Minutes before Sens. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., were to announce their “bipartisan deal” has been reached on a $25 billion bailout of the Big Three domestic auto makers, Democratic leaders from the House and Senate strode into the very room where the duo was to appear to swat aside the deal.
Voinovich said he still regards it as crucial to pass a bailout plan for the auto industry as quickly as possible.
Senate Majority Harry Reid, D-Nev., Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that while there may be a bipartisan agreement by Voinovich, Levin and several other lawmakers, including Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown, it was “their agreeement.”
The Democratic leaders disagreed with the Voinovich-Levin plan, saying Americans need more accountability from the auto industry and a clear-cut plan for financial viability before extending bail out money of any kind.
They want such a proposal by Dec. 2; if it’s acceptable the Senate will return the following week to consider it, Reid said.
A clearly disappointed Voinovich looked a bit stunned when he came into the Senate Radio-TV Gallery, where many news conferences are held in the Capitol, minutes later only to be told by reporters that his proposal was already off the table, at least for now. Voinovich had hoped for a vote today, or at least before Thanksgiving.
“I was surprised,” Voinovich said, when asked whether he had known the Democratic leaders would kill his proposal before he and the others even had a chance to lay it out in public. But, “They run the show,” Voinovich said outside the gallery, where he and the others still went on to hold a news conference touting their proposal, referring to Reid and Pelosi.