Friday, December 12, 2008

Senate Fails to Pass Auto Rescue

The U.S. Senate failed to approve the auto-industry bailout, H.R. 7321, that had been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 10, and the Senate abandoned efforts to craft its own legislation to provide loans to troubled U.S. auto-makers GM and Chrysler . You can read an article about the failed legislative efforts, and find numerous related articles, in the Detroit Free Press.

Today on the Library of Congress' Thomas website you can find a link to the failed bill's summary, full text, related bills and congressional actions, and other information at the top of the home page (if you check this page at a later date and the link is no longer there, just do a search for "HR 7321" on the Thomas home page).

Almost two decades ago Congress approved an emergency loan to Chrysler, the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act, which became Public Law 96-185 in 1980. Here's what the 1979 CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Almanac had to say about that legislative effort:

Chrysler proponents had pressed Congress to complete consideration before the Christmas holiday on grounds the company would go bankrupt early in 1980 if it did not get government backing. Their request was helped by market reports showing the firm would run out of cash in January 1980 — news that prompted Vice President Walter F. Mondale to urge quick action 'so that we can provide security for thousands and thousands of jobs.'
--"Chrysler Aid Cleared in Final Day's Session." CQ Press Electronic Library, CQ Almanac Online Edition, cqal79-1185075). (accessed December 12, 2008).

Sound familiar? If you're on CU Campus or able to access the library's online resources via VPN, you can search old editions of CQ Quarterly on CQ Electronic Library.

Estimating the Value of Subsidies for Federal Loans and Loan Guarantees, from the Congressional Budget Office, provides some interesting insight into how "the federal government reduces the price and increases the availability of credit for particular uses by guaranteeing private loans or making loans directly."

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