WASHINGTON — It has been an impressive show of power. But probably the best that rejected General Motors and Chrysler dealers can hope to gain from all the congressional maneuvering on their behalf is federal compensation for lost franchises.
The prospect of restoring franchises is much less likely, analysts say.
Legislation to reverse thousands of franchise terminations passed the House of Representatives last week. But the bill, aimed at helping dealers jettisoned during the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, faces tougher going in the Senate. The Obama administration vigorously opposes it as well.
That means the legislation is likely to stall, analysts said in interviews last week. But there is some possibility of federal aid to closed auto dealers, who showed their grass-roots clout by pushing the legislation through the House as part of a spending bill.
Last week, the sponsor of the House bill made a pitch for a negotiated settlement.
"There are a lot of hoops this legislation has to go through," said Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio. "It's better to try to work things out."
But settlement talks have bogged down, a GM spokesman said late last week. No specific proposal has gotten traction in the weeks-long discussions, whose participants include GM, Chrysler and Democratic lawmakers.
The National Automobile Dealers Association, which is lobbying for the legislation, has stayed out of the talks. NADA wants to take the legislation as far as it will go, which could increase pressure on the car companies. Automakers, meanwhile, are probably waiting to see whether the measure will die in the Senate, analysts say.