December 19th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
10 years ago

Congressmen, Big 3 react to Bush's auto rescue plan

GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner held a press conference Friday after news of the Bush administration's auto bailout plan was released.

GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner held a press conference Friday after news of the Bush administration's auto bailout plan was released.

- Senator George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio:
"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."

- Congressman Tom Price, R-Georgia:
"It is deeply disappointing that the administration has chosen to use taxpayer dollars to delay the inevitable need to fundamentally restructure these companies."

"By bailing out automakers without real reform or long-term solutions, we are only protracting uncertainty and putting billions of tax dollars at grave risk."

"It is now clear that the creation of TARP was a rueful mistake which has failed to provide urgent market stability, yet has put our country perilously in debt for the foreseeable future."

- Congressman John D. Dingell, D-Michigan:
"While I applaud President Bush's decision to provide short term loans to the domestic automakers, I have strong concerns about some of the conditions that were placed on these loans. We all want to see the Big 3 restructure and be competitive in the future, but it is irresponsible during a time of economic crisis for the White House to insist that workers take further wage cuts on top of the historic concessions they have already made."

"I strongly urge President-elect Obama to revisit this issue as his first priority upon being sworn in, and to ensure that assistance to the automakers is provided in a way that is fair to working Americans."

Watch: GM CEO Wagoner on Bush rescue plan

- General Motors statement:
"We appreciate the president extending a financial bridge at this most critical time for the U.S. auto industry and our nation's economy. This action helps to preserve many jobs, and supports the continued operation of GM and the many suppliers, dealers and small businesses across the country that depend on us."

"This will allow us to accelerate the completion of our aggressive restructuring plan for long-term, sustainable success."

- Chrysler LLC Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli:
"We intend to be accountable for this loan, including meeting the specific requirements set forth by the government, and will continue to implement our plan for long-term viability."

On behalf of the men and women of Chrysler and its extended enterprise, he said he would like to thank the administration and Treasury for their confidence in the company.

- Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally:
"As we told Congress, Ford is in a different position. We do not face a near-term liquidity issue, and we are not seeking short-term financial assistance from the government."

"But all of us at Ford appreciate the prudent step the administration has taken to address the near-term liquidity issues of GM and Chrysler. The U.S. auto industry is highly interdependent, and a failure of one of our competitors would have a ripple effect that could jeopardize millions of jobs and further damage the already weakened U.S. economy."

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. val599

    Well The CNN Parrots have missed the boat again!
    This BAIL OUT is just a method to pay the 30/60/90 Accounts Payable for the US Auto Makers, and keep the foriegn parts manufacturing Suppliers from going Bankrupt while they restructure, in Mexico, Taipei, Korea, India, China. Once they receive the money owed by the US Auto Makers, The auto makers can declare Bankruptcy and not have to pay it back.
    March 2009 the end of the Payables ledger.
    And then get rid ou the unionized labour in the US & Canada

    December 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. MK

    I have nothing but disgust on hearing that the President allow the union workers to keep their wage levels until the end of next year. Why do I have to pay for these suckers and losers from Michigan? They have been overpaid for decades. And they still have the galls to refuse to accept the Senate's condition, even when they were told that their company will go bankrupt. They would rather have no job than less pay. LET THEM HAVE NO JOB! That's their choice. Why can't the President and the Congress grant them their wish!? The rest of the auto industry will wither and die any way, because we don't have money to buy cars (and even if we do, we don't buy those made in Detroit). We have to pay taxes to pay these blood-sucking union workers!!!!! They are dragging us all down to hell! They should go to hell themselves!

    December 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Ray Fisher

    Fuel cells and in-house fueling stations in every dealership are the answer!!! Build them and the world will be at their doorsteps!!! We can provide jobs and starve the terrorists at one time. Think about it!!!

    December 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ""By bailing out automakers without real reform or long-term solutions, we are only protracting uncertainty and putting billions of tax dollars at grave risk."

    Just change "automakers" to "Wall Street, Banks, & AIG" then you would have a statement of reality. This ship of fools got all their money without strings, without oversight: the CEO's still get their millions in salary and millions in bonus money: that's where our tax dollars are really going!

