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Have Senators Already Made Up Their Minds?

It seems like many of the Banking Committee members had their minds made up before the Big Three have even taken the stand.

Dodd was pretty clear in his opening testimony, arguing that Congress had to act to prevent broader economic repercussions.

Ranking member Richard Shelby was equally tough in his opposition to the bailout. The Alabama Republican cited an S&P analyst report that argued the companies would only need more money later – even if Congress gave the Big Three their $34 billion in the next few weeks.

And New York Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer laid out his stance during the first questioning period.

“To let the auto industry fail during a recession would make a sick economy sicker,” he said. “Second, bankruptcy is not a viable option…so we have to do something not bankruptcy.”

Other senators are clearly saving much of their fire for the CEOs while the government accountants give their spiel.

Tennessee Republican Bob Corker asked to roll over his questioning time to the next panel, giving him double time for the Big Three CEOs, UAW union representative, and industry analysts.

“At least three of our witnesses have driven a long way to be here,” joked Dodd, agreeing to his request.

“Chairman, I wonder if they don’t drive back?” asked Sen. Shelby.

“I think it will depend on what we do here,” said Dodd.

(Cue uncomfortable shifting in seats by CEOs.)

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