Senate Democrats’ Manufacturing Summit

By June 6, 2007General

Just a few links about today’s “Manufacturing Summit” organized by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Really not much advance coverage. It’s just a fact of Washington life that purely partisan events get less attention, since reporters and editors resist being used in PR efforts. Generally. Well, sometimes.

On the other hand, any attention that elevates the public’s understanding of manufacturing’s central role in the economy is OK by us.

The Hill:

Senate Democrats today will play host to the chief executives of America’s Big Three automakers and the chief of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union at a unique manufacturing summit.

The summit, planned by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) after she took the reins of the Democratic Steering Committee, allows the leaders of Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, as well as UAW President Ron Gettelfinger, to field questions from Democratic Caucus members and other manufacturing representatives in attendance.

Skyrocketing healthcare costs in the domestic auto industry, free-trade agreements and high-tech innovation investment policy top the agenda.

The Detroit News notes:

In a symbolic gesture, all of the auto CEOs will arrive today in fuel-efficient vehicles: Mulally in a Ford Escape hybrid, Wagoner in a hybrid Saturn Aura and LaSorda in a flex-fuel Town & Country minivan.

And the much meatier AP story, which covers the policy disagreements over stricter CAFE standards:

The Senate is expected to vote next week on a proposal to raise CAFE standards to a fleet average of 35 miles per gallon for a manufacturer’s cars and trucks by 2020, an increase of about 10 mpg over current levels. From 2020-2030, the auto industry would face 4 percent annual increases.

Auto industry officials have called the Senate bill unworkable and resisted attempts to increase the requirements in the past. But they concede that Congress is likely to impose higher standards this year as consumers deal with $3-plus gasoline prices and remain worried about global warming and want to help shape any new requirements.

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