The House could vote on the legislation Wednesday, but Senate action is not expected until later in the week.
Five Republican senators held a Capitol news conference to announce that they would oppose the legislation.
The $14 billion in bridge loans would be only “an installment on a huge bailout that will come later,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. One economist, he noted, predicted that the automakers may need as much as $125 billion in loans from the government to survive.
Automakers instead should restructure their businesses through bankruptcy, the Republican senators suggested. Automakers contend that option is not viable because consumers wouldn’t buy vehicles from a company that has filed for bankruptcy. That problem could be solved, said Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., if the government would guarantee the warranties on these automakers’ vehicles.
Shelby said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., will draw up a legislative alternative to the bridge loan plan negotiated by the White House and Democratic congressional leaders.
“I think we’re going to have a lot more friends that you probably think,” Shelby said when asked whether opponents have a chance to block the bridge loans.