House Approves Detroit Three Loans, Senate is Next

Anyone who says the government doesn’t move fast enough obviously does not have enough lobbyists working for them. The House of Representatives approved $25 billion in loans for U.S. automakers today, and the bill will likely be signed into law this week.

The approval comes after a month of intense advocacy on the part of the Detroit three. Lobbyists for General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler maintained a heavy presence at both political conventions and their CEOs made several trips to Capital Hill to press for the loans. The automakers say they need these loans to meet the government’s tighter fuel economy standards.

The program, which is being included as part of an emergency federal budget bill, represents the largest ever government investment in the nation’s automakers. The Senate and President Bush still need to approve the bill, but neither is expected to raise objections.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement:

“Some critics will call this loan package a bailout. It is not. These loans amount to a little more than 1 percent of the real bailout – the one that the Bush administration wants for Wall Street at a cost of $700 billion to taxpayers.”

The loans can only be used for producing vehicles with fuel economy of at least 25 mpg better than the segment average.