Dem Leaders Say OK to Auto Bailout Plan

Shocking jobs figures prompt lawmakers to support rescue
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2008 8:19 PM CST
Senate Majority Harry Reid of Nev., second from right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and others, leave the podium on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Democratic lawmakers will bail out the Big Three with billions of dollars in loans after all, the New York Times reports. Their change of heart, which comes after 2 days of auto exec hearings, was inspired by today's news that half a million Americans lost their jobs last month. Congress plans to vote next week on $15-$17 billion in short-term loans to the Detroit automakers, Reuters reports.

"We aim to have votes next week on a responsible plan to help the millions of Americans who rely on a healthy auto industry for their livelihoods," said Senate majority leader Harry Reid. The shift also ends a standoff between Nancy Pelosi and the White House over where to get the money: Lawmakers will draw on $25 billion originally slated to help automakers make more fuel-efficient vehicles.