The entire bipartisan Congressional Delegation from Michigan joined together to detail some of their economic recovery priorities as legislation moves through the House and the Senate. The Delegation wrote to President Barack Obama emphasizing the importance of green job creation and targeting hardest hit states like Michigan. The Delegation also emphasized the importance of Federal government support for advanced technology research to end our dependence on foreign oil and support the efforts of the Big 3 to build the cars of the futures.
Below is the letter:
Dear Mr. President,
As you continue the difficult and painstaking process of crafting an economic recovery plan to stimulate the economy, we wanted to share with you our perspective on some things that would help ensure the success of that plan, both in terms of stimulating the economy in the short-term and setting us on the right course in the long-term.
Michigan continues to suffer from the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Because of our strong manufacturing base, we were among the first states to feel the pain of this recession and have been hit particularly hard. While we were the first and are at this point the hardest hit, we are by no means the only state to suffer disproportionally from this economic crisis. As such, we feel it is critically important that additional funding be directed to those states that need it the most - those with the highest unemployment rates. This could be accomplished either by including a state's unemployment rate into the allocation formula, or providing an additional funding source for high unemployment states. Any plans must go beyond the counter-cyclical measures that by their nature are normally targeted to high unemployment states.
As we continue to work together to strengthen the American economy by investing in infrastructure, promoting energy efficiency, and creating new green jobs from which all states will benefit, it is important to consider high unemployment states which face challenges above and beyond those challenges faced by states with lower unemployment rates. States with high unemployment rates have strained resources and in the face of increasing unemployment numbers will continue to struggle with these hardships without additional help. Many of the states with high unemployment rates have been forced to cut deeply into services provided by the state, from pensions to educational programs, to economic development efforts, to social services. We ask that, as you consider the proper allocation of funding in the stimulus package, you target that funding toward those states with the greatest need, which could see the greatest benefit from that funding: those states with high unemployment.
In addition, we urge you seize this opportunity to make a serious push for electric transportation technologies as part of a green jobs agenda and a comprehensive solution to decreasing our dependence on imported oil. We cannot move from a dependency on foreign oil to a dependency on foreign-made technology.
Nearly all batteries for hybrid electric vehicles are made in Pacific Rim countries. Although U.S. federal spending on advanced batteries jumped from $24.4 million in FY 2006 to $56.1 million in FY 2008, Japan - the acknowledged leader in advanced battery production - has been investing in this technology for many years. We have not. We are coming to the game late and must build capability quickly to keep up.
Funding for electric transportation technologies will be essential to achieving President Obama's goal of placing one million plug-in hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015 and ensure that these vehicles are built here in America.
Therefore the economic recovery package should include a comprehensive electric vehicle agenda that provides robust support for a broad spectrum of technologies related to electrifying our transportation sector, including:
Advanced Battery Technology Grants - Funding to support $1 billion in grants to support advanced battery manufacturing in the U.S., along with other components for advanced technology vehicles, authorized in sections 132, 641 and 136(b) of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Other nations are investing heavily in the development and manufacture of advanced batteries. We need to invest in these vital technologies and the jobs they will create here in the U.S. Grants for advanced battery manufacturing are essential to jump start development of a U.S. manufacturing base for batteries and ultimately to reduce the overall cost of both manufacturing and the technology itself.
Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Incentive Program - Funding to support an additional $25 billion in federal loans for retooling U.S. manufacturing facilities to produce the next generation of advanced technology vehicles and their key components under the direct loan program authorized in Section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act. This incentive program will accelerate U.S. auto manufacturers' and part suppliers' efforts to retool their facilities and speed the deployment of advanced technology vehicles. DOE has received over 70 applications for funding, including proposals related to advanced batteries, and is evaluating them for the first round of loans.
Advanced Battery Loans - Funding to support up to $3.3 billion loan guarantees for manufacturing of advanced batteries and battery systems, as authorized by section 135 of the Energy Independence and Security Act. Advanced batteries are one of the many technologies eligible for loan guarantees authorized under title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but the appropriations provided for this program will likely soon be fully committed. Funding specifically directed to the advanced battery loan guarantee program in section 135 will ensure there is sufficient federal support to develop and sustain robust battery manufacturing in the U.S.
We thank you for your consideration of these matters, which we strongly believe would put us on the right course both in terms the short-term goal of stimulating the economy and the long-term goal of setting the nation on the right course going forward.
Senator Carl Levin (MI)
Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Representative Bart Stupak (MI-01)
Representative Peter Hoekstra (MI-02)
Representative Vernon Ehlers (MI-03)
Representative Dave Camp (MI-04)
Representative Dale E. Kildee (MI-05)
Representative Fred Upton (MI-06)
Representative Mark Schauer (MI-07)
Representative Michael J. Rogers (MI-08)
Representative Gary Peters (MI-09)
Representative Candice Miller (MI-10)
Representative Thaddeus G. McCotter (MI-11)
Representative Sander M. Levin (MI-12)
Representative Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (MI-13)
Representative John Conyers (MI-14)
Representative John D. Dingell (MI-15)