[FINANCIAL CRISES: From the Depression until today]
[SURVIVAL GUIDE: Weathering the financial crisis]
Democrats and the Bush White House hoped for a Senate vote as early as Thursday and enactment by week's end. They argued that the loans authorized by the measure were needed to stave off disaster for the auto industry -- and a crushing further blow to the reeling national economy.
The legislation, approved 237-170 by the House, would provide money within days to cash-starved General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. Ford Motor Co., which has said it has enough to stay afloat, would also be eligible for federal aid.
Republicans were preparing a strong fight against the aid plan in the Senate, not only taking on the Democrats but standing in open revolt against their party's lame-duck president on the measure.
The Republicans want to force the companies into bankruptcy or mandate hefty concessions from autoworkers and creditors as a condition of any federal aid. They also oppose an environmental mandate that House Democrats insisted on including in the measure.
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