Michigan Sen. Carl Levin has said the top executives of Detroit’s Big Three automakers should consider resigning if necessary to convince Congress to quickly pass up to USD25bn in emergency loans for the ailing companies.
“If it was the difference between getting this kind of support or not, obviously the management should consider resigning,” Levin told NBC ‘s “Meet the Press.”
Levin also said the government “should have more than a say” in management through an oversight board that would oversee the USD25bn in loans if they are part of the broader USD700bn Wall Street bailout.
“I’d be happy to tell (GM CEO) Rick Wagoner that he ought to consider resigning if that is the difference between getting this kind of support and not,” Levin said.
The Detroit News said Wagoner, who has been CEO since 2000, has come under increasing pressure.
Levin noted that President Bush endorsed USD25bn billion in immediate loans to automakers on Friday, but the president wants the money to come from accelerating a USD25bn loan program through the Energy Department. The administration supports dropping the strings attached that require the money to be used for future fuel efficient projects. Pelosi said Saturday that automakers must restructure further in order to receive aid.
The White House on Monday said it did not want automakers to fail but aid should be provided through government loans appropriated for the industry by Congress and not from the USD700bn financial rescue package.
“The administration does not want U.S. automakers to fail, and in fact we support assistance to automakers,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. The Senate plans to consider auto bailout issues on Monday.
She repeated The White House position that a USD25bn Energy Department loan program should be used to help the ailing auto industry rather than the financial rescue package.
“We should not seek additional funding while USD25bn sits available in a program that was designed for automakers,” Perino said.
Meanwhile, Canada’s politicians have woken up to the unfolding crisis south of the border. Late last week, Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement said he’s investigating the possibility of a joint Canada-U.S. bailout of North America’s ailing auto industry.