President Bush rolled out a $17.4 billion emergency loan package for US automakers today, promising $13.4 billion in immediate short-term loans from the remaining TARP funds and an additional $4 billion available in February, MSNBC reports. But the clock is ticking, as the companies must show they are financially viable by the end of March, or they will be forced to repay the loans.
Of the total, $9.4 billion will go to GM and $4 billion to Chrysler; Ford has said it doesn't need help. The terms of the deal are similar to those in the Detroit bailout that failed in Congress, but the provisions for demonstrating viability are looser, the Wall Street Journal reports. Yesterday the White House made noises about considering structured bankruptcies for the Big Three, but today Bush said that with the economy in crisis, another blow to market confidence or further job losses would be too damaging to the nation.