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McCaskill still mulling aid for automakers

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Missouri senator Claire McCaskill is asking the American auto industry for more financial information before she agrees to support giving them governmental assistance.

The Democrat says she understands the importance of the Detroit Three to the US economy, "but at the end of the day, if we're going to give them $25 billion, and in four or five months, they are still in the exact same position, all we have accomplished is wasting $25 billion of taxpayer money," she said.

McCaskill's Republican counterpart, Kit Bond, is one of two members of his party to publicly support loans for the auto industry.

McCaskill is also sponsoring legislation with Republican Chuck Grassley to allow the inspector general overseeing the $700 billion bailout to hire auditors and other staff more quickly. "I believe that we have a decent chance of making money on the investment that we're making in our financial markets right now, the taxpayers I think will come out ahead in the long run," she said. "In the short run, we've got to make sure someone is watching the store."

McCaskill would like to see the legislation passed before the lame duck session of Congress is over. She agrees with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's decision to invest directly in banks, rather than buying problematic assets like securities.

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