Pelosi and Reid Urge Aid for U.S. Automakers By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Published: November 8, 2008 WASHINGTON Democratic leaders in Congress urged the Bush administration on Saturday to consider using the $700 billion bailout for the financial system to aid distressed American automakers, in a prelude to what may become urgent negotiations over additional economic stimulus measures. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Democratic leaders said, A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy and the livelihood of the automobile sectors workforce. The letter was signed by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada. But the Democratic leaders also urged Mr. Paulson to include strong taxpayer protections as a condition of any aid to the automakers, mindful of public frustration over the repeated efforts by the government to aid large financial institutions and other corporations while average citizens struggle in the economic downturn. On Friday, General Motors said that it had been burning through cash at a pace of more than $2 billion a month and that it could run short of money by mid-2009 without federal help.