Congress Looking for More Money for ‘Clunkers’
Late Thursday, The Associated Press reported the government would suspend the “cash-for-clunkers” program that provides vouchers worth up to $4,500 to consumers who trade in cars with lower fuel efficiency for cars that get slightly better gas mileage. While the program has been operational for less than one week, it has nearly exhausted its $1 billion in congressional funding.
Today, The Washington Post reports that the Obama administration decided against halting the program, and members of Michigan’s congressional delegation — where many of the cars being purchased are made — are pushing the administration to to pump more money into the program.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement that the administration is “evaluating all options” to keep the program funded.
“We are working tonight to assess the situation facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program,” the statement said. “Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid CARS transactions that have taken place to-date will be honored.”
Lawmakers from Michigan held a conference call Thursday night to discuss the matter and were scheduled to have another joint call at 9 a.m. Friday. They were preparing to speak with Obama administration officials about obtaining more funding, staffers said, and were committed to finding a way to extend the program.
“We’re going to try to figure out what’s a realistic amount of money and get it into the program,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).
Given the popularity of the program, in retrospect, maybe Congress could have gotten away with requiring consumers to purchase cars that meet somewhat higher fuel-efficiency standards to qualify for the vouchers.