Senate Republicans in the driver's seat - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Senate Republicans in the driver's seat


Washington, D.C. (ABC) -- The auto industry loan bill is headed to the Senate after winning passage in the House Wednesday night. 

  Senate Republicans are in the driver's seat after the house voted last night to extend $14 billion dollars in emergency loans to GM and Chrysler.

  That's because Senate Democrats are unsure if they have the votes to pass the bill crafted by Congressional Democrats and the White House.

  Senator Rob Corker (R-TN) said, "there's been a lot of negotiations, but I feel that the product developed is a poor product."

  Republicans, and some skeptical Democrats, say even with appointment of a "car tzar" to oversee the restructuring of GM & Chrysler in exchange for the loans, there's no guarantee the auto industry will become successful. 

  Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, "the best route for the long-term viability of ailing car companies may be a rocky one. Government help is not the only option."

  Supporters say a bail out is vital, not just for the industry, but for the entire U.S. economy. 

  They look at the spiking unemployment rate and fear the auto industry's collapse could further devastate economic conditions by pushing the unemployment rate, now at its highest in 26 years, to the double digits. 

  White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said, "a weakened state that adding another 1 million people to the unemployment rolls from an auto industry failure is not possible. We don't think the economy can sustain it."

  The vote in the senate on a bail out for the auto industry is expected to be tough and could come as early as today.

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