December 9th, 2008
09:01 PM ET

Senate Republicans – stalling auto bailout?

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Dana Bash
CNN Congressional Correspondent

As negotiators move closer Tuesday evening to a compromise bill to bailout Detroit (see note from Ted and Deirdre) a small group of Senate Republicans are signaling they will try to slow its passage.

GOP Senator John Ensign said Tuesday he will filibuster the auto bailout unless there are major changes in the compromise that Democrats and the White House are close to forging.

An Ensign aide tells CNN that he will hold a press conference at noon Wednesday with about half a dozen GOP senators who intend to support his move.

It is important to note that even GOP opponents concede that the auto bailout may likely have the 60 votes to pass, but these GOP senators are trying to “slow the trains down to make a point,” according to the Ensign aide.

South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who plans to appear with Ensign at Wednesday’s press conference, said he fully supports “extending debate” on the auto bailout legislation.

“This bailout will hurt taxpayers, it won't help the economy, and it will prevent these car companies from becoming competitive. The only way for the automakers to survive is a complete restructuring that allows them to break free from the stranglehold of union bosses,” said DeMint.

Not all Senators opposed to the Detroit bailout bill support a filibuster. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), said today he thought a filibuster would be unnecessary since he believes Democrats will likely have the 60 votes to pass the auto loan anyway.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to keep the Senate through the weekend to complete the bailout.

“The ball is in the Republicans’ court about when we vote,” said a senior Democratic leadership aide.

“We hope to hear more soon about whether they will give us consent to do this quickly or insist that we run out the clock. In short, we will be in as long as it takes to complete action on this.”

Senate Republicans will hold a previously planned lunch meeting Wednesday where they will have an intense discussion about the auto bailout.

Filed under: Bailout Turmoil • Barack Obama • Dana Bash • Raw Politics
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Ed Allstun

    I am surprised the discussion regarding the auto bailout loan is not focused more on American jobs. How much of the American taxpayer bailout money would be used by the big 3 to pay employees in other countries? I am all for the free market and companies seeking profits by globalizing their workforce. Only on their own dollars however. American taxpayer dollars entrusted to the US Gov't should not be used to supply jobs outside the US. I understand this is not really possible worldwide, however we have closed assembly lines in the US and kept competing lines active in Canada and Mexico. Perhaps we should consider a reversal of this policy for specific plants as a prerequisite for the loans.

    December 10, 2008 at 10:17 am |
  2. John in NC

    At least someone is trying to resist this madness. The only reason Democrats are falling in line so easily is because, politically, they are beholden to Unionized labor as much as Republicans are beholden to the religious right.

    For goodness sake: In a fair, just world, a business that engages is unwise and foolish business practices should fail, while competitors that are doing it *right* are encouraged to succeed. Instead, we have a government that comes flying to the rescue of failing institutions, offering bailouts that send CEO's home with $10 million Christmas bonuses (a reward for driving their company into the ground), and rescue an auto industry that *needed* to fail and restructure itself 10, 20, even 30 years ago.

    This all sends the wrong message, rewarding those who fail catastrophically, while those who are genuinely in the red for no fault of their own are simply allowed to go under.

    This is not exactly the change I voted for.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:24 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    If Republicans filibuster this three questions I want them all to answer.
    1) Whose interests are you protecting?
    2) $15bn is a pittance to protect 3-5m Voters jobs for now in the current Economic climate in the USA Yes or no please?
    3) Give us your optional solution or conditions now for your against vote and be specific or we will publically announce your lack of reasons.

    December 10, 2008 at 3:13 am |
  4. Steve

    I'm glad that the government has showed attention to this lavish life style that these executives are living off the profits of the companies in question....However, they were asked to get rid of their private jets; why not sale some of these lavish mansions, and yachts they have.... How many mansions can you live in at a time. And what about the millions spent by the auto makers and other companies on TV ad's. Watch the "Dodge Ram" truck ads, going through what appears to be an obstacle course. Millions of dollars to create this commmercial, and only 1 out of ever 5 thousand trucks sold are ever taken off road. That money could been used towards making the cost of vehicles cheaper and more reasonable. Too much money spent on commercials, which is another cost that is reflected in the high cost of vehicles and other products we buy everyday....


