Auto bailout deal worth $15 bln reached, soon to face House vote.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;}.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;}A government "car czar" with the power to force U.S. automakers into bankruptcy would dole out $15 billion in emergency loans to the failing industry under an emerging deal between the White House and congressional Democrats.

Officials struck an agreement in principle on the measure Tuesday and hoped to finalize it and schedule swift House and Senate votes as early as Wednesday, however the initiative may face possible roadblocks in the Senate according to officials.

The agreement calls for the government to speed $15 billion in emergency loans to the car companies as soon as next week, and for U.S President George W. Bush to immediately name a car czar to oversee the bailout.

The companies would be required by March 31 to cut costs, restructure debt and obtain concessions from labor sufficient to report a "positive net present value", reported citing an unnamed senior administration official.

The overseer will have powers to shape a restructuring of the companies, withholding further loans if progress toward a turnaround stalled.

A key provision would permit the czar to recommend a bankruptcy restructuring if companies borrowing money fail to obtain the necessary concessions.

The bailout plan is designed to allow GM and Chrysler to avert threatened bankruptcy through March. Ford has requested an emergency line of credit for use later if its finances worsen further.

Democrats control Congress and are expected to push a bill through the House as early as Wednesday. But they may run into trouble in the 100-member Senate where Republicans could raise a roadblock that would take 60 votes to clear.

"It's not going to be a slam dunk," an administration official told Reuters. "Democrats are going to have to be careful about dropping a bill on us without allowing an amendment or two."

An auto bailout has evoked competing emotions in Congress.

Lawmakers fear if automakers collapse, it would deepen the U.S. recession. But many say market forces, not a government saddled with a record deficit, should determine their fate.

A poll by CBS News conducted last week found Americans split on whether taxpayer funds should help automakers.