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. boered1

    A major problem in Washington still CONTINUES to be people playing politics over governing. Every member of the GOP and the Dems need to stand back and take a real close look at themselves, are they voting for what they feel is BEST for the overall country or are they voting for what is "best" for the party or a particular region.

    The fact that 60% of Americans think one oway on ANY subject should mean LITTLE or NOTHING to our representatives. The fact, and most Americans apparently do not know this or understand this, is that WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY!!! Contrary to what every politician tells you their job is not to parrot what their constituents say. We are a Representative Republic. We elect our officials to vote for what they believe is in the best interest of our region and our country as a whole. If they are proven wrong in their decisions then we can vote them out of office but if you are voting for someone because they say what you want to hear YOU are doing a great disservice to this country and YOU are the reason this country has grown disfunctional. Plain and simple fact folks stop believing the crap you are told and start looking onto the facts!

    December 12, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. John in WV

    Lead the way southern senator repubs. Take the same concessions you expect of the UAW in good faith. Let the American people know, after what you did, YOU are willing to sacifice.

    December 12, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. laura

    The Republicans continue to act like NEGATIVE, nasty JERKS! I don't necessarily agree with the auto bailout, but every day, all you see are Republicans giving Obama a hard time, or being critical of Congress. Their party is going to DIE because they offer nothing positive, no suggestions of their own,

    December 12, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. matt

    maybe the reason it failed is because a lot of americans dont want to support another failing company with public funds. if we are going to nationalize an industry, maybe we should try healthcare. I would not give them money for a crappy american car, and I am glad that they were not able to use lobbyists to steal the money out of my pocket.

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

    Don't bailout these over paid UAW workers. The UAW is a greedy bunch of people. What are they going to do when the Big three all fail and all those peole lose their jobs? They should have made some concessions with their salary. These autoworkers are so over paid is is crazy. I live in California and i wish I had these Southern Senators representing CA and not Boxer and Feinstein.

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

    First of all let me state that the 70 dollars an hour is not standard in detroit. I have a friend who is from there. The average pay for them is about 28 dollars an hour. Second. It is sad in america when we loose our own cars. I buy only american cars. I have gotten better gas mileage and less repairs from american cars. I think unless the government fixes the problems the conservatives and replublicans caused for six years, we are screwed. Hopefully Obama can do it. Cause republicans only care about themselves. Trust me I lived in a state where republican law is held. And they are the poorest state, take the most money from the federal government and pay the least amount of taxes. The rich can afford the taxes. They only need one house and their kids need jobs to afford their cars. I was raised by a man who survived the depression and he would be rolling in digust if he saw what republicans have done.

    December 12, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. peter

    It is interesting that the media tries to slant the news to make the Republican minority in the Senate the bad guys in withholding bail out money for the big three automakers until certain conditions are met. Yet at the same time, over 60% of those American public polled think there should not be an auto bail out. Doesn't that make the Democratic majority and the MSM the real bad guys for going against the will of the people?

    December 12, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. JK

    So it's ok for the Michigan reps to act in the best interest of their constituents, but not ok when a southern rep does the same? It's their job to represent the people that elected them.

    Everyone will be better off in the long run if we allow the Big 3 to "fail" (i.e. go bankrupt). Their current business model does not work, and hasn't been working for decades. They're losing money at a historic pace. Any money we give them now just gives them less incentive to change their ways. Paying bad companies to make terrible cars that no one wants is a horrible idea.

    December 12, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. Joe

    You know....maybe I don't get it but isn't GM basically just asking the government for a fraction of the the BILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars that they have paid in taxes over the years. Why is the media making it sound like this money is coming from the people? GM probably pays more taxes than anyone and now they just need some of it loaned back to them during a tough economy.

    But when it comes to the banks and their shady mortgage questions asked.

