Sunday, March 29, 2009

Senate's Reid: Government should 'do what it takes' to help automakers

Senate's Reid: Government should 'do what it takes' to help automakers; The Detroit News

The Obama administration's attempt to rescue GM and Chrysler earned support Friday from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said the government "should do what it takes within a sense of reasonableness" to maintain a domestic auto industry.

"The goal of our helping the automobile industry and doing the other things we've done is to keep this country from falling into a depression. We're not in a depression," said Reid, who said loans to General Motors Corp., Chrysler LLC and auto suppliers "will save millions of jobs."

Reid spoke to reporters on Friday during a breakfast roundtable sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. His support, though not surprising, could be significant if the Obama administration needs to seek congressional approval for any of its decisions on the carmakers, expected to be announced within days.

The initial $17 billion in loans to GM and Chrysler, as well as a $5 billion aid package for partsmakers, came from the Treasury Department's Troubled Assets Relief Program, the $750 billion Wall Street rescue package passed amid great controversy last year. The companies have asked for another $21 billion, and Steve Rattner, the top adviser to the White House's autos task force, has said they could require considerably more.

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