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Dent Opposed Auto Makers' Funding

Dodge trucks sit on a dealer's lot.

Dodge trucks sit on a dealer's lot.

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Republican opponents in the U.S. Senate threatened to block action today (Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008) on a much-discussed $14 billion bail-out of the auto industry. The House of Representatives approved the legislation Wednesday night, news services reported, but Lower Pottsgrove’s congressman was among those voting against the package.

Meanwhile, thousands of Pennsylvania jobs – some of them in the Greater Pottstown area – hang in the balance.

A new study by the Washington DC-based Economic Policy Institute ranks the Commonwealth ninth among the 50 states in potential job losses if one or all of the Big Three automakers shut down. Issued Monday (Dec. 8, 2008), the study claims up to 120,100 jobs, or more than 2 percent of the state’s total employment, would disappear from Pennsylvania within a year if General Motors, Ford and Chrysler fell into bankruptcy.

The institute’s figures include direct losses from the automakers’ closure, as well as indirect losses in technical and service industries, and vehicle production-supported  businesses such as auto parts, electronics, steel, tires, aluminum and plastics. Several Pottstown firms supply components for vehicles manufactured by the three, and the study surmises their work forces would be among those affected if the bail-out falls short.

Lower Pottsgrove’s congressman, Charlie Dent (Rep., PA 15th Dist.), said he identified with the plight of those companies, their workers and their families, but nonetheless opposed the bill because he believed “the Big Three’s restructuring proposals lack accountability.” He characterized the bail-out as “a bridge loan to an even larger request for financial assistance a few months down the road.”

Photo by Teri Gosse

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