By November 17, 2008Economy, Labor Unions

The air is crisp and cool in D.C. this morning, but the political atmosphere wafts miasmic as Congress returns to the Capitol to consider economic stimulus legislation. Maybe one last round of partisan recriminations will clear the air …

Judging by news reports, little in the way of stimulus will actually pass or be signed into law by President Bush. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will announce his plan to loan money to the auto manufacturers, but in drawing from the previously passed TARP financial aid program, he’s run into opposition from the White House and prominent Republicans like Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Anyway…the headlines that caught our eye, including the Freep’s story that moved this morning:

Detroit Free Press, “White House refines position on auto aid“:

WASHINGTON — The White House stressed today that it supports help for the struggling auto industry, but believes it should not be taken from the $700-billion financial system rescue program.

As lawmakers were returning to a lame duck session to focus on the troubled industry, President George W. Bush’s chief spokeswoman issued a statement saying the administration “does not want U.S. automakers to fail.” She complained that reporting on the issue has involved “attempts to shorthand the administration’s position.”

Perino’s early morning statement also made clear, however, that the administration steadfastly opposes drawing funds from the bailout plan to help Detroit. She said the $25 million that Democrats favor taking from the rescue plan should come, instead, from a Department of Energy program previously approved to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.

Washington Post, “Auto Bill Would Add Oversight“: “A measure to speed $25 billion in emergency aid to the nation’s automakers will include provisions designed to protect taxpayers, congressional Democrats said yesterday, including a ban on bonuses for employees who make more than $200,000 a year and a government oversight board with power to veto corporate decisions….The bill, which is expected to be unveiled today on Capitol Hill, also would bar the automakers from paying dividends to shareholders for as long as the firms owe the government money.”
Reuters, “Auto executives in spotlight as U.S. weighs bailout“: “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. automakers should consider executive shake-ups if it would ensure congressional backing for a bailout supporters say is needed to prevent industry collapse, an architect of the effort said on Sunday….The statement by Carl Levin of Michigan underscored the difficulty Democrats are having in finalizing a rescue plan of up to $25 billion and securing majority support in the Senate, which plans to begin debate on the matter on Monday.”
Wall Street Journal, “Auto-Parts Makers Push for Aid“: “Democratic lawmakers Monday plan to unveil a bill that would give the Big Three auto makers access to the $700 billion Troubled Parts makers are seeking to change that in a letter signed by nearly 100 companies and being sent to the House and Senate on Monday. In the letter, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, a trade group, will ask that its members get equal access to TARP funding sought by the car makers. 

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