Officials struck an agreement in principle on the measure Tuesday and hoped to finalize it and schedule swift House and Senate votes as early as Wednesday. Money could be disbursed within days to cash-starved General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, while Ford Motor Co.—which has said it has enough liquidity to stay afloat—would be eligible for federal aid.
All three would have to negotiate with labor unions, creditors and others and submit blueprints by March 31 to an industry czar named by President George W. Bush showing how they would restructure to ensure their survival. If not, the emergency loans would be revoked, the companies cut off from further federal help, and the government overseer could order his own overhaul, including forcing them into bankruptcy.
There are still "obstacles," by which I mean a few legislators, mostly senators who have the ability to hold stuff up, whether out of principle or partisanship, who might just put the brakes on the bailout. And then there's the no-show threat in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body. Says the AP: "Getting 60 votes for an agreement, with many senators expected to be absent for the emergency, postelection debate, could be tricky."
And then there's Michigan Democrat Sen. Carl Levin who, in a football season in which his Detroit Lions are winless, resorts to football analogies that would make make Knut Rockne trade in his Model A: "This gets us to the 20-yard line, but getting over the goal line will take a major effort, particularly in the Senate."
Quick question: Are you on your own 20, senator? Or your opponent's danger zone red zone[*]? And by opponents, I mean the American taxpayers and pretty much the whole free enterprise system. Hayek, Mises, Schumpeter—suit up and hold that line!
[*]: Yes, I meant red zone. Apologies to Kenny Loggins. And apologies for Kenny Loggins.