Top Senate Democrats Look to Reinforce Cash for Clunkers Before Recess

August 5 - Harry Reid and other top Senate officials are confident that a vote to extend the Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers program) will take place before the August recess. The Cash for Clunkers program rewards American car buyers with a $3,500 to $4,500 rebate if the consumer trades in their car for a more fuel efficient vehicle. $1 billion was originally authorized on July 24th for the program, which government officials thought would last until November, but many are worried that the money will be gone by the end of this week. To deal with those fears, Senate Democrats vowed to vote for an additional $2 billion would be authorized for the program.
According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, "People love to buy cars, and we've given them the incentive to do that. I think the last thing that any politician wants to do is cut off the opportunity for somebody who's going to be able to get a rebate from the government to buy a new automobile." LaHood reported that 157,000 trades had occurred since the program began accounting for $664 million.
But some, even Democrats, are concerned with the program. Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (D) said, "I don't see how you ever shut it down. You just keep feeding the kitty and just keep putting more money into it unless you have a way to end it."