    December 12, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  10. alreadytiredofit

    The blame is as follows:

    The executives: No innovation and think global warming is "bull****" (Lutz who's in charge of the Volt program said this). Arrogant management, bad engineering, making vehicles people didn't want.

    The UAW: Expecting to receive a paycheck at 95% compensation when you're laid off is crazy – NO ONE gets that in America (probably should but don't). Expecting to not have to contribute to your health plan, same thing, the rest of us have to – we need UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE!!!!

    Dealers: Raping the public for as much money as they could any chance they got, being greedy and doing business with NO integrity – people are giving them a big FU.

    Republican Senators: UNION BUSTING – THAT'S ALL THEY'RE DOING!!

    Drive a Honda – the handling is amazing. Sorry, but it is what it is.

    Here's a thought – why don't one of them submit a plan that they will pair up with those who are developing alternative fuel vehicles. There are several AMERICAN's who are trying – get together and let's get this done!

    December 12, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. possum pete

    as a resident of alabama, im in deed very proud of our senators. sen shelby and sessions have stood up to the dems power play and this ill advised bail out. asa earlier writer stated, most are against this bail out. if the automakers cant make it, so be it. if we as average working folks mismanage our finances guess what happens?????????
    soooooooooo, no bail out, learn how to run your company's better and get the union outta the car business.

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

    What about the 2 million people who were laid off prior to the auto bailout? Where's their bailout? And anyone who thinks the loss of those jobs hasn't had a devastating affect on the economy should think again.

    December 12, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. riles

    They had no problem giving $700 Billion to Wall Street (Which CNBC says is really closer to $3 Trillion) and about $150 Billion (so far) to AIG but ZERO to automotive industry. Only a moron would think that bankruptcy doesn't matter. Who would buy a car from a manufacturer who was in bankruptcy knowing there's a likelihood that the warranty won't exist? And who in their right mind would buy a car from a company in bankruptcy where the write-down will far exceed any company not in the same situation? And what kind of moron would vote no and suggest bankruptcy when filing will result in ending the pension plan which cause Pension Guaranty folks (Funded by U.S. Taxpayers) to pick up the bill? BTW, GM's pension plan is currently unfunded to the tune of $56 BILLION. Didn't waste my time looking at Ford or Chrysler's. Figure it can't be important or the geniuses from the Southern states would have checked it out.

    December 12, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Obama 08

    The people of this country didn't approve of the bailout because they're greedy. They don't want to pay an extra 15 bucks to help the 3 million autoworkers whose jobs are on the line.

    December 12, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  15. JIM...TX

    If Congress had not given Paulson and Wall Street $700 BILLION Americans might as a whole been more receptive to bailing out/loaning the big 3 ALL of the $34 billion they wanted. We got soaked big time and have NOTHING to show for it....unfortunately the auto industry blue collar workers will suffer while Wall Streets white shirts will have a very nice Christmas:(.

    December 12, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. earle,woodstock,vt

    This is exactly why Detroit has failed! You've got guys in politics for five decades, and yet most americans can't see the parallels of status-quo,and never having to worry about failure. Most of todays politicians (mentality/complacensy) are out of touch. We desparately need, "Term Limits" in this country,because the way I see it ,most of our politicians have one foot on a banana peel, and the other one in the grave,...

    December 12, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. peter

    I know that soon to be President Obama and his congressional liberal cronies will eventually give the big 3 what they want. After all, Obama did get $50 million from the unions. They want payback.

    What I do not understand is what President Bush is doing? Why liberals hate this guy with all his generous spending at taxpayers' expense for the past 8 years, I will never understand.

    December 12, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Amike

    Here's one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet:

    GM employees get less actual money per hour than Toyota employees. They "make more" overall, though, because of extra perks and benefits: retirement funds, workers-comp protections, and–oh yeah, HEALTH CARE.

    Gee, if only we had a national health care system, GM wouldn't be on the hook for that money, and then (according to the *Senate Republicans*, mind you) there wouldn't be a problem.

    Just sayin'.

