Who Ya Gonna Call?

(CNN) — Senate Democrats and the White House failed to find 60 votes to end debate on a $14 billion auto bailout bill and bring it to a vote Thursday night, killing the measure for the year.

The 52-35 vote followed the collapse of negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans seeking a compromise.

Original DVD cover.

[Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid acknowledged the bill would not survive the procedural vote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the sticking point was the United Auto Workers’ refusal to set a “date certain” to put employees at U.S. auto manufacturers at “parity pay” with U.S. employees at foreign automakers in the United States.

Currently, analysts estimate the union workers at U.S. automakers make about $3 to $4 per hour more than the non-union U.S. employees of foreign automakers like Toyota and Honda, according to the Center for Automotive Research.


The collapse of negotiations could possibly doom General Motors to a bankruptcy and closure in the coming weeks, with Chrysler potentially following close behind.


The struggling automakers may get some money anyway.

As part of their effort to urge skeptical Republicans to back the deal, Bush officials made clear that if Congress didn’t act, the White House would have to step in to save Detroit from collapse with funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the sources familiar with the conversations.


Democrats pressed the White House from the start to help Detroit by using some of the $700 billion for the financial sector, but the White House and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson refused.

Why are some of the Rethugs so dead-set against the deal? From Freep (the Detroit Free Press, December 10th):

WASHINGTON — Over the last decade, the UAW has spent more than $10 million to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans — some of them the same GOP senators now being asked to rescue the domestic auto industry.

Those Republican senators, who may hold the key to getting the $14-billion lifeline to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC passed through Congress, are clamoring for deeper union concessions as a condition to any kind of support.

Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama, Bob Corker of Tennessee and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky represent states where foreign automakers have significant operations and the UAW has less sway than in Michigan or Ohio. Each also has been the target of considerable political support from the automakers’ union flowing to Democrats who have opposed the senators in elections.


Today, Shelby — who once was a Democrat but now leads the forces lining up against the automakers in the Senate — said the most recently unveiled legislation reveals “the influence of the UAW,” as it calls for no specific cuts in health care benefits or wages.

Corker, meanwhile, has demanded that the union accept wage cuts that put it on an even keel with nonunion plants in the South, a provision even the Bush administration didn’t insist upon as a condition to passage.


Against that background is the fact that Shelby, Corker, McConnell and others represent states where foreign automakers have a presence.

Alabama is home to plants for Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota. Tennessee is getting a new Volkswagen plant and is home to Nissan’s North American headquarters and other manufacturing facilities.

Georgetown, Ky., in McConnell’s home state, is the site of Toyota’s biggest plant outside Japan.


On the other side of the aisle, many Democrats said the union already has made more than its share of concessions — on wages, health care and more — during recent contract negotiations. Also, the UAW has signaled it would be willing to suspend its controversial jobs bank, which allows laid-off workers to continue to receive nearly full pay for up to two years.

The union also has argued vigorously that once you drop legacy costs to fund health care and pensions for retirees from the equation, line workers don’t make much more than their counterparts at the foreign automakers’ U.S. plants.


Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said there appeared to be a double standard on the part of Republicans focusing on autoworkers’ pay, when they voiced no similar concerns about employee wages or benefits before pproving a $700-billion bailout for the financial industry.

“The average worker at AIG makes more money than an autoworker. The average worker at Citigroup … makes more than an autoworker,” Frank said today. “Does anybody remember Citigroup being told that as a condition of its money, they have to get no more than a community banker gets?”

And then there’s Big Bad John. From Trail Blazers Blog at The Dallas Morning News:

No upside to supporting this one for Texas GOP politicos. In last night’s vote in the House, which passed 237-170, only one Texas Republican supported the plan to give $14 billion to GM and Chrysler. The defector: Rep. Joe Barton, who has a GM truck plant in his district.

Sen. Cornyn’s office released a statement this afternoon that explained, in part: “He supports the American auto workforce and would like to see a strong domestic auto industry, but he’s not prepared to abdicate his responsibilities to Texas taxpayers at the expense of labor union bosses and corporate executives in Detroit.”


Filed under 2008 election, Chimpy, Democrats, George W. Bush, Harry Reid, humor, Michigan, Mitch McConnell, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

17 responses to “Who Ya Gonna Call?

  1. Hi my misguided Raisenettes.. I visit from time to time and would really love to hear your thoughts on issues, especially this one but could you tell me Nonnie how I can make a comment here and then be notified via email when a reply is posted to JUST this article? The comments feed in the side bar feeds ALL of the articles comments… am I too stupid to figure it out myself? I guess so…….

    please let me know how by of course visiting my site and commenting anywhere…

    Your one of the few lefty sites that will engage in civil conversation and I truly appreciate it…

    not that your ever right though 🙂 <—- smile

  2. Dusty

    Mitch McConnell said the sticking point was the United Auto Workers’ refusal to set a “date certain” to put employees at U.S. auto manufacturers at “parity pay” with U.S. employees at foreign automakers in the United States.

