Bailout: Relief from White House Could be Coming Soon

Tom Ludwick
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Aid for the ailing U.S. automakers could be officially announced as early as Wednesday. Lawmakers say the Bush administration is preparing to approve a bailout plan using money from a baking rescue program.

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, which provided $700 billion to stabilize the banking industry, still contains $15 billion of uncommitted funds. That surplus will likely be tapped to provide the urgent assistance needed by Chrysler and GM. Both companies claim that they will not survive into the new year without government assistance.

The terms of the bailout are likely to be similar to those found in the $14 billion bill that passed in the House of Representatives but later failed in the Senate.

There is still likely to be a "car czar" to look after the companies and how the government funds are being used. The czar - a presidential appointee - would have the power to demand immediate repayment if the companies were using the funds inefficiently. The companies would also have to file new restructuring plans by March 31 in order to receive additional assistance.

While no official decision has been made, executives from Ford, Chrysler, and GM are currently working with the Treasury Department. The agency is reviewing financials and ensuring that the companies have long-term viability.

Source: Automotive News

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