The White House on Wednesday released new details of the President’s upcoming planned trip to visit a Chrysler Group LLC plant in Toledo — along with a report boasting of the success of the 2009 bailouts at saving America’s auto industry.
The coming presidential visit on Friday is also generating some political crossfire, with unions urging Ohio Gov. John Kasich to stay away, and Republicans saying the President should quit celebrating and focus on job creation.
On Friday, President Obama will tour Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly complex where the company makes Jeep Wranglers. He will speak with plant workers, a White House official said. The complex also include a factory which makes Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro vehicles.
According to the White House, the President will also hear firsthand from local business owners and residents about “the importance of the auto industry resurgence to the community as a whole and the economic devastation it would have faced had Chrysler been allowed to fail.”
Outside the Lucas County Courthouse Wednesday, union leaders called on Governor Kasich not to come to Toledo, claiming outrage that Mr. Kasich attended an announcement earlier in the month by GM that it was bringing 400 new jobs to GM’s Powertrain Plant in Toledo.
“Gov. Kasich already came to Toledo once trying to take credit for jobs that he opposed. His presence alone is wrong and won’t be tolerated. His budget is actually expected to result in job loss, not create jobs. Don’t come to Toledo, Governor Kasich, don’t crash our party,” said George Tucker of Toledo AFL-CIO. The unions predict the loss of 50,000 jobs due to Mr. Kasich’s proposed budget, which is still awaiting legislative approval.
A spokesman for Mr. Kasich said, “The governor was invited by the White House to attend Friday’s events, and while he appreciates the invite, he cannot attend because of previous commitments.”
Spokesman Rob Nichols noted that the Kasich administration played a part in the Powertrain expansion, providing $450,000 in work force training. GM also benefits from a $35 million Job Retention Tax Credit that’s been in effect since 2006 and continues for another 11 years.
Ohio Republican Chairman Kevin DeWine said, “Unemployed workers in Ohio aren’t looking for a presidential victory lap, they need jobs.”
“With one in 10 Toledo residents out of a job, Barack Obama would best serve the city, and our state, by joining Speaker [John] Boehner [R., Ohio] in offering serious proposals which focus upon deficit spending restraint and domestic job creation,” Mr. DeWine said.
On Wednesday, the White House released a report titled, “The Resurgence of the American Automotive Industry,” which explores the comeback of General Motors and Chrysler from the brink of collapse just two years ago.
According to the report, since GM and Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy, the auto industry has created 115,000 jobs, its strongest period of job growth since the late 1990s. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have all returned to profitability, and in 2010, the Detroit Three gained market share for the first time since 1995, according to the White House report.
The report said the president insisted the companies “develop more ambitious strategies to reduce costs and increase efficiencies to become more sustainable” in exchange for taxpayer support of both companies in early 2009. It said that due to the interdependence of supplier companies and automakers some experts estimated that at least 1 million jobs would have been lost if GM and Chrysler were allowed to liquidate.
The president’s National Economic Council said the government will lose less than 20 percent of the $80 billion used to bail out the U.S. automobile industry, less than the administration originally expected. The report says the Treasury Department first thought the government would lose about 60 percent of the taxpayer funds.
Chrysler celebrated its early repayment of $7.6 billion in loans taken out in 2009 from the United States, Canadian, and Ontario provincial governments last week. The U.S. government has a 33.3 0percent ownership stake in General Motors and is hoping to recoup its $50 billion taxpayer investment.
Chrysler officials have said they expect to announce before the end of June a large investment in the Toledo Assembly complex. Industry officials anticipate that will include adding additional vehicles to be produced and more workers at the complex.
Both companies, along with Ford, which did not get a taxpayer bailout, are earning profits now. Chrysler celebrated its early repayment of $7.6 billion in loans taken out in 2009 from the United States, Canadian, and Ontario provincial governments last week. The U.S. government has a 33.3-percent ownership stake in General Motors and is hoping to recoup its $50 billion taxpayer investment.
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