WASHINGTON — A $14 billion emergency bailout for U.S. automakers collapsed in the Senate Thursday night after the United Auto Workers refused to accede to Republican demands for swift wage cuts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he was “terribly disappointed” about the demise of an emerging bipartisan deal to rescue Detroit’s Big Three.
He spoke shortly after Republicans left a closed-door meeting where they balked at giving the automakers federal aid unless their powerful union agreed to slash wages next year to bring them into line with those of Japanese carmakers.
Republican Sen. George V. Voinovich of Ohio, a strong bailout supporter, said the UAW was willing to make the cuts — but not until 2011, when its contract expires. The Detroit-based Big Three automakers each employ thousands in Ohio.
Voinovich senior adviser Chris Paulitz said the issue is now legislatively done and is in the hands of the White House. He said the failure to reach a deal has deeply disappointed the senator.
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