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Auto industry pressures Congress on loan reduction

Oct 06, 2011 Randy Mosteller

Officials from the auto industry and other business leaders have urged the federal government to avoid taking $1.5 billion away from a loan program that supports the development and production of more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, stating that the program creates jobs, Reuters reports. While the auto industry says it understands that difficult choices must be made my Congress, the Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the House of Representatives to stress that the program has bolstered a "sector of the economy critical to the nation's recovery," according to the news source. The National Association of Manufacturers also sent a similar letter to Capitol Hill. Large automakers like Ford and Nissan, as well as smaller start-up companies, have been given billions of dollars in loans to upgrade factories and other facilities and to develop hybrid and electric vehicles. Chrysler, which was bailed out and forced into bankruptcy in 2009 by the federal government, may also qualify for some of those loans as it hopes to climb out of the industry basement. Despite the industry's efforts, the House voted to approve the bill and the $1.5 billion in cuts to the auto loan program on September 23, the Detroit News reports. According to the publication, the chamber is concerned that these cuts could result in the loss of 10,000 jobs.