President Donald Trump used a Senate floor speech to push back against the media’s portrayal of the Obama administration’s $1 trillion bailout for auto parts maker Taft.
During his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said Taft was an “insider” who worked for a government agency that was “an extension of the private sector” and was “not in a position to know the truth about the cost of the auto bailout.”
The Hill reporter was able to obtain a copy of Grassley’s speech that was leaked to The Washington Post.
The full transcript of the remarks, which have not been made public, is available here.
The president’s comments drew a rebuke from Sen. Jeff Flake (R, Ariz.), who pointed out that Taft did not know what the bailout was for and had not been told about its price tag.
“He did not understand what the government was trying to do, did not read the fine print,” Flake said.
“He was told he was getting $10 million in tax breaks, and that he was a government employee.”
Grassley was referring to the government’s role in funding Taft, which was originally funded through a $1.3 trillion bailout program from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Trump used that money to purchase vehicles, parts and other parts for the company and give it the financial backing to expand production.
“The Taft story is a classic example of a political hit job.
It was orchestrated by the same Washington insiders who wrote the fine-print of the $1 billion bailout that President Obama and others helped fund,” Grassley said.
Trump’s use of Taft as an example of the White House’s willingness to lie in the name of economic populism comes after his predecessor, President Barack Obama, used the auto industry bailout as a political tool to push for his re-election in 2012.
Obama said the auto sector was in a “disarray” and needed $800 billion in assistance.
The president’s administration used the bailout to subsidize auto parts and manufacturing companies, and to raise $3.8 trillion in the first four years of the recovery.
That $800bn was to be split among the companies that would manufacture parts and provide financial support to workers who would then manufacture the parts.
The administration used that $800billion to buy auto parts, and pay out the benefits of those companies to the workers and taxpayers.
That was the same tactic that Trump used during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The $800billion in aid was used to subsidise and pay for the auto manufacturing companies to expand their operations.
It helped the manufacturers create jobs.
But it also helped the Obama Administration sell the public on the idea that the auto companies were the ones doing the job, as Trump claimed.
Taft was one of the companies Obama helped fund, but it was the government agency’s bailout that Trump attacked in his speech.
He also criticized the Obama Treasury for providing the bailout.
“So many of these things, you’re not even aware of, they were given to the auto manufacturers to make sure they made money,” Grassley told Trump.
“The bailout was supposed to make the auto makers more competitive.
That didn’t happen.”