The White House says the weak economy can't afford the collapse of the nation's automakers.
White House press secretary Dana Perino cited the latest bad economic news — a jump in jobless claims to the highest level in 26 years — in arguing for Senate passage of a bailout package for the Big 3 automakers.
Perino said Thursday that the economy is in such a weakened state that adding another 1 million people to the unemployment rolls from an auto industry failure is not possible. She said: "We don't think the economy can sustain it."
Perino called the legislation, opposed by some Senate Republicans, a reasonable approach.
She said that President George W. Bush and other administration officials would be lobbying skeptical senators Thursday to vote for the bill.