Muckraker: Grist on Politics

It seems the House and Senate have reached an impasse on the automaker bailout bill, and it focuses on whether to force automakers to abide by state emissions regulations. The disagreement over the rules on doling out the $15 billion in loans centers on a single word — “federal.”

The Senate bill says in order to receive rescue funds, the automakers must agree “to comply with all applicable federal fuel efficiency and emissions requirements,” while the House bill says, “all applicable fuel efficiency requirements.”

Thus, under the House bill, the companies would have to drop their opposition to the tougher greenhouse-gas emissions standards put in place in California and several other states. The draft of the bill circulated earlier this week explicitly banned lawsuits against states that set higher tailpipe-emission standards.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office says the House plans to vote on its version bill this afternoon (as a Californian, the speaker has been vocal about the rights of states to set tougher standards). But Senate Democrats argue that Senate Republicans and President Bush would never approve the House version.

We’ll be keeping tabs on the action on the Hill, so stay tuned.