Senate to resume push for auto bailout

The Senate will return from a six-week break Monday to work on a $25 billion bailout package for Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers, Democratic leaders said Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is expected to hold a test vote on the package Wednesday. The House then will reconvene that afternoon to take up any measure passed by the Senate, Democratic leaders said.

“The adoption of a robust recovery package should be the top priority of the upcoming lame duck session,” Mr. Reid said. “That is why I intend to seek consent on a bill to create jobs, prevent large tax increases and cuts in state services, strengthen our nation’s manufacturing sector, and assist those struggling to find a job.”

Senate Democrats, who support the measure, would need 12 to 15 Republican votes to reach the 60 votes needed to overcome an expected GOP filibuster.

The only Republican so far to publicly support an auto bailout is Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, a state with several auto plants and manufacturers of auto supplies.

The measure, which would provide loans to the three major U.S. automakers, would be attached to a $6 billion bill the House passed in October that would extend jobless benefits. Under terms of the proposal, the federal government would hold partial ownership stakes in the companies for the duration of the loan.

The auto bailout would be carved out of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package that Congress passed in early October.

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