GOP wants GM-Chrysler stock for taxpayers

Senate Republicans plan to unveil a proposed bill on Thursday that would redistribute the federal government's share of stock in General Motors and Chrysler from the U.S. Treasury to individual taxpayers -- as well as restrict additional taxpayer-funded bailouts for the auto industry.

The bill will be proposed by Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and GOP Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah.

Alexander previewed the ideas in a floor speech this week, saying it is the best way to avoid government ownership of GM persisting for years. The bill would break up the 60 percent share of GM that belongs to the federal government into stock certificates mailed to all 154 million Americans who filed tax returns this year. Alexander said without such a bill, distributing GM stock could take several years.

"I want the Treasury also to have the option of getting the ownership of these companies out of the hands of Washington and back into the hands of the marketplace in months rather than years," Alexander said. "Distributing new GM shares to individual taxpayers is a way to do that."

Alexander said the bill will also prevent awkward situations for the federal government, such as during congressional debates over fuel efficiency standards, as well as politically sensitive situations such as decisions to build plants in certain states during campaign seasons.

-J. Taylor Rushing