In the United States, Democrats and Republicans have clashed over a federal bail out plan for the country’s struggling car industry.
The Democrats want the 20 billion euros needed to come from the 500 billion euro rescue package already agreed by Congress.
But the White House wants the cash to come from funds already allocated to the sector for the development of greener cars. “What the president has said is that we want to try to help these companies, we want them to succeed and that’s why we’ve provided a bipartisan way to get there. There is not going to be a path for them to be able to re-open up the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds. There are not the votes in the Senate to be able to do that,” said spokeswoman Dana Perino.
Barack Obama, who will be sworn in as President on January the 20th, has encouraged an aid package but not a blank cheque.
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors have all been hit hard by the economic crisis and a downturn in sales.
Together they employ 250,000 people directly, and support an estimated four million others.
Critics have dismissed a rescue plan as unfair, and would make it harder for the manufacturers to put their own house in order.
A two-day Senate hearing on the state of the car industry is due to begin later today.