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Bush gives $13.4 billion in loans to auto makers

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It sucks that Bush still has any role in setting policy, but that's the way it is. This disaster, like so many others, did happen on his watch:

President Bush on Friday announced $13.4 billion in emergency loans to prevent the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler, and another $4 billion available for the hobbled automakers in February with the entire bailout conditioned on the companies undertaking sweeping reorganizations to show that they can return to profitability.

The loans, as G.M. and Chrysler teeter on the brink of insolvency, essentially throws the companies a lifeline from the taxpayers that will keep them afloat until March 31. At that point, the Obama administration will determine if the automakers are meeting the conditions of the loans and will continue to receive government aid or must repay the loans and face bankruptcy proceedings.

Mr. Bush made his announcement a week after Senate Republicans blocked legislation to aid the automakers that had been negotiated by the White House and Congressional Democrats, and the loan package announced by the president includes roughly the identical requirements in that bill, which had been approved by the House.

Mr. Bush, in a televised speech before the opening of the markets, said that under other circumstances he would have let the companies fail, as punishment for bad business decisions. But given the economic downturn, he said the government had no choice but to step in.

“These are not ordinary circumstances. In the midst of a financial crisis and a recession, allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action” Mr. Bush said.
Like George Bush knows anything about "a responsible course of action."

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