Senator Roberts: Taxpayers Should Get Auto Stock

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Pat Roberts helped introduce legislation requiring the U.S. Department of Treasury to distribute to individual taxpayers all its stock in General Motors (GM) and Chrysler within one year following the emergence of the companies from bankruptcy proceedings.

"I voted against the bailouts and I warned against throwing taxpayer dollars at these companies because bankruptcy was inevitable," Senator Roberts said, "Unfortunately, I was correct and the efforts to shore up these companies have failed, leaving the government holding the bag as the majority owner with 60 percent of the shares in the case of GM and 8 percent of Chrysler. It is only fair to distribute these stocks to their rightful owners, the American taxpayer."

The bill, the Auto Stock for Every Taxpayer Act (S. 1198), introduced by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) would:

Prohibit the Treasury from using any more TARP funds to bailout GM or Chrysler;

As long as the government holds stock in these companies, require that the Secretary of the Treasury and his designee have a fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer to maximize the return on that investment;

Not later than one year after each company emerges from bankruptcy, require that the Treasury distribute its common stock holdings in that company evenly to every American who paid taxes on April 15.

"I have heard from many Kansans concerned with the trillions of dollars we are borrowing from our grandchildren with very few real results. While this bill returns only a fraction of that taxpayer investment, it also removes the potential for the Administration to influence business decisions best left to the manufacturers and shareholders."

Senator Roberts is a member of the Senate Committee on Finance.