Even as America's carmakers plead their case before the U.S. Congress today, the executive branch has rejected $16 billion in grant requests through the DOE's retooling program. The rejection came in the form of a letter to the carmakers earlier this week from Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

Of the $16 billion requested, General Motors sought $3.6 billion, Ford wanted $5 billion and Chrysler applied for $8.5 billion. All of the money was earmarked for hybrid/electric vehicle plans, such as GM's Volt. GM is already preparing a second application for funding, however, reports The Detroit News.

The funds sought by the carmakers are part of the $25 billion package passed by Congress and approved by President Bush in September. Now that the funds have been applied for and denied, meaning they are still available, it's possible that Congress could use them as a short-term means to provide emergency funds to whichever of the carmakers it deems fit, but so far talk in the Senate hearing on the matter appears to be tending more toward new loan packages.