House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is asking lawmakers to be prepared to come into session next Wednesday to consider either an economic stimulus package or $25 billion in loans to help the sagging auto industry.
Though the proposed auto industry relief is running into objections from Republicans, Democrats are pushing it as a necessary measure.
The $25 billion in loans would come from the massive, $700 billion financial rescue measure Congress adopted earlier this fall.
Pelosi, D-Calif., has argued repeatedly about the need to assist Chrysler, GM and Ford as well as the United Auto Workers (UAW). An implosion of all three domestic car manufacturers could cost the U.S. economy at least 3 million jobs.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told FOX News that he supports a plan similar to what the government arranged for Chrysler in the 1980s with a strong oversight board.
“We’re confronted with quite possibly the inconceivable (scenario) that the auto companies could fail,” Hoyer told FOX News.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, argued for a plan to curb excessive executive pay and set up guidelines for how the industry would use the loans.
“You don’t want them to have to come back (to Congress)” said Schumer.
But House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, remains skeptical of the plan.
“Spending billions of additional federal tax dollars with no promises to reform the root causes crippling automakers’ competitiveness around the world is neither fair to taxpayers nor sound fiscal policy," Boehner said in a statement.
He also asked “what assurances” the Democrats would give taxpayers about getting reimbursed.
Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he expects “"the Senate to consider (auto rescue legislation) during next week’s lame-duck session."
But no schedule is set.
The CEO’s of the Big Three automakers, plus the head of the UAW, are set to testify next Wednesday about their needs before the House Financial Services Committee.