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Is there Life for Chrysler & GM Dealers....

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    Posted: Jul 08 2009 at 12:12pm
Congress digs into spending bills

By ANDREW TAYLOR – 12 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel Tuesday night voted to require General Motors and Chrysler to restore franchise agreements with their dealers despite their dire financial condition.

The Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote a plan by Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, to effectively force the two automakers to restore their prior franchise agreements with dealers as a condition of being partially owned by the U.S. government as they work their way through bankruptcy proceedings. The move came as the panel approved a spending bill to fund the Treasury Department and White House operations, among other programs.

Both General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC cut loose numerous dealers in cost-cutting moves, and many lawmakers are sympathetic since dealers are often leaders of local business communities. Many dealers have made recent investments only to be axed by the companies.

LaTourette said the companies were running roughshod over dealers and are skirting state franchise laws. Democratic Appropriations Chairman David Obey pressed for LaTourette's amendment, citing "legitimate concerns from a doggone good" car dealer in his northwestern Wisconsin district.

The plan faces uncertain prospects but reflects widespread sympathy for dealers among lawmakers in both parties.

The House panel vote came amid a welter of activity on Capitol Hill on the annual appropriations bills, including the commencement of Senate debate on a $42.9 billion Senate measure funding homeland security programs

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