tv [untitled] CSPAN June 12, 2009 2:30pm-3:00pm EDT
his automobile task force has served him well. by that, i mean, mr. bloom testified yesterday or the day before in the united states senate and senator hutchison of the state of texas said, hey, i don't understand a couple of things. first of all, it's a strange business model that you can sell more stuff with less stores. not a lot of -- i never learned that in econ 101 or anywhere else when i was in school. but we don't think car dealers cost the car companies any money. but this issue has come up, who said that all these car dealers costing 200,000 people to lose their jobs needed to be closed. the gentleman's point is this. when chrysler and g.m. submitted their studies about how they wanted to proceed, they had a plan, an orderly closeout of dealerships and consolidations, and they were
told -- they were told they weren't air gressive enough. specifically, mr. bloom testified over in the senate that when they rejected the plans, i think we said that general motors is burdened by excess capacity. we said that their plant footprint, the manufacturing plants, has excess capacity. their dealer network has excess capacity and the white and blue collar people who work there need to be down sized and we told general motors and chrysler when we rejected their february 17 plan you need to go back and you need to take a more aggressive approach, and yes, that included dealers, but it included plants and white collar head count. . it is a parsing of words to say -- i never said and i don't think my friend from michigan has ever said that mr. bloom said you have to close the dealership in milwaukee,
wisconsin. they didn't do that. but they did determine the parameters and they did indicate that you to get down to a certain size, which then led to and will lead to 200,000 people being out of work. i yield. mr. mccotter: i thank the gentleman for yielding. again it cannot be emphasized enough that we talk about jobs in numbers. we have talked about the jobs that the united autoworkers will lose. i can attest to you that throughout this bankruptcy process the people of my community, the people of of michigan, the people in chrysler, and the people at g.m. thought that we had a chance to avoid a bankruptcy. that that was the hope we were given. by were given it by the first bush administration, which initially granted the bridge loan to the autos, early on in the process we were told the auto industry would not be be walked away from. early on in the process we started to get signals,
however, that the bankruptcy might become a more and more likely option. yet we were never told as reports were starting to come out that early on the administration's auto traffic force had made the decision that bankruptcy was the best option. as we watched chrysler and we now watched g.m., two of the big three domestic auto makers in pruntcy, we see clearly that option was pursued and promoted. as the gentleman from ohio points out, these are figures, these are facts, throughout this process there was a cruel uncertainty that affected the people of my district, the people of michigan, and throughout the manufacturing sector. no one knew when the bell would toll for them. so as the process continued, especially as you talk about the united autoworkers ratified the agreement, as you got closer to the point of chrysler going into bankruptcy, when you sign that agreement without any indication that you're going to lose your job and you might
actually be be a part of chrysler -- fiat going forward, to learn in the blink of an eye that all that hope was gone, after you had done everything you could, after your union president and their team had done everything they could to save as many jobs as they possibly could, to lose it all at that point is exceedingly cruel. i have talked to them. they feel this in my district. i have talked to autodealers who after a lifetime of work in the industry, of being pillars of their community, in the blink of an eye have lost everything that they worked for. who have talked on the phone in tears or in person but on the verge of tears about what happened to them and why they cannot get an answer. we see a pattern emerging. again i absolutely agree with the gentleman from ohio. i believe that the president had no idea, his administration
had put the a.i.g. bonuses in the stimulus bill. i truly believe the president of the united states had absolutely no idea about what would follow the consequences of the chrysler and g.m. bankruptcies. in terms of the human cost to the working people of america. but what i cannot figure out is that if that is the case, if we are correct in our assessment, why the president of the united states, a, does not want to find out who in his administration put him in that position, more importantly who put the people of the auto companies and the workers in that position, or the taxpayers of america in that position, and then as the most transparent administration in american history, does not want to tell the american people who those actors were. it would seem to me that would serve the country well and it would serve our president well. i yield back. mr. latourette: i thank the gentleman.
