After spending the better part of two days giving the CEOs of the Detroit automakers every indication that they were going to be hung out to dry, Congress has at least partially caved in to the reality a large number of constituents would almost certainly loose their jobs soon if nothing was done. Late Friday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced that a tentative agreement had been reached that would see Detroit get $15-17 billion in bridge loans from the Department of Energy fund meant to help pay for development and tooling for advanced technology vehicles. That amount of money should keep the financial wolves at bay for at least a few months.

The hope had been to use money from the $700 billion financial bailout fund, but Treasury secretary Henry Paulson and the White House were having none of that. However, come January 20 they will no longer have control of those funds, and the Congressional Democratic leadership is hoping that the Obama administration will see things a little differently and agree to use some of that money help the auto industry. In the meantime, as long as a suitable number of votes can be mustered early next week, work on the Volt, and EVs from Ford and Chrysler can continue for a little while longer.

[Source: Reuters, Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty]

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