Battling Bail-Outs: A Little Backbone at Last?

After having voted for or passively accepted some $2 trillion in federal bail-outs, a few congressmen seem be growing uneasy with the lengthening soup-line.  The automakers want on board, but even Sen. Chris “take care of the housing industry and it takes care of you” Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, says that the automakers shouldn’t count their federal handout dollars before they arrive.  Reports ABC News:

ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports from Capitol Hill: An architect of the original bailout bill said Thursday Democrats lack the votes to pass bill giving auto companies a piece of the $700 billion bailout pie next week.

“I want to help them if we can, but I’m not going to give anyone a blank check, so we’re going to try and do something if we can next week. I don’t think the votes are there. Candidly, I don’t think we have the votes to get that done. With no big change between now and next Wednesday, I’m skeptical,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who chairs the Senate Banking Committee.

Even after January, Democrats will have to gain some Republican support in the Senate to pass a new rescue package for the automakers — and that is looking less likely.

Republicans worry that every time Congress passes a rescue package for a new industry, others will line up to create a bailout soup kitchen line.

“Those are not illegitimate concerns obviously,” said Dodd, “And you want to put conditions on any resources provided to an industry that hasn’t managed itself very well, but its not going to serve any of our interests if a major automobile manufacturer goes out of business between now and Jan. 20th if we could step in and keep them vibrant, we might allow them to survive.”

So, while the aim and focus of the TARP is elastic and evolving, it is looking less likely that the auto industry will get in on the action.

We should be thankful for small favors.