just to continue talking about the dealers and the 200,000 people. you know what, it's more than 200,000 people because i assume most of them have families. husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, whatever the case may be. the other interesting thing about car dealers in my part of the world in ohio, if you go to one of your children's little league games or soccer games, you always see a car dealer has sponsored the team. the car dealer sponsors the chamber of commerce. the car dealer gives to charity. the car dealer does the food drive. so you are talking about not own displacing 200,000 people, you are talking about ripping the heart out of a number of communities. and you could understand it if, if these dealerships were somehow a drain on chrysler and g.m. on june 3, amy brown, who is a lawyer for the affected chrysler dealers, had the opportunity to cross examined the aforementioned mr. nardelli
, and was asked why it was necessary to eliminate the franchises when neither the government or fiat, the group that's buying chrysler out of bankruptcy, asked for it to happen. mr. nardelli said the 789 dealers represent a host of expenses. then he was asked to quantify how much those things cost the automaker, and mr. nardelli said he couldn't. he wasn't sure if his company had ever determined those exact costs. at a hearing last week in bankruptcy court they had a number of dealers in, and there are a number of dealers here on capitol hill today testifying in front of the energy and commerce committee. just three quotes from car dealers who testified up in new york and the bankruptcy court. leo jerome who owns a car dealership in lansing. i just want my day in court and give me a fair hearing. after hi a 10-month supply of
cars, they gave me three weeks to sell them all. i think the white house mafia is trying to run this thing through. tony manny cotty who has -- manna cotty, they have ripped our heart and soul out. it's been part of me since i was a child. it's hard to believe what the government has done. they are supposed to save employment not create unemployment. and/or leans dodge chrysler jeep owner who was responding to a question by the bankruptcy judge, judge gonzalez, his dealership had been ruined by hurricane katrina. but he reopened it five months later and during the course of hurricane katrina, he provided fleet vehicles to police departments and fire stations and every parish of louisiana that was affected by the hurricane. also provided vehicles for the state of louisiana and the city of new orleans.
he says i'll probably end up living out of my car as a result of this set of decisions. now, it brings me to i think where the gentleman was going and that is the clue travel edition, who is this task force and who made the decision to close eight chrysler plants without telling the workers it was going to happen? throwing 9,000 people out of work. who made the decision to be more aggressive and throw 200,000 people out of work that work for autodealers? before i talk about the auto task force qualifications and where we are going to go with the game of clue, i have to tell you i mentioned mr. manzo, the chrysler restrucring expert, and you may recall, mr. speaker, there was some discussion about bondholders. god forbid someone could take some of their money and invest
it in a company in this country and be told that they were secured creditors. the secured crettors at chrysler -- creditors at chrysler had invested money. they have since been characterized as unpatriotic or not wanting to go with the flow. but the one group that was most prominent in this are the indiana state teachers pension fund. so the indiana state teachers pension fund thought that buying general moletor stock or chrysler stock was a good investment and they couldn't lose because as bondholders they were first in line should something like a bad bankruptcy happen. well, we have rewritten 200 years of bankruptcy law and it doesn't matter if you're a secured creditor or not. but mr. manzo called matthew feldman, and attorney for the president's autotask force, on the day before this announcement was made, and he basically said, i think i have
a way, i think i have a way that we can avoid the bankruptcy of chrysler and restructure some of this debt and work with the bondholders. sadly this is from an email submitted in the bankruptcy court in new york, well, mr. feldman's first response by email not real grown up, it says i'm not talking to you. i'm now not talking to you. you went where you shouldn't. mr. manso -- manzo apologizes and it's over. the president doesn'ter negotiate second rounds. we've given and lent billions of dollars so your team could manage this properly. now you are asking me bend over like a terrorist. and the next day of course we have the bankruptcy. you say, you know, maybe, maybe this task force of the president's, who i believe is not serving the president well, is made up of people who are
really knowledgeable in business, in the car industry, in the car dealership industry. so we should probably defer because i don't happen to be any of those things. maybe we should defer to their judgment in this matter. the gentleman has a thought he would like to share? mr. mccotter: yes. through the speaker, the gentleman from ohio first, i caution you if you continue to quote mr. feldman you may get a pg-13 rating for your special order. i would also like to point out many of us in detroit have grave concerns when the membership of the auto task force was announced because of the absence of the understanding of the auto industry and manufacturing. and to be quite honest with you the absence of some of the members owning cars. i yield back. mr. latourette: i thank the gentleman. that's where we were going to go next. there was a hearing here on capitol hill about three weeks ago and the judiciary committee
and the witnesses were asked by a colleague of ours who joined us the last time we did this, mr. jordan of ohio, do any of of these individuals on the automobile be task force, have any expertise in how cars manufacturing our car dealership businses operate? the witness indicated the answer is none. they have no experience. and went on to say that the "wall street journal" actually did a survey of the members of the automobile be task force and discovered a substantial portion of them don't even own cars. now, i want to be fair because i think that witness was talking without all the facts. but there is an article that appeared in the detroit news close to the gentleman's home on february 23, and that's not quite right. of the 10 senior policy aides
