Let's spend more money, says Congress. They may not see their way to helping Americans get universal health care, but auto care? Big support in Congress for auto care. The House just approved another $2 billion for the "cash for clunkers" program, that started out with half that, and spent most of its original cash in one week. This bill will likely pass the Senate next week. It would be un-American to not support auto sales, right? Likely, also, it'll be signed by Obama. The government's already put billions into GM and Chrysler so why not keep people buying cars?
Not only more money for clunkers, but a longer life to the program that would have expired this fall, but was destined to be broke far before then. Now it will extend another $2 billion dollars worth, Congrss expects that to last until they get back from their hard-earned August vacation. Then they can always vote for yet more money when theyroll back into town.
Here's my earlier blog on the clunker program. All those old cars going off to the chop shop for crushing and recycling and landfilling.
Will this program be extended to hit the launch of some of the plug-in cars and next generation of hybrids? Will GM Volt's get some sales boost from clunker rebates?
FOLLOW THE MONEY
As always in Wsashington, it's crucial to know whose ox is being gored? This $2 billion did not fall from the sky, after all. The House bill would take it away from rewenable fuels funding. Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), on the House vote today to give $2 billion from the Department of Energy’s renewable energy loan program to the “Cash for Clunkers.”
“The ethanol industry understands the trying economic times this country finds itself in and thus supports ideas like the 'Cash for Clunkers' program, but is concerned to see the program paid for by depleting the renewable energy loan guarantee program. We hope Congress will move quickly to replenish the renewable energy] fund."
Clunkers trump even corn-based ethanol. This could get interesting.