Disingenuous does not even begin to describe Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's "who, me?" statement about the government shutdown. He claims to have done "personally everything I could do to avoid" the shutdown. How? "I voted several times to do that," and anyway, it's the fault of the Senate and White House for having "refused to sit down and talk about this."
Fleischmann's reference "several" is laughable. It refers to the 40-odd votes he and other Republicans cast in their doomed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to which they are monomaniacally opposed - and which led to the shutdown. He was among 80 GOP congressmen signing a by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N. C.) that in effect urged Speaker John Boehner to trigger a shutdown rather than fund the ACA.
Their desire to shut down the government for ideological reasons has now become reality, and it's unclear how much economic damage the nation will suffer. Republicans used to claim they wanted to "repeal Obamacare" and "replace" it with something better. That's been abandoned as the fraud it was since the GOP doesn't have a health care plan and apparently no intention to devise one.
If Fleischmann ever decided to exhibit the type of leadership needed to solve problems rather than destroy someone's approach, he would be more worthy of the office he holds. As it stands, he cannot obscure his status as a lap dog for the Republican party's radical wing.
Recently, we gathered with automotive leaders from Tennessee and their counterparts from other states at the Southern Automotive Conference. The southern U.S. is forecast to have the most automotive manufacturing growth in North America, in both capacity and output, over the next three years. A key theme we'll be discussing is how to mitigate the enormous amount of risk this growth brings to Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant and others.
The lower tiers of the automotive supply chain were disproportionately devastated by the Great Recession. Now, with the industry currently enjoying a period of robust demand, automakers need to quickly back-fill capacity and capability in their supply chain. The biggest challenge is ensuring local suppliers comply with quality performance expectations. A failure to do so risks compromising automakers corporate image, the reputation of individual brands and the continuity of the overall automotive supply chain.
We are supporting organizations like the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association by helping their members understand and implement industry performance requirements. As we educate and empower lower level suppliers to use industry tools and processes, we are mitigating the risk and helping grow Tennessee's automotive economy with world-class suppliers for the global auto industry.
J. SCOT SHARLAND, Executive Director AIAG