    Only union-hating fools will buy into the GOP rhetoric. Normal folk will call it what it is…bull$hit on a stick.

    Love the graphic Nonnie! 😉

  3. trm,
    i answered you (in a very nice way, of course 🙂 ) over at d=s.

  4. dusty,
    this is a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your own face. the entire economy will fall apart if millions of jobs disappear. i didn’t like the idea of bailing out the big 3, as most of their problems were of their own making. however, making the rest of the country suffer is not going to help anyone. the execs should be punished, not the workers and everyone else.

  5. nightowl724

    What a mess! (The situation, of course, not your fine and funny poster, nonnie!) The double-standard here reeks.

    $700B+ with no oversight OKd for banks in a weekend? No problem! $14B for car makers, which included government micro-management, no new expenses (stolen from what was to go for cleaner vehicles), and the creation of a new (cabinet-level?) position for a “car czar?” No sale!

    Plus, if high wages for workers and managers ruined the car industry, why isn’t that what ruined the banking industry, too? And, why do Americans “need” phony Ponzi-scheme “derivatives,” etc, that only generate pretend money on paper and on PCs, but we don’t “need” real goods and services that are tangible and understandable to the American public?


    Whatever this is, it ain’t free-market capitalism…

  6. nightowl,
    it’s free-market suicide. well, not really. there’s nothing free-market about anything anymore. certain industries get all the breaks, because their lobbyists know what congresscritters and senators want to see under their xmas trees.

  7. nightowl724

    trm, can I still call you trm?

    Unless “buffoon” has some nicer connotation than I am aware of, I don’t like calling you that…

    And, really, I do mean that in the nicest way! 🙂

  8. Nonnie Hyoo So Crevah!

    Okay. the a$$holes that have managed the Ameri-can auto industry into the $hitter can haz the money, but they’re all fired; the American people own the American auto industry, we hire new people who live in the real world, we build new technology cars that end the dominance of fossil fuel once and for all, and we use OUR profits the way we, the people see fit. In the mean time, we nationalize the petroleum industry; no natural resource should EVER belong to a few greedy bastards.
    And we round up all the Repukelickers obstructing the work of the people and send them to re-education camps in Tixass.
    Yes there will be fire ants.

    Pardon my reticence.

  9. terry,
    sounds like a plan to me! 😀 can there be komodo dragons along with the fire ants?

    p.s. i didn’t know you spoke japanese!

  10. what a no-win situation. but what folks like mcconnell, shelby, corker and diaper boy dave did is so much worse.

    again, you are brilliant (and the offer of using any of my pics is always there!)

  11. Union smashing is so unAmerican.
    And Toyota and the other foreign car makers who have permiated the South actually pay their employees a few cents more per hour than the union people make working for the Big Three.
    Still, this blatant attempt to protect jobs created by foreigners on their own turf is so typical of these selfish bastards.
    Let’s just hope Americans have a good memory come election time.

  12. writechicpress

    Shelby has a Mercedes’ cod piece and a Hyundai nipple ring under that uniform.

    Rachel Maddow called it with her Party of Herbert Hoover segment.

  13. dcAp,
    it really is a no-win situation, and the selfish rethug idiots are making it worse. the dems need to pound their fists and scream at every opportunity that the rethugs voted for the ultra-wealthy banking ceos and against joe 6-pack. they talked about joe the plumber being the salt of the earth, but then they turned around and rubbed salt in the wound that is the economy.

    you are the best, dcAp! 😀 you know the offer works in reverse as well. you can borrow a cup of photoshop anytime!

  14. karen,
    like i just said to dcAp, the dems have to constantly talk about the rethugs protecting big money instead of the little guy. they gave foreign corporations everything they wanted, but they won’t protect american workers who have been at their jobs for decades, not to mention those who are getting pensions from the big 3.

  15. wcp,
    shelby has no need for a codpiece. it is just for show, because there is nothing underneath it.

    even deadeye dick cheney warned that the goopers would be known as the party of herbert hoover if they vote down the auto deal.

  16. “GOP to Detroit–Drop Dead.”

    Don’t forget DeMint of South Carolina. He’s another union-buster.

    IMHO, these fools have shot themselves in the foot, no matter what happens. If the Big Three fail, then they’ll throw the US into a depression and they’ll be blamed. Should the Big Three manage to survive and the UAW along with it, the entire roster is now at the top of the UAW’s $hit list, to say nothing of the rest of the auto companies employees. This might be enough to make GM management vote Democratic for 20 years.

  17. neon vincent,
    the rethugs can’t seem to think 2 steps ahead. they go for what feels good to them at the moment, but they don’t consider the consequences, for the country and even for themselves. no wonder their brand is in the crapper. 🙄