Three Michigan members of Congress talked about jobs, the federal budget deficit, and partisan gridlock at the Detroit Economic Club.
Democrats Gary Peters and Sander Levin, and Republican Candice Miller all represent suburban Detroit districts in the U.S. House.
Miller says the current problems in Washington stem from ideological differences about the role of government. She thinks the government needs to slash what she calls “out of control spending.”
But Levin argues Republicans have become too “rigid” in their ideology.
“When ideology gets rigid, it freezes in place the Congress and the government of the United States," Levin says. "And I think it’s time for us to drop the rigidity…have the ideology, but seek some common ground.”
Levin says a key test for that will come this week, when Congress must approve a stopgap spending measure to keep the government from shutting down.
That bill includes money for disaster relief. Republicans want at least some of that money offset by spending cuts to other programs, and they’re targeting the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program.
That has Michigan’s Congressional Democrats outraged. But Macomb County Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller says she doesn’t like that some of that money goes to foreign companies like Nissan.
“I have to tell you the truth: the only auto industry that I am interested in, personally, is the domestic auto industry,” Miller says. “I’m sorry, I’m just telling you that in full transparency. I don’t care about the foreign automakers.”
Peters and Levin argue that the loan money goes to support U.S.-based manufacturing and important technological research.