A Democratic Congress, unwilling or unable to approve a $25 billion bailout for Detroit's Big Three, appears ready to punt the automakers' fate to a lame-duck Republican president. Caught in the middle of a who-blinks-first standoff are legions of manufacturing firms and auto dealers - and millions of Americans' jobs - after Senate Democrats canceled a showdown vote that had been expected Thursday. President George W. Bush has "no appetite" to act on his own.
U.S. auto companies employ nearly a quarter-million workers, and more than 730,000 other people have jobs producing the materials and parts that go into cars. About 1 million on top of that work in dealerships nationwide. If just one of the auto giants were to go belly up, some estimates put U.S. job losses next year as high as 2.5 million.
Bush is the decider. So let him decide.