February 16th, 2009
09:25 AM ET
12 years ago

White House braces for auto makers seeking federal funds

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As auto giants General Motors and Chrysler face Tuesday's deadline to submit plans to show the government how they can repay billions in federal loans, the White House is creating a Presidential Task Force on Autos to oversee the restructuring of the auto industry, a senior administration official said.

The task force will include members from the Departments of Treasury, Labor, Transportation, Commerce, and Energy, the National Economic Council (NEC), the White House Office of Energy and Environment, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Environmental Protection Agency, the official said.

It will be overseen by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and NEC Director Larry Summers.

Geithner will oversee the loan agreements with the automakers.

Teams at the Treasury Department and  the National Economic Council are working with the automakers and stakeholders to prepare for their Tuesday submissions, the official said.

From February 17 to March 31, "the auto companies and stakeholders are expected to show progress in meeting the restructuring goals set forth in their plans" the senior administration official said.

The adminstration would work with the automakers daily over the next two weeks on their strategies to repay their loans, the official said.

Despite weeks of speculation over whether the administration would
appoint a "car czar", the senior administration official said there would be none.

Ron Bloom, a nationally recognized restructuring expert, will join the
administration's team as a senior adviser at the Treasury Department, the senior administration official said.

Bloom is a former vice president of Lazard Freres & Company LLC, and is a former restructuring expert for labor for the U.S. Steelworkers.

The team will provide advice and analysis to Geithner and Summers about the auto industry.

Updated 9:25 a.m.

Full story

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. vette66

    Sorry, that should say Yugo.

    February 16, 2009 08:31 am at 8:31 am |

    SPENDING PACKAGE #5,6,7 ?????$$$$$$


    February 16, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  3. Kevin in Ohio

    Let them fail and restructure. Then maybe the unions will be forced to negotiate something reasonable.

    February 16, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  4. Brian

    I see there will be an Auto Industry Task force. This is great news, I can't wait to see how the largest screwed up organizationin the US – the federal government fixes the third largest screwed up industry. (They already failed at #2 The Financial Industry).

    February 16, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  5. GOPer

    I have an idea: Make getting rid of the UAW mandatory before getting any taxpayer money. The UAW has to go in order for the US auto industry to be competitive.

    February 16, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. mtv

    While Law makers are raising cain with the Automakers for the 14 billion repay............how about the Billions AIG and the others squandered..............and refuse to be transparent............who it going after them for immediate payback of those Billions...........at least 180 billion...........or is the math backwards that they think 14 billion is more that 180 billion??????

    February 16, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. zuq

    And the relevance of this story is? Just cuz this guy is young does not mean that the Republicans now have new views. YES WE CAN! Stay on the train or get off at the next stop.

    February 16, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  8. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    They should simply shift to producing zero-emission fuel cell autos and install hydrogen fueling stations at all dealerships and be done with it. We must advance now to maintain our status as a world leader. Gasoline must become extinct like the dinosaurs!!!

    February 16, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  9. yuri

    Hi GM and Chrysler-

    Do not even think about flying in jets, which I am sure you won't. Come up with good spending numbers and try to woo us, the customers, with quality cars that can match or beat BMW, Mercedes, Porche, Maseratti, Lomborgini, Audi, Infiniti, and Lexus. Make car buying a pleasure. America can and should beat European cars, neck and crop.

    February 16, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  10. We love Sarah

    I always wondered why the auto and banking industries are all up in arms about OUR government wanting to place restrictions and conditions on the loans they receive from the tax payers. After all, if anyone of us received a loan from their financial institutions they ALWAYS make us use the money for ONLY the purposes that we received the loan. When banks start allowing us to barrow money for homes, but permit us to spend the cash anyway we choose is the time when we should allow them to use OUR bailout money anyway they choose after receiving the money.

    Why is it that this basic set of protocols is good enough for us, but not good enough for them?

    February 16, 2009 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  11. Michelle

    Am I the only one finding it hard to trust Tim Geithner?

    February 16, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  12. Had It

    31 days in February this year? I don't think so.

