Friday, December 12, 2008

Senate Republicans Kill Auto Bailout Bill

With 31 of them and a small handful of Democrats ready to throw millions of workers under the bus because of the mistakes of the Big Three automakers' executives, Senate Republicans last night successfully filibustered a bill that would have provided $14 billion in bridge loans to the car companies and allowed them to restructure and keep running during the current economic crisis.

Putting the blame on autoworkers, the Republicans were not even willing to let the bill come up for the famed "up or down vote" they crowed so much about when they were the majority party and continued down the same obstructionist path they have traveled for the entire 110th Congress.

"Given the unhappy choice between a bridge loan and bankruptcy, Democrats have always believed that we must give the Big Three and the millions of Americans they employ every possible chance to succeed," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) after the vote. "Because Republicans failed to act, three million Americans are more likely than ever to lose their jobs and our economy is at risk of suffering even greater damage. Our hearts go out to those families who will now have to deal with this burden as the holidays near."

"Republicans may think that rejecting this legislation sent a message to the auto industry. Instead, they sent a message to every single American that they are more interested in settling scores than solving problems."

If anyone needed any clearer explanation of exactly what the Republican party's values are and where they stand, consider this: This is the same crew that's been willing to pump almost $600 billion into an Iraq debacle that's ruined our nation's global reputation and made us less safe and didn’t hesitate to give hundred of billions to bail out their friends on Wall Street -- but when it comes to something that could keep millions of working Americans employed, forget it.

I am no fan of how the auto makers have continued for years to crank out and pimp gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks despite all evidence showing that they need to change gears, but when you look at the priorities behind how taxpayer money is being spent, this latest piece of Republican obstruction is both sad and outrageous.

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) put it best last night: "I am greatly disappointed that some Senators didn’t hesitate to bail out Wall Street, but decided not to help millions of working class Americans.”