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Congressional Accomplishments in Spurring Innovation in the Auto Industry and Creating Jobs of the Future

Spurring Innovation In The Auto Industry

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. On this trip, Members of Congress will see first-hand the innovative technologies the auto industry is investing in to create the jobs of the future and to ensure our national competitiveness.

Over the last three years, the Congress has taken a series of steps to spur innovation in the auto industry, strengthen U.S. manufacturing, and create the jobs of the future. Beginning with the Innovation Agenda and the 2007 energy bill, through the auto industry rescue, and this year with the Recovery Act, Cash for Clunkers, and the Omnibus spending bill, this Congress has worked to spur an economic turnaround for the auto industry, U.S. manufacturing and Michigan... and in 2010 more will soon be delivered through the Recovery Act along with key legislation in progress. Congress is committed to continuing to preserve our manufacturing base, which is essential to our economic and national security.

KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS (2007-2009)
AMERICA COMPETES ACT
Bipartisan legislation to promote high-tech jobs, expand math and science education, and boost research and innovation. Signed into law on August 9, 2007.

INNOVATION AGENDA
This year, the federal government is investing $31 billion in science, technology, innovation, math education, and workforce training. This includes $125 million for Manufacturing Extension Partnerships to assist small and medium-sized manufacturers with cutting-edge technologies and product innovation to help them thrive in the global economy, and $70 million for the Technology Innovation Program to fund high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need done by U.S. businesses, colleges and universities, and national labs. Signed into law on December 16, 2009 in the omnibus spending package.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE AND SECURITY ACT OF 2007
The landmark energy law increased vehicle fuel efficiency for the first time in more than 3 decades, to 35 miles per gallon in 2020, while offering crucial flexibility to automakers and ensuring that we keep American manufacturing jobs and continue domestic production of smaller vehicles. Contained key incentives to encourage domestic development and production of advanced technology vehicles and the next generation of vehicle batteries and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Expanded use of American-grown biofuels, by increasing requirements for the amount of renewable fuels produced and used in motor vehicles, and investing in cutting-edge research to develop new processes for turning farm products into biofuels. Signed into law on December 19, 2007.

RETOOLING OLDER AUTO PLANTS FOR THE FUTURE
Congress funded a new Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program that it created in the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, which provides $25 billion in low-interest loans to retool older auto plants for the production of advanced technology vehicles. Retooling these plants will prevent plant closures, save thousands of Michigan jobs, and protect our U.S. manufacturing base here at home and lead American manufacturing into the 21st Century. These loans were finalized this fall. It became law on September 30, 2008.

CASH FOR CLUNKERS
To jump-start the U.S. auto industry, Congress provided consumers with up to $4,500 to trade in an old vehicle for one with higher fuel efficiency - spurring the sale of nearly 700,000 vehicles - the greatest share of which were made or assembled here at home. Created or saved over 60,000 American jobs, including those at auto manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers, boosted economic growth by up to $6.8 billion, spurred a 58 percent increase in the fuel economy for these new cars and will reduce fuel consumption by roughly 33 million gallons per year. First $1 billion appropriation signed into law on June 24, 2009; second $2 billion appropriation signed into law on August 7, 2009.

AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT
impact of Recovery Act on MichiganEmergency legislation enacted in the first month of President Obama's term, to jumpstart our economy, create and save 3.5 million jobs, give 95% of American workers a tax cut, and begin to rebuild America's road, rail, and water infrastructure. Makes historic investments of more than $69 billion in clean energy to nearly double renewable electricity over four years: modernizing the grid to make it more efficient and reliable; tax incentives to spur energy savings and create clean energy jobs, including the tax credit (up to $7500) for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to support the goal of putting one million plug-ins on the road by 2015; and a significant commitment to clean energy research, and to develop advanced battery technology. Signed into law on February 17, 2009.

Among the Recovery Act investments announced, the following highlights a few of the key investments for the auto industry, the U.S. manufacturing base, and Michigan.

  • U.S. Production of Advanced Batteries. As part of an unprecedented $2.4 billion investment in manufacturing of advanced batteries and electric vehicles, Michigan will receive more than $1 billion in grants for 20 Michigan projects involving research and development of batteries and vehicles designed for the 21st Century, the most of any state in the country. These investments in vital home-grown technologies and job creation in a new industry are essential to jump start development of a U.S. manufacturing base for batteries and to accelerate development and commercialization of safe and affordable electric drive vehicle systems. America must lead the way and Michigan has the people and resources to become the world's leader in advanced battery storage and technology, with the nation's 4th-largest high-tech workforce and the country's 3rd-highest engineering graduate population.
  • Smart Grid. Over the last three months, Recovery Act investments for smart grid and meter technology have been announced for Michigan, including $83.8 million to install over 600,000 smart meters, $19.3 million to help develop smart household appliances that schedule energy use for efficiency and cost-savings, and $5 million to upgrade the electrical grid, save energy and create jobs.
  • Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. For the first time ever, companies that domestically manufacture advanced technologies used for the production of renewable energy (including batteries) are receiving a manufacturing tax credit of 30% for the cost of building factories in the Recovery Act package. This will support the building and equipping of new, expanded, or re-tooled factories that manufacture wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles needed to power the green economy. On Friday, over $230 million in awards for Michigan companies for facilities producing components for wind turbines and solar panels were announced.
  • Worker Training for Clean Energy Jobs. The Recovery Act package includes $500 million for grants to assist workers in transitioning to green jobs in renewable energy, advanced technology automobile manufacturing, and other green-related industries. On January 6, the Labor Department announced $5.3 million in job-training partnership grants for green jobs to train nearly 600 workers in Michigan. These grants can be used to train workers as hybrid/electric auto technicians, weatherization specialists, wind and energy auditors, and solar panel installers, for example. Nearly $28 million of the $100 million just announced will support projects in communities hurt by auto industry downsizing.
  • Weatherization. Michigan received more than $243 million from the Recovery Act, which will weatherize more than 30,000 homes, which on average reduces heating bills by 25 percent.
  • Broadband. Michigan is part of a national broadband-mapping project to further the goal of expanding high-speed Internet to unserved and underserved areas with a $1.8 million Recovery Act grant to fund a partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation.

