Democrats, White House Haggle Over 'Car Czar'

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2008 9:21 PM CST
Auto industry workers and supporters demonstrate outside the office of Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Ron Lewis)
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(Newser) – As White House and congressional negotiators work out the details of aid to the Big 3 automakers, they've hit a stumbling block over the need for a so-called "car czar," the Washington Post reports. The White House wants to appoint a powerful trustee from within the Commerce Department to oversee use of the money, but Democrats want to provide the aid upfront, then let Barack Obama appoint an overseer or a board after he's president.

However that particular fight turns out, both sides are optimistic that a deal to provide GM, Ford, and Chrysler up to $17 billion in aid will be presented to lawmakers early next week. The White House deemed today's talks "constructive," while Senate Republicans signaled they would drop their opposition to the legislation. Talks continue tomorrow.