Congresswoman Haley Stevens joined MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning to advocate “an industrial call to action” and to discuss how she and House Democrats are fighting for middle- and working-class families in Michigan and across the country.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- “To everybody watching, we know that you are worried about your financial security, your health security, and House Democrats are fighting for you and we will not let you fail.”
- “This is our time to come together as a nation, to rally our manufacturing base. The announcement came last week, the big three halted production and with that thousands of suppliers, millions of jobs, countless individuals have been impacted, and now is our time to rise to the occasion, meet the need of producing the protective equipment that our hospitals need, ventilators and put people to work. Secure this nation at this time. This is an industrial call to action.”
- “I’m calling on [President Trump]. I’m willing to work with anyone. I’m here representing my people in a moment of triage.”
- “This is not normal. This was not expected. This is a pandemic. It’s global. We’re not the only nation fighting it. But, by golly, we’re the nation to lead it globally and ready to do it here. I’m willing to work with anyone. The time for politics and partisan back and forth is over. Manufacturing is the great uniter. It’s coming from Michigan and we’re doing it here.”
BRZEZINSKI: In another development, USA Today reports that auto giant General Motors has agreed to use its currently shuttered factories to help make ventilators for overrun hospitals. Tesla will join in the effort also, while Ford continues to weigh the task. The auto companies were fearful just days ago that they couldn’t produce the small components of the precise machines to FDA requirements, but the President announced yesterday that the agency has relaxed the approval process for the medical devices. But there remains the question of how fast the production lines can be converted for the much-needed production to begin.
BRZEZINSKI: Joining us now Chairwoman of the House Research and Technology Subcommittee Democratic Congresswoman of Michigan Haley Stevens. She previously served as Chief of Staff to President Obama’s Auto Rescue Task Force that saved GM/Chrysler and more than a million jobs. Thank you very much for joining us. I guess the first question I have for you is how can these auto companies get in line with kind of a mass mobilization to try and help this country stem the curb of this crisis without really an order from the top, from President Trump?
STEVENS: Well, first let me start by saying, thank you so much for your dedication and your team’s dedication to your profession at this time. To everybody watching, we know that you are worried about your financial security, your health security, and House Democrats are fighting for you and we will not let you fail. In terms of a national call to action, this is our World War II moment. This is our time to come together as a nation, to rally our manufacturing base. The announcement came last week, the big three halted production and with that thousands of suppliers, millions of jobs, countless individuals have been impacted, and now is our time to rise to the occasion, meet the need of producing the protective equipment that our hospitals need, the ventilators, and put people to work. Secure this nation at this time. This is an industrial call to action.
BRZEZINSKI: Okay, but if you get that industrial call to action, you can either do it individually I guess in your district with different companies but wouldn’t it make more sense if the President actually invoked the Defense Production Act and got some uniformity going here?
STEVENS: The Defense Production Act is absolutely a tool. Many of us in Michigan and throughout the country, Members of Congress are calling on the President to do that. That’s certainly a tool, but also working with the companies to do so. What we would like to say is we’re not going to let you fail. We know people are worried. We know companies — I drove past many of them on my way in here today — are seeing zero revenue. Jobs are on the line as well as health being on the line. We’re looking at Great Depression levels and we need the President to step up. I’m calling on him. I’m ready to work with anyone because I’m here representing my people in a moment of triage and I’m not going to let them go by the wayside.
LEMIRE: Congresswoman, some of these automakers may be pushed into the effort here to manufacture ventilators, but their futures are uncertain now, there’s a lot of economic uncertainty. Will this auto industry as part of the stimulus, as part of the relief packages that are being negotiated right now – will the auto industry, as the governor of your state suggested yesterday, will they also need some help, will they need a federal bailout?
STEVENS: It’s all tied in together, but this isn’t a bail out. We’re not talking about bail outs. We’re talking about securing assets, we’re talking about securing the industrial assets of this nation. We’re seeing an unpleasant picture here. We don’t know what this looks like on the other side but we do know we don’t have a country if we don’t make things, if we don’t have an auto industry. We’re not looking for cash to companies. We’re looking to secure their assets through federal monetary policy. The other thing is and I’ve been saying this all along direct, cohesive, clear assistance to every American. I got engineers who are making $80,000 and going to be out of a job and their W-2 is not meeting the levels that they want. It’s time to give people the assurance, the financial security. We’re in the upside-down, we know that. This is not normal. This was not expected. This is a pandemic. It’s global. We’re not the only nation fighting it but, by golly, we’re the nation to lead it globally and ready to do it here. I’m willing to work with anyone. The time for politics and partisan back and forth is over. Manufacturing is the great uniter. It’s coming right from a place called Michigan and we’re doing it right here.
BRZEZINSKI: Who is coordinating the auto try efforts at this point and what exactly do you need from President Trump if you could talk to him directly?
STEVENS: So, we need him to re-establish what we had in the Obama Administration with a Senior Counselor for Manufacturing Policy. This was my old boss, Ron Bloom, he did this. We created this national network for manufacturing innovation. There’s a dozen labs all across the country that are focused on open sourcing, the digital thread that will connect these suppliers to one another so they can meet the on time delivery that our hospitals need in this moment. Let’s get that rolled back in place. I’m paying attention to what Kudlow is saying. I’m working with my colleagues through the Manufacturing Caucus, that’s Tim Ryan and Congressman Reid, we’re all coming together here. Dingell is playing a role too. It’s all hands on deck. It doesn’t matter what party you are in this moment. What matters is that we coalesce, come together and the president appoints somebody in his office to lead this charge. Also, our friends at the National Association of Manufacturers, they are doing a fabulous job. They put out a big call to all the manufacturers. But we need to open source this. We need to regionalize it, and we meet the pressing needs in our hospitals. I want to tell you something else. I talked to a mayor in my hometown. He spent his weekend going to construction sites trying to source the PPE for the hospitals that need it. That was Saturday. Today is Monday. What does this look like on Thursday? We should have been doing this yesterday. We’re all hands on deck, though. We’re willing and ready to work with anybody. I’m telling the President right now I’m willing to work with you on this.
BRZEZINSKI: Congresswoman Haley Stevens, thank you very much.