Friday, December 05, 2008

Did Voinovich misrepresent Hensarling's position on the auto bailout?

Today I received the following email from Sen. George Voinovich's office:

According to this Bloomberg story, the head of the Republican Study Group in the House, a staunch conservative, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, has endorsed using sec. 136 money to provide a bridge loan to the American auto industry – essentially the Voinovich-Levin-Bond bill:

Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican, said he is “more than happy” to allow the automakers to use the energy-bill funds to avoid bankruptcy. “If this is such a dire emergency,” he said, the Democrats could waive or delay requirements in the 2007 legislation that the money be used exclusively to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles.

This seemed completely out of character for Rep. Hensarling, so I called his office to clarify his position.

I spoke to Debbee Keller who explained that Rep. Hensarling is in favor of allowing the $25 Billion already passed by Congress to be used to help the Big 3 with their financial issues. The funds were supposed to be for certain purposes, and he agrees that Congress can re-purpose those funds to be used for their operational expenses.

He does not support allocating any of the $700 Billion to the automotive companies. According to Keller, Rep. Hensarling has not taken a position on the Voinovich-Levin-Bond bill.

So you tell me - is this a misrepresentation of Rep. Hensarling's position on the auto bailout?

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