    December 19, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Dixon

    Before I say anything I will say I am not an auto worker. I am in a management position in another field. Now, these auto companies didn't get to where they are by over paying the workers. The auto workers do make a decent wage and benifits. They are the people who are buying the products this country sells. You want to save these companies? Get rid of a few Presidents and Vice Presidents of whatever department they do what ever they do in at the big three and see the profits increase. The bonus' these people receive is out of control. I wonder what the Japanes pay their high end executives for the job they do. I wonder how they match uip in the numbers of executives the have on staff.

    December 19, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Samantha

    Dingell is really dingy. The pay cuts they have taken still give them much higher hourly pay rates than the vast majority of hourly workers in industries that are not asking the American people to bail them out with our money – money taken out of our paychecks in the form of payroll taxes.

    If the attitudes don't change, there is no change, there is no future.

    December 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. AEK

    Auto workers getting to stay at work. Wall Street brokers getting to stay at work. Whom to choose...

    What I hear when the Southern senators speak, "Give me some more sushi, bust the union, give me some saki, bust the union, I love WalMart, bust the union, paint my palm, bust the union, give more money to the Japanese, bust the union, give more money to the Koreans, bust the union, give more money to the Germans, bust the union. Did I mention WalMart? Bust the union.

    December 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. where's my bailout

    where's my bailout??

    My company laid off 50% of its workers and stopped paying the rest of us. I went 8 weeks without pay before I quit. (note, they didn't lay us off and we couldnt get unemployment because those of us who left, quit).

    Now I look at the autoworkers who get PAID during a monthlong "shutdown". !?!?!? What a bunch of whiners. One article said they would only get about 90-95% of their normal pay while on the shutdown....

    OH, how my heart bleeds for them.
    Wake up and see what the rest of America sees....we don't get bailouts...we have to suck it up and get on with getting on. we dont get bailouts, and we dont get our "contracts bought out".

    THE UAW is a bunch of whiners.

    December 19, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Give me a break!

    Bailout the American teacher...

    December 19, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Rhonda

    Why is it that the Unions are always the bad guys? They negotiated their wage packages and like everyone else deserve a decent standard of living. It's easy for you to whine about unions when you don't belong to one, unions are the reason you have 40 hr. work weeks, vacations, holidays and paid overtime. I never hear about any of the fat cat corporate white collar workers giving up any of their wages/benefits. If it weren't for Unions we would all be making low wages have no benefits, we would be at the mercy of the those corporate fat cats with no leg to stand on. Keep buying your foreign cars and China made crap and sending all that money to their country while our economy is tanking. Just because it's made here (Toyota, Honda) doesn't make it American.

    December 19, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Libs be dopes

    So how is going to help me in deciding to buy from the Big Three over another car manufacturer?

    Almost reminds me of the old fable of the boy putting his finger in a leak on a dike.

    December 19, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Irritated in Fl

    Hey Obama...I'm broke. Can I get a "bailout"? If I'm broke I can't pay my bills and buy groceries, therefore it will affect numerous businesses. How about it?

    December 19, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Jackie in Dallas

    I'm sorry, but union workers have been riding on the American taxpayer's back for far too long. I have a college degree, a technical job in a constantly changing industry (which means constant "continuing education" for me), and don't make anywhere near what those union workers make. I also don't have the benefit package they have, the health coverage they have, the incentive programs they have, or the discounts they have. I don't get paid for not working (well, I do get two weeks of combined sick leave and vacation days) or for when my company shuts down.

    I think unions need to restructure their thinking a lot while the Big 3 are restructuring their businesses. At least your workers HAVE jobs; there are all too many people who do not!

    December 19, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. shelby

    As I understand it there is already a two-tier salary system in the UAW with new hires basically working for half that of the veterans. That's a good first step, but the problem of what to do with the retirees and/or their survivors is very real. Many of these employees left the company when they were offered buy-outs and early retirement incentives. How many of them are under the age of 50? They receive monthly benefits plus full medical for themselves and their dependents for life. Somebody needs to do the math here and cost that puppy out. Meanwhile most people work to at least 60 and then must pay at least $1000 a month. Now we get to pay for the UAW"S workers too. Is this a great country or what?

    December 19, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. RinFL

    Lisa in Ga December 19th, 2008 1:27 pm ET

    I just want to know : since it is the taxpayers dollars that are bailing everybody out……. where's my cut!

