US automakers asked to present detailed plan before bailout

November 21st, 2008 - 9:25 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 21 (DPA) Congressional leaders Thursday charged the three ailing US automakers to present a detailed “path to viability” plan before the companies can get their hands on a $25-billion emergency loan from the government.General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC have said they may soon file for bankruptcy if they don’t get a government cash infusion, and warned that the failure of just one of the so-called Big Three could have disastrous consequences for the US economy.

But efforts to get them emergency funds stalled in Congress this week as Republicans and some Democrats voiced skepticism that the US auto industry was really capable of being rescued after a decade of refusing to modernise and improve fuel efficiency.

“The executives have not been able to convince the Congress or the American people that this government bail-out will be its last,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Thursday.

The three automakers will have until Dec 2 to come up with a more detailed plan for what they intend to do with a $25-billion infusion. Congress may come back into session a week later to reconsider the issue, Reid said.

“Until they show us the plan, we can’t show them the money,” said Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives.

Pelosi insisted that Congress had no intention of allowing the auto industry to fail, but said industry executives would have to come up with a clear “path to viability” before they received government funds.

A small group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers from states that would be most affected by the failure of the auto industry said they had hammered out a compromise, but Reid said their plan did not speak for the entire legislature.

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