(Washington, DC) -- The Bush administration is holding its ground on bailing out the struggling U.S. auto industry.
White House Press Secretary Dana Perino insisted that the $700-billion federal bailout is to stabilize troubled financial institutions.
The Big Three automakers want to carve 25-billion from the overall bailout in emergency loans.
Perino said 25-billion has already been authorized and could get to the automakers.
Democrats argue that the previously-authorized funds were set aside to help automakers re-tool to meet new energy efficiency standards.
Perino sidestepped pointed questions about whether the Bush administration is willing to watch U.S. automakers fail and put the burden on congressional Democrats.
Perhaps Big Three's top brass didn't think Congress would notice they'd arrived in style on a private jet for their bailout hearings. They were wrong.
Democrat Gary Ackerman of New York had the most caustic observations, saying, quote, "There's a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, DC, and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hands." He added, quote, "Couldn't you have downgraded to first-class or something?"
The three CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler made their case for federal assistance Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.
They also took a pasting even from Dems sympathetic to their cause.
Brad Sherman of California said the jet-setting execs were making it tough to sell constituents on the idea Detroit had changed.
Sherman asked if the CEOs would be willing to sell their jets and fly commercial.
He concluded, quote, "Let the record show no hands went up."
(Copyright 2008 by Newsroom Solutions)