Congress Gives Big 3 A "Mulligan"

I have to say, "show me the money", is the one line I heard in Washington that summarizes the pickle the Big 3 and Congress find themselves in right now.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying that Congress is ready to help Detroit on one huge condition. "You show us the plan (for using $25 billion to become healthier companies) and will show you the money," Pelosi said.

In other words, This is her way of telling the Big 3 that they will get at least some of the money they want. Sure they will have to jump through some hoops to finally lock it up, but it's there for them. Now, the key is Detroit showing it will use the generosity of Congress as the "bridge" over these troubled financial waters.

Big 3 CEO's
Big 3 CEO's

Seeing how they blew their first attempt at winning over Congress, I suspect the Big 3 will be much more prepared when they go back to Capitol Hill in early December. They will have concrete plans to lay out for Congress about how they are managing this crisis and what they plan to do in the next year.

This is not stuff Detroit has to make up. I know from talking with people inside GM that the company has numerous plans for steering itself back on course in the next year. Ford CEO Alan Mulally and his management team have been hold meetings almost every day with one focus: making the tough calls needed to come out of this mess not only in shape, but positioned to grow in the future, So these plans are there, they simply need to polished.

Let me put this in the most basic terms: Congress simply wants to know that you get it. That you understand what American's want. That Detroit's automakers, once and for all, are finished with the arrogance that characterised their steady decline the last 30 years.

Ford's Mulally is an avid golfer. He knows that Congress has just handed him and his colleagues a mulligan; a do-over. A chance to prove to Congress (and by extension) the American people that Detroit is worth saving. Knowing Alan as I do, I suspect he won't shank this shot and send it in the water as he and his fellow CEOs did earlier this week.

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