Continued from page 1

It’s not clear what Congress will do if the White House does make such a request. Members of both parties have been critical of how Mr. Bush’s administration has spent the money.

One Democratic aide said by then, Mr. Obama will be in office and Democrats will be more open to releasing the money. But Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, Michigan Republican, who supported the auto bailout, said the $13.4 billion was the key number and Republicans won’t feel obligated to approve the next installment of TARP money.

“There’s going to be serious questions about the first round, let alone the second one,” he said. “I don’t necessarily think tying the $4 billion into the second one does anything.”

Of the initial $13.4 billion Chrysler LLC will receive $4 billion and General Motors Corp. the rest. The future $4 billion would also go to GM. The third big automaker, Ford, is in better financial shape and did not feel it needed to access the loans, the White House said.

Among the terms attached to the loans are that firms must limit executive compensation and perks such as corporate jets, allow the government to block any transactions larger than $100 million, reduce unsecured debt by two-thirds and restructure union contracts so they are competitive with foreign auto manufacturers’ contracts by Dec. 31, 2009.

Any of those conditions could be changed under Mr. Obama if his Treasury Department and the auto companies agreed.

The auto bailout has split Republicans, with those from Midwest industrial states saying the action was needed because bankruptcy is not an acceptable option, while many of those from southern and western states opposed it as an overreach and said the government didn’t wrest enough conditions to make the companies viable.

Mr. McCotter said the UAW’s stance is the beginning of a new round of positioning.

“What you’re starting to see is people starting to stake out their negotiating positions before they get in the room,” he said.

He also said Mr. Bush’s move will play well among a large group of Republicans in the Midwest who were afraid of the alternative to government loans.

“President Bush, being a southern Republican president doing this bridge loan, was helpful,” said Mr. McCotter, who had opposed the $700 billion financial bailout. “A lot of the people around here were surprised he didn’t just let the industry go bankrupt.”