Automakers, UAW: Help Us, Aunt Nancy

The heads of Chrysler, GM, Ford and the UAW are all slated to meet with Nancy Pelosi today to discuss getting a federal bailout. Will Rick Wagoner pull a Hank Paulson and get down on his knees and beg Pelosi to approve the bailout?

NY Times: The chief executives of Detroit’s Big Three automakers and the president of the United Automobile Workers union are scheduled to meet Thursday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about emergency financial aid for the companies, according to three people with knowledge of the plans.

The meeting would come just hours after the Energy Department said late Wednesday that the auto companies would be able to apply as soon as next week for $25 billion in low-interest loans to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles. But that loan program seemed unlikely to meet their needs, and some of the money could go to Asian carmakers with plants in this country…

The Energy Department said Wednesday that it had rushed through rules on how to process loan applications and was prepared to begin evaluating them next week.

But the money could only be used for expenses incurred after the application was filed, and not for general expenses or for expenses incurred so far…

Processing a loan application would ordinarily take months, because an environmental evaluation is required. But if the White House declared an emergency, department officials said, some money could flow by the end of this year. The money would be doled out in “progress payments,” as expenses where incurred, the officials said, in a teleconference with reporters Wednesday evening.

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