The White House Press Briefing, the Loans to Auto Companies

By October 14, 2008Economy

Q&A from the daily White House press briefing with Dana Perino. The questioner is identified as Jeremy, whom we take to be Reuters’ Jeremy Pelofsky:

Q There are some complaints coming from the manufacturing sector, the National Association for Manufacturers, in particular, that it’s taking too long to help one of their key constituencies, the automakers; that these loans at Energy — that it’s very cumbersome to get these regulations drawn up — or plans drawn up for extending them loans. Is there any effort by the White House to sort of speed that up, accelerate that in some way?

MS. PERINO: Again I would remind you, as Knoller reminded me, it has been 11 days since legislation passed the Congress. I know people are working as quickly as possible, and they’re working with the manufacturing industry and the auto industry to provide the support they needed to get the regulations in place. The authorizing language was in there, but the rules of the road weren’t laid out in detail. And that’s what’s happening now. But I’d have to refer you to the Energy Department for more on that.

Q And is there any sort of thought from the White House to sort of find another way to get aid to manufacturers like the automakers quicker — more quickly, such as like opening that discount window to them?

MS. PERINO: Not that I’m aware of. One, I don’t speak for the Fed, so I’d have to refer you to them to see if they are thinking about that. I’ll leave all of that over there. But let me stress that we think that the best way to help everybody — manufacturers, small business owners, consumers, retirees, those saving for college — is to get these money markets moving again so that we can unfreeze the credit problem, get the lifeblood of our economy circulating again so that we can help everybody. And that’s what we’re determined to do.

Good line of inquiry into an issue that’s been kicking around for about three weeks, as you can see this Detroit News Story, “Big 3 aid may take time.” NAM President John Engler called for expedited action in his Detroit Economic Club speech Monday.  (And to quibble just a bit, the issue is not that it’s already taking too long, it’s that it is important that it NOT take too long, and some of the Administration’s comments cause concern.)

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