Posted tagged ‘Gary Ackerman’

Auto Industry CEOs Flew Private Jets to Ask for Bailout Money

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers are lashing out at the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler today for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money. Seriously. Do executives even think before they do things? It’s like calling the kettle black. And you think you deserve the money?

From CNN:

“There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they’re going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses,” Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

“It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious.”

He added, “couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it.”

The executives — Alan Mulally of Ford, Robert Nardelli of Chrysler and Richard Wagoner of GM — were seeking support for a $25 billion loan package. Later Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reversed plans to hold a test vote on the measure.

An aide told CNN that Reid decided to cancel the test vote when it became clear the measure would fall well short of the 60 votes needed. Reid did, however, make a procedural move that could allow a vote on a compromise, which several senators from auto-producing states were feverishly trying to craft.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, pressed the private-jet issue, asking the three CEOs to “raise their hand if they flew here commercial.”

“Let the record show, no hands went up,” Sherman said. “Second, I’m going to ask you to raise your hand if you are planning to sell your jet in place now and fly back commercial. Let the record show, no hands went up.”

The executives did not specifically respond to those remarks. In their testimony, they said they are streamlining business operations in general.

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Auto Makers Leave Congress Empty-Handed

November 20, 2008

Lawmakers deadlocked on a plan to bail out the Big Three automakers, leaving General Motors facing the prospect it could run out of cash before a new Congress can come to the rescue next year.

From Bloomberg:

Democratic congressional leaders disagreed with Republicans and President George W. Bush’s administration over how to provide $25 billion in aid to GM, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. Only two days remain in a lame-duck session for lawmakers to resurrect a compromise, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today Congress might return in December to complete its work.

“We are in a situation where we don’t know procedurally what we are going to be able to accomplish today,” the Nevada Democrat said on the Senate floor.

Reid earlier suggested the situation was dire and refused to set aside time today to debate a compromise proposed by Senator Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican. Reid said Bond’s plan hasn’t been put in writing and the House of Representatives is about to adjourn.

Bond and fellow Republican George Voinovich of Ohio insisted they weren’t giving up on their proposal to speed up and broaden access to $25 billion already approved for fuel-efficient vehicle development that was a compromise.