THE STIMULUS PLAN -- (House of Representatives - June 03, 2009)
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Mr. McCOTTER. I thank the gentleman from Ohio and I thank him for what he is doing today. As you mentioned, I come from the suburbs northwest of Detroit. Obviously, what we have seen with both Chrysler and with GM is very painful because of the human cost involved: the workers at these plants who will lose their jobs, the manufacturing supply chain, those employees and owners that will lose their jobs, lose their small businesses, and the dealers who will lose their jobs and their small businesses.
But it will not simply be a Michigan problem. It will not simply be a Midwest problem. As we found out from the Chrysler dealerships that were closed, it went across the country, all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Many of our colleagues all of a sudden remember that if auto manufacturers have a problem, auto dealers have a problem. This was not news to many of us, but it portends what is going to happen over the course of this year and next year as these plants are closed.
The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. LaTourette, the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Kucinich, put forward a bipartisan letter, which I was very grateful to be able to sign, that talked about how Congress should reexercise its power in this area, how the task force should have become advisory and brought the stakeholders together in a process similar to what was done with Chrysler in the 1970s to allow all stakeholders to come together, as opposed to being pitted against each other, workers or investors, in the process that we saw, which in the end turned out to be nothing but a prepackaged bankruptcy that could not be avoided.
At this point in time, obviously all of us who have plants closed--I had my Livonia power train assembly plant notified it was going to close; 164 workers going to lose their jobs. And I know that next door to me we saw the Willow Run assembly plant closed that had produced the B-24 Liberator bombers that helped this Nation in World War II.
Our thoughts are with those workers and with all the workers who are going to be displaced. But to those who think again that this is simply an economic problem for Michigan, for the Midwest, I ask them a simple question. General Motors was a symbol to the world of the United States' prosperity and security. When this icon of the United States went into bankruptcy, in the nations that bode ill toward us, they were gleeful. Because with General Motors going into bankruptcy, it sends a clear signal to the world that the United States is in decline, and into that perceived vacuum these nations will inject themselves to advance their interests, with very detrimental results to the United States of America.
It is so often that we forget because we live in a land of prosperity and security what these corporations, especially General Motors, have meant throughout the world. It has not been lost on the rest of the world. And you ask yourself: If General Motors goes into bankruptcy, what do they think?
We have already seen what the Russians think. We will soon find out what the Communist Chinese think. And ask yourself this question as well: What do you think is going to happen when cars are made in Communist China, imported into the United States for sale? What does that tell us about the future of the United States, both in terms of its ability to defend itself by manufacturing the armaments necessary to undergird a peace through strength policy or the ability to provide prosperity for its people.
It's been a very painful week for Michigan and for America. The manufacturing base will be far smaller. We will get through this. We will help our fellow citizens who are going through a very difficult time, and we will emerge stronger, if not larger.
I yield back to the gentleman from Ohio.
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Mr. McCOTTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
In fairness, I must point out that one of the first things that this Democratic-controlled Congress did, in conjunction with the administration, was pass a $1 trillion stimulus bill, because I include the interest, and we're all going to have to pay it. The $1 trillion stimulus bill had one provision that would have particularly helped the auto industry that was virtually eliminated in the dead of night by a hidden hand that also did something interesting. The $1 trillion stimulus bill had protected the AIG bonuses, and yet it did nothing to prevent Chrysler and GM autoworkers from going into bankruptcy. At the time, I referred to it as a post-American manufacturing bill. I would just like to point out that, sadly, events have proven that assessment correct.
I yield back to the gentleman.
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Mr. McCOTTER. Will the gentleman yield for a question?
My question is: If these 1,200 jobs in Ohio were in Ohio and they have moved to Georgia, does the administration consider them created or saved or is it going to have to come up with a third category--or shifted?
Mr. LaTOURETTE. To answer the gentleman's question, I think it's both. I think we'll see the administration taking credit for saving 2,000 jobs and for creating 2,000 jobs. It will be too bad for the folks in the Miami Valley, and that's just the way it goes.