Another $2 billion for Cash for Clunkers
by desmoinesdem, Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 04:16:05 PM EDT
President Barack Obama signed a bill on Friday allocating an additional $2 billion to the to the Car Allowance Rebate System, more commonly known as Cash for Clunkers. The money will come from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (the economic stimulus bill approved in February). The Senate approved the bill by a 60-37 vote on Thursday night.
I liked Senator Tom Harkin's idea to put income limits on this program, but the Senate needed to pass the same bill that cleared the House in order to keep Cash for Clunkers going during the summer recess. If the Senate had approved any amendments to the House bill, the funding would have been delayed until September.
The Senate vote went mostly along party lines, but four Democrats joined 33 Republicans in voting no: Claire McCaskill (who had been criticizing the program), Pat Leahy, Ben Nelson, and Mark Warner. Seven Republicans joined 53 Democrats in voting yes: Lamar Alexander, Kit Bond, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Sam Brownback, Olympia Snowe, and George Voinovich.
I'm pleased to learn that most consumers who have taken advantage of this program have traded in a "clunker" for cars that get significantly better mileage. (Click here for lists of the most popular vehicles traded in and the most popular purchased with Cash for Clunkers vouchers.) The way Congress wrote the bill, people could have traded in SUVs and trucks for similar vehicles with only minimal improvements in fuel economy.