- Saving the domestic auto industry in 2008 and 2009 was vital to the U.S. economy.
- Government support for the transition to efficient, alternative-energy vehicles is crucial.
- Our environment, economy and national security depend on making that transition.
A strong domestic auto industry isn’t just important to Michigan; it’s crucial to rebuilding the U.S. economy. Manufacturing, and especially auto manufacturing, generates jobs with good pay and benefits, and the economic spin-offs from those jobs are vital to other sectors of the economy.
The steps taken in 2008 and 2009 to preserve the domestic auto industry were essential. The companies involved have come through a painful restructuring, and they and their workers have sacrificed much. But the improved health and brighter prospects of the domestic auto industry demonstrate the wisdom of these decisions.
U.S. automakers aren’t just competing against foreign companies, but against foreign governments who support their companies. That means our government must continue to work in partnership with the auto industry; American jobs, the strength of our economy and our national security depend on it. We must speed the transition away from fossil fuels in transportation, both to combat the damage of climate change and to reduce our dependence on oil imported from unstable and hostile nations. Government support for next-generation electric vehicles and other advanced technologies is critical, including targeted tax credits to help build that market. In addition, our military’s need for efficient, alternative-energy vehicles makes federal support for such technology vital for our national security.
Government and industry should consider innovative mechanisms and incentives to speed the transition away from oil and toward electric drive and other advanced and alternative vehicle technologies. We have a regulatory regime that favors slower, step-by-step improvements in fuel economy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that potentially stands in the way of more revolutionary investments in technology. One possible step to encourage such a transition would be to require that some segments of the new vehicle market be composed entirely of alternative technologies such as electric drive.
Senator Levin’s Record on Auto Industry
- Dec. 14, 2011 – Levin calls on China to drop duties on U.S.-made autos
Sen. Levin criticizes an announcement by China that it will begin imposing new duties on some U.S.-made vehicles, calling the action “unjustified” and urging the U.S. government to take action to protect U.S. workers and manufacturers.
- Nov. 9, 2011 -- Levin says Japan must open auto market to enter trade talks
In a letter to President Obama, Sen. Levin urges that Japan not be invited to a key round of trade talks until it opens up its notoriously closed auto market to imports.
- Nov. 2, 2011 -- Levin cosponsors legislation to fight foreign subsidies
Sen. Levin is one of a bipartisan group of six senators introducing legislation that would require disclosure of foreign subsidies that damage U.S. workers and companies.
- Oct. 12, 2011 – Levin supports opening Korean market to U.S. autos
Sen. Levin votes in favor of a trade agreement with South Korea that makes important progress toward opening the once-closed South Korean market to imports of U.S.-made vehicles.
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