Ryan Lobbied Hard to Save Wisconsin Auto Plants

Despite free-market credo, pushed for local car plants
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2012 11:25 AM CDT
Ryan Lobbied Hard to Save Wisconsin Auto Plants
Republican vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., campaigns at The Villages, Fla., yesterday.   (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Not only did deficit-hawk Paul Ryan vote for Detroit's $14 billion emergency bailout, he also spearheaded two lavish incentive plans that gave hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks and benefits to keep a large GM plant in his hometown, reports the Los Angeles Times. That plant closed despite the herculean efforts of Ryan and others; in May 2009, Ryan also lobbied the White House to revamp a Chrysler plant in his district, but that plant also failed. "I would say Congressman Ryan did what a good member of Congress would do for his district," said then-Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat who played a role in creating the "enormous package" the state offered GM.

Doyle adds that, like other Republicans, Ryan decried "the so-called stimulus and bailouts while also lining up to make sure their districts were getting taken care of." One Ryan aide said that Ryan draws a distinction between the federal government picking winners and state governments competing for business. Ryan has said he wants to end "corporate welfare" and that any lobbying he did for stimulus funds was done by accident. (Read more Paul Ryan stories.)

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