Clunkers Bill gets $2 Billion More in Funding
By Dorothy RowleySpecial to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspapers
Congress has been praised for its recent passage of the Cash for Clunkers bill. This legislation provides a cash incentive to citizens to trade in their older model gas-guzzlers for more efficient cars and trucks.
Clunkers are defined as vehicles that date back as far as 1984 and average no more than 18 miles per gallon. The bill passed in the House less than a week ago with a 298 to 119 vote, and the Senate gave a thumbs up at 60 to 37.
Prior to that, $1 million already set aside for the program was about to run out last weekend.
But along with the Senate vote came another $2 billion, which is expected to keep things afloat - at least through Labor Day. To that end, vouchers between $3,500 and $4,500 will be available to auto shoppers until funding is depleted.
The Ford Explorer reportedly leads the list of vehicles up for trade in the program. Once traded, the old vehicles will be crushed for permanent removal from the roadways.
Supporters claim the bill - touted as a clunker-free version of the economic stimulus bill - will increase the sale of new vehicles while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It will also provide a much needed boost to the economy.
Until the program kicked off, many auto dealers had a problem trying to attract buyers to mostly empty showrooms.
''By stimulating consumer demand for new vehicles, this proposal will directly benefit domestic autoworkers and automotive manufacturers, which have arguably been hardest hit by the current economic downturn,'' said Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat and staunch industry ally.
According to Betty Sutton (D-Ohio), the bill would shore up millions of jobs and stimulate local economies. ''It will improve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,'' Sutton said. ''The cars act demonstrates that we can free ourselves from the false argument of either you are for the environment or you are for jobs. You can do both, you must do both.''
Prior to the Senate's vote on Thursday, the Congress was about to embark on a month-long summer break. At the insistence of the Senate Majority Leader, a decision was made to act on the bill adjourning for vacation. ''I think the last thing any politician wants to do is cut off the opportunity for somebody who wants to get a rebate to buy a new automobile,'' said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Illinois.
President Obama is now expected to quickly sign the initiative into law so consumers can continue taking advantage of new deals - possibly as early as this weekend.