White House considers TARP funds for auto bailout

Following Senate’s vote against the proposed $14 billion auto bailout to prevent the collapse of GM and Chrysler, the White House said this morning that the Bush administration is considering using money set aside for the financial institutions under the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP.

Bush’s administration has resisted using the $700 billion from TARP to bailout the auto industry but Democrats have warned that the failure of one or more automakers would cause a devastating economic ripple effect.

According to Automotive News, of the first $350 billion in the TARP fund, about $15 billion has not yet been touched. That just so happens to be the amount that GM and Chrysler need to survive until the end of the first quarter. Of course, to get access to that remaining $15 billion, the Bush administration must ask Congress for approval.

D-Mich.M Carl Levin said that the bridge loans remain “very much alive.” He said that he is “encouraged that the White House said today that they will consider other options to assist the auto companies, including use of the TARP program.”