Bailout package passed by the U.S. House finds stiff resistance from Republicans in the Senate. Democrats may not have enough votes to get measure passed.
Senate Republicans are saying: Not so fast. Or maybe, not at all.
The endless bailout saga continues. This time it is Republicans in the Senate who are seeking to block passage of the 14 billion US dollar bailout package that the House passed on Wednesday night. That package was agreed upon by Democratic leaders and the White House which would provide emergency bridge loans to General Motors and Chrysler in order for the two most desperate of the Big 3 automakers to avoid a collapse.
But with Democrats holding a tenuous 50-49 majority in the Senate, passage without at least some Republican support is almost impossible. Democrats would need a super majority of 60 seats in order to override any Republican blockage.
Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said in a speech on the Senate floor, "a lot of struggling Americans are wondering where their bailout is." McConnell is supporting an alternative bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, that requires immediate concessions by auto workers and debt holders as a pre-requisite for the low-interest loans being provided to automakers. Republicans are also weary of giving money to the struggling industry based on mere promises of reform. They want automakers to make commitments to restructuring before getting any help.
The Bush administration, having agreed on the plan with Congressional Democrats, is trying to convince Republicans to support it. But President Bush no longer holds much sway with lawmakers of his own party.