President Bush's decision to extend a $17.4 billion emergency loan to the auto industry drew approval Friday from U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and Ohio's two U.S. senators.
"The President's action has stopped the immediate hemorrhage, the outlines of which were very similar to what we passed in the House bill," Miss Kaptur said. "It gives our industry breathing time to adjust."
Miss Kaptur blamed Mr. Bush's policies for causing or contributing to the credit crisis that has dried up demand for new cars and trucks.
Support for the loan was not unanimous among Ohio's delegation to Washington.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) said lending money to the automakers was the wrong move because it won't save the industry and will saddle future generations with more public debt.
"The same government that's run up an $11 trillion national debt is now going to tell the auto companies how to run their businesses," he said.
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), who had voted against a House bailout bill Dec. 10, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.
In a prepared statement, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said he was "relieved" for the 250,000 Ohioans whose jobs rely on the auto industry.
"This decision averted an economic catastrophe for the industry, and potentially for the economy," Mr. Brown said.
He said he was pleased that conditions include an end to CEO bonuses and perks like corporate jets, but said it is unfortunate "that so much of the burden remains on the shoulders of hard-working men and women."
U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio) said he was "grateful the President stepped in to help thwart a disaster that would have sent our state over the cliff."
He said the conditions set by the White House are similar to those included in legislation he co-sponsored with U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D., Mich.), which was shot down in the Senate before it could be voted on.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued a statement with Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, also director of the Ohio Department of Development, describing the President's announcement as "a crucial first step toward stabilizing the automotive industry while protecting other sectors of the economy that depend on the auto industry."
They said they hope the funds will give Chrysler and General Motors time to weather the economic downturn and avoid bankruptcy.
Ford Motor Co. is generally considered to be in better financial condition than its domestic competitors and declined the Bush Administration loan, but company officials have said Ford would be badly damaged if one or both of the other two went under.
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