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Coburn, Fallin urge Bush to deny auto aid

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Modified: December 17, 2008 at 5:12 am •  Published: December 17, 2008
WASHINGTON — Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. Mary Fallin signed separate letters to President George W. Bush on Tuesday urging him not to aid ailing carmakers with money approved by Congress to bail out the financial industry.

Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, also opposed legislation in Congress last week that would have allowed carmakers to spend money from a previously approved loan fund to meet their current obligations.

The letter signed by Coburn and six other Republican senators cites news accounts in saying that Bush was ready to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program for the carmakers without demanding concessions from the companies or the autoworkers’ union. "Absent such restructuring, we do not believe any amount of money will succeed in saving these companies,” the letter states.

But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Tuesday that the administration would demand concessions from both sides before approving aid.

The letter signed by Fallin and 25 other lawmakers says Congress has not approved the use of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to help carmakers and that it shouldn’t be done without congressional approval.

"Bailing out the auto industry would not only be unfair to those businesses and industries that do not receive taxpayer money, it would also be tantamount to rewarding bad business practices,” Fallin said in a statement Tuesday.