Vice President Dick Cheney blamed Congress for failing to bail out the auto industry, saying the White House was forced to step in to save US car companies.
In an interview broadcast Sunday, Cheney said the economy is in such bad shape that the car companies might not have survived without the $17.4 billion in emergency loans that President George W. Bush approved on Friday.
"The president decided specifically that he wanted to try to deal with it and not preside over the collapse of the automobile industry just as he goes out of office," Cheney said in an interview broadcast on "Fox News Sunday."
Lawmakers "had ample opportunity to deal with this issue and they failed," Cheney said. "The president had no choice but to step in."
Congress rejected an auto bailout package after many Republicans and some Democrats opposed it. Some said US auto companies would be better off if they were required to reorganize through bankruptcy.