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Biden Praises Revamped American Auto Industry

Biden Auto Industry

05/28/11 08:26 AM ET   AP

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday credited the Obama administration's intervention for the American auto industry's recovery from "the brink of extinction" and pointed to Chrysler's early repayment of the federal loan that saved it from disaster.

"This announcement came six years ahead of schedule – and just two years after Chrysler Corp. emerged from bankruptcy," Biden said in the administration's weekly radio and Internet address. "It's a sign of what's happening throughout the American automobile industry."

Biden also said that General Motors, which went through bankruptcy and has come back strong, announced in the past week that its Detroit Hamtramck factory in Michigan will run three shifts for the first time in its 26-year history.

"You know, that's 2,500 more good, paying jobs," he said.

Biden, who provided the weekly address because President Barack Obama was traveling in Europe, credited the efforts of the Obama administration for the resurgence of the auto industry through its assistance.

"Because of what we did, the auto industry is rising again," Biden said. "Manufacturing is coming back. And our economy is recovering and it's gaining traction."

Obama will visit a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, next Friday to discuss the carmaker's recovery.

Chrysler announced Tuesday the repayment of $5.9 billion in U.S. loans and $1.7 billion in loans from the governments of Canada and Ontario. It covers most of the federal bailout money that saved the company after it nearly ran out of cash in 2009 and went through a government-led bankruptcy.

GM and Chrysler were on the verge of collapse in the final days of the Bush administration after Congress failed to approve an emergency loan package. The Bush administration gave the companies $17.4 billion in loans and required them to develop a restructuring plan by mid-February 2009.

Obama's administration pumped billions more into the carmakers later that spring but won concessions from industry stakeholders, allowing them to push GM and Chrysler through bankruptcy court in the summer of 2009.

The Republicans' weekly address focused on the party's plan to create jobs. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said boosting employment requires cutting taxes, reducing regulations, completing bogged-down trade agreements with several countries and expanding energy exploration in the United States.

"All of these elements will help encourage growth and long-term economic stability," Cantor said. "By putting in place policies that encourage businesses to expand, innovators to innovate and allows leaders to lead, we will not only begin to put our budget on a path to balance, but we'll get Americans working again."

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Filed by Dean Praetorius  |