December 4th, 2008
10:30 AM ET
13 years ago

Big 3 CEOs return to plead for up to $34 billion from Congress

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="As sales plunge, the Big Three are back to plead for a bailout."]( - The CEOs of the leading automakers were back before Congress Thursday, arguing for a larger bailout than they asked for just two weeks ago, and hoping to undo the damage they did to their case at the earlier hearings.

The three automakers are now asking for up to $34 billion in federal loans, up from their earlier request for $25 billion in assistance. Two of them, General Motors and Chrysler LLC, are warning that without immediate help, they could run out of the money they need to operate before the end of the year.

This time GM CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli drove fuel-efficient hybrids to Washington, rather than flying in on corporate jets as they did two weeks ago.

Ford and GM have since announced they will sell their jets. And all three CEOs have agreed to cut their pay to $1 a year if they get the federal help they are seeking.

After presenting plans to Congress Tuesday that detailed how they would use loans to return to profitability, each company warned of tremendous damage to the economy if they are forced to file for bankruptcy because of lack of help.

In prepared testimony Thursday, Mulally quoted an estimate from Goldman Sachs that said the impact to the economy from failures could be up to $1 trillion.

But the Big Three face an uphill battle to get loans approved by a skeptical Congress. Even the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate who are in favor of help for the automakers have refused to commit to calling the outgoing members of Congress back next week to vote on an auto bailout.

Congressional leaders are concerned that public opinion has turned strongly against help for the automakers. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll of nearly 1,100 Americans conducted earlier this week found 61 percent oppose a bailout while only 36 percent support it. Even in the Midwest, home to most of the automakers' remaining plants, 53 percent of those polled said they oppose federal help.

That was a sharp reversal from polls taken before the CEOs last trip to Capitol Hill. A poll November 11 and 12 conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates found 55 percent supported federal assistance for automakers at that time, and only 30 percent believed they should not get federal help.

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (183 Responses)
  1. Chad, Wisco

    Get rid of UAW and maybe we'll talk. They are one of the main reason that costs have gone up for the American vehicles. I am not for tax payers money going towards the UAW so they can continue to strong arm these companies into ridiculously high wages and benefits.

    December 4, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Amanda E.

    Let them go down! Do you honestly think if no one said anything at all about them flying in for the first begging, they would have driven this time?

    December 4, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. Corey, Maryland

    I think Chrysler shouldn't be given anything. They don't offer one hybrid vehicle and haven't made any attempts at it. So Chrysler(Dodge and Jeep) should all have to fend for themselves. I believe GM should cancel the production of Hummer and Saab. They have a few hybrid vehicles but have worked very hard on the Chevy Volt, which I give them credit for. Ford should give up either Lincoln or Mercury. These cuts would mean congress doesn't have to give as much money, and a majority of each company is still saved.

    My main concern is that a large number of jobs would be lost if these companies fell through, which is the only reason I support money being given to them. But only if they promise to produce all Hybrid or electric vehicles, and invest in other ways to help us travel, like hydrogen/ solar etc.....

    December 4, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. Matt

    The companies shouldn't get a red cent until every single one of the greedy, selfish, narrow-minded, environment-wrecking cavemen who have been running them are fired and forced to return a portion of th emoney they sucked out of th ecompanies during the past year or moer. They knew this was coming but kept fighting against new technology, making crappy cars and paying themselves silly amounts of money so they could live lavish lifestyles while thinking to themselves that everyone else could take a flying leap for all they cared. Ruin them. Please.

    December 4, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  5. Anonymous

    I want to know their plans for the bailout. If it's to help the CEO's have conferences in a resort in California (AIG), forget about it. It's it will directly save jobs, then okay.

    December 4, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Mari

    Americans are not happy with bailing out an industry that has had its collective head-in-the-sand for years! Instead of thinking, of being visionary....... they have continued to built crap, to build Hummers, 'Explosions' (as my kids call Ford SUVs) and now after their failures they come hat in hand! SHAME ON GM.....FORD...... and CHRYSLER!

    The ONLY sympathy I have is for the AUTO WORKER! Its not their fault that the companies they work for are so mismanaged, so totally stupid!

    BEFORE a dime is given to these idiots, the current CEOs & CFOs SHOUlD BE FIRED!

    Wages frozen, no bonuses, and no golden parachutes!

    December 4, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Robert

    Help Ford out as they have been making some progress; let the other two die.

    December 4, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Ron

    It makes me mad that bush and congress is tripping over themselves to give our money to the banks and AIG without any conditions yet they are going to refuse to offer a loan to the auto makers to help them out.

    The media makes it sound like most Americans do not want this loan to happen (it is not a bailout like the banks but is a loan that will be paid back). I do not know one person who is against this. Everyone I know sees the disaster that will happen if the auto makers fail. Everyone sees it except our president and congress.

    The difference? White color workers (banks, AIG) and blue collar workers (union workers in the auto factories).

    December 4, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  9. California Gold

    These CEOs just don't get it. Grand standing with sacrificing their salaries to $1 per year -when they are completely silent on those bonus packages that are more than their hefty salaries- doesn't cut it. What they need to do is never going to be presented by them. Michael Moore was on Larry King last night and reported the Big 3 are seeking more money than their businesses are worth. Now what's wrong with that pictures? Would you loan someone $700,000 for a house that's only worth $100,000? Bailout money is no different.

