WASHINGTON, DC: The $14 billion (€10.53bn; £9.36bn) bailout sought by America's Big Three automakers is not forthcoming. For the time being, anyway, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Republican, Nevada) who with the terse statement  "it's over with", said the issue won't be revisited until January at earliest.

The talks – which teetered on the brink of a successful conclusion – foundered over a bitter partisan row over the reduction of wage payments to workers at the Detroit plants.

Connecticut Democrat Senator Christopher Dodd pointed an accusing finger at the Elephant party who, he said, had attempted to turn the wage issue into a political matter about organized labor, instead of treating it as an "an economic issue."

With the economy in recession, Dodd argued, it would be unfair to compel auto workers to accept wage cuts in 2009.

"I'm deeply saddened. But more than saddened, I'm worried," he said. "This will fail, we will go home, and I'm afraid our country will be in deeper and deeper trouble." 

General Motors, which claims that its its operations could bite the dust if $4bn is not forthcoming before the end of this month, declared itself  "deeply disappointed" at the politicos failure to reach a positive agreement.

The company will now "assess all of our options to continue our restructuring and to obtain the means to weather the current economic crisis".

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff