NPR: Fight over FEMA money could cut clean car program

September 22, 2011
In The News

Yesterday, Rep. Eshoo spoke with Kitty Felde, correspondent for KPCC and NPR, about her efforts to save the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program, a highly successful bipartisan program to help produce highly fuel efficient, advanced technology vehicles or components, which was on the chopping block to pay for disaster relief funding. The ATVM program has directly benefited manufacturers in the Bay Area and California.

The government once again runs out of money Sept. 30. But Wednesday afternoon, the House voted down another stopgap spending measure. Some Republicans voted "no" because it wasn't fiscally conservative enough. Democrats like Anna Eshoo of Palo Alto voted that way for another reason: The continuing resolution would have reallocated money for encourage manufacturers to make more fuel efficient cars and put it toward disaster relief instead.

It wants to offset part of that expense by cutting a billion-and-a-half dollars from a loan subsidy program that encourages car companies to build fuel-efficient vehicles. Eshoo of Palo Alto says those federal loans translate into 10,000 jobs, many of them in California. "And so what the Republicans are saying now is, "Oh, we'll pay for disaster relief by eliminating an American jobs program, an American fuel efficient car manufacturing program, and a program that really demonstrates I think American ingenuity," she said.

Eshoo says the funding isn't structured to help Americans pay for disasters.

"I don't sit scratching my head for four or five months while the floor is flooded and I have no hot water in my home. I go out and I get the water heater, I have it installed, I probably put it on my credit card, and then figure out whether I can pay for it all at once or whether I have to make payments on it," she said.

to Rep. Eshoo's full interview with NPR, please click here.