    December 12, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. Hershel

    The President needs to act quickly and should make a public statement condemning the Senates inability to work together and ACT to protect the American Economy in a responsible fashion. They would prefer to play politics and let the country go down the drain. They keep ridiculing the auto makers for their CEOs big salaries and line workers big salaries and profit loses but look at what they get paid. Look at all the benefits they rake in and when was the last time the Federal Government turned a profit? They ridicule the auto makers for coming the tax payers for money when they approve legislation to use the same tax payer money to buy $800.00 toilet seats and such. They need to look to there own affairs too.

    December 12, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  20. RFS

    Labor overwhelmingly supported Obama and now they need Republicans to support their undeserved bailout. Only in America. Go figure. In a world economy your wage is determined by whoever can do your job and for whatever wage they are willing to do it and do it adequately. I am sure no unionized auto workers go to Walmart and buy those Chinese made goods. What goes around comes around.

    December 12, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Ed

    GM doesn't deserve a loan now. It NEEDS to go bankrupt. Only in Chapter 11 bankruptcy will it truly be able to restructure the way it needs. Chapter 11 is restucturing and Chapter 7 is liquidation. The public needs to know the difference. The fear-mongers act as if the Detroit 3 will be liquidated and disappear. No, they will be restructured and emerge smaller, stronger and more competitive and do it quicker than if they had to restructure without the protection of Chapter 11.

    And in Chapter 11, there is something called debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing. With all the billions poured into the banks lately, there is plenty of money for a DIP loan of any conceivable size, which GM should be able to get as soon as it has a realistic plan to turn itself around.

    Chapter 11 works for the airlines, the steel mills, the parts suppliers, retailers and every other sector in America. It is a well-designed and effective law. What makes the auto industry so special it can't follow the same rules as everyone else? It has no real plan and it just wants a handout to get into next year when a new administration will be in place that is more likely to embrace a European-style, socialist-protectionist industrial policy.

    December 12, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Shelley from Florida

    Why weren't the CEO's of the miserable financial institutions like AIG told that they needed to forfiet their benifits and take pay cuts or present a timeline and plan before they received their loot!!!
    Why doesn't Fuld give back all the millions he made in salary and bonuses?? These CEO made out like robber barons and real theives while the average workers in the Auto industry are made to give up so much because they supposedly " make too much.' Give me a break!!!!
    These southern Republicans make me so sick!!!

    December 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. Ana

    Charlie NJ...may I put the blame on you, then? The facts you state are untrue. GM autoworkers make nowhere near $70.00 an hour. My spouse retired @2 years ago making under $30.00 an hour...that's after having worked there for 30 years.

    And just because you irritated me, I would like to suggest you learn about compound words, commas in a series, apostrophes, when to capitalize, homonyms...

    A mistake is one thing, but sheesh.

    December 12, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  24. How do you spell junk?

    No one has mentioned that in addition to the excessive benefits package union workers get, there's another factor; the cars they build for the big 3 (with a few exceptions) are JUNK and not worth the price people are forced to pay. Yes, crappy leadership had a lot to do with this too. Add the 3 together...union stupidity and greed, mismanagement and more greed, plus a lousy product and it is no wonder that companies like Toyota have shot to the front of the line.

    December 12, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Lets B - Real

    Lets B Real here, this seems to be the republicans last major stand before they loose a majority and the white house over the next 2 years or so. It's sad to see that the republicans are going down this road. I believe that the stipulations within the bailout will make the automakers more productive in putting out a better product. I also believe that the senators in our southern states are pushing a specific agenda and that is to protect the south and make things tougher for the Dems as they take over of the white house. If they are upset about salaries being 50 to 70 dollars per hour for some auto workers well then good for the auto workers, we can be mad at them that is what they were able to negotiate for there job then so be it. If we are going to start taking money back for poor performance lets start with our politicians, the last 8 years have not been very productive for our country.

    December 12, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
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