Media advance GOP talking point that UAW killed the auto bailout bill

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Media echoed the Republican accusation that the United Auto Workers union killed the $14 billion bailout for GM, Ford, and Chrysler. But The New York Times stated that it was Senate Republicans who "refused to support a bill endorsed by the White House and Congressional Democrats."

On December 12, both an Associated Press headline and MSNBC's Tamron Hall echoed the Republican accusation that the United Auto Workers (UAW) union prevented the passage of a $14 billion bailout for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. The AP headlined an article "Union balks and $14B auto bailout dies in Senate," while Hall asserted on MSNBC Live: "The deal fell apart because the autoworkers union refused to give in to Republican demands to reduce workers' wages." In fact, a compromise bailout bill supported by the UAW and the White House passed the House by a 237-170 vote. Then, in the words of Edmund L. Andrews and David M. Herszenhorn of The New York Times: "After Senate Republicans balked at supporting a $14 billion auto rescue plan approved by the House on Wednesday, negotiators worked late into Thursday evening to broker a deal, but deadlocked over Republican demands for steep cuts in pay and benefits by the United Automobile Workers union in 2009."

Cloture, which was opposed by a majority of Senate Republicans, failed in a 52-35 vote on December 11. As the Times reported in an earlier December 12 article, "The Senate on Thursday night abandoned efforts to fashion a government rescue of the American automobile industry, as Senate Republicans refused to support a bill endorsed by the White House and Congressional Democrats." The Times further reported that "[o]n Thursday morning, [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-KY] dealt a death blow to the House-passed bill, giving a speech on the Senate floor in which he said that Republican senators would not support it largely because it was not tough enough." The Times quoted McConnell stating: "The administration negotiated in good faith with the Democratic majority a proposal that was simply unacceptable to the vast majority of our side because we thought it frankly wouldn't work.''

Nonetheless, Hall and the AP headline echoed the accusation by Republicans that the UAW killed the bailout, or as South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint is quoted as saying in The Washington Post, "It sounds like UAW blew up the deal."

From the 10 a.m. ET hour of the December 12 edition of MSNBC Live:

HALL: First this hour: Is it a dead end for the auto bailout bill? Maybe not. Breaking news in this hour: The White House is reportedly considering other options that include using money from that $700 billion bank bailout that Congress passed. So, how did we get to this point? The Senate voted down the bill late last night -- probably while you were sleeping -- by a vote of 52 to 35. The deal fell apart because the autoworkers union refused to give in to Republican demands to reduce workers' wages, in some cases possibly from $71 to $49. And the union said there would be no reductions before the current contract is up in the year 2011.

Posted In
Economy, Jobs, Wages, & Unemployment, Labor Unions
Network/Outlet
MSNBC, Associated Press
Person
Tamron Hall
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
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