US House grants $14-bln auto industry bailout

bailoutThe US House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday (December 10) to lend up to $14 billion to the three struggling US automakers, General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC.

Introduced by Democrats, the bill is nearly identical to one pending in the Senate, where Republican opposition was making its chances for passage look uncertain.

“Today the American automotive industry is in peril, due not only to recession and credit freeze but because it has been on the wrong track for long term competitiveness and job creation. Today we are considering legislation not as life support to sustain a dying industry but as a jump-start for an industry that is essential to our country’s economies, economic health,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a floor speech before the vote.

While the House stuck to its plan for quick action, uncertainty gripped the Senate where a razor-thin Democratic majority cannot ensure passage. Sixty votes are needed to clear procedural hurdles.

A vote could come as early as Thursday, but some Republicans have vowed to slow or even block the legislation.  The bailout proposal would extend taxpayer-funded loans or lines of credit to the Detroit Three and create a federal government post of “car czar” to oversee.

Source: Times TV

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