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McConnell, Bunning Critical Of Auto Bailout

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he has strong objections to President Bush's approval of $17.4 billion in rescue loans to the U.S. auto industry.

McConnell - the Senate's top-ranking Republican - said Friday he objects to tapping into the financial rescue fund to help bail out a specific industry.

Now that Bush has freed up the money for General Motors and Chrysler, McConnell says all the stakeholders need to be held to strict, date-specific requirements in turning around the auto sector.

McConnell says those changes need to involve labor and health benefits, and should be agreed to by Feb. 17.

Republican Jim Bunning, the state's other senator, echoed McConnell's objections. Bunning said a news release that using the financial rescue fund for the auto industry is an abuse of power.

The auto industry is a key sector in Kentucky. GM has a production plant in Bowling Green. Ford has two plants in Louisville, but the company has said it won't seek the short-term financial aid.
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