White House Warms to Auto Aid

Posted December 3, 2008 at 11:05am

The White House today signaled some flexibility on the amount of money it would be willing to provide ailing U.S. automakers, suggesting President Bush would consider providing more than the $25 billion in previously allocated funds.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said administration officials are still reviewing the automakers’ latest petition to Congress, which includes plans for restructuring and aid of about $34 billion. While noting that the White House continues to believe the best course is to retool the already provided $25 billion for cleaner cars, Perino on Wednesday refused to rule out agreeing to provide more.

Some economists believe the best chance for restructuring by the companies is to allow them to go into bankruptcy, but Perino said Bush is hoping to avoid that. But she nevertheless noted, “sometimes companies do fail.”

Speaking at a news conference in Chicago, President-elect Barack Obama declined to say whether he would agree to automakers’ request, but he noted that the car company executives had this week provided the government with “a more serious set of plans.”