December 9th, 2008
01:36 PM ET

Compromise on Capitol Hill: The Auto Bailout

Dana Bash | BIO
CNN Congressional Correspondent

If we had a dime for every optimistic word we hear about compromise for Detroit, we may be able to make enough money to bailout the auto industry ourselves.

"In concept, it's together" House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters as he rushed into an all day summit on the economy.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank declared there will be "agreement today, absolutely.”

"I think we're very, very close to having something we can bring before the body sometime today," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said as he opened the Senate floor this morning.

At 10:30am he even said he thought there could be agreement "within an hour or so."

Now, part of the art of compromise on Capitol Hill is, and always has been, mastering the art of posturing. Public expressions of good will and optimism are designed to move things along in private.

But, Republican leaders are still trying to recover politically from rushing through the Wall Street rescue. They're wary of another drive-by bailout for the auto industry.

In fact, Sen. Mitch McConnell was on the Senate floor this morning trying to tap the brakes on an auto bailout.

"There are times when help is needed but one thing most people expect when they are asked for help is that the one asking makes a commitment to change," said McConnell.

"This proposal does not go nearly far enough. It holds neither management nor labor truly accountable."

The White House has the same concerns, and they had staff working with congressional Democratic aides late last night and early this morning trying to work them out.

The big question when they finally come out of the room and declare the deal done, whether there will be enough votes to pass a Senate that is still split along party lines, and suffering from a big case of bailout fatigue.

But it’s hard to imagine Senate leaders bringing this to the floor unless they know they have the votes. They are still smarting from the precipitous stock plunge they caused after initially failing to pass a financial bailout this fall.

Reid was almost giddy about the positive effect their negotiations had yesterday.

"The mere fact that we were trying to work something out yesterday caused the stock market to go up nearly 300 points," he said.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Dana Bash • Economy • Raw Politics
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Rich, NY

    In my opinion the US government should NOT, repeat NOT bail out the Auto industry. If bailed out they will continue to waste money, and turn out sub-par automobiles. Do we really need 3differnent Hummer models?
    Do a quick youtube or google search "Opel Car Drop" watch the video. That
    "space capsule" alone cost GM over a million dollars. Not to mention
    what the cost was for the entire show. MMM..what a waste of money.

    Advice to the US government.
    Let the US auto makers file for bankruptcy, this will force them to restructure and turn out better cars. It will take some time but the world will be a much better place.

    December 9, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  2. Janice,ky

    here is what I think the goverment should do. the tax payers have to fund all these banks mess,and now the auto makers, so I think they should give every tax payer that makes under &250,000 a year at least 50,000 to buy a new car from Gm,Ford or chyrsler, that would stimulate the economy and the auto makers would get their money, and everyone wins,not just the companies,but the taxpayers too. do you see the goverment bailing out average people who are out here busting their butts trying to live,No ! but if every tax payer in this country were to quit work for one week, this whole country would shut down.so the goverment needs to think about that !

    December 9, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  3. William Cooke

    If you listen To what the GOP is saying, The big wigs will still walk away with with the millions they supposely earn. While the workers
    according to them will have there pensions and there health
    care slashed and for what reason. Cause instead of raising people standard in other countries, there intent is to lower the standard of living here. It's sad when the good workers are lumped in with the lousy ones, and now must suffer, so Banking and CEO can come out rich. I wonder how many of those rich Bankers and CEO contribute to these so called congressmen and senators, But then again they already got it made as they peddle thier vote to farther thier riches once out of office. If you don't believe me, try naming me one retired congressperson or senator whom left poorer and they came in or didn't land a job paying more than when he entered. then lets not forget thier pensions which us taxpayers paid along with health care which unlike most peoples can't be cancel. WAKE UP PEOPLE as most of them could care less rather you can make and keep earning a decent wage as long as they get elected.The Worse is yet to come and to them it is your fault as they'll claim you wanted to much.

    December 9, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  4. Lisa

    Again, if I'm not working or barely making enough to pay my current bills, I'm going to be buying a new car with what money? The feds ought to just buy each of us taxpayers a fuel-efficient car. That helps us (no car payments), helps the big 3 (purchase of vehicles) and the air quality.

    Mandate a cut of all consumer interest rates (mortgage, credit card, loans, etc.) – that will put money back in my pocket and maybe then I can afford the car payment.

    December 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm |
  5. Lorrie Hoover

    I just can't uderstand it. Please inform me what they don't seem to get. We must fix the housing problem the rest will follow. I voted for Obama but McCain was correct about his statments that housing must be fixed first. He should know, he has seven or so.
    What happened to the bail out money forthe Banks? I e mailed someone at Bof A this week and asked them if they got bailout money and if it was avialble? No Answer. The public is not behind the auto industry because we were just told that about Wall Street and the Banks but no one really knows what happened to the money. Maybe its with those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

    December 9, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  6. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    so true Dianne! All that CEO cash should be put back into our IRAs, 401Ks and annuities....all of it!

    December 9, 2008 at 7:04 pm |
  7. Dianne

    I think the double standard that is going on here is sickening. If you wear a suit and tie you are entitled to be rewarded for your criminal lack of ethic's or judgement. The CEO's of Wall Street and the "Big 3" are white collar criminals walking off with huge sums of money . The CEO of Merrill Lynch walks off with 85 million bucks for trashing that company. The CEO of GM makes 15 million last year for loosing billions of dollars. Now he's willing to work for $1.00 but it's too late. People are loosing their jobs, their great business plans call for 30,000 more jobs from GM to be lost, this is WRONG!! This CEO has got to go with no compensation whatsoever, none. New management has to step in and keep those jobs from being cut and the "haircuts' go from the top down, that includes Wall Street.

    December 9, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  8. Air Force, OH

    It is quite dissappointing to know that our government will bail out all of these irresponsible companies yet wont let the National Guard and Reservists receive their retirement until the age of 60.

    December 9, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  9. Teresa, OH

    FYI: auto LABORERS pay alot of taxes They would be borrowing monies that they have paid into the fund too.

    Everyone is whining about how much money UAW workers make, but if they make more, dont they pay more taxes too ??? : )

    December 9, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  10. Joanne, Solvay, NY

    My question is, "who is the czar, the one that is the watchdog"? It seems to me that if these tycoons had a 30 year notice and still bungled their way through the maze, someone should be watching the store...first, not after a bill is passed.

    December 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  11. Heather,ca

    I agree with Cindy.They need to know that even the tax payers are entitled to a business plan.

    December 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  12. penny

    "The big 3 have been making unsafe and inefficient cars for so long. Do they have the academics for any thing else.? Someone needs to check out the status quo factor of blue collar and white collar workers. Maybe a blu collar worker should be the CEO. Most blue collar workers build the cars or collaborate with European car makers."

    December 9, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  13. Gilby-HI

    What is really needed when Congress "the haircutters" is speaking to these CEO's is a laugh track. They are the original OJ jury. What gives the same group of banking experts like Franks and Dodd the idea that they can pass judgement on anyone.

    December 9, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  14. Cindy

    They should make the big 3 walk the chalk line to get a bailout and to keep it. They need to know that we mean business by giving them money and we want it going to fix the problem not to line their pockets! If they can't get with the program and stick with it to get themselves back on track then they need not bother even asking for anything.

    I hope that congress lays down the law and holds their feet to the fire when they get the bailout too.


    December 9, 2008 at 1:51 pm |