Democratic leader hopeful for auto aid deal
A compromise may be reached this week. -Reuters
WASHINGTON - The U.S. House of Representatives majority leader said on Tuesday he was hopeful a compromise could be reached this week on aid to distressed automakers, but said there may be another opportunity for Congress to enact a rescue this year.
"We're hopeful the Senate can come to an agreement," Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer told reporters, discussing a
Congress plans an economic summit for the second week of December.
Senate Democrats on Monday proposed a $25 billion bailout for the automakers, using money from the Treasury Department's $700 billion financial services rescue program. Although proponents want the car companies to meet certain conditions in exchange for the funds, so far there has been little broad-based support for the plan in the Senate.
Aides and lawmakers have said the bill's prospects for passage are slim. Moreover, the White House said on Tuesday it opposed using the $700 billion rescue fund to help automakers. It said any help for Detroit should come from an existing $25 billion Energy Department loan program intended to help the industry retool factories and make more fuel efficient cars.
Democrats do not want to amend the retooling law, saying it is crucial for helping GM, Ford and Chrysler compete once they get back on their feet financially.
Chief executives of the automakers are set to testify later on Tuesday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the
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