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Akin, McCaskill on GM deal: She's "pleased,'' he has "no confidence''

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 1, 2009 - Two of Missouri's starkest political opposites -- U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country -- were the first to offer their views of the federal bailout deal involving General Motors, which declared bankruptcy Monday.

As a result, it's no surprise that the opinions of the congressman and the senator are polar opposites.

The only point on which they agree is their pleasure that the GM plant in Wentzville remains open, which means that thousands of St. Louis area workers will keep their jobs, at least for now.

Otherwise, said Akin:

“I have consistently opposed government bailouts.  Furthermore, I am disappointed that the bailouts are making the necessary restructuring and bankruptcy more complicated than otherwise necessary.

“I have no confidence in the government’s ability to manage car companies, and I am very concerned that attempts to bailout General Motors and Chrysler have put these car companies in a less competitive position than if they had filed earlier without wasting federal dollars.”

Said McCaskill:
“I’m looking forward to GM coming out of bankruptcy a stronger, better company. Ultimately, I’m pleased that we’ve managed so far to save important middle class jobs like those at the Wentzville plant and just across the border at the Fairfax plant in Kansas. I’m also anxious for the U.S. automakers to no longer rely on the federal government and, in the end, for the taxpayers to get their money back."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.