December 12th, 2008
05:19 PM ET
7 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. John

    This is nothing more than a brazen attempt to take down labor unions. The republicans in the senate would like us all to believe that labor costs are the sole reason why our auto makers are in the toilet when that is simply not true. An industry slow to react to changes in the market is more likely the real cause. Republicans have done enough damage. I don't want them touching anything for the next 38 days.

    December 12, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. No incumbents 2010

    Give them the money. We'll print more.

    December 12, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. GP

    The south lost the war. Deal with it. Giving the Big 3 is the best medicine for the USA.

    December 12, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. randy

    Maybe they'll secede from the US again...

    December 12, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. Alabama Democrat

    Nobody wants to see thousands of auto workers out of jobs. In Alabama, we have Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, and other auto plants who are laying off workers and shutting down production causing a strain in the pocket books of thousands down here too. The trouble with the bailout is that you can't shove billions of one dollar bills in a cracked wall and call it caulk. Our big three have greater problems long term than cashflow and that's the reason Sentate Republicans, including a vocal majority from the south, voted it down. Lets see a thorough long term plan and know exactly how our dollars are going to make a difference in the next 12-18 months before we throw all this money away. Money, I might add, that we're borrrowing from Asian countries who are turning right around and improving on cars and trucks that are viable for us to buy.

    By the way, "jason:" I am lilly white, consider myself a good ol' boy, am proud of my southern heritage, and I voted for a black man for president. Don't be so quick to generalize.

    December 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. Gerda Edwards

    Liberals continue to think of only themselves.

    Let's go ahead and take the easy way out, while we screw our children and their children and their children with unbelieveable amounts of debt. At least then I can still have my flat screen TV, iPhone, and not have to sacrifice for my generations screw ups.

    December 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  7. Cynthia

    I like your comments and am in aggreemnt"No Incumbents 2010".

    I just find it so funny how dems and liberals are so quick to blame the republicans. Both parties at all levels are EQUALLY responsible for the financial crisis and their inaction to get anything major accomplished. They just continue to waste tax payer time and money.

    December 12, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. beverly

    I am confused! what is the REAL hourly wage of the average auto worker in the union? I have heard $25.00 from the UAW president, and $75.00 from the anti-union faction. Is fact too much to hope for?
    Voting as a block to destroy unions serves no one. How about honest negotiations and intelligent results? A strictly supervised Loan?

    December 12, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  9. Bobby from MS


    December 12, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. JK Ashburn, VA

    Yeah, Dingell, let's be very clear about what happened last night. The deal tripped up on one point: the willingness of the UAW (and the Senate Dems) to set a date for labor contract re-structuring. If GM goes chapter 11, those contracts will get re-structured, anyway. That's what killed the deal. The worker's union.

    UAW members - your union will be putting you out of jobs because of the union's brinksmanship.

    The southern senators were protecting taxpayers.

    Hopefully Bush won't step in and screw the taxpayers now.

    December 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. CWhite

    I think this is a case of sour grapes on the part of this particular Senator! He sounds like a spoiled brat who didn't get his way. The truth is that the failure of the big 3 will impact parts suppliers who will in turn impact the foreign auto makers with a domestic presence. This trickle down effect will hurt foreign and domestic car manufacturers. Besides are the only American autoworkers those that work in Detroit?

    Since when did we reward failure? Let the foreign guys who have gotten it right buy the domestic guys who are abject failures and let us get cars we can afford and that are built with the highest quality!

    December 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. norris monger

    This bailout is not a option. It has to be done. Every senator who are responsible in making this bailout a failure have fail the american people and need to be removed.. This is about the greatest nation in the worlld not been competitive in the auto industry.. These guy were manufacturing auto before these asian and european companies, But thing went wrong and we have to understand, now is the time that we support them as they have realize their mistake and need our help in regaining their rightful # 1 position .

    Norris Monger
    silver spring md

    December 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. bryant owens

    We Southerners have been kicked in the gut too many times and suffered loss by others in the country for far too long. How does it feel Senator Dingell?

    December 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. RLE

    all of you who believe the talking points of the republicans should read more. first of all the $70/hour includes fringe benefits, that's health insurance, secondly the cost of living is higher in the north so therefore wages should be higher, come on keep up...republicans are always looking out for themselves; blue collar workers who vote for republicans need to get a clue

    December 12, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Get Your Facts People

    I find it really interesting that we can all quote with no hesitation how much the average union worker (which the $70 figure is a completely fabricated number) makes, but we don't even care about what the average hedge fund manager makes that was bailed out without any strings attached last month. Seriously, after everything that has happened, are we still so in lover with corporate America? Get real here people. Why the double standard here?
    Do we seriously like hedge fund managers more in this country then the blue collar worker? Do we seriously think that the mortgage industry that came up with the most unethical loans in the planet that started this whole mess should a bailout to the tune of 700 billion dollars that WILL NOT be repaid, but the 15 billion dollars for the auto industry that is a LOAN that could prevent the next great depression is not reasonable? Seriously, you just want to focus on the union workers? Well kiss your 401k goodbye if that's your attitude.

