An eleventh-hour effort to salvage a proposed $14 billion rescue plan for the auto industry collapsed tonight as Republicans and Democrats failed to agree on the timing of deep wage cuts for union workers, killing the legislative plan and threatening America's carmakers with bankruptcy.
"We're not going to get to the finish. That's just the way it is. There too much difference between the two sides," Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced after 10 p.m., concluding a marathon negotiating session that ended in gridlock. Reid warned that markets could plummet when trading begins this morning.
Some positive auto news (if they make it through this period... hello TARP?)... while the autos can't depend on U.S. demand anytime in the near future, international demand (specifically from emerging markets) may be their savior. One limited data point... auto exports have held up surprisingly well (with the caveat that auto exports are still significantly smaller than imports).
Senate Democratic and Republican negotiators have a tentative compromise on a $14 billion automaker bailout plan that may be voted on tonight, Majority Leader Harry Reid said.
Negotiators are briefing their colleagues on the substance of the tentative accord, Reid said.
“I’m hopeful that we can finish this matter tonight,” Reid said on that chamber’s floor. “We should know soon” whether the agreement has enough support, he said.