Reid Says Votes on Auto Bill Forthcoming

Posted December 9, 2008 at 11:32am

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) expressed optimism Tuesday morning that votes on an automotive rescue plan could come as early as tonight or sometime Wednesday as Congressional Democrats and the White House try to work through the details of a deal.

“We would hope that we can complete work on this Detroit situation tonight or tomorrow,” Reid said, adding that he will be working with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to figure out the path forward.

It is unclear at this point if Reid will have to file cloture on the bill or if Senate Republicans would agree to move the legislation to the floor for final passage. McConnell maintained that he has yet to see any language since a draft was first circulated Monday.

White House press secretary Dana Perino this morning indicated that the issue of ensuring that automakers prove long-term viability in order to receive federal bailout money had not been resolved, but she suggested there is hope for an agreement.

“We are still working through a number of issues, some of them just small and technical, and other ones a little bit more meaty in scope, but all in all making sure we’re headed in the right direction,” Perino told reporters today aboard Air Force One.

“Our insistence that long-term viability be reflected in the legislation is something that we have held very strong feelings about, and that has not changed,” she said. “There will not be long-term financing if they cannot prove long-term viability.”

Perino said talks were held both in person and over the phone throughout the night.