Congressman Peter J. Roskam today released the following statement after the passage of H.R. 7321, the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act:
"Over the past few weeks, I have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reach a fiscally responsible solution to ease the burden of the auto industry's debt while keeping the interest of the Sixth District taxpayers foremost.
"The bailout plan put forward by the White House and Congressional Democrats does not represent a responsible solution. I am particularly sensitive to the needs of the many suppliers in my district, who are inextricably linked to the fortunes of the auto industry, and whose tax dollars will foot the bill for this bailout. In all this, these suppliers receive no assurances that they will get paid by the auto companies, or that their jobs will be intact after this bailout. Instead, the Congress has decided to write a $14 billion check with no idea how it will be spent.
"It is clear to me that alternatives to this taxpayer funded bailout have not been fully explored. The automakers were supposed to submit plans for restructuring by December 2nd, but this legislation hands over the check and postpones the requirement for restructuring plans into next year. The shallow plans the automakers submitted were proposed before the UAW made even further concessions. Are there more to be had? Where's the role for private capital? Why not replace some of the automakers' union debt obligations with equity stakes in the company so that they can share in any recovery? These questions go unanswered, but the taxpayer doesn't go untapped.
"A thoughtful restructuring that reestablishes a viable and competitive domestic auto industry primed for growth is an option that would insulate taxpayers and protect against traumatic economic uncertainty.
"We have been told that urgency requires immediate action, but we seem to stumble from one week to another without a cohesive plan. To respond well to the urgent, a sense of clarity is required. We lack clarity about the consequences to prudently act on behalf of the taxpayer, so I could not support this legislation."