Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar makes a rare departure from her party

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Sen. Amy Klobuchar took an unprecedented departure from her party on Wednesday as the only Democrat to support a largely symbolic Republican measure requiring bailed-out auto companies to issue every taxpayer common stock.

The senator’s spokesman, Linden Zakula, said it was the first time that she has been the only Democrat to side with Republicans on a party-line vote. Democrats otherwise voted unanimously against the measure – with all but three Republicans supporting it.

Sponsored by Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander, the amendment to an appropriations bill would have specifically required bailed-out auto companies like GM and Chrysler to issue common stock to every American who filed taxes in 2008 – emphasizing the public’s multi-billion dollar investment in the corporations. Dubbed the “Auto Stock for Every Taxpayer Act,” it would also have prohibited more TARP funds from going to auto manufacturers. The text of the amendment can be found here.

“Senator Klobuchar’s vote sends a message that taxpayers deserve to recover their investments and that the government should get out of the car business as soon as possible,” Zakula wrote in an e-mail. “Senator Klobuchar will continue to push for a full accounting of the funds and the oversight taxpayers deserve.”

In December, Klobuchar voted for a measure to bailout the auto companies – though it eventually failed. Zakula said in an interview that Klobuchar has “always had concerns” about the plans to restructure GM and Chrysler.

Klobuchar’s Minnesota colleague, Democrat Al Franken, seemed to view the Alexander amendment differently.

“He doesn’t see a way to administer it, and there are more feasible and effective ways to hold auto companies accountable,” said Franken spokeswoman Jess McIntosh.

This is a place where open-minded critical thinkers of all political persuasions encounter information and arguments that both support and challenge their preconceptions. The goal is not to eliminate differences but to narrow and clarify them. We begin with a bedrock agreement that the search for insight and clarity is important, serious - and fun.

We ask commenters to be civil and substantive and, if possible, good humored. We reserve the right to delete comments that disregard this request.

Follow The Big Question on Twitter Do you use Twitter? Follow The Big Question.