To date, the U.S. government has reportedly given General Motors, Chrysler, their financial institutions and various industry suppliers about $80 billion in taxpayer money, and Congress wants to know when we're going to get that money back. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing with the Auto Task Force for the first time to discuss the state of the government loans, as well as whether or not taxpayers will ever be paid back.

According to task force senior adviser Ron Bloom, there is "a reasonable probability" that some or all of the money will be paid back, but he was by no means "highly confident" that the money would be returned to taxpayers. He does, though, see "reasonable scenarios where taxpayers get their money back."

Bloom was a bit more certain, however, about the prospects of the auto industry receiving still more money from the government. Bloom said that it was the Obama administration's "absolute intent" not to provide future funding to the bailed out automakers, but he followed that with "never say never." That's far from a guarantee, but it would appear that more money doesn't seem to be in the plans.

During his testimony, Bloom also reiterated that the administration was a "reluctant shareholder" in the automakers, and that the government intends to get out the car business as soon as possible. When Alabama senator Richard Shelby (R) pressed for a timeline for the government to exit GM ownership, Bloom admitted that there was "no specific target" set.

[Source: The Associated Press via MSNBC | Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty]

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