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Loan to automakers could take a year

Oct. 22, 2008 at 12:27 PM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Setting up rules for the $25 billion federal loan recently earmarked for the U.S. automobile industry may take months, government officials said.

Due to bureaucratic delays, the money may not be available for a year, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Both presidential candidates, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona have urged the government to fast-track the process to help the companies that are struggling to adjust to the slow economy and the consumer's sudden interest in more fuel-efficient vehicles.

"I would call in the Secretary of Energy and say 'get this thing moving' because these companies need help now," Obama said in a rally in Ohio last week.

"It's critical to have a direct loan program, and it's equally important to infuse that money into the industry as quickly as possible," General Motors spokesman Greg Martin said.

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