Posted by: David Welch on October 1, 2008
Detroit may have approval for its funds, but as David Kiley points out, it could be a while before the struggling car companies can actually get any cash in hand. So Detroit has fired up its lobby efforts to get the money soon. One Big Three Washington staffer tells me that the Big Three are pushing the administration to make the funds available as fast as possible. Congress mandated that the credit line should be ready in 60 days. But as the lobbyist said, “that doesn’t mean it will get done in 60 days.”
Certainly, Detroit has little stick in Washington these days. But the Big Three have some powerful people on their side, namely, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) He is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Michigan Democrat has made it clear that he wants the money made available soon, not in Washington time. If that doesn’t work, both Barack Obama and John McCain have backed a loan package for the auto industry. Once one of them gets in office in January, they could clear the bureaucratic bottleneck. Rest assured Detroit will be knocking on the door of the Oval Office. With sales down more than 30% for Ford and Chrysler and down 16% at General Motors, they need cash fast.