WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden touted the Obama administration's bailouts of U.S. auto makers in the White House radio address Saturday, saying they succeeded in turning around the auto industry and helped the economic recovery.
"Because of what we did, the auto industry is rising again. Manufacturing is coming back," Mr. Biden said. "And our economy is recovering and it's gaining traction."
Mr. Biden noted the announcement this week by Chrysler that the company will begin repaying loans from the U.S. government years ahead of schedule, reported The Wall Street Journal. He also said General Motors Corp., another recipient of government bailout money, had announced that its Detroit Hamtramck plant was ramping up production.
"Many people thought the president should just let G.M. and Chrysler go under," Mr. Biden said. "They didn't think the automobile industry was essential to America's future. The president disagreed."
Mr. Biden acknowledged near the end of the address that, despite signs the U.S. economy is improving, there are still problems with the economy. He said people's paychecks weren't keeping pace with rising gas prices and the cost of health care and college tuition. He said the Obama administration is focused on "making sure that if you work hard, play by the rules, you'll be able to get ahead, put your kids through college, retire with dignity and security."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor painted a different picture of the economy in the Republican response to the White House address.
"As the summer of 2011 approaches, far too many our family members, neighbors and friends are still out of work," Mr. Cantor said.
He accused the administration's regulators of conducting "an ideological offensive against businesses that is costing our country billions of dollars and countless jobs."
Mr. Cantor said Republicans had a better plan to repair the economy that involved simplifying the tax code, repealing onerous regulations and expanding domestic energy production. "All of these elements will help encourage growth and long-term economic stability," he said.