Big 3 making little headway in push for bailout - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Big 3 making little headway in push for bailout

WASHINGTON. - Congressional backers of $25 billion in emergency loans to the domestic auto industry are urging colleagues not to punish the Detroit's Big Three automakers for past mistakes.

However, the heads of the companies seemed to be making little headway in building support.

The CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are pressing their case for the bailout before the House Financial Services Committee, a day after sometimes confrontational testimony before a Senate panel.

Committee Chairman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, suggested the existence of a congressional bias in agreeing to help white-collar bankers but not blue-collar auto workers.

Alabama Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, said the bailout would only "push the problem further down the path."

The top Senate Democrat is trying to lower expectations for emergency legislation to help the beleaguered U.S. auto industry.

Sen. Harry Reid said Wednesday it's the Bush administration's responsibility to save the once-mighty carmakers from collapse.

The Nevada Democrat also said that "no one should be overly concerned" if Congress can't agree on a bill to speed $25 billion in new loans to the auto industry.

Although Reid said he still hopes Congress can reach a deal on assistance this week. If not, he said that it "will still be up to the White House and the Treasury Department" to do the job.

The rescue plan appears to have stalled on Capitol Hill, even as the top executives of the Big Three automakers returned to Congress Wednesday to again plead for help.

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