|McCain on Big Three|
U.S. Sen. John McCain spoke about the Big Three automakers and why he voted against a bailout while in Yuma Wednesday. Video by Ryan Brennecke and Janet Chasse
|Sen. McCain in Yuma|
U.S. Sen. John McCain visited Yuma Wednesday to speak with leaders at MCAS-Yuma, Yuma Proving Ground, and area farmers.Video by Ryan Brennecke and Janet Chasse
Most Viewed Stories
McCain in Yuma to meet with military leaders and area farmers
Listen to audio of full press conference in related links (10 minutes)
U.S. Sen. John McCain said he voted against the bailout plan for the American auto industry a few days ago when it was before the Senate because he felt unless the Big Three made fundamental reforms, giving them billions of dollars was only delaying their failure.
"They have to be able to compete and right now they are unable to do so," McCain said. "I didn’t believe that this fix would keep the auto industry alive."
McCain said he favors a “bankruptcy-like solution” to fix the ailing American auto industry, and that they need to make changes in “salaries, wages and benefits” to keep them competitive with car makers overseas.
The senator, who is also the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, made a brief stop in Yuma Wednesday to meet with the commanders of Yuma Proving Ground and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma as well as some with area farmers.
Having spent the past two days touring the border, McCain hailed the progress that has been made on the construction of the border fence.
"I have been impressed by the construction of the fence across our southern border," McCain said standing at a podium at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma during an short meeting with the media. "They are making good progress, but there still is a lot of work that needs to be done."
Given the United States is dependant to a large degree on its cross-border trade with Mexico, McCain added that this country needs to build new ports or improve existing ones in order to move goods and people across the border with more efficiency and rapidity.
"Obviously as we secure our borders, we have to also try to do what we can to move that produce as quickly and efficiently as possible," McCain said.
McCain added that he is also still worried about the level of violence occurring on the Mexican side of the border and that it could spill over into the United States.
"I have been around the border a long time and have not seen the level of violence, and none of us have, that it has recently reached, as the drug cartels continue to try and maintain control over the drug trafficking," McCain said. "I was in Mexico City last March and met with President Felipe Calderon and obviously the Mexican government is equally concerned about their ability to prevail over the drug cartels, who are not only fighting one another, but are also fighting against government control of their activities."
Given the nation's economy, McCain added that he also did not foresee another round of base closures anytime in the near future.
"We have a conflict in Afghanistan we aren't winning and we have to continue our mission in Iraq," McCain said. "We have a Russian government that is less than pleasant and challenges in our own hemisphere."
When asked if he thought lower gas prices would sideline the need to develop alternative energy sources, McCain said he didn't think so.
"I think climate change is real and is taking place as we speak," McCain said. "We have to have nuclear power. It has to be part of any equation to address global climate change."
McCain went on to say gas prices may be low now, but they will start going up again once the economy starts to recover.
"The price of a gallon of gas has more to do with the world economy than it does with the fact that there is an ample supply," McCain said. "We are still talking about a finite resource that more and more nations will be drawing on."
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.