    I think I figured it out.............The people against this did not get their cut!! I Just knew it was not "conservative values" NEVER WAS.

    December 19, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Don

    Wonderful. But helping the person on the street is out of the question.
    Anything for the people that have lied, cheated, and stolen their way to the top-–but for the guy on the street--Nada.

    December 19, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Ron Ft. Myers

    Let Dingell give the auto workers his money that WE pay him. He has got some nerve talking of conditions. They would not have been able to get a cent out of a lending institution. What about the many more millions of us who are getting ZERO help?

    December 19, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. sg

    While I'm mad that the UAW got a bailout but I'm glad something has been done to help the AMERICAN car manufacturers. We do not need to lose more AMERICAN manufacturing. I owned a Toyota once. It was scrap at 130K miles. I have a 94 Chev truck with 326K on it and it runs and looks great! I'll buy another one when it dies – Whenever that is! Hopefully I'll have a job in September to buy a Volt. When is Toyota, Honda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes or Volkswagen going to have an electric car on the market??

    December 19, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. joeb

    To all you morons complaining about the UAW: Try and do their jobs (MOST of them) for about 6 months and then come back here and tell me whether or not you want to continue. Poor management is 99% of the reason why the car companies are in the predicament they are in. Get rid of most of the idiots on the "Management Team" and cut their pay too, since they are responsible for the mess. No, I do not belong to a union, and I never have. Most of you complainers have never done an honest day's work in your lives.

    December 19, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Let's See.....Take a wage cut, or loose my job.....hmmmm????????

    December 19, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. union, no.

    @ rhonda,

    The unions are not ALWAYs the bad guys, but they have become an entrenched entity as bad as our political system. Can you go work for the automakers and opt out of a union?? I don't think so. They hold a monopoly on the work. What if I went to GM and said hey, I'll work for 10
    % less than a union worker. Well, they couldnt hire me. But that wage may be more than enough to allow me to live a very good life.

    It may have been the unions that got us alot (read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle") but now they are just as bad as the corrupt politicians. Unfortunately they are as bad as a lot of Americans who now also feel entitled to things like social security.

    The unions have created a pyramid scheme that just keeps paying them off whether they work or not and even after they retire. 99% of real, profitable companies don't do that. and while you may say look at how well the workers are doing with great wages and benefits, you look at the balance on the books, and there is nothing to stand on...they're in debt and the company is folding. We're just using tax money to prop it all up...

    December 19, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. proletariat

    to Jackie,
    I agree fully!!!!!

    I got where I am by training and retraining, quitting jobs when necessary, being laid off, going back to school, starting new jobs, standing up for myself to get a raise, etc.

    And at the end of the day, I've never been at a job that paid me to sit at home for a monthlong shutdown, or paid me to quit (bought out of a union contract).

    Ultimately, the automakers could just fire the union. put wages in place that are industry standard, benefits that are industry standard, and no guarantees on employment...just like the rest of the country.

    The animosity felt for the unions is because they have become just as bad as the fat cat CEO's making 10million$ bonuses. The unions grab gravy for the members and leadership. While that may seem to be nice for the worker, ultimately it creates an employment model that is out of sync with every other job in the country.

    December 19, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. worker b


    I busted my a$$, not in a union. have never had a guarantee and fought for every raise that i got. I work harder then most of them. I know.

    Mgmt is the problem too, i agree, but so too are the lame investors that keep pumping money in to a company that pays its mgmt and employees unsustainable salaries.

    We taxpayers are now the fools to for investing in the bailout.
    we're just paying union workers and mgmt fatcats for products they cant make profitably.

    December 19, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    AEK – Amen to that.

    December 19, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. Rhonda

    Not all Union members have a full time steady job, most who work in industrial/construction work only when work is good, some having to travel all over the country to find work, they might work 6 weeks here, 8 weeks there. When they're out of work they draw unemployment just like everyone else. HOW are they riding the coat tails of the taxpayers THEY are TAXPAYERS. They NEGOTIATE a contract with a client much like you would negotiate a wage with whoever you go to work for. So you're just mad because they are better negotiators than you? If you had an opportunity to make better wages/benefits you wouldn't take it, I'm calling BS on that one. Bush didn't bail out the UAW, he bailed out GM and Chrysler.

    December 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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