. More like facists for religious fundamentalist idiots now.
    Under Republican majorities in both houses of Congress for 6 years, and a retarded monkey Republican President for 8 years, we now have the biggest Government ever, the biggest trade deficit ever, the biggest budget deficits ever, more intrusion into our personal business since the days of fascist Mcarthyism, and a foolish occupation of Iraq costing taxpayers billions per week.
    Let's see the overpaid GOP Senators take a pay cut, and give back their FREE FOR LIFE health care with no deductibles. More idiocy from Republicans, let's just let millions of people be put out of work.
    There's a reason the south lost the civil war....they didn't think that out very well either. Maybe next time they rise up it will be high enough to kiss this Yankee's rear end.

    December 12, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. MK

    Dingell is correct.

    The UAW and the workers they represent have consessions on the books. Who asked AIG how much it paid in bonuses? Who asked AIG what it pays it's workers hourly? Or how much per hour it cost to pay a salary and benefits. I am guessing it is way more than the 71 dollars an hour it cost the big three to pay an hourly wage and benefits to an employee.

    To paraphrase/highjack a very popular bumper sticker in the south....if I would have known it would come to this, I would have let them succeed.

    December 12, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. Ted:Canada

    This will cost you!

    Wait until you see the REAL BILL !

    When these people loose their jobs and their retirement pensions.

    Who will pay then?

    Take down the names of the politicians that voted against this and then send them the BILL !

    Never forget!

    December 12, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. Jerry

    Being a former midwesterner, I am sorry to see the economic destruction of the midwest continue. However, if southerners are willing to abandon the midwest, maybe midwesterners can return the favor when the next hurricane hits South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, etc. No federal aid for idiots dumb enough to build houses, businesses, etc in the potential path of hurricanes.

    December 13, 2008 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  22. KD

    Problem with the US Auto industry is 1) poor management in the last few years. Bringing in someone from the outside like Ford did was a good move.. Look what Ford has done in the last few years, their vehicles now have the same reliability as Toyota and Honda now. 2) The people in the South are in right to work states. Meaning, it's very hard to form a Union to fight against management, so management can set whatever wage they want. That means no health care, no anything else for the people in the south, or if they do, it's not quite the same.

    Now, I'm not defending the auto worker in MI. MAtter of fact, they DO need to make some concessions. I pay 1/4 of my health care, and I work for the US GOv't. GM employees threatened a strike for having to pay up to $50 a month for health care to help cover the costs. Scuse me? I saw an article that said a lot of the reason companies are shedding money is due to the outrageous cost of health insurance.. It's well documented that the average line worker at GM makes, combining their benefits, nearly $90K. I have 2 college degrees and don't come anywhere close to that with my benefits..

    December 12, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  23. My Friends, let me tell you

    I have taken their names and the names of the states that opposed it.They will receive their just rewards in the coming years.I will not buy anything made in their states nor be a tourist in any.

    December 13, 2008 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    Yes!! Time to boycott anything that is coming from the South.

    December 12, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  25. FreeNLovIt

    Do NOT buy a foreign car for the next four years. Buy an American car. I am unemployed at the moment, but when I have a job, it will be from Chrysler.

    December 12, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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