MBRT Urges Bipartisan Congressional Support for Energy Plan to Boost Ailing U.S. Economy and Support American Automakers and Workers

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MBRT supports bipartisan group of 10 Senators' compromise energy plan aimed at producing more domestic oil via offshore drilling, reducing energy prices, and aiding the troubled economy. The plan calls for more fuel efficient cars and more research money to move away from petroleum products. Big Oil biggest Quarter ever-$51.5 billion: GM posts $15.5 billion 2Q loss and third worst in its history: unemployment up and jobless rates climb

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"With General Motors stunning second quarter record breaking loss of $15.5 billion, Chrysler's failure to renew all of its $30 billion short term debt and Ford Motor Co $8.7 billion loss because of a deep decline in U.S. sales and charges for job cuts, plant closings and the falling value of trucks and sport utility vehicles, the big three automakers are really taking a hit, and clearly something must be done to aid American businesses", said Roger A. Campos, President & CEO. "America's automakers who have been leaders in workforce diversity and developing minority dealers and suppliers as well as their employees are at risk." The jobless rate rose to 5.7 percent in July, the highest in four years. It is up from 5.5 percent in June and 4.7 percent a year earlier. Employers cut their payrolls by 51,000 net jobs, bringing the total reduction in the nation's job count this year to 463,000. The ranks of the unemployed increased by 285,000 people in the month, continuing a steady deterioration in the job market that began at the end of last year.

As Congress recessed for the summer, a bipartisan group of 10 Senators called the "Gang of 10" consisting of five Senators from each party: Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Mary Landrieu, D-La; Saxby Chambliss; R-Ga; John Thune, R-S.D.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark; Johnny Isakson, R-Ga; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark; and Bob Corker, R-Tenn have offered a bipartisan proposal in an effort to solve America's energy problems. "This proposal includes some very good ideas to address our country's many energy-related challenges, and while I do not agree with every part of it, I very much appreciate the bipartisan spirit in which it was constructed….", said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV. The proposal would also promote more renewable energy sources and nuclear energy, as well as carbon capture techniques to reduce greenhouse gas production through tax and other incentives.

Andra Rush, CEO of Rush Trucking and Vice Chairman of MBRT said, "Our Citizens and our government must recognize the importance of pillar industries such as the automotive industry for national strength, technological expertise, and economic vitality, now and for future generations. The automotive industry is critical to jobs in the United States, North America, and influences worldwide economies. For every job created in the auto industry; nine more are created to support it. If our government invested $20-$40 billion in the U.S. automotive industry today, alternative energy for vehicles would increase dramatically, and dependence on foreign oil would drastically diminish. We need a distribution network for these energy alternatives and it is incumbent on the federal government to help fund and accelerate this network. I believe the statistic is 49,000 fueling stations converted to accommodate alternative fueling systems (such as hydrogen) would supply over 80% of our needs. Punitive measures are not the only catalyst to increased fuel efficiency goals and diminished greenhouse gases. Incentives and Investment will spur growth in innovative technologies much faster than avoidance of fines and special taxes."

"Part of the reason this country has been so great is because of automotive manufacturing", said Frank Venegas, Jr. Chairman, The Ideal Group and Chairman of GM's Supplier Diversity Council. "It is a necessity for Congress to support the American automakers, their suppliers, and employees".

The Gang of 10 offers a bipartisan compromise energy plan which is estimated to cost $85 billion, but would be offset with "loophole closers and other revenues" including money from the new leases and from closing oil industry manufacturing tax credits (roughly $18 billion). Although President Bush has threatened a veto if the tax credits are taken away from the oil companies, Congress should strike a compromise to help American consumers.

Neither of the major party presidential candidates-Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain-is in the Gang of 10. On the campaign trail, Obama appeared to soften his opposition to offshore drilling. McCain supports opening federal waters to drilling.

"With America's workforce strained by increasing financial insecurity and rising prices, we urge Congress to enact comprehensive legislation to spur economic growth through tax credits and other business incentives-let's engage and invest in America's technology leadership-its businesses," said Janice Howroyd, CEO Act-1 and Chairman, MBRT.

About the Minority Business RoundTable:

The Minority Business RoundTable is the only national non-profit organization for CEOs of the nation's leading African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American and other minority-owned businesses. Its members analyze and help formulate effective public policies that impact minority-owned business. Our corporate members work to create sustainable communities and national economic viability through successful partnerships.

The Minority Business RoundTable is proud to have Glaxco Smith Kline, Equifax, the Allegis Group and Aerotek, Inc., the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of the country's leading corporations, the Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Labor and other federal agencies, corporations and business trade groups as strategic partners. For more information on the Minority Business RoundTable, please visit http://www.mbrt.net.

Minority Business Roundtable
1629 K Street, N.W., Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006
202-289-8881
rogercampos @ mbrt.net

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