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Autos Action Starting Soon on Hill

The wheels will soon start turning, so to speak, on some form of bailout relief for the troubled Detroit automakers.

The Senate convenes for its lame-duck session today at noon, and an autos package will be on the front burner.

The House does not meet today, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to meet at 4:30 p.m. with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to talk about the auto bailout, the $700 billion bailout/rescue plan and economy in general, The Post's Lori Montgomery reports.

What may happen: Congress last month approved $25 billion in direct loans to Detroit, but those are meant to help automakers retool factories to make more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The problem: The money may not arrive in Detroit for months, thanks to government red tape, and even when it does arrive, it may be too late. Automakers are in real danger of running out of money.

So Detroit has asked Washington for some form of rescue package right now. The White House has said that Congress could change the terms of the $25 billion direct loans, taking off the strings and letting Detroit use the money to simply pay bills and avoid bankruptcy.

Democrats are pushing for giving Detroit $25 billion to be paid out of the $700 billion bailout/rescue, which the administration opposes.

Also today in Washington, FedEx chief executive Fred Smith visits The Post today at 2:30 p.m. We'll blog about what he had to say after the meeting concludes.

-- Frank Ahrens

The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  November 17, 2008; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Detroit bailout  
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