    February 16, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Sharon Kitchen

    If nothing can be worked out.....I guess the "new" car company combo could be called U.S. Cars then number the different models ,be they solar ex:solar 1,2, elctric 1,2, battery 1,2 ,etc.

    February 16, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. Pao Lee

    U.S Auto industries need to eliminate UAW for this to be sucessful for the long run.

    February 16, 2009 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. dan in Tucson

    The government should put a freeze on future bailouts until the economy starts rebounding. That is the responsible thing to do. If we keep on this path of printing trillions of dollars, you may as well not buy toliet paper any more.

    February 16, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  16. Bryan in Vegas

    So is Obama taking over the auto industry or not? I couldn't really tell by reading this article. The reporting on CNN has really gotten ambiguous and sort of shady ever since Obama came on the scene.

    February 16, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  17. Independent

    Keep propping up those failing companies!
    "They took our jobs!!!"

    Reward industries that fail that most.
    Atlas shrugs.

    February 16, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. demwit

    The Unions have to hold out for better benefits.., don't let those Chicago style politics fool you guys!!

    February 16, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. ronvan

    I would not give these people another nickle!! Let them all go down the tubes for bad judgement, overpriced cars, built OK, NOT GREAT, and refusing to build more fuel efficient cars, until NOW, that they are broke. And even if they do, they will be overpriced!!!

    February 16, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  20. Kaci

    wah, wah, wah

    February 16, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. JUDE

    The notion of an entity being "too big to fail" after that entity has requested a crunch is absurd.

    What would happen if small/midsize banks were giving priority to the TARP funds?

    From my perspective, These large entities which are holding these toxic assets, paying their CEO's, laying off employees, stubborn on lending, are a liability to taxpayers.

    Giving priority to small/midsize banks would give them the power to extend credit, focus on expansion which simultaneously would create jobs in the financial sector, subsequently forcing large banks to compete, merge, or file bankruptcy. The bankruptcy becomes a choice, then small banks could negotiate for the assets of the larger banks, but which wouldn't be a problem for those funds to sit on the books of smaller/midsize banks after an infusion of TARP funds.

    Those funds would go to those banks that are willing to go public so that taxpayers can periodically check the financials of the company.

    "Too Big to fail" vs "Too small to fail"

    common sense tells us that bigger may be better, but smaller is a more prudent route.

    "There's a way to do it better. Find it." — Thomas Alva Edison

    February 16, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. Scott, Tucson

    'Geithner will oversee the loan agreements with the automakers.'
    This guy can't even fix his own taxes and he's overseeing the automakers? What a joke!

    February 16, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. We need the free market system to fix auto industry

    Mr President We have a free market and we need to let it fix the auto problem. We have safeguards for businesses that get into TEMPORARY trouble and need time to restructure – it is called bankruptcy protection. Let GM seek protectionl see if they can reorganizel and then they can come back. Continual bailouts is a form of corporate welfare, and this will not fix the ills of the likes of GM – it is a bandaid and a temporary fix. GM need to completely retool itself, both on the shop floor, as well as in the executive offices, and also needs to eliminate entitlements (pensions) and unfair competition (unions). The only way for them to do this is to file backruptcy. Only the threat of everyone losing their jobs forever, will the union, middle managers, and executives, make the hard but necessary choices. And do not use jobs as an excuse to bail out GM and Chrysler – If these two giants fail, other companies will step in and fill the void and jobs will go elsewhere.


    February 16, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. Proud American

    "Bracing?" for what? To give them more of our tax dollars...oh, I forgot. Once Obama gives them the money, they are indebted to him....."power," is the name of his game. The democrats plan to move the country toward a "saviour state," of socialism is moving along nicely. Only one hitch. When they keep breaking the bank, and printing more money won't work...what then? All you Bush haters were so blind to elect this radical; but in less than 4 yrs when he's ousted, he'll leave with a pension for life, security for life, memoirs for a 3rd autobiography....and you libs, along with the rest of the country, will be in far worse condition than before...good job idiots!

    February 16, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Polly

    I wish these guys luck. It is essential that we find alternative solutions towards saving our auto industry. We don't want to lose that.

    February 16, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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