Friday, December 5, 2008

Carmakers' bailout pleas hit Senate scepticism

Desperate U.S. automakers ran into fresh obstacles from sceptical lawmakers, December 4, as they appealed with rising urgency - and a new dose of humility - for a $34 billion bailout. Without help, said one senator, "we're looking at a death sentence."

With lawmakers in both parties pressing the automakers to consider a pre-negotiated bankruptcy - something they have consistently shunned - the Big Three were contemplating a government-run restructuring that could yield results similar to bankruptcy, including massive downsizing, in return for the bailout billions. But there was no assurance they could get even that.

And that wasn't all the unwelcome news. Congressional officials said one leading proposal - to tap an already approved fund set aside for making cars environmentally efficient - wouldn't give the carmakers nearly as much money as they say they need.

The auto executives pleaded with lawmakers at a contentious Capitol Hill hearing - their second round in less than a month - for emergency aid before year's end. But with time running out on the current Congress, skepticism about the bailout appeared to be as strong as ever… By Julie Hirschfeld Davis,
Associated Press

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