December 6, 2005
Testimony Submitted in Unique Congressional E-Hearing
LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said recent comments by the Bush Administration signaling its unwillingness to help the nation's struggling automakers are a disappointment and called on the President to reconsider his position.
"I have asked President Bush to meet with automotive sector business and labor leaders, as well as with senior elected officials, to implement federal policies that bolster this vital sector of the national economy," Granholm said in written testimony to a congressional committee. "I hoped that the President would respond by offering to work with our automakers, their suppliers and millions of workers. Instead, on December 5 while traveling with the President, his top economic advisor said that no specific federal attention is needed for the severe problems facing this sector and that we can leave American automobile manufacturers behind while telling thousands of displaced workers that "the overall economy is strong."
"My message to the President is this: we need you to stand up for our manufacturing employers, not turn your back on them and their workers," Granholm added.
The Governor also highlighted the bipartisan consensus she reached with Michigan's Congressional Delegation to help our domestic manufacturers. The actions include: enforcing our trade laws, compelling other countries to end currency manipulation and strengthening intellectual property protections; relieving American manufacturers of the uncompetitive burden of high health care costs by creating a catastrophic insurance pool/reinsurance model and making health care information technology a priority; and, ensuring that pension promises made to workers are kept by reducing administrative burdens on employers and treating our manufacturing sector fairly.
Granholm offered her testimony in a federal "E-Hearing" titled, "The American Automobile Industry in Crisis: Threats to Middle-Class Jobs, Wages, Health Care, and Pensions," using the web to discuss the wide ranging effects of recent events in the American automobile industry.
The Internet forum is gathering statements from workers, retirees, community leaders, and union representatives who have unique perspectives, personal stories, and opinions on the economic impact of recent events that will reshape our nation's automotive sector. The forum was convened by several members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Workforce, including U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Flint).
"As elected officials, we have a responsibility to protect working families who are precariously exposed to the negative consequences of globalization," Granholm said in written testimony submitted for the hearing. "From Lansing to Washington, D.C., together, we can pursue a strategy that sustains a healthy manufacturing economy."
The Governor is encouraging all interested parties to join her in participating in the E-Hearing by submitting statements to the website starting today at firstname.lastname@example.org This website will be updated daily, and witness statements and testimony can be found on http://edworkforce.house.gov/democrats/autocrisis.html. The E-Hearing website will remain open until Thursday, December 15.
"The E-Hearing is an excellent opportunity to use the power of internet technology to share heartfelt stories from the people who live the realities and consequences of these decisions," said Granholm.