US Congress considering short-term funding for carmakers


Washington : Speaker of the US House of Repersentative Nancy Pelosi has said Congress was considering a short-term funding deal for the US automotive industry and that a vote on some sort of bail-out for the Big Three was expected by next week.

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Congressional leaders are to spend the weekend ironing out a deal over how to help the US automotive industry survive the economic
recession, specially Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (GM)- known as the Big Three.

“Today’s announcement of major job losses and findings from Congressional hearings from the last two days make it clear that Congress must work on a bipartisan basis to provide short-term and
limited assistance to the automobile industry while it undertakes major restructuring,” Pelosi said in a statement late Friday.

Pelosi’s statement came after the second day
of hearings with car executives ended with no apparent agreement on the industry’s request for $34 billion in federal aid.

President George W. Bush urged legislators to put a bill together by next week amid warnings that General Motors Corp, the world’s largest carmaker, may not last beyond this year without help from the government.

Congressional leaders made no such promises, insisting they would only bring a bail-out bill to the floor of the Senate or House of Representatives if it had enough votes to be approved.

“With very few exceptions the members were saying we should do something,” Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told reporters.

“We will now see whether we can put the bill together. If we have agreement, then we go to the floor.”

However, Pelosi said later that she expects some sort of legislation to be brought up in the House next week.

Frank warned of an economic “disaster” if one of the Detroit-based Big Three were to declare bankruptcy.

The Bush administration and Republicans are at odds with Democrats, who hold a majority in Congress, over how to help the carmakers.