Republicans fiercely criticized the White House’s decision Monday to force General Motors into bankruptcy, characterizing the government-backed restructuring as a quick fix to a problem that will only increase the cost to American taxpayers.
The troubled automaker borrowed $20 billion from the U.S. government last year, but it did not prove to be enough to save GM. House Republicans said Monday they are pessimistic that the $30 billion in additional taxpayer funds the White House is suggesting for its restructuring will be spent appropriately and called for increased transparency.
“This agreement may buy some time but does nothing to ensure GM’s success,— Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “The only thing it makes clear is that the government is firmly in the business of running companies using taxpayer dollars.—
Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added, “In order to make the tough choices required in bankruptcy, the administration must explain how taxpayer money is being spent, ensure proper oversight and demonstrate the ability to turn off the taxpayer spigot once and for all.—
At the White House on Monday, President Barack Obama said he had no intention to run GM and that the move was meant to salvage what remains of the American automaker.
He said the government will help GM move through the bankruptcy process quickly and will “take a hands-off approach.—
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the only Member of Congress who sits on the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, called for the panel to meet and review how the deal between GM and the government was struck.
“The manner in which the Department of Treasury and the Obama Administration has handled bankruptcy negotiations for both Chrysler and GM raises serious questions,— Hensarling said in a statement. “If the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP fails to investigate the manner in which the TARP program has been used in the automaker deals, I fear they have abdicated their oversight responsibility and become yet another congressional advisory panel.—
Hensarling pushed for the Chapter 11 filing last December, before the government invested $20 billion in the failing auto manufacturer. He blamed the Obama administration’s strong ties to the United Auto Workers for the delay.
“Now, not only are taxpayers funding this government bailout — their money is possibly being used to reward political allies of the Obama Administration like the United Auto Workers over and above other workers who relied upon GM for their 401k account,— Hensarling said.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and the Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also blamed the unions.
“No matter how much the president spins GM’s bankruptcy as good for the economy, it is nothing more than another government grab of a private company and another handout to the union cronies who helped bankroll his presidential campaign,— Steele said.
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), whose Detroit area district has been gravely affected by GM’s collapse, said it is unfair to blame the autoworkers for a crisis that previous government actions partly created.
“It’s fascinating how politicians tend to overlook the fact that government played a large role through underfunded mandates and a 30-year war on the auto industry through taxation, regulation and litigation,— McCotter said in an interview Monday with Fox News. “They also leave out that the Wall Street credit crisis stopped cars from moving off the lot.—