Corker: GM delay for Barney Frank's plant 'highly offensive'

Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) maneuver last week to keep open a General Motors facility in his district was "highly offensive," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Monday.

Corker, who has been a leading Republican engaged in the debate over assisting the beleaguered auto industry, said he expressed his displeasure to President Obama's auto czar in a phone call last week.

"I called Steve Rattner last week and said that was highly offensive," Corker said of Frank's move to extend the scheduled close date of a plant in his district. The GM plant in Corker's native Tennessee will be idled in September of this year.

"The fact is, nothing happens in Washington without political elements being involved," Corker said in an appearance on CNBC. "Let's face it, you all were going to keep politics out of it, and that's clearly not the case."

Corker said that GM's bankruptcy and restructuring plan announced last week could have been essentially achieved in the Senate last fall had the United Auto Workers union been willing to agree to steep concessions they've now largely accepted.

"We probably would have had 80 folks behind an arrangement that would have been far more limited," Corker said about the December negotiations over bailing out the automakers, in which he took the lead. "The companies themselves, hopefully, would have been directing this, not the government. And it's a shame -- it was a tremendous missed opportunity."

Since then, the Obama administration's auto task force has basically been "playing God" with the companies, Corker asserted.