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McConnell Will 'reserve Judgment'

Mitch McConnell panned the Democrats' initial auto-bailout proposal, but said he would "reserve judgment" until final legislative language is negotiated with the White House.

The Senate minority leader's position is critical to the outcome of the plan, which will need 60 votes to pass the Senate this week. Majority Leader Harry Reid cited progress in Democrats' all-night negotiations with the White House, and said he hoped a deal could be reached in the "next hour or so."

Here's McConnell's full statement, delivered just moments ago on the Senate floor:

“The auto industry is vitally important to our nation’s economy and it is vitally important to my home state of Kentucky. This is not in dispute. The question before us is how to reverse the decline of some of these auto manufacturers after decades of complicity between management and labor.

“I understand congressional Democrats sent a revised proposal to the White House late last night. We will reserve our judgment until we see the latest text. But the proposal we saw yesterday afternoon fails to achieve our goal of securing the long-term viability of ailing auto companies.

“I want to support a bill that revives this industry. But I will not support a bill that revives the patient with taxpayer dollars yet doesn’t secure a commitment that the patient will change its ways so future help isn’t needed.

“To do so would be a betrayal of the millions of hardworking taxpayers who are not at fault for the troubles in the auto industry. And it would be unfair to the millions of Americans who depend on these companies.

“On the management side, the draft plan released yesterday fails to require the kind of serious reform that will ensure long-term viability for struggling auto companies. By giving the government the option of canceling government assistance in the event that reforms are not being achieved – rather than requiring it – we open the door to unlimited federal subsidies in the future.

“Instead, we should demand that management make the tough choices that are required for long-term viability. This is the only fair approach from the standpoint of the taxpayer, who’s footing the bill.

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