Congress right to seek plan

Published 11:05 am Friday, November 21, 2008

U.S. Sen. George Voinovich has built his reputation on being someone who would break party lines when needed to get something accomplished.

Voinovich may be at it again, working feverishly with a bi-partisan group of senators to come up with a plan to save a proposed $25 billion bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

But Congressional Democrats basically squashed the deal that would aid the three major Detroit auto manufacturers, asking to see a clear plan the companies would use to rebuild their industry before opening the taxpayer pocketbooks.

Email newsletter signup

And this is a case where both sides of the argument are right.

Voinovich is right to push the urgency of taking some measures to help General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. It doesn’t make sense to simply turn a blind eye to an industry that employees millions and has far-reaching impact on the nation’s overall economy.

Voinovich and others wanted to temporarily divert fuel-efficiency funds to cover the auto companies’ operations.

But this type of band-aid is what helped get the industry in trouble to start with.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans are smart in asking to see the menu before footing the bill.

It doesn’t make sense to just throw money at the problem without taking clear and decisive steps to address the factors that led to this situation.

Let’s be honest. Detroit’s woes didn’t happen overnight. The writing has been on the wall for years but the automakers’ leadership didn’t want to read it.

Taxpayers deserve to know that their money will be spent to cure the disease and not just treat the symptoms.

According to AP reports, Democrats and Republicans alike “want the government to get a chance to share in future profits by the auto companies, require them to limit executives’ pay packages and prohibit use of the funds for lobbying or paying shareholders dividends.”

This makes sense no matter which side of the aisle you sit on.