Pelosi outlines aid package for U.S. automakers
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Saturday the House would provide aid to the ailing U.S. auto industry, requiring that the industry meet new fuel-efficiency standards, produce advanced vehicles and restructure "to ensure their long-term economic viability." Pelosi, D-Calif., did not disclose the amount of funding House leaders intend to seek for the industry — automakers have been seeking $25-billion in loans to stabilize their sinking companies. But she said the funding should come from the $700-billion financial bailout approved by Congress in October. The move sets up a conflict with the White House, which has opposed using the bailout funds to help General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.
More people sink into bankruptcy
The economy's deep troubles are pushing a growing number of already struggling consumers into bankruptcy, often with far more debt than those who filed in previous downturns. The number of personal bankruptcy filings jumped nearly 8 percent in October from September, after marching steadily upward for the last two years, said Mike Bickford, president of Automated Access to Court Electronic Records, a bankruptcy data and management company. Filings totaled 108,595, surpassing 100,000 for the first time since a law that made it more difficult — and often twice as expensive — to file for bankruptcy took effect in 2005. That translated to an average of 4,936 bankruptcies filed each business day last month, up nearly 34 percent from October 2007.
States want their own bailout
Led by California with a $28-billion hole in its budget, 41 states are in financial trouble, and many of their leaders are looking to Congress to bail them out. State officials hope to join the ranks of the financial industry and auto manufacturers, who have found a sympathetic ear on Capitol Hill. The idea is getting a strong bipartisan push from governors across the country, with California Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Democratic Gov. David Paterson among the chief proponents. Both blame Washington for their states' mounting troubles. In a report released last week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said 41 states face budget shortfalls either this year, next year or both. The only states that managed to stay off the list are Texas, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Indiana and West Virginia.
Pakistan's bailout: Pakistan said Saturday it had agreed to borrow $7.6-billion from the International Monetary Fund. The government was reluctant to go to the IMF but had little choice once even close allies the United States, China and Saudi Arabia snubbed its pleas for significant bilateral aid. IMF agreed to the bailout after endorsing plans to tackle the country's huge budget and trade deficits.
Call to OPEC: Iran called on OPEC Saturday to cut production by a further 1-million to 1.5-million barrels per day when it meets in Cairo later this month, saying demand for oil has declined due to the global financial meltdown. OPEC cut production by 1.5-million barrels a day last month in response to a dramatic fall in oil prices, but oil prices have continued to decline. Light, sweet crude for December delivery settled at $57.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.