The original Nov. 21 letter from Senate Majority Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to the auto company executives, including the political positioning against the Administration and key demand of the companies:
Unfortunately, the Bush Administration and the Federal Reserve have thus far declined to use their powers to improve our nation’s financial stability by assisting the auto industry. Notwithstanding existing authorities, this Congress is prepared to consider additional legislation that would give the assistance you seek, provided that you submit a credible restructuring plan that results in a viable industry, with quality jobs, and economic opportunity for the 21st century while protecting taxpayer investments.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s statement, December 2.
Last month, the Democratic leadership in Congress insisted that the automakers present a plan for long-term viability before receiving any assistance from taxpayers. With the economy officially in a recession, we continue to work to help this vital industry, and its 3 million jobs, ride out the storm and emerge stronger.
But before any taxpayer money is provided, the American people deserve to know how the Big Three plan to survive the current crisis, become competitive companies once again, and eventually repay taxpayer loans. The American people also need to be assured that the companies will be held accountable for any tax dollars they receive, and that CEOs will not be rewarded with exorbitant salaries.
Today, the automakers are presenting to Congress their plans for restructuring. We will examine them closely in the days to come, and on Thursday and Friday, Congressional committees will hold hearings. I hope that those hearings, along with the plans submitted today, will lead to increased public confidence in the auto industry’s viability and that Congress will be able to take action next week.
Comments by White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, December 2:
Q The automakers are getting ready to present their plans up on the Hill. Has your position — has the White House position changed at all on this? Have you seen any summaries? Do you know what they’re —
MS. PERINO: I don’t know if we have seen the summaries or not. I know Secretaries Gutierrez and Bodman sent letters to Congress last week to give the administration’s view on the taxpayer issue. We have said that we want to provide help for the auto industry. We thought that we had provided a bipartisan way forward to be able to do that. It is refreshing for us to see Democrats finally coming forward and accepting that companies need to prove that they are viable in order to get taxpayer dollars. But we’ll have to see what these plans are. And we’ll have to see what the Congress decides to do, as well. I think there’s — it’s a little bit premature here on a Tuesday. We need to wait and see what the plans are, and then they have to testify Thursday and Friday. And I don’t know if we know what the Hill will do yet.
November 25th letters from Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Also see Gutierrez comments on Good Morning America, December 1.
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