MSNBC is reporting (UPDATED with video) President-current Bush has said he'll consider amending the $25 billion automaker low-interest loan guarantee program to allow the automakers to get the money right now and use it for whatever they need. The decision is being made because many economists say helping US automakers is a big part of preventing the economy from going even further into the hole. This comes a day after would-be Detroit savior President-elect Barack Obama, who has said an automaker bailout is super important, met with President Bush to discuss steps he'd like to see taken, including part two of his three-part economic strategy — help for the auto industry. Why the sudden change from the Bush administration? According to the NY Times, the President would consider signing a stimulus package and help out the auto industry if Obama dropped his opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia. Maybe.
Mr. Bush indicated at the meeting that he might support some aid and a broader economic stimulus package if Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats dropped their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia, a measure for which Mr. Bush has long fought, people familiar with the discussion said. The Bush administration, which has presided over a major intervention in the financial industry, has balked at allowing the automakers to tap into the $700 billion bailout fund, despite warnings last week that General Motors might not survive the year.
Conflicting reports have emerged, something that happens when you have two press corps — one following the President-current and one following the President-elect — but MSNBC is reporting that Bush has been friendlier to an automaker bailout. More information as we get it. [Source: MSNBC]