Obama Ditches Car Czar, Opts for Automotive Task Force
President Barack Obama has declined to appoint a single person to oversee the restructuring of Chrysler and GM, deciding to form a presidential task force co-chaired by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers instead.
The Presidential Task Force on Autos includes representatives from ten Cabinet agencies and White House offices, including the EPA and the Treasury, Labor, Transportation, and Commerce and Energy departments. A notable member of the cabinet is Ron Bloom, a former United Steelworkers consultant who is credited with helping the steel industry successfully downsize. Bloom will advise the complicated negotiations between the automakers, the UAW and bondholders.
Treasury Secretary Geithner will have the responsibility of reviewing all proposed transactions of Chrysler and GM worth $100 million or more. He will also ultimately decide whether or not to call back the government loans that have already been made to the two Detroit automakers. Geithner has said in the past that a bankruptcy could be the best solution for the companies.
The former White House administration’s plans did not require President Obama to appoint a single point-man to oversee the automotive restructuring plans, but it was widely believed that was the route he would take.