Congress and the White House don’t appear any closer to an agreement on how to aid the ailing auto industry, but some kind of action on the issue is certain, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday.
“I believe that an intervention will happen, either legislatively or from the administration,” Pelosi said.
The issue remains stalled largely along party lines. President Bush and Republican lawmakers continue to oppose drawing on funds from the previously passed $700 billion bailout. Democrats continue to press for a $25 billion loan to the industry.
Differences aside, “it’s pretty clear” to all parties that bankruptcy is not an option, Pelosi said. “It takes too long. What bankruptcy achieves in a year we can do in a matter of weeks.”
Pelosi said the most appropriate step would be a short-term loan to keep the industry afloat through the end of March 2009. That loan could come in the form of legislation — reflecting the plan submitted by auto manufacturers or a separate proposal crafted by Congress.
Pelosi reiterated that the Bush administration already has the authority under the $700 billion bailout to give a bridge loan to the industry, “should Congress not take legislative action.”
The Big Three auto manufacturers — Ford, General Motors and Chrysler — submitted their plans Tuesday to the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
The committees will hold hearings Thursday and Friday to review the plans and decide whether Congress will take legislative action.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to call his chamber back into business on Monday afternoon. He has yet to say, however, whether the Senate will vote on an auto bailout package.