UAW not accountable for begging for bailout???
GOP rep criticizes UAW for refusing to testify at auto oversight hearing
Detroit -- The lone member of Congress on an oversight panel reviewing
the use of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program criticized the
decision of the United Auto Workers union not to testify at today's
hearing in Detroit on the auto industry bailout.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who is member of the Congressional
Oversight Panel, said the UAW refused to testify at today's hearing at
Wayne State University.
The panel confirmed that it sought the testimony of the UAW. Alan
Reuther, the UAW's legislative director, didn't immediately return a
call seeking comment.
Hensarling said he was "disappointed" that UAW President Ron
Gettelfinger did not accept invitation to testify.
"He was able to rearrange his schedule to come and ask for TARP money,"
Hensarling also expressed concern about the "the chilling and
far-reaching consequences" of the Task Force's decision to subordinate
the interests of major investors in General Motors and Chrysler to the
union as part of their recent restructuring.
The new top White House adviser on autos, Ron Bloom, is testifying
today, along with the treasurers of both GM and Chrysler.
"The UAW came before Congress and pleaded for billions of taxpayer
assistance. Their ownership stakes in Chrysler and GM look suspicious at
best and like sweetheart deals at worst. It's outrageous they would
benefit from the taxpayers' money and then refuse to testify about it,"
Hensarling said in a statement before the opening of today's hearing.
The hearing has been in the works since early June. Hensarling wrote to
the chair of the panel, Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, urging
her to hold a hearing on the decision to loan GM and Chrysler and their
finance arms about $80 billion.
The panel held a June 15 conference call to discuss the hearing. "The
panel must invite witnesses from the administration's auto task force
who were intimately involved in the Chrysler and General Motors
assistance efforts," Hensarling wrote in a June 15 letter to Warren.
"Without these participants, the panel cannot provide meaningful
oversight for $80 billion of taxpayer support rewarded to Chrysler and GM."
In this morning's testimony, Warren asked Bloom for a timeline for GM to
emerge from government control.
"The best way to get out as quickly as possible is not to commit to a
defined schedule," Bloom said, adding that this would make it harder for
the government to sell its shares.