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Highlights

Over $81 billion has been committed under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to improve the domestic auto industry's competitiveness and long-term viability. The bulk of this assistance has gone to General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, who sponsor some of the largest defined benefit pension plans insured by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). As part of GAO's statutorily mandated oversight of TARP, this report examines: (1) the impact of restructuring on GM's and Chrysler's pension plans; (2) the impact of restructuring on auto supply sector pension plans; (3) the impacts on PBGC and plan participants should auto industry pension plans be terminated; and (4) how the federal government is dealing with the potential tensions of its multiple roles as pension regulator, shareholder, and creditor. To conduct this study, GAO interviewed officials at GM, Chrysler, a labor union, a supplier association, the Departments of the Treasury and Labor, and PBGC; and reviewed relevant statutes, reports, and documents concerning the automakers' restructuring and pension plan funding. Treasury and PBGC generally agreed with the report's findings. Their technical comments and the technical comments provided by GM, Chrysler, and Delphi, were incorporated as appropriate.

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