WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- An agreement to funnel aid to embattled U.S. automakers came when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made key concessions, observers said.
The Friday agreement on a $25 billion short-term loan program was made possible when Pelosi dropped her insistence that the aid come from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout program. She instead agreed to tap an existing loan fund intended for retooling factories to develop advanced fuel-efficient vehicles, The Detroit News reported Saturday.
Pelosi agreed to allow the retooling funds to be used as long as the money "will be replenished in a matter of weeks so as not to delay that crucial initiative," she said in a statement as progress toward a deal accelerated late Friday. "Regardless of the source, all funding needs will be tightly targeted with vigorous supervision and guaranteed taxpayer protection," she said.
Quickly growing worries about the feebleness of the U.S. economy and the feared effect the bankruptcy of a Big Three automaker could have on unemployment levels spurred the compromise, the News said. The U.S. Labor Department Friday said an alarming 533,000 jobs were eliminated in November, the most jobs lost in a single month since 1974.