The White House announced a $17.4 billion rescue package for the troubled Detroit auto makers that allows them to avoid bankruptcy and leaves many of the big decisions for the incoming Obama administration.
Speaking from the White House, President George W. Bush said the administration decided against forcing a bankruptcy to compel cost-cutting, in order to avoid the risk that consumers would desert one or more of the companies and touch off an industry collapse, deepening the current economic downturn.
"In the midst of a financial crisis...allowing the U.S. auto industry to collapse is not a responsible course of action," Mr. Bush said.
"Under ordinary economic circumstances, I would say 'this is the price that failed companies must pay' and I would not favor intervening to prevent the auto makers from going out of business," the president said. "But these are not ordinary circumstances."