News Buzz: Democrats Urge Aid for Detroit's Car Makers; Gay Marriage in Connecticut

Lawmakers are debating whether to save General Motors, which could run out of cash by year's end.


Democrats Urge Aid for Automakers

Democratic lawmakers are urging Congress to save the car industry before it crumbles—which, according to at least one auto giant, could be soon. General Motors said it's significantly worried that it will run out of money by year's end, although it continues to insist that filing for bankruptcy is not an option. Yesterday, its stock dropped to its lowest point in 65 years. In response, Democrats are fighting for what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls "emergency and limited financial assistance." The funds would come from the $700 billion bailout. But not everyone is sure that the remaining $60 billion of the first $350 billion in funds should be used to help more ailing industries. And other questions about the bailout remain, like whether the government is being tough enough on the banks it's helping, or if homeowners struggling with foreclosures are getting necessary help. Critics and supporters alike are hoping that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's speechtoday will help assuage these concerns.

Wedding Bells for Gay Couples in Connecticut

Town clerks in Connecticut were told today that they can start issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples after a judge's ruling. Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 in mid-October that gay couples should be able to marry. But, in the month since, gay marriage advocates had cause for concern. One threat was a ballot initiative last week, asking Connecticut voters if they thought a convention should be allowed to amend the state's Constitution—a move seen by many as a precursor to an initiative against gay marriage. The measure failed. But gays suffered setbacks nationwide, with voters striking down gay marriage in California, gay adoption in Arkansas, and passing constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage in Arizona and Florida. In the wake of those defeats, the move in Connecticut is a particular triumph—one marked, by some of the eight couples who challenged the state law prohibiting gay marriage, by happy tears.

War in Congo Might Widen

Angola said today that it's mobilizing troops to send to Congo, a move that will very likely expand the war beyond Congo's borders to other central African nations. Angola didn't clarify what the troops' mission would be, or even if they'll act as peacekeepers or try to prop up the Congolese government against the rebels. But one thing seems likely: Rwanda, which fought Angola during the 1998-2002 war in Congo, will see it as a provocation. And it could escalate a war that has already had devastating effects, driving 250,000 people from their homes despite calls for an immediate cease-fire by southern African leaders and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.