Hoyer: Congress Could Address Auto Bailout in December
It’s the last bit of news that his colleagues want to hear, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday floated the possibility that Congress could remain in Washington into December if efforts to help the ailing auto industry fail this week.
Lawmakers had hoped to tackle the Detroit bailout quickly and be gone by the weekend. But the White House and many congressional Republicans remain opposed, leaving passage of the bill unlikely. Many observers predict the issue would then be punted to January when the proposal will have a more receptive audience in President-elect Barack Obama.
But speaking to reporters at the National Press Club this morning, Hoyer pointed out that lawmakers will be in town for an economic conference during the second week of December, leaving open another window for Congress to act on the Detroit proposal.
“We do believe … that dealing with the automobile crisis is a pressing need,” Hoyer said, adding that “the year has not ended. My expectation is [that] the Speaker and I will agree that we’re not going to adjourn, sign and die, if we’ve not completed our work.”
Not that anyone should cancel their holiday plans. In a lame-duck session, with the GOP opposition pretty entrenched, this scenario is unlikely. But stranger things have happened in this town, and General Motors has already hinted that it might not live to see the next administration.