Tags: automakers | bailout | GOP

Republicans Divided on Aid to Automakers

Sunday, 07 Dec 2008 04:17 PM

Republican senators are not yet unified in support of a proposed emergency $15 billion aid package to rescue the U.S. auto industry.

Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri back the plan, according to The New York Times. “I’m glad the Democratic leadership has embraced the principles of the Bond-Levin bill to hold auto companies accountable, protect taxpayers and save millions of American jobs as we head into the holiday season,” he said in a statement.

But Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee wants more cooperation from automakers on debt and labor costs before he supports the deal. “Based on the outline we’ve seen so far, we are disappointed,” he said in a statement. “These are the same types of conditions a bankruptcy judge might require to ensure that these companies become viable and sustainable into the future. And if they will agree to these terms, then we have something to talk about.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also wants a guarantee that U.S. taxpayers will be protected. “I look forward to reviewing the legislation being drafted to address the difficulties in our auto markets,” McConnell said in a statement. “As we consider this legislation, our first priority must be to protect the hard-earned money of the American taxpayer.”

Another Republican, Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, has already voiced his opposition to any taxpayer-financed bailout. Shelby is the top Republican on the Senate's banking committee.

As part of the bailout package, a "car czar" could be named to oversee the loans to GM, Ford and Chrysler. But that isn't enough to mollify some critics.

"This is a bridge loan to nowhere," Shelby said Sunday on Fox News. "These companies basically have failed," said Shelby.

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