That amounts to a subsidy for such products as hybrid vehicles and plug-in electric cars.
The measure followed months of lobbying by Detroit and the Michigan delegation. When executives of the Big Three automakers met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Politico’s David Rogers called it “continued pressure on government to intercede in the troubled economy.”
The Detroit Free Press reported that it is “the largest federal aid ever offered to the U.S. auto industry.” The loan payments are deferred for five years, so the cost to taxpayers is $7.5 billion, AP reported.
This is the bill that allows a ban on offshore oil drilling to expire. The House had passed it earlier, and President Bush has said he would sign it.
Newsweek.com called it “The Next Bailout.” Automakers lauded the move in releases quoted by Bloomberg News. Ford called the legislation a "key enabler to Ford's plan to pursue advanced technologies." General Motors said the loans "will help speed the transition to cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles."