Bush to Provide $13.4 Billion to Automakers

Companies have until March 31 to become viable

U.S. automakers must take the hard decisions needed to reform, President George W. Bush said on Dec. 19, as he unveiled a $13.4 billion lifeline for the struggling car industry.

"The auto makers and unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform. We intend to send a clear message to everyone involved in the future of American automakers."

He added that restructuring the industry -- a pillar of the U.S. economy -- would "require meaningful concessions from all involved in the auto industry." He said that the pay must be competitive with foreign automakers.

"If the firms have not attained viability by March 31, 2009, the loan will be called and all funds returned to the Treasury," the statement said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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