President George W. Bush's administration acknowledged Monday that it would leave behind a massive budget deficit but could not say whether it would exceed one trillion dollars.
"The size of the budget deficit, whatever the number is, I can't predict whether it's going to be a trillion or something less than that," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.
Fratto said it would be a "very significant number."
President George W. Bush on Saturday said offering government loans to U.S. automakers was the only option left to prevent the industry from collapsing after alternatives were ruled out or failed.
Bush on Friday announced the government would provide $17.4 billion in emergency loans to financially strapped General Motors and Chrysler LLC to prevent them from failing. Ford decided it did not immediately need similar loans.
Citing danger to the national economy, President Bush approved an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry Friday, offering $17.4 billion in rescue loans in exchange for tough concessions from the deeply troubled carmakers and their workers.
The government will have the option of becoming a stockholder in the companies, much as it has with major banks, in effect partially nationalizing the industry.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered aides to draw up plans for closing the "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo, a declared priority for President-elect Barack Obama, a spokesman said Thursday.
Gates wanted to be ready in case Obama decides to take action on Guantanamo soon after assuming office next month, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.
President George W. Bush's administration will brief president-elect Barack Obama and his team on several contingency plans in case an international crisis breaks after his inauguration, The New York Times reported on its website late Tuesday.
The plans were recommended by the commission that investigated the September 11, 2001 attacks, the daily said.
The Bush administration faces competing pressures from lawmakers in different congressional factions as it reviews its options for bailing out the downtrodden U.S. auto industry.
Conservative Republicans implored the White House not to use money from the $700 billion bailout for the financial sector to aid carmakers. A leading House Democrat, meanwhile, said the government should secure veto power over the companies' business decisions as part of any aid.
The Guantanamo 'war on terror' detention center should remain open indefinitely, Vice President Richard Cheney told ABC News in an interview Monday, while also defending the harsh interrogation method known as waterboarding.
Cheney was asked when the detention camp at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba can be "responsibly" be shut down. "Well, I think that that would come with the end of the war on terror," he told ABC.
And when is that? "Well, nobody knows," Cheney said. "Nobody can specify that."
Detroit automakers, teetering on the brink of collapse, are receiving strong signals from the White House that short-term help is on the way while a key senator says the relief package could reach $15 billion for GM and Chrysler.
President George W. Bush wrapped up a whirlwind trip to two war zones Monday that in many ways was a victory lap without a clear victory. A signature event occurred when an Iraqi reporter hurled two shoes at Bush, declaring: "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."
The Bush administration simply wasn't willing to stand by and watch the American auto industry financially collapse — the stakes were too huge.
So the administration committed Friday to step in and help avoid the collapse of the industry that was once the backbone of the nation's economy. Administration officials are talking with those automakers about conditions that must be met to get the aid and have not made final decisions on the size or duration of the help.