Frank: Auto Bailout Will Come Back After Obama Takes Office

By Matt Cover | December 8, 2008 | 6:44 PM EST

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., speaks during a hearing on the bailout of American automakers, Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Washington (  – The auto bailout proposal will make a comeback under the incoming  Obama administration, where it will likely face more favorable political conditions, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Monday.
“Of course it’s coming back,” Frank, the influential chairman of the House FInancial Services Committee told in an interview. "The bill is clearly drafted to get them (the automakers) into the Obama administration.”
“Many of us have more confidence in the Obama administration about asking for energy efficiency as well as for reorganization,” Frank said. “The purpose of this is simply to get it so that it is something the Obama administration will deal with.”Frank’s comments seem to confirm the criticisms of some GOP congressmen, who had feared that the auto bailout would simply be another “bridge to nowhere.”
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) said at a congressional hearing Friday that he feared the auto bailout would simply be delaying the inevitable dissolution of the automakers.
“I think all we are really doing is kicking the can down the road and delaying the day of reckoning at the expense of the taxpayer,” Garrett said.
Frank also said that $15 billion, the sum currently being debated in Congress, wouldn’t be enough, and that President Bush was standing in the way of more.
“$15 billion may not be enough,” Frank told reporters. “(But) given the president’s insistence that no money come from the TARP (Treasury’s Toxic Asset Relief Program) and that it only come from the $136 (billion) $15 billion appears to be the maximum you can get.”
“I think that’s better than nothing. I think we’d be better off putting in money from the TARP. I think it’s a mistake to go under $15 billion; I think it would be mistake to fall a few billion short in this short period of time,” Frank added.
At the hearing Friday, Frank had said that not acting would be disastrous, due to high unemployment and weak credit conditions.
“For us to do nothing, in the midst of the worst credit crisis and worst unemployment crisis in decades would be a disaster,” said Frank.
Taking action, however, will apparently will have to wait until January.