Hensarling mug

Jeb Hensarling

As representatives from the Big Three automakers prepare to once again appeal for aid to members of Congress this coming week, U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling released a statement in which he takes a familiar position: a bailout isn’t the answer.

Hensarling, who has voted against previous measures to provide emergency government aid to the banking industry, said in his “Weekly Washington Update” that he wants General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC to succeed.

But he said those companies — who are seeking as much as $25 billion in government funds to keep their businesses afloat — have brought many of their woes upon themselves.

“For example, their labor costs are two-thirds higher than their competitors,” Hensarling said. “And while they produce many good cars, trucks, and SUVs for us in Texas, overall they rank low on consumer satisfaction surveys.”

Auto industry executives appeared before Congress last week, and they were criticized by lawmakers for reasons ranging from labor costs that are too high to flying to Washington, D.C., on private jets to ask for aid.

Automakers are scheduled to have detailed plans to Congress by Tuesday regarding how they will use their portion of the aid they could receive. On Wednesday, a Senate committee will hold a hearing to review the plans, and a House committee will consider the plans on Dec. 5.

Many lawmakers have said the auto industry should be forced to file bankruptcy and change the way they do business.

In turn, those in the industry say a failure of one of the Big Three could have serious ramifications on the already battered U.S. economy. The Center for Automotive Research has said the failure of Detroit’s three automakers could result in the loss of 3 million jobs in the first year.

Hensarling, noting that a bailout will not guarantee the automakers are going to succeed in the long term, noted that everyone in the current U.S. economy is suffering. He said 500,000 small businesses fail each year and added that with the amount of money being asked for by the automakers, 2 million new small businesses could be created.

“We can (help America) by working together, but another bailout for another large industry in America is not the way to go,” he said, “not when farmers, ranchers, and small businessmen all across Texas are still struggling. There is a better way.”

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