Welch, Hodes, Shea-Porter vote for auto bailout

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A plan to throw U-S automakers a $14 billion lifeline cleared the House last night. House Representatives Peter Welch, Carol Shea-Porter and Paul Hodes all voted in favor of the bill.  But the legislation is still in jeopardy in the Senate. A vote there could come today.

The House approved the rescue package 237-170 last night. It would provide loans to GM and Chrysler almost immediately. Ford would also be eligible for government help, although it says it’s OK for now.

Backers argue the loan infusion is needed to avoid an industry collapse which would deliver another crushing blow to the national economy. But Senate Republicans are setting up speed bumps. They’re demanding that any federal help be contingent on specific actions to restructure, including steep wage cuts and debt restructuring.

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