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Michigan Senator Seeks Help For Automakers

Michigan's senior U.S. senator is calling for a federal bailout of the struggling auto industry.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin says the deteriorating economy has hit automakers so hard that rivals General Motors and Chrysler are talking about merging, which would mean possibly tens of thousands of new job cuts. Chrysler just recently trimmed thousands of other positions.

Levin says it's time for Congress and the White House to consider a new multibillion-dollar bailout for car companies.

"Ten percent of our jobs in this country relate to automobiles," he said, "and we cannot afford to just watch our industrial base disappear — for economics reasons, jobs reasons, national security reasons, the whole host of reasons."

Congress recently approved $25 billion to help automakers create more fuel-efficient vehicles, but Levin estimates it may take a year for that money to make any impact.

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