    Also, do we really want to outsource all of our advanced battery technology overseas and be in the exact same situation that we are right now where we have to get all of our energy from somewhere other than America? Have we learned nothing? Keeping the auto industry in America will at least give us a chance to keep the most advanced battery technology in our borders. I can't imagine a better national security policy than that. Oh, and by the way the average salary for a hedge fund manager is 540 million dollars. The average salary of a new auto worker in 2010 will be 52,000. Get your facts people.

    December 12, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. CK MN

    The Republican senators are so unpatriotic. How the !@#$!@ the Republican senators voted for $700 billion BAILOUT for the banking industry but they couldn't vote for $14 billion LOAN for the big 3 auto??? It's because they are the banking industry, their own shares are tied to the banking, so of course they voted for their own pockets. The Republican senators also wanted to punish the UAW...

    December 12, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. worried

    georgia senator chambliss voted against the bailout, but he's working on a project that will cost millions of dollars, does he expect the taxpayers to pay for his fish project. i vote NO!

    December 12, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. John Madden (not that one)

    Rep. Senators wanted Michigan UAW workers to take a pay cut, so they say. But then they lumped the pensions of 500,000 UAW retirees into the "total pay" formula. The Southern-based transplants don't have a boat-load of retirees to support, so what they actually demanded wasn't salary parity. The Repulicans wanted the Michigan UAW (and not GM management) to take a pay cut to a take-home salary that is way less than is made by their Kentucky counterparts. And then when UAW said ok, the Republicans demanded that they name a date. And when the UAW said "no date", the Republicans sunk GM, and went home. If the UAW had agreed to a date, the Republicans would've found another reason to kill this bill. This is just the first of their list of demands that the UAW said "no" to.

    December 12, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  19. Daniel from FL

    Gee I guess the GOP Senators finally got their chance to stick it to those "liberal" unions, didn't they? Yeah that's REALLY putting "country first." And they have the audacity to call Democrats "Anti-American".

    December 12, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  20. TKR, MS Born and Raised

    Wow, now all the screwups are "Southern Things".

    December 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  21. Vincent Petrosino

    Rep. Dingell is right on the money! This defeat at the hands of a band of Southern senators is typical of the mentality in the South. They are traditionalists, opposed to change, spiteful politicians who would sacrifice the rest of this country rather than legislate for what is best for the whole country. Obama's victory rankles them beyond belief. And they will do their very best to thwart the good intentions and sound policies of this "uppity" black man. American history has been scarred by the intransigence of the Southern mentality from the American Revolution to the Civil War to Jim Crow Laws to the KKK to conflicts with science and organized religion to the Civil Rights Movement to anything remotely connected with progress, humanity and equality.The rest of the country must stand firm against this destructive mentality.

    December 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  22. Roy - Chicago Il

    -I believe that those senators would like the plants in THEIR state to get more business hence their vote. Funny, why are THEY not being investigated for 'pay to play' regarding THIS vote???

    -I believe that since we bailed out the Financial industry with 700 BILLION already..........a 30 billion LOAN for the auto industry is not out of order. But the auto industry in the US is sick and needs revamping.

    December 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  23. Mark

    First of all're a racist. Yes, you called out against white males. So shut your face. Second of all, UAW workers are getting 75/hr (w/ benefits). I work at Honda (in IT...not on the line), and the wokers there are getting paid w/out benefits, 24/hr. To me, being an unskilled labor, that's pretty good money...and they have excellent benefits. The UAW outpriced themselves in today's market and the profit margin for the big three ten years ago was very slim to begin with. But workers kept getting bigger and bigger raises where it ate away the companies profits.

    I'm sorry, but getting $75/hour is crazy for an unskilled laborer. You have to go w/ the market and these guys on the line in Detroit have just overpriced themselves. Not the workers fault, but the stupid unions they work for.

    Also, their pensions are ridiculous. Every car that rolls out off the GM line, $2,000 goes to pensions. How in the world does a company profit by that? I say it's both the UAW and management of the big three are at fault.


    December 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. sick of it


    I am a conservative. And am strongly against any bailout. No member of my family stepped foot on US soil until the 1920s Therefore, they, like many Americans had NOTHING to do with slavery and are quite sick of the sterotypes. Infact they came here to escape the communism/dictators in Europe at the time. Seriously get over yourself and quit using the race card.

    December 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  25. Tony

    I don't approve of giving a penny to companies like Chrysler, which are owned by private equity firms which specialize in liquidity. I hate this bailout even more than the bank bailout and I'm glad it failed.

    December 12, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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