Levin Confident on Auto Deal

Posted December 7, 2008 at 9:19am

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin (D) expressed confidence on Sunday that a deal to aid automakers in his home state would be forthcoming this week, even as he acknowledged that the proposal currently being floated may not have the votes to pass the Senate. Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Levin said he is “very confident that there will be a deal,” but when pressed about whether there is enough support among Republicans to pass the measure, Levin said, “That’s a much more complicated question whether the votes are there.” Similarly, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who appeared on the same program, said he could not yet say whether he would be joined by at least 40 other Senators in mounting a filibuster. Sixty votes are needed to overcome a filibuster. Either way, Shelby predicted an “extended debate” over the tentative agreement between the White House and Congressional Democrats to offer billions of dollars in short-term loans to carmakers. “This is a bridge loan to nowhere,” Shelby said. Under the proposed agreement between Democrats and the Bush administration, the money would come from an existing loan program intended to help the auto industry build more fuel-efficient cars, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would only agree to use those funds if they were paid back in a matter of weeks by funding elsewhere. U.S. carmakers have said they do not have enough money to continue operating past this month.