Missouri Sen. Kit Bond will back auto bailout plan

Friday, November 14, 2008 | 4:18 p.m. CST

WASHINGTON — Sen. Kit Bond says he is ready to join Democrats in supporting a plan to rescue the beleaguered auto industry.

The Missouri Republican is only the second GOP senator to back the $25 billion proposal.

Bond has said he has concerns about taxpayers funding another expensive bailout. But he also wants to help the thousands of Missouri workers whose jobs depend on the industry.

The Senate will take up a bill to extend $25 billion in emergency loans to automakers on Monday. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler are pushing Congress to approve the aid.

Democrats have been seeking about a dozen Republicans to support the measure and push it past an expected filibuster.

The only other Republican to back the plan so far is Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, a state with several auto plants and manufacturers of auto supplies.

Missouri has more than 221,000 auto-related jobs. Last month, Chrysler stopped production at its South Assembly Plant in Fenton, Mo., and laid off about 1,500 workers.

Missouri's junior senator, Democrat Claire McCaskill, says she supports the concept, but wants to see more protections for taxpayers before she can vote for the bill.

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