Wow, what an amazing piece of political theater that just went down. As we reported, four senators from auto producing state (two Democrats and two Republicans) led by Michigan Senator Carl Levin have reached an agreement on a compromise bailout bill for automakers. They were set to announce details of the compromise bill at 2:30PM, but before they could, a team of Congressional Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid walked into the room in which the press conference was to be held and announced that they didn't support the compromise bill and that CEOs of the Big 3 would have to come back after the Thanksgiving holiday and present a plan on how any loans that might be given would be used.
Back to that compromise bill. The big stalemate, other than whether U.S. automakers should get a bailout at all, is where the money would come from. Democrats want to take $25 billion from the $700 billion bailout fund for financial institutions while Republicans and the White House want to re-appropriate $25 billion in loans that have already been approved for investments in green technology. Levin revealed the compromise to be a version of the Republican's plan, with concessions made to Democrats in that certain environmental restrictions would remain in tact and that loan repayments would go directly back to replenish the $25 billion fund for green investments.

What do we take away from all this? The Big 3 will get no assurance of federal aid before Thanksgiving, and there's still no guarantee they'll get help after the break. The ball is again back in the court of the Big 3 CEOs, who need to show up in December with detailed plans of how each would use any federal aid. The Democrats are calling for "accountability" and "viability" in their proposals, which are due to Congress by December 2.

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