The Washington Post described the conflict this way:
At the heart of the conflict is a debate over how to best help the car companies not only survive the deepening recession, but rid themselves of a legacy of debt, high production costs and plush worker benefits that have left them unable to compete with their more nimble foreign competitors. GM, Chrysler and Ford have already moved to streamline costs; along with the UAW, they have offered to make additional concessions.Following his vote in favor of the bill, Congressman Paul Ryan, R-1st District, issued this statement:
But many Republicans believe their problems could be more efficiently resolved by a bankruptcy court with legal power to dissolve existing contracts than by a government "car czar" whose actions could be swayed by Washington politics.
"Instead of the car czar, this ought to be titled the president's puppet," complained Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), echoing the concerns of many of his GOP colleagues.
“It is clear that the mounting hardships throughout Southern Wisconsin have been downright gut-wrenching. In addition to the imminent closure of the GM plant in my hometown of Janesville and mass layoffs elsewhere, hard-working Wisconsinites are finding it increasingly difficult during this recession to cope with strained credit markets, rising health care costs, and making their monthly mortgage payments.
“The American automotive industry is under considerable distress, and various proposals have been put forth to provide aid to those in need. I’ve maintained that any assistance to the domestic auto industry should be drawn from previously approved funds from a U.S. Department of Energy loan package, rather than divert resources from the financial rescue package or rely on additional taxpayer dollars. H.R. 7321 cuts through the bureaucratic red tape and expedites these previously appropriated funds. Because no additional taxpayer dollars were appropriated, I was able to support this legislation.
“At the forefront of my mind are jobs in Southern Wisconsin and the retiree commitments to workers that could be placed in jeopardy under certain bankruptcy scenarios. To be clear, this bill is not intended to save the American auto industry and makes no guarantees that layoffs in this industry will end. Congress must stop overselling what it can do. At the very least, I am hopeful that by extending these loans to the American auto manufacturers, bankruptcy will be avoided in the near term and protections for retirees will remain intact.”