Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Cash for Clunkers program has proven to be so popular with consumers that it is almost out of funding. The House voted Friday to inject another $2 billion into the program designed to revive domestic auto sales and the U.S. economy. House approves $2B more for 'cash for clunkers'
The bill was approved on a vote of 316-109. House members acted within hours of learning from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the program was running out of money.
Called the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, the program is designed to help the economy and the environment by spurring new car sales. Car owners can receive federal subsidies of up to $4,500 for trading in their old cars for new ones that achieve significantly higher gas mileage.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the new money for the program would come from funds approved earlier in the year as part of an economic stimulus bill.
The Senate was not scheduled to vote on Friday but lawmakers hoped to win approval for additional funding next week.
Just one problem. Arizona Sen. John McCain says he will filibuster the House bill in the Senate (between naps I assume). McCain to filibuster “Cash for Clunkers” bill (Caution: Fox News blog)
McCain told Fox earlier today, "I not only wouldn't vote for the extra two billion, I was opposed to the initial billion. "
McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee who ran as a deficit hawk, said, "Within a few weeks we will see that this process was abused by speculators and people who took advantage of what is basically a huge government subsidy of corporations that they already own. "I can't imagine that any taxpayer of America would have thought that the TARP, the financial recovery money, would be used now to subsidize the sale of automobiles in America."
Right. John McCain wanted to let the U.S. auto industry go into liquidation and be sold off in parts to its foreign competitors. He also opposed any federal effort to stop the free-fall in the U.S. financial markets last fall when he suspended his campaign - to do nothing. And he opposed any federal stimulus to the economy to prevent the economy from sliding into depression. Had John McCain been president, this county would now be in a depression. McCain's "do nothing" Hooverism would have been a disaster.
If there are problems with this program the answer is to fix what is wrong to make it work. But Sen. McCain is simply an ideologue opposed to doing anything.
According to Fox News, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who introduced her own "Cash for Clunkers" bill back in January, also has concerns about the House bill. Feinstein was joined by Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).
Together with Collins, Feinstein released the following ominous statement last night, "We will not support any bill that does not meet these goals. We will insist than any extension of the program requires that the minimum fuel economy improvement for newly purchased vehicles be at least two miles per gallon higher than it is under the enacted Clunkers program. It is also important to include lower-income consumers who are disadvantaged under the current program. So, we would also include a voucher for the purchase of fuel efficient used vehicles."
Indeed, Feinstein and Collins relented under pressure to pass a clunkers bill earlier this year after receiving what Feinstein's spokesman calls "absolute assurances" from Reid that any extension would be based on the Feinstein-Collins-Schumer bill.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO, who was very wary of the government bailouts that passed earlier this year, though she supported them.
McCaskill echoed McCain, who said, "It's really an incredible process that we've gone through where recovery money that is supposed to be used in order to keep people in their homes and help the economy recovery. We're now again bailing out the automobile corporations, two of which we own. It's remarkable."