[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/12/art.dingell.gi.jpg caption="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.