- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Speaker Nancy Pelosi edged closer Tuesday to re-calling the House of Representatives for a lame-duck session, ordering Democratic lawmakers to start drafting a bill to aid struggling U.S. automakers.

But the prospect that the chamber will come back to work next week still depends on whether President Bush and top congressional Democrats can strike a deal on an aid bill.

Mrs. Pelosi said that she had charged House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, “to work with House and Senate leaders and with the Bush administration to craft legislation to provide emergency and limited financial assistance to the automobile industry” under the recently passed $700 billion economic rescue package.

“I am confident Congress can consider emergency legislation next week during a lame-duck session, and I hope the Bush administration would support it,” Mrs. Pelosi, a California Democrat, said.

With Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers - General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., and Chrysler LLC - rocked by the global credit crunch and collapsing sales, President-elect Barack Obama pressed Mr. Bush at their private White House meeting Monday to back emergency taxpayer aid for Detroit.

Congress has already appropriated $25 billion in loans for the auto industry, but the Bush administration has said it will not tap the $700 billion financial bailout fund for the automakers unless Congress explicitly mandates it.

The Senate plans to be in session next week for votes on a package of stalled bills dealing with public lands. One option for the Senate would be to take up a stimulus package already approved by the House and add the auto industry aid to that.

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