Detroit Revs Its Engine for a 'Fresh Start' (Rep. John Dingell)

The President has expressed his confidence in and his commitment to a successful restructuring of and long-term viability plan for General Motors and Chrysler. The road ahead is going to be very difficult and painful, although as the President said, there is potential for both companies to emerge from restructuring as stronger, more competitive companies. I share the President’s confidence in GM and Chrysler and will go even further and state that I steadfastly believe that both companies are on the verge of emerging from this dark period as industry leaders once again in sales, fuel economy, safety and customer satisfaction. The message from the President is clear -- there is a lot of work to be done yet; I stand ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

The changes at GM are already underway and there will be much more transformation to come. With Rick Wagoner’s departure from the helm of GM, the company will have new leadership and a "fresh start." Rick Wagoner is a decent man and he has dedicated his life to General Motors. He has seen scores of successes at GM, and I am sorry that he will be remembered largely for his stewardship during a difficult period for automakers around the world, and particularly here in the United States. His agreement to step-down demonstrates his commitment to the employees and shareholders of General Motors and his belief in the long-term viability of the company. Over the next 60 days, everyone at GM -- from union workers to retirees, corporate executives and bondholders -- will face many challenges and high hurdles. However, the progress that GM, especially in its contract talks with the UAW, whose members have already made tremendous sacrifices, shows the company is capable of reaching the demanding goals set forth for them by the Obama Administration.

The path forward for Chrysler over the next 30 days and beyond is challenging to say the least. I am, however, optimistic that Chrysler and Fiat can and will reach an agreement that will put the company on-track for viability with a new product line that gives Chrysler the aggressive boost it needs. I urge the Obama administration to carefully review progress made by Chrysler at the end of April and give the company more time to complete its restructuring to if needed. The fate of this major corporation, and the tens of thousands of workers employed by Chrysler and its suppliers, are too important to live or die by an arbitrary deadline for reaching an alliance with Fiat or another prospective partner.

I applaud the President’s decision to appointed Ed Montgomery, former Deputy Secretary of the Labor Department and current Dean at the University of Maryland, to become Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. Mr. Montgomery will work closely with the President to ensure that the government is doing everything we can to help communities like ours retool and revitalize our economies. Additionally, I join the President in his call for a program to get less environmentally friendly cars off the road by giving consumers a tax credit for purchasing newer, more fuel-efficient, domestically produced automobiles. There are wonderful cars presently in and coming to showrooms across America, and we should support incentives to make it easier for consumers to buy these cars of the future by passing the proposed CARS Act, which would provide tax credits to Americans for trading in older vehicles for newer ones with better gas mileage, and promoting measures to unfreeze credit to consumers.

I want to thank President Obama and his Auto Task Force for laying out a clear path for us to follow. There is a lot or work to be done, but I believe important steps have already been made. My sleeves are rolled up, Detroit and Auburn Hills are working around the clock and together we can and will emerge stronger.