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Democrats, Auto Groups, Oppose Funding Cut

September 20, 2011 by  

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) — An alliance of trade groups and 77 U.S. congressmen are appealing to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to maintain funding for a fuel-efficiency program.

House Republicans have proposed cutting $1.5 billion from a federal loan program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency that is designed to help automobile manufactures with research and development projects that increase automobile fuel efficiency, the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday.

“We’re working to save a program that was created with bipartisan support and has literally brought thousands of auto jobs from Mexico to Detroit,” Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said.

Seventy-seven Democratic congressmen have signed a letter calling for the funding to remain intact. In a second effort, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Automotive Policy Council and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association have signed a joint letter that says, “New technologies require substantial upfront investments in research, design, development, testing and certification.”

The funding does not go strictly to huge automobile companies. It also goes to small suppliers to help develop parts that contribute to improved fuel efficiency, the trade groups said.

Republicans have said the spending cuts are necessary to maintain funding for disaster relief.

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