WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Treasury said Friday it is "ready" to avert the collapse of the Big Three US automakers until Congress can address their problems, a spokeswoman said Friday.
"Because Congress failed to act, we will stand ready to prevent an imminent failure until Congress reconvenes and acts to address the long-term viability of the industry," Treasury spokeswoman Brookly McLaughlin said.
The announcement came shortly after the White House said it would consider tapping a $700-billion financial rescue fund administered by the Treasury "to prevent a collapse of troubled automakers" after lawmakers failed to pass an alternative.
"Given the current weakened state of the US economy, we will consider other options if necessary -- including use of the TARP program -- to prevent a collapse of troubled automakers," said spokeswoman Dana Perino, referring to the Troubled Asset Relief Program conceived to help financial services firms.
A 14-billion-dollar auto bailout effort collapsed in the US Senate late Thursday.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday had approved the White House-backed bill, crafted by Democrats, to rescue the ailing automakers.
The measure would have required the manufacturing giants to engage in restructuring to ensure their long-term survival and repayment of the government monies or face bankruptcy proceedings.
© Agence France-Presse