Bid to Save GM, Chrysler Loans Dies in Senate

The bill, first sent to the White House Monday, would provide Chrysler and General Motors with a short-term infusion in low-interest loans to stay afloat in the months ahead. It also would call on Bush to select one or more people within the executive branch to authorize, disperse and oversee a loan for the auto industry.

The car czar would have the power to reshape the industry and negotiate deals among auto companies, unions, creditors and suppliers. The designee also could force car companies into Chapter 11 bankruptcy if they don't have a viability plan by March 31.

"They either have a long-term plan that's viable, or we get our money back," White House deputy chief of staff for policy Joel Kaplan, who is leading White House negotiations on the bailout, said today. "And if we call our money back, which is required under this bill, then those firms are not going to be able to survive."

Threat of Bankruptcy Looms Over Carmakers

General Motors, Chrysler and Ford have repeatedly made their case to lawmakers and U.S. taxpayers to explain why they need a loan. GM CEO Rick Wagoner told lawmakers last week that, without an infusion of $4 billion in taxpayer loans before the end of the year, the company would go bankrupt.

Negotiators have decided that Ford, not in immediate need of a loan, will not receive funding at this point.

ABC News' Kirit Radia, Rachel Martin and Dean Norland contributed to this report.

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