The House of Representatives and the Senate will discuss and likely vote on the Automaker Bailout Bill (we know, it's not technically a bailout, but rather loans that will be paid back) tomorrow, and the first discussion draft of the bill has hit the internet. The discussion bill is 31 pages long, and like you we're not about to spend our Monday evening reading through the whole thing. Thankfully, some real auto journalists over at The Detroit Free Press have done that for us.
They report that the bill contains provisions for a federal official, or "Car Czar" as the position will no doubt be referred to, who would oversee distribution of the funds and have authority to yank them back if an automaker is deemed to be using them ineffectively. The bill also requires automakers to submit another restructuring plan by March 31, 2009, after which the Car Czar could use his or her powers to reopen negotiations with the company, its creditors and the United Auto Workers union.
Part of the bill also stipulates that if the Detroit 3 accepts these loans, they must promise to stop pursuing litigation aimed at striking down California's right to set its own emissions standards and other states' right to adopt them. The California Air Resources Board has created emissions standards the are generally more strict than federal standards, and so far 17 states have chosen to adopt the Golden State's measures.
Detroit is backed into a corner, however, and will likely accept any conditions that Congress attaches to the bailout bill. With that in mind, Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House say that approval for the bill is likely, which would see around $15 billion in federal loans granted to the Detroit 3 as soon as December 15th.
[Source: CNN Money, The Detroit Free Press]