who worked on the president's task force, two own american cars. and the rest either own no cars or they own cars manufactured in other countries, foreign cars. the gentleman have a thought on that? mr. mccotter: yes. i'd just like to go back to the quotes from the emails because it's very important that we catch one of the underlying subtext to this entire situation. we were told that it was the investors that forced chrysler into bankruptcy due to their object continue nency and greed. and yet from the emails we see here, this is precisely one of of those investors who is seeking to come to an agreement with the auto task force to preclude that bankruptcy. and i relate this back to what the gentleman showed us from the u.a.w. who had gone through
a very grueling excruciating process to find an agreement with the auto task force. and yet when chrysler went into bankruptcy, which was clearly the intent not to do everything possible to avoid, people started to pit the investors and the auto workers against each other. . i would submit to all it was the process of the auto task force, its arbitrary nature and lack of accountability that pitted workers and investors against each other in a race to beat the inevitable bankruptcy, which would occur. i think that that is one of the crucial things that needs to be pointed out and i think it also bears repeting why the individual, the distinguished gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich, as well as yourself and other members of this body sent a letter to the administration saying we want t.d. toe the auto task force to revert back to an advisory capacity. many of us remember the 1970's
when a congressionally led assistance of the chrysler corporation brought the stake holders together in an equitable process and resulted not only in the survival of the company but with lee iacocca presenting a check for the loans plus interest to president reagan. mr. latourette: could i inquire how much time is left? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 14 minutes. mr. latourette: thank you. i want to finish clue the travel edition, again, the game of clue, manufacturers by hasbr, -- hasbro, the weapon, not the pen but the ax to make several thousand people unemployed and in one of these rooms, around the board, mr. nardelli, larry summers, senior advisor on the economy to the
president, president obama, of course. over here, ron bloom, who i talked about, here's mr. geithner, secretary of the treasury. here is former president bush. so this group forms our new clue travel edition and as we move forward, i think again it is important that the american public know who made the call to force these car companies into bankruptcy, who made the call to lie to 9,000 auto workers at eight plants across the country and who made the call that even though they don't cost anybody any money, we have to close all these dealerships and put people out of work. and you know, i keep hearing, and the gentleman has heard it too, that the -- this task force doesn't want to run the day-to-day operations of chrysler or g.m. but sadly for them, there is a -- an article that appeared on may 11 out of detroit that indicated chrysler wanted to
spend $134 million in advertising in the period of its bankruptcy and this unelected task force told them they couldn't spend money on advertising. they finally relented and said, ok, you can spend half of it. but for a bunch of folks claiming they don't want to run the car company, they've set up the situation where they didn't want them to advertise or have as many stores as they qused to have to sell their cars. again, that's a strange, strange business model. we'll be back, mr. speaker, as we move forward during the course of these discussions to try and figure out who did it and what room it happened in and why they did it. i want to move now to the observation i made at the beginning of the hour.
at the beginning of the hour, i talked about the a.i.g. bonuses and legislation that was approved in bipartisan fashion 64-0 has not been brought to the house floor by the dwisht majority leader for discussion and debate. we keap hearing how busy we are. we heard that last year. my colleagues will remember last year when gasoline was going through the roof and people were saying, hey, can you give us a national energy policy, for crying out loud? we're dying we can't afford to put gas in our car and drive to work. we were told we were too busy. i get that. this is the most deliberative body in the world, we have a lot of work to do, and if the majority feels we're too busy to deal with the energy policy, i would have taken them at
their word. when the new majority became the majority, we republicans did such a bang-up job, the voters threw us out and installed the democratic party. at the tame, -- at the time, the retail price of gas was $2.22, on that day, the most important thing they could come up with to debate on the floor was to commend the university of california santa barbara soccer team. i like soccer, i congratulate them, gas isn't so bad, $2.22. goes up to $2.84, the most important thing on the floor is to declare october national passport month. a lot of my constituents didn't know what national passport month, what month it occurred in, now they know. gas is up to $3.03, we're commending the houston dynamo soccer team. those of us in public life are
told you don't get elected unless you get the soccer moms. i guess while gas is up to $3.08, we got the soccer moms. gas is up to $3.77, most important thing is declaring national train day. $3.84, it's getting serious, people are calling me, saying what are you doing? we passed great cats and rare canids day. i didn't know what a canid was, but i googled it, it's a dog. so when my constituents were paying $3.84 a gallon, we were doing cats and dogs. goes over $4, you think, we're going to get to the bottom of it now. the majority decided the most important thing to do was to declare twoith the international ear -- 2008 the international year of sanitation. gas crested at $4.14 in my part of the world in july of 2008,
