By JENNIFER LOVEN
AP White House Correspondent
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration is looking at "orderly" bankruptcy as a way to deal with the desperately ailing U.S. auto industry, the White House said Thursday as carmakers readied more plant closings and a half million Americans filed new jobless claims.
With Detroit anxiously holding its breath and waiting for federal help, White House press secretary Dana Perino said, "There's an orderly way to do bankruptcies that provides for more of a soft landing. I think that's what we would be talking about."
President George W. Bush, asked about an auto rescue plan, said he hadn't decided what he would do.
But he, like Perino, spoke of the idea of bankruptcies organized by the federal government as a possible way to go—without committing to it.
"Under normal circumstances, no question bankruptcy court is the best way to work through credit and debt and restructuring," he said during a speech and question-and-answer session at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. "These aren't normal circumstances. That's the problem."
The Big Three automakers said anew that bankruptcy wasn't the answer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Capitol Hill that grim new unemployment data heightened the urgency for the administration "to prevent the imminent insolvency of the domestic auto industry."
Oy! January 20, 2009 can not come soon enough.