AUTO INDUSTRY RESCUE
In December 2008, with the auto industry on the brink of collapse and with 1 in 10 American jobs related to auto manufacturing, the House took the tough vote to pass emergency legislation to aid the auto industry. The legislation included strong accountability measures to ensure the long-term viability and competitiveness of the auto industry, and to protect taxpayers. With some exceptions, this legislation formed the basis of the Bush Administration's rescue of the automobile industry, with use of funds from TARP, which Congress approved in October 2008. On top of the direct loans for GM and Chrysler and their financial arms, the federal government took steps to ensure consumers can access credit to buy cars and have their warranties honored; that dealers can get loans to finance their inventories; and that suppliers can get paid for their parts. A year later, Ford, GM, and Chrysler are well under way in major restructuring efforts designed to transform them into energy-efficient and globally competitive companies with signs that these efforts are paying off. The automobile industry's annualized selling rate has been rising steadily for several months, ending 2009 at around 11 million vehicles; the electric Chevrolet Volt expected to launch in 2010 is being hailed by car experts as 'impressive, progressive and potentially game-changing; ' and General Motors (GM) has announced that it will repay more than $1 billion next month, years earlier than required.

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET
Provides for a 10% increase for investments in clean renewable energy, energy efficiency, research and technological development, and paves the way for fiscally responsible legislation to spur clean energy and energy independence. Passed the Congress April 29, 2009.

ENERGY IMPROVEMENT & EXTENSION ACT OF 2008
Legislation extending and expanding tax incentives for renewable electricity, energy and fuel from America's heartland, and plug-in hybrid cars, is critical to creating and preserving 500,000 American jobs in wind and solar industries. President Bush threatened to veto these provisions; signed into law October 3, 2008 in Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.

FOOD, CONSERVATION, & ENERGY ACT OF 2008
The Farm Bill made historic commitments to American biofuels including $320 million in loan guarantees for commercialized advanced biofuel production plants. President Bush vetoed, but Congress overrode that veto to become law on June 18, 2008.

FAIRNESS FOR AUTO DEALERS
Auto dealerships that lost their franchise agreements during bankruptcy proceedings for Chrysler and General Motors will have the opportunity to argue their cases in a transparent arbitration process. In this process, the arbitrator must balance economic interests of dealerships, company and public when considering reinstatement of canceled dealership agreements. Signed into law on December 16, 2009 in the omnibus spending package.

WORKER, HOMEOWNERSHIP & BUSINESS ASSISTANCE ACT
To boost the economy and create jobs, Congress passed an extension of unemployment benefits for Americans hit by the recession, extended and expanded 1st-time homebuyer tax credit, and enhanced small business tax relief--expanded to all struggling U.S. businesses. Signed into law on November 6, 2009.

MORE TO COME
RECOVERY ACT
More Recovery Act investments to spur innovation to create jobs are still to come as 40% of the grants, loans and contracts are still to be awarded, including those for high-speed rail to transform the nation's transportation system and create jobs and the National Science Foundation. 

ADVANCED VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY ACT
Bipartisan legislation championed by Rep. Gary Peters, which invests in a diverse range of near-term and long-term vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, support domestic research and manufacturing, and lead to greater consumer choice of vehicle technologies and fuels.  Passed by House on September 16, 2009. 

AMERICAN CLEAN ENERGY AND SECURITY ACT OF 2009 
Historic legislation to launch a new clean energy economy--to create millions of American jobs; help reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil by 5 million barrels per day; and invest in new clean energy and efficiency technologies.  This would double loan guarantees for development of advanced technology vehicles that are 25% more efficient than fuel-economy standards to $50 billion through 2012.  It would also provide $20 billion for improving vehicle efficiency and developing and deploying electric vehicles, with incentives to those manufacturing advanced technology vehicles, incentives to retool factories to make electric vehicles or batteries for electric vehicles, and funding for state and local electric vehicle deployment programs through 2025.  Passed by House on June 26, 2009.

JOBS ON MAIN STREET ACT
Key legislation to create and save jobs with targeted investments to boost small business, to build and modernize highways and transit, and to hire and retain teachers, police, and firefighters; fully paid for by redirecting TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street; with economy-boosting emergency aid (unemployment benefits, help with health benefits) for those hit hardest by the recession.  Passed by House on December 16, 2009.