The Associated Press reported late Thursday night that bipartisan negotiations in Senate on a Republican version of the House-passed automotive industry bailout plan fell apart after the United Auto Workers balked at demands for dramatic wage cuts.
The Senate rejected the bailout 52-35 on a procedural after the talks fell apart, reported AP.
Congressional Republicans repudiated the House emergency bailout bill negotiated by House Democrats and President Bush.
Senate negotiators came close to agreement, but the proposed legislation was doomed when the UAW refused to agree to steep wage reductions by 2009 to align workers’ pay with import-badged automakers. According to AP, the union was willing to make the cuts, but not before its current contract expires in 2011.
Proposed by Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the would-be compromise bill also would have required automakers General Motors and Chrysler LLC to slash their debt obligations by two-thirds by March 21, according to the New York Times.
Majority Leader Harry Reid said he hoped President George W. Bush would tap the $700 billion Wall Street bailout fund for emergency aid to the automakers, AP reported.
A White House spokesperson told news media it was evaluating its options in light of the breakdown.