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Auto Bailout: Live Blog III

Senator Jon Tester: Expressed frustration and disbelief that the TARP money was supposed to free up credit, and that the biggest thing killing auto sales is the inability of consumers to get loans. Tester said about the bankers who have gotten TARP money: “I’d like to get those birds back in here.”

GM’s Wagoner: We are not going to use any of this govt. money to invest in jobs overseas, or even in Mexico and Canada.

3:04 PM: Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) is proposing that the government loans be contingent on forcing GM to merge with Chrysler, because of the enormous cost savings going forward—$8-$10 billion a year. The UAW doesn’t like it. BUt the UAW is losing leverage in this discussion by the minute.

3:36 PM: Senator Bob Corker is getting a lot of traction in a proposal that the UAW must by March 31 agree to wages that are equal to foreign-owned transplants, take half their healthcare payments from GM in stock and not cash, and that bondholders take 30 cents on the dollar.

Corker is also an advocate of GM and Chrysler merging and he has been tough on Nardelli to say that Chrysler has no future as a stand-alone company.

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