The OESA supports and “greatly appreciates the Senator’s work on behalf of suppliers,” Mr. Chalifoux said.

Debbie Stabenow United States Senate

Sen. Stabenow thanked the National Academies for “pulling this session together” and recognized Dr. Wessner for his leadership. She also acknowledged the efforts of TARDEC “and the important efforts of leaders around this room.”

Clean-energy policy in the U.S. is fundamentally about jobs, Sen. Stabenow said. “It is about other things. But when you come from Michigan, it is all about jobs,” she said. As a member of the Senate Finance, Energy, and Agriculture committees, “I am laser-focused on all of the things you are talking about.” With the leadership of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Governor Granholm, “we have very much been focused on clean energy,” she said.

Although she said she is not eager to go back to Washington’s hot summer weather, Sen. Stabenow said she is returning “because we are going to continue to focus on jobs and an important small-business bill that will help suppliers and create capital for small businesses.”

The topic of this conference is “incredibly important,” not only for Michigan but for the country, Sen. Stabenow said. She noted that a man named Steve Pernell, who had worked on the assembly building cars for GM, now is building test models for the Chevy Volt. Mr. Pernell told a Fox News reporter that he feels the pressure to build the car well because “the success of the Volt is a matter of do or die.”

Mr. Pernell is right, “and not just for GM,” Sen. Stabenow said. “Building the next generation of energy-efficient vehicles is do-or-die for all of the automakers, for the state of Michigan, and for America.” The success or failure of these vehicles will largely depend on the quality of the batteries that will power them, she said. “So this is a very, very important discussion and an important effort that we all need to be continually engaged in.”

There has been “incredible spending” by Asian nations on battery technology, Sen. Stabenow pointed out. “Japan, Korea, and others have taken the early lead,” she said. “China has now gotten into the game big time. China is now spending about $288 million a day to beat us on clean energy. So this is a race.”

American companies have been competing against countries for years, Sen. Stabenow stressed. “Finally our country is beginning to get in the game in terms of partnership with our businesses,” she said. “It is incredibly important that we ramp this us as fast as we can.” The last thing the U.S. needs to do “is go from a dependence on foreign oil to a dependence on foreign technology,” she said. “And if we don’t continue to push, that is what is going to happen.”

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