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Rehberg calls for House hearing on GM contract cancellation


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Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]

Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., has called for a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives to examine a major automaker's decision to step out of a contract with a Montana mine after receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout money. “Frankly, GM is owned by the American taxpayer now,” Rehberg said in a press release Tuesday. A bankruptcy judge last week approved voiding a contract General Motors Corp. had with Stillwater Mining, which mines palladium near Columbus. GM said it will buy the reduced amount of palladium it needs, used in manufacturing catalytic converters, from mines outside of the United States. Stillwater, which is owned by a Russian company, employs more than 1,300 people in its Columbus operation. It's contract with GM provides more than 40 percent of the company's revenue. Rehberg sent a letter requesting a hearing, also signed by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Nick Rahall, D-W.V., and Jim Costa, D-Calif, chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals. “There are some tough questions that need answers, and if we can't get them voluntarily, we'll get them by force of law,” Rehberg said Tuesday. “Montanans deserve to know why GM decided American jobs weren't imporTant anymore, and why they think it's acceptable to skirt environmental regulations, worker safety and fair labor agreements.” Rehberg said the hearing would provide Congress with subpoena authority to compel representatives from GM to answer questions, something they refused to do when asked last week. “They ought to be subjected to the same rigorous oversight we exercise over any other government agency,” Rehberg said. “When a member of Congress asks them to answer some questions on behalf of their constituents, no' is not an acceptable answer.” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said the fight is not over in the Senate, either. Tester and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., sent a letter to GM last week requesting a meeting with the company's top executive to discuss continuing its contract with Stillwater. The company Friday declined to meet with the senators. "This ordeal is far from over,” Tester said this morning. “I am talking directly to GM and the White House to make it clear that this decision is a non-starter for Montana. “As long as Montana taxpayers are footing GM's bailout bill, GM should be in the business of creating American jobs, not foreign jobs,” Tester added. “That's just common sense, which seems to be in short supply at GM these days.”


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