Lawmakers discuss details of automaker bailout

From NBC12 News

WASHINGTON D.C. (NBC12) - It doesn't look like the big three automakers are going to get the rescue package they asked for.

This weekend: lawmakers on Capitol Hill are working behind closed doors on a short-term loan that would keep the companies afloat.

This will be remembered as the week when Detroit's big three auto chiefs parked their luxury jets and drove to Capitol Hill, hats in hand.

"We're here because we've made mistakes that we've learned from," said General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner.

The auto giants said they needed thirty-four billion dollars to survive.

But President Bush and Congress are considering half that amount, only as a short-term loan.

With significant strings attached.

"It is important that we pass something," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank. "I believe that provides enough liquidity to keep them going until probably March."

Staff members are spending this weekend working out the details so the Senate can consider a plan as early as Monday.

Adding to the urgency, this week's sobering job numbers: another half-million jobs plus jobs lost in November.

President-elect Barack Obama unveiled a plan to create two and half million new jobs in his weekend address to the nation.

"We won't just throw money at the problem," he said. "We'll measure progress by the reforms we make and the results we achieve."

He's pushing for the biggest infrastructure investment in half a century.

Putting Americans to work modernizing roads and bridges, schools, government buildings, and even the internet.

Not far from his Chicago Transition headquarters, laid off workers at this window and door factory are venting their frustration by staging a sit-in.

They say they're not leaving until they get the severance and vacation pay they're owed.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are demanding that Detroit's big three change the way they do business if they want money from Uncle Sam.

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