Rep. Jackie Speier voted with the majority in the House on Wednesday and issued a statement about the deal:
“The American auto industry must clean up its act. Its decades-long obsession with gas-guzzling vehicles is over. The European Union has mandated that cars achieve fuel efficiency of 50 miles per gallon by 2015 and we need to make sure that the good jobs that will come from these fuel-efficient vehicles are also created here in America.
“It’s important to note that other industrialized countries are stepping up to support their automobile industries and we should do no less during this time of global financial upheaval. This is not just about the economy, it’s about national security.
“This bill is palatable only because it is a short-term bridge loan and taxpayers will have a preferred position for repayment. Longer-term support is predicated on an agreement by the car makers to restructure — or make progress towards restructuring — by March 31, 2009. The restructuring plans should demonstrate that the companies can do four things:
1) Survive and thrive against global competition
2) Meet the mandated 2020 mileage standard by 2015
3) Pay back taxpayers
4) Replace the leadership at GM and Chrysler
“Given new management, new goals and secure financing, I think the industry can thrive. But let us not underestimate the Herculean effort that must be made by everyone involved in the industry. Tonight is either a new dawn for the American auto industry or the twilight of its end. The choice will become apparent in the next three-and-a-half months. America stands ready to offer a hand up but not a hand out.”