GOP Senator Supports Auto Bailouts

Congressional Democrats on Thursday picked up support for plans to help U.S. automakers from a key lawmaker, Ohio Sen. George Voinovich (R). Chris Paulitz, an aide to Voinovich, said the senator would sign onto a letter to be circulated next week by Michigan Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

"The senator believes helping the automakers remain viable is truly putting Main Street over Wall Street," Paulitz said. "He has signaled his support to Sens. Levin and Stabenow and is working with them on a letter to their colleagues to make this a reality next week during the lame duck. He also wants to ensure that the companies qualifying for TARP funding are truly viable in order to protect taxpayers down the road."

Bloomberg news reported Thursday that President-elect Barack Obama is pushing lawmakers to greenlight as much as $50 billion in loans this year for the troubled automakers. Obama would also look to appoint a "czar" to oversee management of the companies, but the plan would need support from the outgoing Bush administration and a less Democratic lame duck Congress in order to be enacted this year.

-Silla Brush