From the front page of the NY Times:

The prospects of a government rescue for the foundering American automakers dwindled Thursday as Democratic Congressional leaders conceded that they would face potentially insurmountable Republican opposition during a lame-duck session next week. “

The 60 votes necessary to pass the bill in the Senate could be difficult to acquire as Democrats currently control 51 seats, but President-elect Barack Obama will resign from the Senate on Sunday. Moreover, it is unlikely Senator Biden will attend the lame duck session that begins next week.

Adding that all up, it will take at least 11 Republican Senators to pass any auto bailout legislation during the lame duck. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama remarked,

“The financial straits that the Big Three find themselves in is not the product of our current economic downturn, but instead is the legacy of the uncompetitive structure of its manufacturing and labor force.”

Let’s hope his Republican colleagues feel the same way.