Hoyer Says No Deal, No Votes

Posted December 2, 2008 at 12:21pm

Updated: 2:10 p.m.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Tuesday that the House will not come back into session next week unless a deal is reached in the coming days to aid the sinking auto industry.

Hoyer gave a definitive response of “no” when asked if the chamber would schedule votes even if Democratic leaders are unable to reach a bipartisan agreement on a multibillion-dollar rescue package for auto manufacturers.

“If we believe that there is a possibility to pass legislation that would lead to continued viability … then we would return,” Hoyer said.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to hold a press event later today to address the issue.

Across the Dome, the Senate is scheduled to come back on Monday at 3 p.m. but Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wouldn’t say on Tuesday whether the chamber would hold votes. He deferred to the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, which is holding hearings on the matter this week.

“We hope we can work something out with them, but it’s up to them to show that there will be accountability and viability,” Reid said. “We don’t want to throw a lifeline if the lifeline doesn’t get them to shore.”

Democrats and Republicans continue to differ on how and whether to help the auto companies.

Republicans have largely balked at the idea of a proposed $25 billion bailout for the car companies, and insisted that the Big Three manufacturers either file for bankruptcy or try to tap into funds already appropriated for fuel-efficient vehicles.

“Until people get a feel for what their plan looks like … I don’t know what role taxpayers ought to play,” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

Congressional leaders have yet to review the plans being pitched by auto executives this week, but almost universally Members have demanded the companies show how any aid would lead to their long-term viability.

Boehner said he would define viability as “a reasonable expectation that taxpayers will get their money back.”

Some Congressional Democrats have proposed using a portion of last month’s $700 billion financial sector bailout to help Chrysler, Ford and General Motors stay afloat.