Hoekstra likes aid for suppliers

March 9, 2009
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MUSKEGON — U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra said today that he would support federal guarantees for debt owed by automakers to auto suppliers.

“There are some provisions that I might support,” said Hoekstra, R-Holland, whose home county has been hit particularly hard with layoffs recently, losing 1,800 jobs over three months. “Guaranteeing the debt that is owed by them by the Big Three: They can take that to the bank and to get the loans that they need to move forward.”

Hoekstra served as moderator of a morning panel discussion on the lakeshore economy at Mercy Health Partners’ outpatient location near Lakes Mall, on the same day that President Barack Obama’s auto task force was slated to visit the Motor City to see the industry first-hand.

After the session, Hoekstra also warned that General Motors and Chrysler must show Congress they are serious about changing their business model or they will face calls to file for bankruptcy instead of federal bailout money.

“Small- to medium-sized businesses are going through it every day here in West Michigan,” Hoekstra said. “They’re laying off workers. They’re cutting salaries and, in some cases, they’re going out of business. So GM and the UAW have got to face the same tough decisions that these folks are.”

The president’s auto advisors were expected to see GM’s Warren Tech Center and Chrysler’s Warren Truck plant, and to meet with top UAW officials at Solidarity House in Detroit. GM and Chrysler are seeking a combined $7 billion in federal aid by the end of the month.

Hoekstra has announced he won’t seek re-election in 2010 and said he plans to make a decision about running for governor at the end of March.

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