Planet Gore

Auto Bailout Politics

Dodd punts on the auto bailout (actually more like the rarely used “quick kick,” as it’s not fourth down yet):

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and chairman of the banking committee, said he did not believe there would be enough Republican support to get the 60 votes needed to move a bill forward. “Right now, I don’t think there are the votes,” he said, adding that he personally favored aid for the automakers.
As the outlook for an auto industry bailout dimmed, President Bush traveled to Wall Street, where he gave a robust defense of capitalism and seemed to warn world leaders – and the incoming Obama administration – not to draw the wrong lessons from the global economic crisis by over-regulating markets and hindering free trade.
The White House, in resisting calls for aiding the automakers, has also warned repeatedly against throwing taxpayer money at companies that may not be salvageable.
Acknowledging the Bush administration’s opposition, Mr. Dodd said Democrats had to keep in mind that the Treasury Department already has some authority to help the finance arms of the auto companies but has been reluctant to use it.
“I want to be careful about bringing up a proposition that might fail in light of the fact the authority exists, and under an Obama administration there seems to be a greater willingness to deal with the issue,” Mr. Dodd said. “So there are some political considerations to be made.”

If the automobile sector really needs to be rescued by year end, shouldn’t Dodd put his “political considerations” aside and go all in on this? Or would they rather blame George Bush if GM is forced into bankruptcy? (Rhetorical question, of course)

Also of note is Kim Strassel in today’s WSJ. An excerpt:

Nancy Pelosi’s Motown Juggling Act

What do bleeding Detroit auto makers, Colombia and green groups have in common? Not a lot, unless you are Nancy Pelosi.

If there was a moment that highlights to what extent the Democratic Party has become captive to its special interests, this might be it. Mrs. Pelosi and Harry Reid have spent this week demanding that Washington stave off a car-maker collapse. What makes this a little weird is that Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are Washington. If they so desperately want a Detroit bailout they could always, you know, pass one.

Instead, having punted the Detroit question in the past, and having failed to offload it on the Bush administration, Mrs. Pelosi is now stuck dealing with it in the middle of a lame-duck session that is tangled in Colombia trade politics. Detroit’s demands are meanwhile pressing in a postelection environment where Big Labor and greens are presenting their own bills for political services rendered. If you’re wondering why Mrs. Pelosi hasn’t yet decided what will happen when Congress returns, it’s because she hasn’t decided which group to annoy.

The rest here.


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