After a collapse in negotiations between Senate Republicans and the UAW resulted in the Senate's failure to pass a bill granting loans to GM and Chrysler last week, the White House announced that it would consider using TARP funds to support the automakers through the holidays. President Bush announced Monday, however, that no plans have been finalized yet.
"We're not quite ready to announce that yet," the President told reporters on Air Force One during a flight from Baghdad to Afghanistan when asked when he might make the anticipated announcement. Bush said a decision would not take long, but White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said earlier she had no timetable for a decision.
Previous to the failed passing of the bill, the White House had been resistant to calls from lawmakers to draw upon the $700 billion TARP program to aid domestic automakers. Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, said last week in a letter to U.S. lawmakers that the central bank is still reluctant to lend money to the automakers.
$14 billion from the TARP program is being considered for GM and Chrysler to survive through the year, with the hope that a Democratic majority in the Senate and a supportive Obama administration will pass legislation to help the two companies, as well as Ford.