Lawmakers and the White House reach a deal on bailout but the bill still needs to pass in the Congress. The bailout package still faces stiff opposition from Republicans in the Senate.
The saga continues. Will they or won't they?
On Tuesday lawmakers and the White House were saying that a deal was close and that they would likely have one by the end of the day. By Wednesday the time line was by the end of the week.
Now, they say they have a deal. But Congress still needs to vote on it amid heavy Republican opposition and the automakers shouldn't count their proverbial bailout chickens before they hatch.
According to the terms of the deal, 15 billion dollars in low-interest bridge loans will be provided to Chrysler and GM, the most desperate of the Big 3. The White House has won a key concession from lawmakers in that a car czar overseeing the bailout will have the authority to recall the loans if the automakers do not prove themselves viable, thereby forcing them to seek bankruptcy protection. The automakers receiving the loans will have to provide long-term plans for their viability by March 31st of next year. The car czar will have the authority to grant a single extension to April 30th if one of the car makers needs more time.
But the deal now has to get through Congress before President Bush can sign it. A House vote is expected today but it is not known when a Senate vote will take place. Democratic leaders in favor of the bailout are not sure yet whether they have enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill.