Former Michigan Gov. John Engler (R) was in the Senate Tuesday, talking up the possibility of financial aid from the U.S. government to the struggling auto industry based in his state.

Engler, who governed Michigan from 1991 to 2003 and now heads the National Association of Manufacturers, was talking to Republican senators outside of the party's normal Tuesday caucus lunch. In comments to reporters, he said Monday's financial turmoil proves the need to help auto manufacturers.

"Urgency is added by what you see going on on Wall Street," he said.

"The de-leveraging that's taking place in some of the financial institutions is making lines of credit harder and harder to come by, and time is of the essence here. And this is not money that the federal government doesn't expect to have back. It's a very prudent investment, and timely."

Engler, also a contributing writer for The Hill, said help is especially necessary since Congress has already heightened regulations on manufacturers and had pledged to help.

"The National Association of Manufacturers supports Congress keeping its word," he said. "They said, 'If we raise all of these new requirements and put them on your industry, we'll help you meet the burden of compliance.' So now it's time to pay the piper."

-J. Taylor Rushing