14,000 Oklahoma Jobs at Risk

Friday, December 12th 2008, 12:19 am
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. Senate did not have enough support to pass a $14 billion auto bailout bill that the House had already passed. The bill died after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts. It would have given badly need loans to GM and Chrysler.

Some senators, like Oklahoman Tom Coburn, were unwilling to vote in favor of a bill unless certain concessions were met.

"What I would say is they have to equitize, and they need to have a plan and they need to have that plan before we give them money, and not after we give them money," Sen. Coburn said.

Coburn wants to hold the automakers accountable before they receive any government bailout money. The House version of the bill would have allowed congress to keep an eye on how the companies are run.

Peter Hodges with the Metro Auto Dealers Association understands Coburn's frustration even though he spent the week in Washington lobbying for the bailout.

"We were just trying to get out the dealers perspective on how it would affect the domestic dealerships and possibly other dealerships locally," Hodges said.

Oklahoma has 286 of new car dealers, about 208 of them are domestic as are 14,000 dealership jobs. If the industry collapses, those jobs are likely to go away, 4,000 of them in the metro.

It's too early to tell if the senate will try to come up with their own version of an auto bailout bill. That's what they did in September when the Wall Street's financial bailout failed to pass the House.