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No immediate state aid for US auto industry

No immediate state aid for US auto industry
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Struggling US carmakers have been told there will be no immediate government rescue plan. Democratic congressional leaders are demanding industry giants first come up with their own roadmap for survival.

Executives from General Motors, Chrysler and Ford have been testifying on Capitol Hill about their dire economic plight. But, for now, they won’t be getting the billions in emergency aid they have been pleading for.

“The main reason is what we have all witnessed in Congressional hearings this week,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The executives of the auto companies have not been able to convince the Congress or the American people that this government bailout will be its last.”

Earlier, several senators said they had agreed on a bipartisan aid package. One of them, Republican Senator George Voinovich, warned of dire consequences unless the car makers are saved.
“And so I say today that if we don’t get this done and they do go under, I believe we are going to have a deep recession and, quite frankly, from what I can pick up, we may just go over the cliff,” he said.

The White House said President Bush could support the compromise deal. But uncertainty over prospects for a bailout added to the gloom on Wall Street, with New York’s main share index plunging to its lowest level in five and a half years.