President-elect Barack Obama backed a move by Congress to deny a $25 billion bailout to U.S. automakers, saying the Detroit 3 didn't give enough details on how the funds would be used.
“I was surprised they did not have a better thought out proposal when they arrived in Congress,” Obama told a news conference at which he named his economic team. “I think Congress did the right thing, which is to say you guys need to come up with a plan and come back before you’re getting any taxpayer money.”
Last week, auto company executives pled their case for aid before lawmakers in Washington, saying the industry was facing a possible collapse if it didn't receive assistance.
Lawmakers said the executives offered few specifics, and gave the companies a deadline of Dec. 2 to draft a proposal about how they planned to use the money and how it would be repaid. Obama said that the plan would need to present an outline of how the automakers would achieve long-term viability, so that the government aid wouldn't just be a temporary fix to the current problems facing the industry.
“The auto industry needs to present us with some clarity in terms of the dollars,” Obama said in the news conference. “Are they describing for us an auto industry that is focused on retooling, understands that we’re entering into a new energy economy, that is going to be competitive globally?
“That is the kind of plan everyone wants to see. We need to see a plan and when we see a plan we’ll be able to shape the kind of assistance plan that makes sense.”