Christine Stuart photo

Following a meeting with members of Connecticut’s auto industry Friday, US Senator Chris Dodd explained why he’s not ready to write a $25 billion check to the American auto industry.

Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking committee, heard this week from the CEOs of the “Big Three” American automakers about what kind of financial help they’re seeking from the government.

“We can not lose the automobile industry in America, that can not happen,” Dodd said. That being said, “I’m not about to write a check for $25 billion without any conditions.”

“I’m not going to tolerate not doing anything,” he said. But “it was a dreadful presentation the other day in front of the Congress.”

“They were not prepared with any plans,” he added mentioning twice that he was not impressed with the way in which the CEO’s of the big three American automakers showed up in Washington the other day.

To get into a G-4 and fly to Washington, “what genius thought that was a good idea,” Dodd added. He said he also was not enamored with “their unwillingness to step back from excessive compensation at a time when an industry is struggling.”

“The industry and those who work in it the dealers, suppliers, and those employees deserve better representation than they got the other day in front of the American people,” Dodd said.

“If we lose the automobile industry we have lost manufacturing in America,” Dodd said.

Dodd said he would be working with US Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts to come up with a preliminary plan to save the auto industry. He said the plan could be voted on by Congress as early as Dec. 8.

As far as the economic crisis in general is concerned, Dodd said president-elect Barack Obama has to step up sooner rather than later with some solutions.

“I think the Obama team has to step up. This is not a time when you wait for January 20th,” Dodd said. “While there is only one president at a time I think its very important that we not wait.”

“They need to become more involved and more engaged in some solutions on this issue,” Dodd said.