Big 3 Bailout

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Here’s a story today about the collective sense of deja-vu on the Hill — except this time even Bush isn’t that happy with the plan. Some interesting details in the 30-page bill that I didn’t have space for in my story: 

-The government could take equity in the companies if it wants as part of insurance that the taxpayers are not only paid back but benefit if and when the Big Three get back on their feet.

-The government becomes the top creditor, a move the Big Three were asked about in hearings last week and they said they’d have to consult with their lawyers given the way many of their complex debt structures are written. I guess, when you write the laws, such complexities are easy to overcome. Lawmakers also included an appeals process for distressed creditors to get their money.

-Once negotiations begin the car czar must report back to Congress every 15 days and there’s all kinds of built in language assuring the government, particularly the GAO, gets unfettered access to the Big Three’s internal financials for a long, long time.  

-As a bone to angry environmentalists they included a study on transitioning the car companies to greener vehicles.

The White House, while disgruntled that the language wasn’t as strong as was negotiated on long term viability, isn’t throwing around the v-word, yet, so things still look hopeful that something will get signed in to law this week. “We’ve made a lot of progress in recent days to develop legislation to help automakers restructure and achieve long-term viability,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in an email last night. “We’re reviewing draft legislation we received this afternoon and are continuing our discussions with Congress.”

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