We’ve already reported that the White House isn’t keen on Democratic plans for a Motown bailout. As Automotive News [sub] reminds us, George W. doesn’t want the dems to appropriate the $700b appropriation earmarked for bailing out America’s financial system. As an alternative, the Prez signaled Pelso, Reid & Co. that he’s OK with the idea of “diverting” some of the Department of Energy’s $25b no to low-interest retooling loan program to bailout Chrysler, Ford and GM. Only the Democrats do not, I repeat DO NOT, want to be seen to be watering-down their commitment to encouraging forcing The Big 2.8 to build fuel-efficient vehicles. So… Nancy Pelosi told the press today that the U.S. automobile manufacturers need to restructure “to ensure their long-term economic viability.” Huh? Sorry, I got distracted. I mean, WTF does she mean by “restructure” and do we really want a politician deciding how Motown goes about it business? Right. OK. Nancy is digging-in, sticking with her TARP usurpation strategy. Here’s the money shot [via Bloomberg]:
“In a statement issued in Washington, Pelosi also said that the ‘appropriate source of funding for this short-term assistance is the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recently authorized by Congress… Any effort to divert funds from the advanced technology initiative contained in Section 136 of last year’s energy bill is a step backward in assuring the viability and competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry.’” If you think this is bad, just imagine what it would be like if the U.S. government takes an equity stake in Chrysler, Ford and GM and sicks a Car Czar on them. While it would make for great TTACitude, trust me, you don’t want to go there.
The timeline for this bailout battle: Monday, the dems unveil their grand plan. Tuesday, rep. Barney Frank (he of the Fannie Mae debacle) opens the circus with bailout details. Wednesday, the CEO of The Big 2.8 and union boss Big Ron Gettelfinger appear in front of Frank’s committee to rattling their begging bowl and– thank God– face the music. Live. On C-Span. As much as we like Knight Rider, limited resources mean that we’ll be live-blogging their appearance on your behalf, and living KR to the capable hands of the blissfully married Alex Nunez, of Autoblog fame.