For the Record, Paul Ryan Mislead When It Comes to Janesville GM Plant Closure

I used to think that Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan was scary but after listening to his speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC), I think I found something even more scarier than his draconian budget.

Paul Ryan without hesitation or pause confidently delivered a speech full of false and misleading information; I posted a fact-check of Ryan’s speech yesterday but apparently there are some people (mainly Republicans) who want to deny what the facts are.  Over the past 24 hours I have engaged in a couple of conversations concerning the closure of the Janesville, WI GM Plant.  It seems folks can’t understand the process that goes into closing a plant down and the timing around it.  Once again Dylan Matthews (@DylanMatt) of The Washington Post breaks down the timeline that lead up to the closure / standby of the plant.  The following is from his article:

February 2008 – At a campaign stop in Janesville, Obama says, ”I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.” As Politifactwrites, “That’s a statement of belief that, with government help, the Janesville plant could remain open — but not a promise to keep it open.”

June 3, 2008 – GM decides to close the Janesville plant, announcing that production will end by 2010, after months of rumors it might close. The press release declares, “Janesville, Wisconsin, will cease production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and of the Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon in 2010, or sooner.” Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, both Democrats, and Paul Ryan, whose House district includes Janesville, write the company urging it to reverse the decision.

September 2008 – Paul Ryan flies to Detroit to urge GM to reconsider its decision to close the plant. According to the Los Angeles Times, he pitched “a $224-million proposal that included roughly $50 million in state enterprise zone tax credits, local government grants worth $22 million and major contract concessions from the United Auto Workers union local.” Throughout, Ryan frequently speaks with GM chief Rick Wagoner.

Oct. 11, 2008 – Barack Obama comments on the Janesville closing. He does not promise to prevent the closing-in-progress, but instead declares he will “retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville” (emphasis mine) as president. Regardless of one’s views of the auto bailout, it has saved facilities like the Janesville one, if not the Janesville one in particular.

November/December 2008 – Congress weighs a bailout of GM and other automakers. One proposal, backed by Ryan and 31 other House Republicans, but not Mitt Romney, would have provided $15 billion in bridge loans. The bill passed the house but was not picked up by the Senate. The Bush administration declines to use TARP funds to rescue automakers, but approves a bridge loan on Dec.19, too late to save the Janesville plant.

Dec. 23, 2008– Lacking a bailout, the plant closes. The plant holds a “final goodbye ceremony” as it builds its last SUV. In a statement to MSNBC, GM confirmed that the plant “was idled” in December. But — and this is where it gets confusing — winding down a plant takes time.

April 21, 2009 – The Janesville plant builds its last medium-duty truck and shuts down its last assembly line, completing the shutdown process started in June 2008.  – courtesy Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post

The plant currently remains in a standby mode as there is a possibility GM may re-open the plant for production, but that will depend on what the market looks like.  To be honest if not for the bailout of GM that plant probably would not even be thought about for re-opening.  If that happens I am pretty sure Ryan will not give any credit to Obama or even Bush (Bush signed the Bailout ) for saving the plant.

I also thought it was interesting that Dylan Matthews pointed out in his article that Ryan’s complaint seems like he was looking for Obama to do what Republicans have criticized him for…. “Picking Winners”, imagine if Obama would have went in and gave GM a bunch of money and said, MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THAT ONE PLANT IN JANESVILLE OPEN, THAT WILL MAKE ME LOOK GOOD!

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

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