House OKs $14B auto bill, but it's still in peril - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

House OKs $14B auto bill, but it's still in peril

WASHINGTON (AP) - A plan to throw U.S. automakers a $14-billion lifeline has cleared the House but is still in jeopardy in the Senate. A vote there could come Thursday.

The House approved the rescue package 237-170 tonight. It would provide loans to GM and Chrysler almost immediately. Ford would also be eligible for government help, although it says it's OK for now.

Backers argue the loan infusion is needed to avoid an industry collapse which would deliver another crushing blow to the national economy. But Senate Republicans are setting up speed bumps. They're demanding that any federal help be contingent on specific actions to restructure, including steep wage cuts and debt restructuring.

As is, the plan would create a presidentially appointed "car czar" to monitor the automakers' commitments to overhaul themselves.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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