tv [untitled] CSPAN June 17, 2009 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT
i am worried about what is happening to many communities in my state and all over america because so often auto dealers are such a pillar of the community. they are very community oriented, they advertise, they support the little league, they support the united way, they support the -- the high school football programs. they're community citizens and they're always the first one to step up when the community needs something. so closing these dealerships, especially where it's the only dealership in town, especially when it's profitable, has been stated to be necessary. but when the dealer takes all the risk -- they buy the cars, they buy the parts, they buy the special equipment, they have the real estate costs -- they take the risk, not the manufacturers. so i am not convinced that
cutting down on the number of dealerships is really the most productive thing for this economy today. we're trying to keep jobs. we're trying to keep communities going. we're trying to keep our economy steady and growing, and why we're closing down dealers and putting people out of jobs when they are profitable and contributing to the community is, frankly, lost on me. and, in fact, i asked mr. ron blume, who was a member of the auto task force -- is a member of the auto task force, at a banking committee hearing after the commerce committee hearing. i said, why did the task force ask both g.m. and chrysler to go back to the drawing board and eliminate more dealerships than their original plan. he acknowledged that they did this. and, again, gave us the argument that fewer dealerships will be
better for sales of these cars and trucks. i still, i'm honest to admit, still do not understand why he believes that, or mr. blume, or the auto task force, or g.m. or chrysler believe that when the dealers take the risk and they're profitable, that it will increase sales to eliminate those dealerships. and i certainly don't understand how the task force, which is part of the white house, would not see that this is going to hurt commit in the long run. putting people out of jobs. thousands of people out of jobs. it just is counterintuitive to me. however, it is being done and all we're really trying to do is help the people who are being shut down to have the first rights to new dealerships that would open and to make sure that they are treated as fairly as
possible. you cannot say it's fair, because getting three weeks' notice to shut down an auto dealership is just not fair. g.m. has given a longer time period, but at the same time that the g.m. company is saying you will have until next year, 2010, to shut down your dealerships, yet the ones who have gotten the notice that they're going to be closed under g.m. are being told they can't buy any new cars to sell. so they can wind down the inventory that they have but they can't stay in business until 2010 if they can't get access to new automobiles and parts. so it doesn't seem like that's going to really work very well either. so i'm hoping that g.m. is going
to also be a little more responsible in trying to help these are being closed with some ability to wind down in a more constructive way. so as we continue these discussions between the dealer community and the auto manufacturers, i certainly hope that we will be able to keep track of the progress. and i would like to continue to get the progress reports, to see how these automobile companies are doing, and to get input from the dealers, because it has been a -- a very tough blow to them, especially those who didn't see it coming because they were profitable, or like one of my constituents who had a profitable dealership in a location in galveston county for years and years and years, and then he was told that he was going to be closed, even though
he has dealerships in other parts of houston area, he was being closed in galveston coun county. and, of course, galveston was struck by a terrible hurricane, ike, last year and his business was down in the galveston county location. that is not surprising. many people have not been able to move back to galveston county because their homes were destroyed and they have no ability to live in galveston county anymore. so there was at least until very recently no opportunity for my constituent to appeal to general motors because they were going to lose all their rights if they afeel any of the consensus that were being made to closing dealers. so it's a very troubling situation. i think we are making progress. i think g.m. and chrysler are
doing better with regard to the dealers, and i happy to they will continue to understand these important parts of communities all over america, these franchises that they have put out, they have been encouraged to try to buy inventories, to help the companies not to go into bankruptcy, and then when they did go into bankruptcy, they were sort of left high and dry. i think and it's our responsibility, particularly in the case of g.m. and chrysler because they're getting taxpayer dollars, that they should have a little more concern about the overall economy because it's tax dollars that are propping them up. so, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the letters that i received from actually -- actually senator rockefeller and i received from mr. henderson and mr. press, g.m. and chrysler respectively, would be made a part of the
"congressional record" along with my statement. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. hutchison: thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. binge map ding man: mr. bingaman: mr. president, twice in the last two weeks i have requested unanimous consent to consider calendar number 97, and i'd like to do that again that the time. we've advised the republican side of the aisle that i will be doing that, so i will proceed with that at this point. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent -- mrs. hutchison: mr. president? excuse me. mr. bingaman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 97, the nomination of hillary chandler tompkins to be the solicitor of the department of interior, that the nomination be confirmed, that the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, that no further motions be in order, that any statements relating to the nomination be printed in the record, that upon
confirmation, the president be immediately notified of the senate's action and that the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: is there objection? mrs. hutchison: mr. president, i do object. the presiding officer: the senator from texas is recognized. mrs. hutchison: i do object on behalf of the minority because they have not yet had time to clear on our side, but certainly we'll work with you going forward to be able to expedite this nomination. mr. bingaman: well, mr. president, let me just -- the presiding officer: objection is heard. mr. bingaman: -- comment briefly. i regret that objection has been raised again. this nomination was reported out of our energy and natural resources committee on the 30*9 of april. -- on the 30th of april. of course we are now the 17th of june. there was no testimony at our committee hearing or no suggestion made by anybody that
miss tompkins was not qualified for this position. clearly she is qualified, and well qualified, for this position. she has served in important positions in our state government in inspect n. she' n. and she is by experience eminently qualified to be the solicitor. i would also just point out to my colleagues, she is the fiduciary native american to be no, ma'am -- the she is the firt native american to be nominated by the president to be the solicitor of the department of interior and she is the second woman in the history of this country to be nominated to be the solicitor of the department of interior. this is an extremely important position. secretary salazar is trying very hard to put together a team of people that can help him to -- to do the job of secretary of interior, and he needs a person in this solicitor's office that he can depend upon and he has chosen her to be that person.
so it, to my mind, is unacceptable for us to continue denying him the choice that he has made and the choice that president obama has made for the solicitor's office. it is very unfir unfair to miss tompkins to be denying her this position, and, frankly, i have great difficulty understanding why she was singled out there. have been a great many nominees that have come before the senate in the last couple of months related -- in connection with department of interior responsibilities. why we would be singling her out and holding her up while others have been approved, i have great difficulty understanding. now, my colleagues say they need additional time, they need additional time. frankly, i can't understand what the additional time relates to. i know of no questions that need to be looked at. i know of no objections that have been raised to her nomination. and i would hope that if there
is anything, any additional investigation or question that continues to exist on the republican side, that they would resolve that here in the next day or two so we can complete this nomination and get on wit with -- with other business. but this is a very unfair situation with regard to this nominee. in my view, there is no justification for it. and i -- i know that the presiding officer, senator udall and i will continue to pursue this repeatedly over the coming days until this issue is resolved and she can be confirmed. i believe once permission is given for her nomination to be voted on, i think she will be overwhelmingly confirmed. and that's as it should be.
but due to the arcane rules that we operate under here in the senate, the republican members have chosen to hold up this nomination, very unfacial, in my view, and i -- very unfairly, in my view, and i think we will have to revisit it again in the next few days. mr. president, let me ask unanimous consent that robert burnham and terry chin of my office be granted privileges of the floor for the pendency of s. 1023, the travel promotion bill. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. bingaman: mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: