A $14-billion rescue package for the imperiled U.S. auto industry sped to approval in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night, but the emergency bailout was still in jeopardy from Republicans who were setting out roadblocks in the Senate.

Democrats and the Bush White House hoped for a Senate vote as early as Thursday and enactment by week's end. They argued that the loans authorized by the measure were needed to stave off disaster for the auto industry — and a crushing further blow to the reeling U.S. economy.The legislation, approved 237-170 by the House, would provide money within days to cash-starved General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. Ford Motor Co., which has said it has enough to stay afloat, would also be eligible for federal aid.

Republicans were preparing a strong fight against the aid plan in the Senate, not only taking on the Democrats but standing in open revolt against their party's lame-duck president on the measure.

The Republicans want to force the companies into bankruptcy or mandate hefty concessions from autoworkers and creditors as a condition of any federal aid. They also oppose an environmental mandate that House Democrats insisted on including in the measure.

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