News

Lawmakers Seek Restructuring Plan From US Automakers Before Approving Aid

Multimedia

U.S. lawmakers are demanding that America's big three automakers submit plans for making their companies economically viable before approving federal aid to the beleaguered industry. Under a bipartisan proposal announced Thursday, automakers have until early next month to send Congress their plans. VOA's Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill.

Democratic congressional leaders say they are prepared to return to Washington next month to continue a post-election session and approve federal loans to the automobile industry if automakers submit plans to restructure by December 2.

"Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money," said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed the comments. 

"We want to help, but we can only help if they are willing to help themselves," he said.

Senator Reid withdrew legislation to use $25 billion of the $700 billion financial rescue package approved by Congress last month to help the auto industry, saying the plan lacked lawmakers' support.

It also lacked the support of the Bush administration, which argued the $700 billion was meant to shore up financial institutions, not automakers. The administration favored using money from another loan program set up by Congress to help develop more fuel-efficient automobiles. Congressional Democrats had opposed using that money for anything other than developing vehicles that use less gasoline.

But under the bipartisan plan announced Thursday, that loan program could be used to help the auto industry in the short term - if automakers submit restructuring plans, with a guarantee that the account would be replenished.

Senator Chris Bond, a Missouri Republican, led the compromise effort. 

"This bipartisan compromise will protect the millions of American jobs at stake, protect taxpayers and will require the auto industry to come forward with a plan to show how they will get to viability, financial stability and profitability," he said.

In testimony before the Senate and House this week, top executives from General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, appealed for $25 billion in loans, warning that their industry, hurt by a sharp drop in sales and a tight credit market, might collapse without them and further worsen the U.S. economy.

But skeptical lawmakers argued that much of the industry's problems stemmed from mismanagement. House members criticized the executives for flying into Washington on multimillion dollar corporate jets to seek federal assistance.

In separate action Thursday, the Senate voted to extend unemployment benefits for jobless Americans. The House of Representatives had already acted on the measure, which now goes to President Bush for his signature.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs