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VOL. 123 | NO. 227 | Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Three Automakers Beg for $25 Billion Lifeline

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS | Associated Press Writer

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Detroit's Big Three automakers pleaded with Congress on Tuesday for a $25 billion lifeline to save their once-proud companies from collapse, warning of broader peril for the national economy as well.

"Our industry ... needs a bridge to span the financial chasm that has opened up before us," General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner told the Senate Banking Committee in prepared testimony. He blamed the industry's predicament not on failures by management but on the global financial crisis.

But the new rescue plan appeared stalled on Capitol Hill, opposed by Republicans and the Bush administration who don't want to dip into the Treasury Department's $700 billion financial bailout program to come up with the $25 billion.

Sympathy was sparse.

Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd told Wagoner and leaders of Ford and Chrysler that the industry was "seeking treatment for wounds that were largely self-inflicted."

Still, he said, "hundreds of thousands would lose their jobs" if the companies were allowed to collapse.

Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., complained that the larger financial crisis "is not the only reason why the domestic auto industry is in trouble."

He cited "inefficient production" and "costly labor agreements" that put the U.S. automakers at a disadvantage with foreign companies.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 75 255 11,693
MORTGAGES 72 295 15,274
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 3 71 2,982
BUILDING PERMITS 198 590 27,844
BANKRUPTCIES 62 280 11,242
BUSINESS LICENSES 35 98 4,136
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 94 516 17,000
MARRIAGE LICENSES 18 80 3,544

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