US Democrats urge Paulson to weigh aid for automakers
Top U.S. congressional Democrats on Saturday urged Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to review the law governing the $700 billon bailout to see whether U.S. automakers would be eligible for temporary aid, Reuters reports.
If so, the secretary must ensure taxpayers are adequately protected, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a letter to Paulson.
"A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy and the livelihood of the automobile sector's workforce," the Democrats wrote.
The move comes after General Motors Corp and Ford Motor Co reported billions of dollars in losses on Friday. On Thursday, chief executives of the two companies, along with Chrysler's chief, met with Pelosi and Reid at their congressional offices in Washington.
"We left the meetings convinced that our nation's automobile industry -- the heart of our manufacturing sector -- and the jobs of tens of thousands of American workers are at risk," Pelosi and Reid said.
"Friday's news of the automobile industry's record low sales figures only reaffirms the need for urgent action."
Under the law, called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 or EESA, Congress gave the secretary broad power to help bring order to the U.S. financial market.
Representatives for the Treasury Department could not be immediately reached for comment.