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Aid to autos 'very close' White House says

Dec. 18, 2008 at 4:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the U.S. government was closing in on a deal to help the Big Three automakers.

"We're nearing a conclusion. We're very close," Perino said Thursday. "The president is not going to allow a disorderly collapse of the companies. That is not an option," she said, The Detroit News reported.

Perino said the package could include the option of a "managed bankruptcy" or using money from the $700 billion financial firm bailout. "I don't want to rule anything out," she said.

White House and U.S. Treasury officials have been wading through financial details to develop a financial aid package for the ailing U.S. auto giants.

The Bush administration had been pushing for a deal that could be announced before Dec. 25, the New York Times reported.

Chrysler has said it needs $4 billion soon to avoid bankruptcy while GM has said it need $14 billion to survive through March of next year. Federal officials reportedly were trying to fit a financial aid package meant for financial firms to benefit automakers.

"The autos will get the money as quickly as we can prudently do it," Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. said on CNBC Wednesday.

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