    December 4, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Catherine

    People in Michigan have been hurting for years and are now living on food stamps to survive. We have doled out banks with no strings so that they can buy other banks, but we cannot help automakers who employ thousands upon thousands? It is unconscionable. The midwest will be even more decimated than it already is.

    December 4, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. ET from Omaha

    This country and all its politicians are controlled by big banks and special interests. Corruption at it's highest level.
    How can insurance companies and banks gets easily bailout money without any questions asked but auto industries will have to do 5 days pleading in front of congress?
    Something shady is going on here. You either help everybody or do not help anybody period.
    They're all responsible for their own poor management and failure with the benediction of the same politicians they helped put on power financing their campaigns. This whole bailout staff is a circus.
    Who is next? the oil industry with their surplus or the aviation industry?
    Cnn post my comment.

    December 4, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. Hard Working

    Well at least they drove in this time, but I sure wish that I could take my bills to congress and get a loan. I can't even get a loan from any of the banks that my tax dollars helped bail out.

    December 4, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. katiec

    We have no choice but to make sure the auto industry survives. There are too many jobs, spinoffs etc that would be sacrificed and our country cannot surive too many more diasters.
    Certainly there was mismanagement and mistakes. And stipulations etc have to be in place.
    But their problems are nothing compared to what the financial institutions have done to us. And, they are allowed to continue on
    with business as usual, thumbing their noses at the taxpayers and
    using our money for whatever they want. Just one, example, Citigroup paying $40 million for their name on a stadium. Cannot understand
    how and why this is being allowed?? They should not receive one
    more cent from anyone until they get their act together. And, they have received much more from the treasury dept than the bailout.

    December 4, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Franky

    Man, where are they getting this money?? China?! LOL!!! I'm playing, I'm playing...

    34 billion bucks? What if they can't get nothing done? Or let alone, not make a difference? Maybe a little complicated than it looks. But I gotta say though, what the heck happen to the 700 billlion dollar bailout? I mean, I haven't heard nothing. I guess is O.K...I mean, that is a lot of money, right? LOL!! I just hope in the end I get some of the pie because I want a taste...

    For real, what happen to it? I just barely thought about that...I'm a genius!

    To the Batcave!!

    December 4, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  15. John in Ohio

    What Matt said.

    December 4, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. J.P.

    I've had my license more than 20 years and I've never once purchased an auto made by the Big Three.

    I've also only purchased two cars in that time, (both used cars, mind you) so you do the math.

    Tell me again, why we're using taxpayer money to bail out buggy-whip makers... and not JUST buggy-whip makers, but FAILING makers of INFERIOR buggy whips?

    Let the market sort this out. Let the chips fall where they may. Let consumers purchase they products they desire and let the winners win and the losers fold. If the Big Three actually wish to compete with Japan and others, let them make the tough decisions they need to become not only solvent but successful... WITHOUT a handout from Big Gubmint. Otherwise, we'll be right back in the same predicament five years from now, if it takes THAT long.

    December 4, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  17. April

    I hope that they do not receive the bailout, just the fact that they have agreed to a salary of $1 annually, lets one know that 1) they have plenty of money to go around 2) they are counting on those huge year end bonuses


    December 4, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Matt (Another one?)

    $1 a year? Really? Wow, some stunt.

    $1 a year is too much for those scumbags, though.

    December 4, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |

    at least they are not having the police pull people over and drag them out their cars when they payed for their car!!! Thats what the Bankers in wallstreet did to the AMerican Homeowners!! And they had to suffer because of their mistake, and then gave them a 700 billion dollar BLANK CHECK, and then SNEEKED another bailout under our nose!!! *rolling my eyes*

    CONGRESS, just stop waisting these peoples time and tell them the truth, we DONT HAVE ANY MONEY BECAUSE WE GAVE IT ALL TO WALLSTREET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙁

    December 4, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    Help save people like Eminen. I watched 8mm by the white rapper, Eminen and it was pretty good. It showed how the less fortunate are kept alive by the auto industry. To keep them alive is for a good cause!!! I hate the AIG bailout without no oversight!!!!

    December 4, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    Yuo know we just need to retool them and they'd be fine. People's lives depend on their abilities to provide jobs.

    December 4, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  22. Ozz

    Let the have to file for Chapter 13. Why should we have to pay for their mistakes. It was their blind vision in not building fuel efficient cars and letting unions strangle them that has led to this mess.

    December 4, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  23. Minnesotan

    I can hear their little tin cups and their big private jets all the way to Minnesota! I find it funny that Honda Motor Company has faced the same struggles as these 'Big 3,' yet it's had no problem maintaining profits, sales and adapting to consumer needs. Maybe the zen masters at Honda need to come teach our 'Big 3' how businesses SHOULD be run!

    December 4, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  24. Astro

    Bail them out, it is (and they are) no different than the insurers and banks that were bailed out earlier. They made stupid decisions by lending money to people that could not afford it. Lent on on homes that have ben overvalued for years. What's the difference?
    And they still held their lavish partys until the people ranted. Then they gave in. Difference now is the media is starting to report a little more objectively than in the past.

    December 4, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  25. proudliberal

    we cant afford 3-4 million more losses in jobs. jobs are and should be our first priority.

    December 4, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
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