By Justin Chermol
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) ripped into GM CEO Mary Barra over the closing of a factory in his district on Tuesday, despite the auto manufacturer's recent announcement to invest $300 million in an auto plant in neighboring district.
"I am not happy with Mary Barra. I do not accept business will be business, they have to make tough decisions. The decisions she is making, is to ship our jobs to Mexico and it's not necessary," Levin told Cheddar's J.D. Durkin on Wednesday.
The Michigan Democrat represents a district that houses the Warren Transmission Plant; the idling of this factory means massive layoffs announced in November as a means to divert the automaker's attention from manufacturing small, sedan cars and move to electric and autonomous vehicles.
Just last week, GM announced a massive investment in an adjacent district to Levin, Orion Township, where it will begin the production of a new Chevrolet electric vehicle. The project is expected to bring 400 new jobs to the region and $1.8 billion investment throughout the United States.
"Here's the big picture with GM: They've literally doubled - almost exactly doubled - the number of cars they've built in Mexico as opposed to the U.S. Ford's not doing it to that extent," Levin said, echoing a message even President Trump has addressed in recent weeks.
Although the shuttering of five factories in the United States and Canada is impacting workers, Levin see's this as a way to encourage a new revolution in American manufacturing: autonomous.
"If you want to be in business in capitalism, you've got to run to where the ball's being thrown, and we are moving to electrification fast, because we have to to save our planet," Levin said. He added: "And we are moving to autonomous vehicles because it'll make driving much safer and just because it's technology on the march."
The surge in autonomous and electric vehicles, in addition to the left's push for the Green New Deal, has been met with criticism from some auto manufacturers. Nevertheless, Levin, a co-sponsor to the Green New Deal, thinks the industry should embrace the politics of going green: "I think people misunderstand the Green New Deal. Here's what we're saying: we face the gravest crisis our species has ever faced because we are frying out planet. And you can say 'Oh my gosh that's gonna cause a lot of disruption.' I say, that's where fortune's gonna be made."
And though Levin is equally as cautious as Trump over the move of American jobs to Mexico, he strongly opposes the President's push to increase auto tariffs in America as a means to hurt American workers.
If it were up to the Michigan congressman, he would "have a trade policy that creates a new era of trade agreements that's about raising the standard of living of working people, not freeing up corporations to just run around the globe to send our jobs to wherever it's cheapest, and wherever they can do environmental damage with no barriers."
For full interview click here.