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Auto loans face tough road in Senate

House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) (center) walks through Statuary Hall after voting on the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act at the U.S. Capitol -- December 10, 2008

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Scott Jagow: The House has passed a bill to help the automakers -- $14 billion in loans. But if you're in favor of that, I wouldn't get my hopes up. Things do not look good in the Senate. Here's Alabama Senator Richard Shelby:

Richard Shelby: It doesn't make 'em competitive in any way, it doesn't make 'em survive. This postpones the inevitable.

And here's Marketplace's Dan Grech:


Dan Grech: Senate Republicans are promising a filibuster.
Some say the plan invests too much power in the car czar; others say too little.

The senators want the plan to force sweeping changes in the auto industry, including deep wage cuts and reduced debt. Without an overhaul, the bill is unlikely to win passage in the Senate.

In many ways, this game was over before it started. Senate Republicans refused to even participate in negotiations over the plan because of their general opposition to a bailout.

General Motors and Chrysler are depending on this $14 billion emergency loan to avoid bankruptcy. GM is spending $2 billion in cash each month, and says its weeks away from running out of money.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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