Bailout Or No, Big Three Gets Theirs
Quietly, as attention has focused on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan, Detroit automakers are thisclose to getting at least $25 billion in direct loans from Congress to help them produce new high-fuel-efficiency vehicles.
The House authorized the loans yesterday -- which were included in last year's Energy Bill -- and the Senate is set to vote as early as Friday, which President Bush is expected to sign off on.
The loans will be available to automakers and parts manufacturers and, depending on which plants qualify, could be used to pay for converting truck plants into plants that make smaller hybrid cars, for instance.
The automakers -- General Motors, Ford and Chrysler -- have asked for an additional $25 billion over the next two years, but other matters (coughcough$700billioncoughcough) may short-circuit that request.
-- Frank Ahrens
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