"Congressional Democrats had high hopes for their lame-duck session this week, but they now acknowledge that passage of an economic stimulus plan or automaker bailout will likely have to wait until next year," Roll Call's Emily Pierce and Steven T. Dennis report. "If there is a GOP objection to adding the automaker rescue package to the unemployment measure, [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid will likely use procedural tools to set up a vote on Wednesday, the aide said. Because the vote will likely be on a motion to limit debate, or invoke cloture, 60 votes will be needed to move forward on the bill."
Ex-senator Obama won't be playing, and neither will still-current Sen. Joe Biden: "The [resignation] action means Obama will not be part of the congressional debate this week over a stimulus package to jump-start the nation's struggling economy. He has said the package should include an extension of unemployment benefits and aid for the foundering auto industry, but prospects for passage of that type of plan appear slim," Michael A. Fletcher reports in The Washington Post.
Look for a bill to be unveiled Monday -- but movement may wait until January.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is scheduled to introduce legislation today that would provide $25 billion from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout package for the struggling automakers," David Shepardson and Christine Tierney report for The Detroit News. "But the assistance will be accompanied by many conditions, including limits on executive compensation and bonuses, a ban on using the money for dividend payments, and the creation of an oversight board. Democrats may have to add more and tougher terms to secure passage of the bill, including possible management changes. Many Republican lawmakers are balking at extending any aid on the grounds that the auto industry bears some responsibility for its troubles."
That's a whole bunch of Republicans they'll need to bring on board: "The impasse, a fitting end for the 110th Congress given the stalemates that marked the past two years, makes it quite likely that any separate bailout for the auto industry will have to wait until after President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in on Jan. 20," The New York Times' Carl Hulse reports. "The odds are also against a broader measure sought by Democrats in an effort to help the economy. The legislation with the best chance of clearing Congress this week is a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for those who have exhausted their aid in states with high unemployment."
Said Obama, on "60 Minutes": "My hope is that over the course of the next week, between the White House and Congress, the discussions are shaped around providing assistance, but making sure that that assistance is conditioned on labor, management, suppliers, lenders -- all the stakeholders coming together with a plan."
The White House position, from press secretary Dana Perino Monday morning: "We believe this assistance should come from the program created by Congress that was specifically designed to assist the automakers -- from the $25 billion Department of Energy loan program. We believe this is the appropriate funding to use for automakers rather than seeking an ADDITIONAL $25 billion from the TARP program. We should not seek ADDITIONAL funding while $25 billion sits available in a program that was designed for automakers."