Democrats work on plan to tap bailout for automakers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Democrats work on plan to tap bailout for automakers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional Democrats are working on a rescue package for the auto industry that would grant Detroit's Big Three $25 billion in emergency loans in exchange for a government ownership stake in the car companies.

  General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are lobbying Congress for the aid, saying the downturn in the nation's economy has stifled auto sales and frozen credit, leaving them vulnerable.

  GM posted a $2.5 billion loss in the third quarter and predicted it could run out of cash by the end of next year without some kind of relief.

  Democratic Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Carl Levin are developing legislation that would allow the auto industry to tap into the $700 billion financial rescue Congress passed last month.

  Senate Republicans could play a key role in determining its fate.

  Some have expressed skepticism that the aid would lead to changes for the companies.

  But Ohio Senator George Voinovich says he'd support the move, because "helping the automakers remain viable is truly putting Main Street over Wall Street."

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