We've heard all about the wildfires that have been raging in the western US, and the lengths that normal citizens are going to to fight them. Now, Congress is finally stepping in to deliver some aid of its own. The funds, though, could come at the expense of the auto industry.
Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing
Back in 2007 Congress, created the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing federal loan program to allow the government to loan up to $25 billion to car manufacturers. The federal loans were created to help provide the money necessary to retool factories and build more fuel-efficient vehicles, but now some members of Congress are looking to end the program well short of the $25 billion mark.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives reportedly want to cut in half the balance of a U.S. government fund, the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program, that was set aside to help the automotive industry develop more fuel efficient vehicles.
Yesterday, General Motors finally submitted its S-1 document to the Securities and Exchange Commission as the first official step towards becoming a publicly traded company again. As we found when Tesla went down this path earlier this year, an IPO means a company has to outline the potential pitfalls it faces going forward in addition to all of the positive moves it plans to make.
When officials from the U.S. Department of Energy were first evaluating the applications for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program a year ago, General Motors and Chrysler were deemed unworthy. To be eligible for the low interest loan program for retooling plants to build new more efficient vehicles, the applicants have to demonstrate financial viability.
Vice President Joe Biden will be delivering a speech on the economic recovery efforts that have been implemented thus far at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit on Wednesday. The Detroit News is reporting that Biden will be using the occasion to announce the first round of battery research grants from a $2 billion program that was part of the stimulus package passed earlier this year.
The other day, Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering, said, "If they (the DOE) raise the appropriations from the $25 billion to the $50 billion, we qualify." At the time, we hadn't heard about any plans to increase funding for the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. Of course, as we wrote when Cischke made those remarks, never say never.