    December 10, 2008 at 1:57 am |
  5. Mary

    Will DeMint ask if any of the bail out monies will be used to fund VEBA? If so, maybe the acronym should stand for:

    Vastly Eating Broke Americans

    December 10, 2008 at 1:14 am |
  6. Lynn

    American car dealers have ripped off the consumers for too many years. We need to say "no". No more. We don't need their junk. They have had problem cars and problem. They don't car about the consumers, why should we give them a dime. They should be paying us back after making out like bandits and the profits.

    If Congress gives anymore of our money out. We as americans should all have exempt and show them we have the power. We elect them and we vote them out to just as fast!!!!

    December 10, 2008 at 12:15 am |
  7. Wayne Fortnum

    Freedom and the ability to go where you want when you want is the American dream. GM, Ford and Chrysler have provided many family the ability to live the American dream!!

    December 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  8. Mary

    Hats off to DeMint. I hope he pursues what compromises can be addressed with the UAW. I am stunned at the bloated perks that the UAW have passed in various chapters. Force UAW to disclose their costly programs, everything from tutition assistance for retired workers, 5 week vacations for 20 year employees, increased pensions and get this, attendance bonuses! We'll pay you extra just for showing up for work. Reading through the various chapters web sites is truly a wake up call>talk about the tail wagging the dog. Initially, Unions stood for safer work environments, better pay and benefits. At some point, a line was crossed and the higher pay, higher pensions, paid insurance, 30 years and out, more paid days off to mention a few, turned the auto industry into the building of social programs for their employees instead of the building of cars. The government didn't goof by asking the Big 3 for a plan, they failed when they forgot to ask Wall Street, AIG etc how they planned to use the money. Don't misunderstand me, I'm all for perks and benefits, but not when they plummet an industry into the ground. Seems to me the Big 3 and the UAW are conjoined twins>If they can't be separated or make compromises to reduce some of this cost, then no amount of bail out money will ever help to make their cars more energy saving or their companies profitable, because all the loans will be going just to support their benefit programs.

    December 9, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  9. Wade

    I hope they keep dragging their feet so someone will wake up and realize that this is a horrible idea to bail these companies out. Maybe if these companies went bankrupt, then they could renogiate with the unions, or do like TOYOTA and not have the union.I have had dealings with the union, and I really believe that these companies will always have problems as long as they deal with unions. I think they are a big part of the problem. Hey what do I know?

    December 9, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  10. Ken

    I know the auto makers are big employers in the U.S., but in all the termoil over the bail out I think we are forgeting about an important player in the future of our country "our kids". Everytime I turn on the news schools are reporting that they are going the start laying off teachers and stop programs for our kids. Education funding should never be an issue in the United States. WHERES THERE BAILOUT?

    Ken (Ohio)

    December 9, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  11. patricia Lewis

    I know we helped Chrysler years ago and they paid the Gov. back. As the money they were lent was the taxpayers, did the interest they paid on this loan reduce our taxes(I don't think so), and will the money we have given to the other other corporations recently and probably now auto industry help all of who are struggling. It is so frustrating that these companies,run by supposedly the smartest people in the business world, somehow had no concept of nor could afford to pay someone who would help them understand what was going on in the world. Perhaps it would help to put some little course in the MBA programs on alertness. . ..

    December 9, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  12. Wayne Fortnum

    Next to NASA the Automotive industry is the most innovative, mind expanding, ever-changing industries we have! The spin-off industries and the tax revenue it produces are enormous and add to the power of America. The ingenuity and knowledge it creates benefits educational institutions and adds to the nations overall brain power.
    It is not a stand alone industry!

    December 9, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  13. Randall, TX

    I don't think Chrysler should get a penny! GM- maybe, Ford-ok, but with great restrictions and oversight.

    December 9, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    The GOP could make its point with a press conference and then go ahead and let this pass. They aren't doing themselves or the voters any favors by dragging their feet on this. I hope this doesn't reflect their plans for the coming few years and Obama's legislation.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    December 9, 2008 at 9:07 pm |