Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
Love it or hate it, "Cash for Clunkers" is going to be up and running at least through August. The House voted to add $2 billion in funding to keep the program afloat after it exhausted its bankroll in a single week, and the Senate just followed its lead and did the same. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill as soon as possible. But did the senators who were rallying for stricter fuel economy standards for the exchanged vehicles succeed in securing a greener bill?
The answer, of course, is a resounding no. The New York Times reports:
"The Senate spent much of the afternoon and evening slogging through seven proposed amendments, all of which were defeated. 'We all know that if we change the bill it will die,' said Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader. The Senate is scheduled to begin its August recess on Friday. In the end, the bill passed largely along party lines, with 51 Democrats, 2 independents and 7 Republicans voting for it."
Sens. Feinstein (D-CA) and Collins (R-ME) unfortunately failed to get their greener initiatives into the final version of the bill—but it's not overly surprising, seeing as how many Republicans adamantly against the program, and were using it as an example of irresponsible government spending.
The program is now expected to last through Labor Day, when the funds are expected to once again be depleted if the public continues to take advantage of the rebates at the same rate. Money for the program was taken from a part of the stimulus bill that offered loans to green energy projects—but congressmen say they plan on replenishing that, so the $2 billion is likely to simply be heaped on the deficit.
So it's not greener, it takes funding away from a green loan program, but still takes some of the more polluting cars off the road and stimulates the auto economy. Cash for clunkers rides on.
Published on August 11, 2009