surely we're going to talk about gas. no, we were too busy, we had to pass the monkey safety act on that particular day. we thought maybe folks had learned as a result of that because clearly when gas has gone up to that price, the monkey safety act isn't the most important thing on my stilts' minds system of we come to this year. this year, as we've talked about during this hour, there are a lot of people at chrysler losing their jobs. at the beginning of this congress, january, 4,000 people at chrysler losing their jobs. and you'd think we'd have a discussion here. i would think. but we're too busy. because on that day we needed to honor the life of claiborne pell, he's a former senator, deserves to be honored, but why take floor time to do that when 4,000 people are out of work just at chrysler. up to 9,500, the most important
thing that day is support the goals and ideals of national teen dating, an issue we're all concerned about, but now we have 9,500 chrysler workers out of work. just shy of 10,000, son of a gun, we've got time to c078 back this year and pass the man key safety act again. i want to be clear. i don't want anyone to read my words in the congressional record and think i want monkeys who aren't safe. i want safe monkeys. but when you've got 10,000 people out of work at chrysler, maybe we could do something other than safe monkeys. well, son of a gun, up to 13,000 people, i guess the senate didn't pass the cat and dog legislation, we have to consider that again. 16,000 people out of work, most important thing they can schedule on the floor is honoring arnold palmer. i like arnold palmer, great golfer, deserves to be honored. but how about dealing with the people losing their jobs and their livelihoods at chrysler,
general motors and the people at the auto dealers? then it sort of peaks with the announcement 18,365 people just at chrysler out of work. and again, all we can do is national train day. i want to be fair. i want to be fair to the majority. we do do other stuff here. i don't want anybody to believe that all we do is monkeys and cats and dogs. just since the beginning of this year when chrysler and general motors are going belly up and bankrupt, we have also named and i have to add to this list, because we did a couple this week we named post offices. these 16 post office, we took an hour of debate, 16 hours to make sure, and if anybody, mr. speaker, who happens to see this list, they live in these towns, they should feel assured that they can now go in and buy those 44 cent stamps because
the united states congress has named their post office. again, it's an important part of what we do here, honoring people who deserve to be honored, but 16 hours when we could have been talking about chrysler, or about general motors or about the dealers, instead we were naming post offices and i don't think that the country is better off for that enterprise. but then, again, to be fair, let's say that you're in the majority and you didn't see this coming, that perhaps, you know, you didn't recognize it was going to be as serious as it was, we came back last week and went back into session last week and surely over the memorial day recess, people kind an earful from their constituents saying, what are you going to do about the car companies? what are you going to do about the dealerships? but when we came back last week, maybe we weren't quite ready, maybe we hadn't formalized how to get at the
problem. we had bills for fish stocking in the state of washington, we shifted from socker to basketball we honored the university of tennessee women's basketball team. so then you say, well, ok, that was first week back. everybody's a little sleepy, haven't quite gotten up to speed with our legislative ageneral ka. this week, rather than dealing with chrysler, rather than saying -- asking some questions of the unelected task force appointed by the president that doesn't own cars, we recognized that this was national physical education and sport week. and we also, and i didn't know this, maybe my colleagues knew this, i apologize for being ignorant, but june 10 is national pipeline safety day. we spent an hour of time here on the floor making sure that everybody understood that june 10 is national pipeline safety day. mr. speaker, this is a big problem. we have a double delegation
here, congress has punted to the president, the president punted to this task force of people who don't own american cars, the majority of them, or don't own any cars have no experience in the car business, they are making decisions that affect hundreds of how to -- hundreds of thousands of americans, mr. mccotter talked about the letter we sent to the president. 36 of us sent the letter to the president saying, mr. president, please, pull these people back, let's have a dialogue, let's bring the best and brightest. we talked about chrysler, we made $35 million on the chrysler deal in 1979. the only problem was nobody expect it, congress didn't know how to spend the money. people need to rest easy, we figured it out, but nobody knew how to spend the money. let's talk about it. let's not have this unelected group of people with no experience run roughshod over the american workers.
mr. mccotter: may i inquire how much time is available? the speaker pro tempore: 30 seconds. mr. latourette: i give you 30 seconds. mr. mccotter: i want to point out, while this has been lighthearted, it's important. we have twice seen the president unaware of what his administration is doing. people say we must rush to do health care and environmental legislation. government haste makes taxpayer waste and due deliberation is important. i yield back. mr. latourette: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. does the gentleman have a motion? mr. latourette: i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pr tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed. to accordingly the house stands adjourned until 12:30 p.m.
>> yesterday, members of the house and senate appropriations committees held a conference meeting to negotiate differences between the bills. we expect the report to hit both the floors of the house and senate next week. the house is expected to go first. the house returns live on monday here on c-span. >> here is our present policy. are we really anxious and eager to stop the bombing as we are to stop the war? >> telephone conversations from the final months of the johnson