Rep. Bill Johnson Questions Obama Administration Officials About Delphi Retirees Losing Pensions in GM Taxpayer-Funded Bailout
Washington, June 22, 2011 | Press Office (202-225-5705)
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) today questioned Obama Administration officials regarding the decision-making process that led to non-union, salaried Delphi retirees losing their pensions in the federal government’s bailout of General Motors. The hearing, “Lasting Implications of the General Motors Bailout,” examined the aftermath of the U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout of GM.
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) today questioned Obama Administration officials regarding the decision-making process that led to non-union, salaried Delphi retirees losing their pensions in the federal government’s bailout of General Motors. The hearing, “Lasting Implications of the General Motors Bailout,” examined the aftermath of the U.S. taxpayer-funded bailout of GM. Below are Rep. Johnson’s remarks and questions as prepared for delivery.
Rep. Johnson questioned Ron Bloom, special assistant to the President of the United States and Vincent Snowbarger, deputy director for operations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
Rep. Bill Johnson
U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending
REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and to the rest of the Subcommittee members for allowing me to attend and participate in today’s important oversight hearing.
“As some of you may now, I represent Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District, which includes portions of the suburbs of Youngstown, Ohio. A large number of Delphi retirees, both salaried and unsalaried, live in the district that I represent.
“I think we have heard and will hear more about the many unintended consequences that occur when the Federal Government bails out private industry and picks winners and losers. Clearly, the Obama Administration picked winners and losers in the bailout process, and I am especially thankful that the Chairman of this subcommittee is calling this hearing. Hopefully, the Administration will answer the questions that so many have been asking the past two years.
“With that I have a few questions for the first panel.
“Mr. Bloom, did you not say the following at a Congressional hearing about two years ago: From the beginning of this process, the President gave the Auto Task Force two clear directions regarding its approach to the auto restructurings. The first was to behave in a commercial manner by ensuring that all stakeholders were treated fairly and received neither more nor less than they would have simply because the government was involved. The second was to refrain from intervening in the day-to-day management of these companies?
“Do you think that the Auto Task Force accomplished the President’s first direction, specifically that all were treated fairly and received neither more nor less than they would have simply because the government was involved? Yes or no.
“Mr. Bloom I find it hard to believe that all were treated fair considering that the Delphi salary retirees lost 30% to 70% of their pensions, all of their healthcare benefits, and all of their life insurance while the hourly retirees retained their full pension and health benefits.
“Mr. Snowbarger, was the PBGC pressured by the Auto Task Force or anyone else involved in the bailout process to make the determination to terminate the Delphi salaried employees pension plan?
“If not, why then did the PBGC decide to terminate a plan that was funded in a similar manner and at a similar level as the average of the top 100 pension funds in America at the time?
“Why then is the PBGC fighting so hard to release the records of the PBGC decision making process that led up to the termination? Because it seems like you are hiding something to protect both the PBGC and the President’s Auto Task Force.
“Rest assured, that I will continue to look for answers on this issue. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I yield back the balance of my time."