Thursday, December 11, 2008

Future of Auto bailout bill uncertain

As we saw yesterday, the House of Representatives passed their portion of the auto bailout bill but now it seems to be hung up in the Senate. George Voinovich, Sen - R Ohio, has already stated that there is not enough support in the Senate for passage. They need 60 votes to overcome any Republican delays and do not have it yet. The Republicans are spouting off that they are uncomfortable with the car czar, uncomfortable with spending 14 billion without the auto manufacturers having a clear plan and do want to see tougher environmental issues as part of the bill. I think these Republicans are just grandstanding, thinking they are protecting the taxpayer when in reality, they are accomplishing just the opposite.

From Yahoo News:

"A House-passed bill to speed $14 billion in loans to Detroit's automakers stands on shaky ground in a bailout-weary Congress, undermined by Republican opposition that could derail the emergency aid in the Senate.

Republicans are challenging lame-duck President George W. Bush on the proposal, arguing that any support for the domestic auto industry should carry significant concessions from autoworkers and creditors and reject tougher environmental rules imposed by House Democrats.

The House approved the plan late Wednesday on a vote of 237-170. It would infuse money within days into cash-starved General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. Ford Motor Co., which has said it has enough cash to make it through 2009, would also be eligible for federal aid.

Supporters cited dire warnings from GM and Chrysler executives, who have said they could run out of cash within weeks, and concerns that a carmaker collapse would erase tens of thousands of jobs and jolt an already bleak economy.

Democrats and the Bush White House hoped the Senate would vote on the legislation as early as Thursday. But based on concerns raised by GOP senators — and a still-uncertain level of support even among Democrats — they had a lot of work to do.

A leading Senate Republican opponent said Thursday that he cannot back spending $14 billion of taxpayer money on a plan that would call for a restructuring of the industry, but which fails to detail just how that would be accomplished.

"I think that is putting the cart before the horse and isn't reponsible in terms of tax dollars," Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana said on CBS's "The Early Show."

"A lot of members of the Senate have questions, on both sides of the aisle, about the strength of the so-called auto czar," he said on CNN Thursday morning. "We think this auto czar will have very strong, sweeping powers, and we think that's reflected in the legislation. So we're going to keep talking to them (senators). The president and other members of the administration will be reaching out to Republican senators this morning."

Let's hope that our political system can actually work and that our representatives reach across the aisle and come to an amicable agreement.

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