Monday, December 22, 2008

Senator Reid's Response to My Letter

So I got a little email today from my so-called representative in the US Senate, one Harry Reid. It was in response to an earlier email I had sent to him. Now, you read this and tell me if he really addressed my letter or whether he had some pitiful staffer send out a form letter instead.

Oh! And the bailout madness continues....cable companies are now begging for money which is exactly how critics predicted things would go. And also, got to love banks who have decided to not inform the public just where their taxpayer billions are going. If this country hasn't gone insane, maybe I have. Anyway, see the letter from Searchlight Harry below.

December 21, 2008
Mr. Jonathan Sherwood

Dear Mr. Sherwood:

Thank you for contacting me about the state of our national economy. I appreciate hearing from you.

The domestic auto industry employs directly or supports indirectly millions of jobs across the country, and its business activities generate hundreds of billions of dollars in financial instruments held around the globe. As you know, the recent economic downturn and crisis in our financial markets has destabilized the domestic auto industry. The credit crisis abruptly choked off financing for consumers and businesses and sapped consumer confidence, both of which led to dramatically lower sales figures for the domestic auto companies. This drop in sales created a dangerous shortage of cash, which these firms need to continue production and honor their financial commitments.

A failure of one company could potentially bring down the other automakers as well since the entire industry depends on the same network of suppliers. This event could lead to the loss of potentially millions of jobs, including hardworking Americans employed at manufacturing plants and independent dealerships. At a time when the unemployment rate is rising each month, this level of job loss would only exacerbate the strain on our economy.

That is why I urged Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to use the authority extended in the recently passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA, P.L. 110-343) to provide emergency funds to the auto companies while imposing strong conditions on such assistance in order to protect taxpayers and maximize the potential for the industry's recovery. Because the Administration previously said it was unwilling to utilize the Troubled Asset Relief Program created by EESA to extend relief to nonfinancial institutions, Congress was forced to act.

In response, the Senate recently considered the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act, which would provide bridge loans to the domestic auto companies to help them continue operations. This assistance would have been funded by money previously allocated in the Energy Independence and Security Act and included strong taxpayer protections, including limitations on executive compensation. I understand the view that mismanagement of the auto companies has brought them to this point, and that they should be restructured to ensure long-term viability. That is why this legislation would have required a Presidential Designee to oversee restructuring plans that ensure repayment of government loans, promote production of competitive fuel-efficient vehicles with advanced technology, and achieve long-term financial stability in the global market.

This legislation passed in the House on December 10, 2008 by a vote of 237-170 and was sent to the Senate for consideration. Unfortunately, given complex Senate rules and procedures and the role I play as Senate Majority Leader, I have heard from a number of Nevadans who were confused about my position on this critical legislation. On December 11, 2008, 52 Senators voted to move toward passage of this measure-leaving us short of the necessary three-fifths majority. I was deeply disappointed by this outcome, and I hoped that given the opportunity to reconsider the measure, the Senate would be able to come to an agreement. Accordingly, I changed my vote from "yes" to "no" when I saw we would fall short of the votes needed to pass the cloture motion. In doing so, I reserved my ability to call the bill up for consideration again.

I have noted the concerns that you and many others have expressed. I assure you that as I continue to work towards improving our nation's economy, I will keep your thoughts and best interests in mind. As Nevada's senior senator and the Senate Majority Leader, I am committed to doing all I can to strengthen our nation's economy and make Nevada an even better place to live.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

My best wishes to you.

United States Senator


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