A House committee leader charged President Obama used the auto bailout to coerce U.S. automakers into agreeing to higher mileage standards.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Friday the standards were negotiated when the U.S. auto industry was financially dependent on the federal government, The Hill reported.
"In the wake of a massive taxpayer funded bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the Obama administration took aggressive action to force a rule-making process that reflects ideology over science and politics over process and law," Issa said in a statement.
Democrats in Congress and environmental groups criticized Issa for attacking the emission requirements, known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy, standards requiring cars to get 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
"The automotive industry is one of the greatest economic comebacks of all time, but Republicans want to run it off the road," Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., said in statement.
Markey tied Issa's opposition to the standards to the presidential campaign, saying presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans "seem committed to taking the American consumer out of the driver's seat and putting Big Oil behind the wheel of America's energy agenda."
The Truman National Security Project's "Operation Free" said Issa's comments were "misguided."
"Congressman Issa has once again failed to understand that strong CAFE standards will help keep America safe," Brandon Fureigh, the group's advocacy director, said in a statement.
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