Fox News Interview - Transcript
MR. JARRETT: Well, the White House is saying a bailout deal for Detroit's Big Three could actually be reached today, reportedly the cash would come from existing loans for building green vehicles and the deal could include a cabinet level oversight board.
Let's bring in Michigan Representative Candace Miller and New Jersey Congressman Scott Garrett.
Good to see you both.
Congressman Garrett, let me begin with you. You think this is simply delaying the day of reckoning, the inevitable, and that this is a bridge loan to nowhere. Why?
REP. GARRETT: Well, that's not just my opinion; that's really what the testimony has been in both the Senate and now in the House this past week. We asked them, first in the Senate, what is your plan a couple of weeks ago and they came back with their plan as they presented to us, but really their plan is just saying, just give us some money today and we'll come back in a month or two or three, actually, in March, and at that time we'll have our go forward plan to present to you. And we're asking if this American tax dollars at hand that we'll be spending, whether it's $15 (billion), $25 (billion), $35 (billion) or whatever, shouldn't they be presenting to the American public today exactly what their game plan is to get out of this problem and get into a business model that works?
MR. JARRETT: Well, Representative Miller, maybe it's the people at the helm, I mean, General Motors today took out a full-page ad, let me quote from it, "We let our quality fall below industry standards. Our designs became lackluster. We have proliferated our brands in dealer networks to the point where we lost adequate focus." My goodness, Rick Wagoner has been at the helm of GM for eight years. It has been chronically mismanaged. GM's stock has plunged and he has lost a full one-third of the market share. Shouldn't he resign as part of this deal?
REP. MILLER: You know, here's the reality of this. There have been mistakes made in the past, but you see both the CEOs of all of the Big Three, as well as Ron Gettelfinger, the president of the UAW, all coming to the table offering to make structural changes to our business plan and why we can have some ideology about all of this, the reality is, there's three million jobs at risk in our nation and after what happened with last month's jobs report, I don't think we want to put the nation into depression simply because we want to teach the Big Three a lesson.
It is entirely appropriate that a bridge loan be given.
MR. JARRETT: Should he resign?
REP. MILLER: I think he serves at the pleasure of the board of directors. If that is actually in the legislation then he must resign in order to get the money.
MR. JARRETT: Well, where have they been? Maybe all of those boards of directors need to resign themselves?
REP. MILLER: Look, there's been a lot of, you know, here you have a case where, General Motors in particular, is abject groveling for these funds that we had no problem as a nation giving to Wall Street. Those guys never even had to fly to Washington to ask for the money.
MR. JARRETT: Yeah.
REP. MILLER: You know those guys that helicopter in from the Hamptons every day?
MR. JARRETT: Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up.
REP. MILLER: Hand delivered to them.
MR. JARRETT: Congressman Garrett, let me go to you. Brad Sherman, your colleague was on air this morning. He said that Wagoner was warned in advance, don't fly your corporate jet to Washington for the first set of hearings; he ignored it.
Doesn't that prove this guy is tone deaf? He's got to go?
REP. GARRETT: Well, I think it proves that that's just one of the issues that's out there that the public talks about, but the public is really most concerned I think at the end of the day where is their hard earned tax dollars going to? The jets -- that's an infinitesimal size of the equation, some of the other rules, changes that they're talking about is really small dollars and cents. But the American public and Congress really needs to ask, it's not an ideological issue, it's like where is your plan? How do you change your business model?
MR. JARRETT: Well --
REP. GARRETT: You admit now I didn't see that ad, that you didn't do things well. Can you give us a business model that will actually work?
MR. JARRETT: But ideas start at the top and Wagoner last year earned $15.7 million in pay while his company in the same year lost $38 billion.
Last word, Representative Miller, I mean, why not allow General Motors and the others, if necessary, to enter bankruptcy reorganization? Their operations would continue and they could restore their financial integrity.
REP. MILLER: I absolutely do not believe that bankruptcy is an option and I do not believe that this Congress is going to throw an entire state and an entire industry under the bus, and I think it's absolutely appropriate that we get this bridge loan so that the domestic auto industry can restructure appropriately, make sure the taxpayers' dollars are protected, that we can build the vehicles of the future and that we do not simply jettison our entire manufacturing capability, in fact, an industry that was known as the arsenal of democracy because during World War II, we built the armaments that led the world to peace.
MR. JARRETT: All right.
REP. MILLER: It's not only an economic security standpoint; it's a national security issue. I totally believe that.
MR. JARRETT: Representatives Candace Miller, Scott Garrett, thank you both for being with us. By the way, we did invite General Motors on, they would not do so.