Thousands of U.S. jobs are on the chopping block after GM announced it would close plants in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland. And lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown say the company is turning its back on workers after receiving a bailout 10 years ago.
"I voted, as did many of the rest of us, to help keep this company alive a decade ago," Brown said. "We rescued this company. We rescued Chrysler. GM's forgotten about that."
Right around the time the U.S. economy was experiencing a recession in 2008, the auto industry was facing the threat of several bankruptcies. To prevent losses that could have undermined the entire manufacturing sector, the federal government issued an $80 billion bailout to rescue auto companies, including GM.
GM cited several reasons for its decision to close plants, like falling car sales and the rise of autonomous vehicles. By trimming its operations and workforce, CEO Mary Barra said it will save the company $6 billion a year by 2020. But Brown, whose state is home to the Lordstown plant that employs 1,400 people, claims that last year's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should've been helpful enough.
"I think the company took its tax cuts — its huge tax cuts — and got more and more profitable. I’m fine with that, but at the same time, they weren't willing to invest those in the country that made it possible," Brown said.
Brown thinks Congress should focus less on tax cuts and more on reasons for companies to stay in the U.S.
"I think our Congress and our president should start by taking away incentives for these companies to move overseas. You've got a company that shuts down in Youngstown, moves overseas, gets a tax break for the shutdown, and then enjoys a 50 percent off coupon on their taxes," said Brown.
Brown also took a shot at President Trump, who blamed him for not doing enough to save GM in Ohio. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said the state "wasn't properly represented" by Brown, who he said "didn't get the point across" to the auto company.
"I mean, the president's not exactly one to ever take responsibility for anything that happens on his watch, but this is the president who went to Youngstown a year ago and said: 'Don't sell your homes. We're going to be moving jobs back from Mexico and all over the world here. We're going to build new plants, knock down the old ones and build new plants,'" Brown said.