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GOP Denounces Auto Rescue

Republican members of Congress are expressing outrage at the Bush administration's auto bailout plan.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a conservative lawmakers caucus, said he is "disappointed" with the decision to use TARP funds to rescue Chrysler and General Motors.

"I would hate to see any of the ‘Big Three’ fail, but the federal government will not undo decades of mismanagement simply by handing over billions of taxpayer dollars to domestic auto companies," he said, adding that Chapter 11 reorganization would be a better way to rewrite union contracts and dismiss poor management.

“During this holiday season, unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of small business are struggling to stay afloat, and I wonder why this money is not destined for them instead. ... The hard reality is that American taxpayers cannot afford to save every company that finds itself in financial jeopardy."

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) said the move "sets a troublesome new precedent that the next administration may use to expand government control over numerous specific industries that are having troubles during these difficult times."

He said he questions whether GM and Chrysler will actually take the painful steps to restructure their business. But, he said, Congress must now "re-double its oversight efforts" of the bailout plan to make sure these "so-called loans aren't simply throwing good money after bad."

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said: “It is now clear that the creation of TARP was a rueful mistake which has failed to provide urgent market stability, yet has put our country perilously in debt for the foreseeable future."

However, Republicans from states that stand to benefit from aid to the autos praised the plan. Sen. George V. Voinovich (OH-R), Co-Chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, said: “On behalf of all Ohioans, I am grateful the president stepped in to help thwart a disaster that would have sent our state over the cliff.... While we are not out of the woods, there are millions of hard-working Americans today who can breathe easier this holiday season.”

--Kim Hart

By Kim Hart  |  December 19, 2008; 11:13 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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