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Public Statements

Consumer Assistance To Recycle And Save Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. SUTTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of over 2,000 men and women who work in the Ohio assembly plant in my district and approximately 50,000 Ohioans whose jobs are associated with that plant. I rise for the 159,000 Ohioans with auto-related jobs and the 3 to 5 million Americans who rely on the auto industry to provide for their families.

I rise today on behalf of the environment, as we turn the corner to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel economy, and to help reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

I rise today on behalf of the consumers throughout our great country who continue to struggle during this global recession. And I rise today as the proud sponsor of the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act, also known as the CARS Act.

And I want to thank President Obama for his support of this legislation. And I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for supporting this effort and thank Majority Leader Hoyer for all of the help that he has provided as we worked to deliver the benefits of this bill to the American people.

And I want to thank Chairman Waxman, Chairman Markey, Chairman Emeritus Dingell, and Representatives Israel, Inslee, Stupak and Upton for their collaboration and support on this bill. And thank you to my colleagues, Representative CANDICE MILLER and Representative BRUCE BRALEY, who started this process with me back in March.

Mr. Speaker, the bipartisan CARS Act will shore up millions of jobs and stimulate local economies. It will improve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It will provide much-needed financial assistance to consumers to trade in less fuel-efficient vehicles for vehicles which achieve a measured increased fuel-efficient.

What the CARS Act will not do is allow someone to trade in a vehicle and receive a voucher to purchase a vehicle that is less fuel efficient.

We have ensured environmental integrity in this bill, and this bill demonstrates that we do not have to bind ourselves to the arguments of the past. We no longer have to give in to the temptation of either/or thinking. The CARS Act demonstrates that we can free ourselves from the false argument of either you are for the environment or you are for jobs. We can do both. We must do both, and that's exactly what the CARS Act does.

2009 auto sales are down nearly 42 percent below the 2005 peak. We have not seen such a decline since 1955, and this decline jeopardizes our country's largest manufacturing industry.

These are not ordinary times. These times call for bold action. Three to 5 million jobs are at risk. Auto-related jobs number in the thousands in every State in our Nation, and though it's called the CARS Act, this bill is far more than about just cars. It's about people. It's about the millions of families in this great Nation who depend on the strength of our auto and related industries for their livelihood. It's about our friends and our neighbors, and it's about our communities that depend on auto-related jobs for their tax base to support their schools, their police, fire and other city services.

By passing the CARS Act, we can shore up these jobs, get customers back into the showrooms, help our dealers move cars, and improve the environment.

Nations across the world have instituted incentive programs. In May, while our auto sales in this country fell 34 percent, sales in Germany increased 40 percent after they instituted a program.

On May 19, the Committee on Energy and Commerce passed an amendment of the CARS Act to the American Clean Energy and Security Act by a bipartisan vote of 50-4.

Under the CARS Act, consumers will trade in less fuel-efficient vehicles and receive an electronic voucher for $3,500 to $4,500 at the point of sale toward the lease or purchase of a vehicle with increased fuel efficiency. Light-duty trucks, both small and large, also qualify under the program, and work trucks, often used by small businesses, will be eligible for replacement as well.

And though our fleet modernization program is open to vehicles, regardless of where they are made, I encourage everyone who participates in this program to think about the families who depend upon cars made in the United States and ask you to purchase a fuel-efficient vehicle assembled right here at home to help shore up jobs and help our environment.

Some refer to this bill as the ``Cash for Clunkers'' bill. Others use a gentler term, ``fleet modernization.'' But by any name, by any title, the CARS Act offers significant multiple benefits.

This bill has earned broad-based support. It has the support of Ford and GM and Chrysler, the United Auto Workers, the Business Round Table, the Automotive Trade Policy Council, the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, PPG Industries, National Paint and Coatings Association, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Specialty Equipment Market Association, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the American Iron and Steel Institute, Automotive Recyclers Association, the United Steel Workers, the National Automobile Dealers Association, the American International Automobile Dealers, the National Association of Manufacturers, the AFL-CIO, and the United States Chamber of Commerce


Ms. SUTTON. At this time, it's my honor to yield 1 minute to the gentleman, my colleague from Ohio (Mr. Boccieri).

Mr. BOCCIERI. Madam Speaker, this bill is about putting America first. We heard this all throughout the last campaign about how we need to invest in America and we need to protect American jobs. And Congresswoman Betty Sutton has stood up for American jobs, and she is putting new meaning to ``putting old Betty back in the garage and putting new cars on our streets.'' That's why it's imperative that the auto industry, especially in Ohio, be preserved under this bill. Twenty-five percent of Ohio's economy is based on how well or how poorly the automotive industry performs. There were 560,000 new vehicle registrations alone last year in Ohio. That averages to more than $24 million per dealership in Ohio.

This bill is about putting America first and putting Americans back in American-built cars. I will be proud to support this bill today on the House floor.


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