Michigan representatives ask for $25B in new loans for auto industry

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The new loans would be part of the $825 billion Obama administration stimulus plan

The new loans would be part of the $825 billion Obama administration stimulus plan

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The first $13.4 billion in auto industry loan funds have been disbursed to General Motors and Chrysler, but already Michigan's congressional representatives are seeking another $25 billion in industry loans. The funds would be targeted at suppliers and carmakers, with some funds set aside to help offset the unemployment attendant to the industry's contraction.

The new funds are proposed as part of the $825 billion stimulus spending package the White House is already planning to submit to Congress, reports the Detroit Free Press. If all goes as planned, that bill could pass through both houses of Congress by February 16, though with legislation - and especially appropriations - things rarely go as planned.

Nevertheless, Michigan's lawmakers are taking up the new loan cause eagerly, as their state in particular would be hard-hit by a failure of any one of the major carmakers. Every supplier that goes out of business or lays off workers adds to the state's tax shortfall and unemployment expenditures as well.

“We feel it is critically important that additional funding be directed to those states that need it the most – those with the highest unemployment rates,” said the Michigan group. Already unemployment in the state has risen to 10.6%, and with a sour outlook for 2009, things could worsen dramatically before they get better.

It's not clear how long the $25 billion sought would last, or how much impact it might have on the overall industry situation, but with millions of jobs at stake and no relief in sight, even $25 billion could turn out to be little more than a stop-gap measure. Last year, Michigan's lawmakers were among the first to get on board a call for aid for the industry, seeking $27 billion in loans in July.

 
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