Auto Deal Fails in Senate Over UAW Wage Cuts

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2008 9:56 PM CST
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in an October file photo.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – A bid to provide emergency aid to automakers failed in the Senate tonight, the Washington Post reports. Negotiators nearly completed an 11th-hour deal but got hung up on union wages. Republicans wanted immediate cuts, and Democrats sought to delay them until 2011. "We're not going to get to the finish," said Senate leader Harry Reid. "I dread looking at Wall Street tomorrow. It's not going to be a pretty sight."

In a vote after talks collapsed, more of a formality than anything else, Republicans blocked passage of $14 billion in emergency loans to GM and Chrysler, which have warned of bankruptcy. GOP senators wanted the UAW to accept wages equivalent to what foreign automakers pay in the US. Democrats, including President-elect Obama, had said a failure to approve aid would have "devastating" effects on the economy.