As Congress prepares to address the economic crisis facing the domestic automobile industry, Speaker Pelosi released the following statement today concerning legislation under development by House Democrats:
Recognizing the severe challenges facing the domestic automobile industry, whose failure could jeopardize millions of jobs here at home and have a devastating impact on our economy, the House Democratic bill will provide immediate, targeted assistance to allow the carmakers, together with affected unions, time to develop a plan to assure the long-term viability of the industry.
That plan must reflect these principles:
Restructure the automobile companies to ensure their long-term economic viability;
Meet standards for fuel efficiency that ensure the competitiveness of U.S. autos, including new fuel-efficiency standards;
Deploy advanced vehicle technologies required to compete in the domestic and global market.
The appropriate source of funding for this short-term assistance is the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recently authorized by Congress. The Democratic plan includes even stronger limits on executive compensation and assurances to protect the taxpayer.
Any effort to divert funds from the advanced technology initiative contained in section 136 of last year’s energy bill is a step backward in assuring the viability and competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry.
A restructured, competitive American automobile industry will continue to play a crucial role in our national economy and in the global marketplace.