Congressman Bruce Braley says he’s "disappointed" in the big three U.S. automakers who’ve been begging congress for bailout bucks this week. House Democrats have proposed a 25-billion dollar bailout for Detroit, with limits. G.M., Ford and Chrysler wouldn’t be able to use the money to give bonuses to employees or pay dividends to stockholders and the automakers would have submit a plan to congress by March 31st that shows how they intend to vehicles more efficiently.
"I think that the house proposal addresses the concerns of the automakers with very strong and short strings attached to it to bring about the kind of change that we need to see in the auto industry," Braley says, "and at the same time protect American taxpayers." According to Braley, a Detroit bailout is not a sure thing.
"I’m very disturbed by the reaction from the auto industry C.E.O.s who seem very reluctant to accept any type of strings on the bridge loans that are being proposed," Braley says, "so we’ll have to see how this unfolds." Automakers worldwide are making appeals for bailout money from the British, the French and the Italian governments. Braley says auto dealerships and U-A-W members in his congressional district have been lobbying him to help the U.S. auto industry.
"But one of the things that I’m hearing overwhelmingly from my constituents is if you are going to do anything to help out the auto industry, it has to be with restrictions that benefit taxpayers and give them the type of incentives to change their behavior that will make them competitive in the future," Braley says. Critics of the bailout Detroit automakers are pleading for say it’d be better to let G.M., Ford and Chrysler file for bankruptcy and go through reorganization — including renegotiation of pay and benefits for union workers.