Obama Says Congress Can Learn Something About Compromise From The Auto Industry

ABC News’ Mary Bruce ( @marykbruce ) Reports:

Today President Obama announced a new compromise with the auto industry to increase fuel economy standards, saying the agreement “ought to serve as a valuable lesson for leaders in Washington” who are mired in high-stakes negotiations over the debt ceiling.

“You are all demonstrating what can happen when people put aside differences. These folks are competitors. You've got labor and business. But they decided: We're going to work together to

achieve something important and lasting for the country,” the president said in a speech at the D.C. Convention Center this morning.

“So when it comes to tackling the deficit or it comes to growing the economy… the American people are demanding the same kind of resolve, the same kind of spirit of compromise, the same kind of problem solving that all these folks on stage have shown,” Obama said. “They're demanding that people come together and find common ground… That's what I'm fighting for. That's what this debate is all about. That's what the American people want.”

The White House today announced new standards to increase fuel economy for cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 miles-per-gallon by Model Year 2025. The president was joined in the agreement by thirteen major automakers, which together account for over 90 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S., as well as the United Auto Workers and the State of California.

“This agreement on fuel standards represents the single most important step we've ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Obama said, noting the agreement means “filling up your car every two weeks instead of filling it up every week.”

“It will save a typical family more than $8,000 in fuel costs over time. And consumers in this country as a whole will save almost $2 trillion in fuel costs. That's trillion with a T,” he added.

The president also joked with the automakers about his soon-to-be-driving daughter. “It's only a matter of time until Malia gets her learner's permit. So I'm hoping to see one of those models that gets a top speed of 15 miles an hour. The ejector seat any time boys are in the car. So, hopefully you guys have some of those in the pipeline,” he said to laughter from the crowd.

As Obama worked the crowd after the announcement, a gentleman from Chicago told the President he still owed him a poker game. “I’ve got some high stakes poker going on right now!” Obama responded, in reference to the drama unfolding over the debt on Capitol Hill.

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