Pelosi, Reid and Emanuel Push for Carmaker Bailout

2560777189_1cfcb929ba.jpgCadillac assembly line replica at the Detroit Historical Museum

Over the weekend, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate urged the Bush administration to extend financial aid intended for Wall Street to struggling domestic carmakers, a move that could have the support of President-elect Obama.

The Times reports that on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid co-signed a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking that part of the $700 billion bailout package be directed toward Detroit. "A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the
restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our
economy and the livelihood of the automobile sector’s workforce," they wrote.

The letter was issued following a Thursday meeting between Congressional leaders and representatives of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, as Big Three sales continue to plunge. On Friday, GM announced that it could begin running out of cash in 2009.

Rahm Emanuel, incoming White House chief of staff, hinted on Sunday that his boss could be amenable to the Pelosi-Reid proposal. Again, the Times

When asked on ABC’s "This Week" where Mr. Obama stood on the issue,
Mr. Emanuel seemed to suggest that Mr. Obama, as a last resort, might
be open to tapping the rescue fund to help carmakers, calling the auto
industry an "essential part of our industrial base."

He added
that Mr. Obama has asked his economic team to look at ways to involve
the industry in shaping an energy policy that weans the country off
foreign oil, seeking ways to use the $25 billion in loans that Congress
passed in September to help make auto plants more capable of producing
fuel-efficient cars.

The Bush White House, for its part, has indicated it would not support using bailout funds for the Big Three.

Photo: MarkinDetroit/Flickr

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

3 GOPers, 4 Dems Ask Reid to Call Up Six-Month Transport Bill Extension

|
The senior Republicans on three of the Senate’s four infrastructure-centric committees today signed a bipartisan letter asking the leaders of Congress’ upper chamber to call up a six-month extension of the 2005 transportation law. Senate environment chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Photo: Politics Now) In the letter, Sens. Jim Inhofe (OK), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), and […]

Pelosi Challenges Boehner to Cancel Recess, Pound Out a Transpo Bill

|
All play and no work makes Jack an unemployed construction worker. That, more or less, was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s message to Speaker John Boehner today. She called on him to cancel next week’s recess and work on passing a transportation bill, now struggling through a divisive conference process. “Almost three months after Senate passage [of the […]

Voinovich Joins House Dems in Saying No to Transpo Funding Stopgap

|
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) allied with House Democrats today. (Photo: UPI) The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will move tomorrow on a White House-backed extension of the four-year-old federal transportation law, but at least one of its members is already opposed. George Voinovich (R-OH) linked arms with House Democratic leaders on the transportation panel […]

Pelosi: Passing a Wall Street Transport Tax Would Require Overseas Buy-in

|
Any proposal to fund new U.S. infrastructure investment by taxing financial transactions — such as Rep. Pete DeFazio’s (D-OR) bill taxing Wall Street oil speculators — would require international participation to prevent the trades in question from migrating overseas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo: MoniqueMonicat) As House Democrats […]

White House Economic Report Touts TIGER, High-Speed Rail, Transit

|
The White House Council of Economic Advisers’ first annual report under President Obama made headlines today for its gloomy job-creation outlook, but tucked inside its 462 pages is a tangible reflection of a changed outlook on transportation policy under the new administration. Top White House economic adviser Christina Romer, at right, holds up yesterday’s report. […]

Automakers Oppose Congressional Bid to Bar EPA From Limiting Emissions

|
The auto industry today aligned with the White House in the debate over a congressional bid to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating carbon emissions while lawmakers work to pass a climate bill, warning that such an attempt to yank EPA authority "would collapse" last year’s agreement to raise fuel-efficiency standards. (Photo: TreeHugger) […]