Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We Have an Agreement! Auto Bailout now on Track

Late Tuesday night, the White House and Congressional leaders were able to come to terms in fabricating the so called Auto Bailout Bill. Actually, the bill will have a more formal name once it is presented in the House and Senate. This is very good news indeed and we can look for a vote as early as today (Wednesday). Most of the terms in the agreement are the same as we have already heard, that it will be 15 billion, there will be a car czar, no big bonuses for the CEO's, etc.

From Automotive News:

"The White House and congressional Democrats on Tuesday night reached an agreement in principle on a $15 billion proposal for bailing out U.S. automakers and forcing them to restructure or fail, officials said.

A Bush administration official and a Democratic leadership aide said the outline covered key points but final issues needed to be resolved and put in writing.

Democrats have arranged to have the House of Representatives vote on a bill as early as Wednesday and send it to the Senate for consideration.

..."Bipartisan hard work has paid off," said Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan whose home state headquarters General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.

"I understand an agreement has been reached," Levin said in a statement.

The bailout is designed to allow GM and Chrysler to avert threatened bankruptcy through March with short-term loans. Ford Motor Co. is not requesting immediate help but would like a $9 billion line of credit in case its finances worsen.

The parties that negotiated the tentative deal agreed last week that the money would come from an Energy Department fund established in September to help Detroit make more fuel-efficient cars.

The administration official said the negotiators satisfied the key White House concern in the talks that companies receiving aid obtain the necessary concessions and make other changes to prove they can survive and compete.

In addition to providing loans, the proposal would force automakers to answer to a presidentially appointed trustee -- or "car czar" -- and make the government their biggest shareholder.

The overseer will have powers to shape a restructuring of the companies, withholding further loans if progress toward a turnaround stalled.

A major provision would permit the czar to recommend a bankruptcy restructuring if companies borrowing money fail to obtain the necessary concessions.

Some Republicans wanted some sort of bankruptcy option included as an incentive for labor and other stakeholders to agree on givebacks."

Stay tuned, as always. Hopefully we will have the results of the votes by the end of this week.

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