House Gives $2 Billion Infusion to Cash for Clunkers’

Posted July 31, 2009 at 12:27pm

Updated: 4:13 p.m.

House Democratic leaders on Friday cobbled together and passed legislation to provide another $2 billion for the wildly popular “cash for clunkers— program.

The bill passed 316-109. More than a dozen Democrats opposed the measure, including Reps. Collin Peterson (Minn.), Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (S.D.), Allen Boyd (Fla.), Jared Polis (Colo.), John Tierney (Mass.), Gabrielle Giffords (Ariz.) and Earl Blumenauer (Ore.). Seventy-seven Republicans voted to pass it.

The program, which gives people thousands of dollars to go toward trading in old cars for more fuel-efficient vehicles, took effect Monday and has already nearly exhausted its $1 billion fund.

Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) said the $2 billion in stopgap funding would come from the Energy Department’s Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program, which doesn’t expect to award funding until late next year.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reassured Members that money would be restored to that fund. She praised the success of the clunkers program as “the perfect message to take home in August.—

Republicans were divided on the emergency cash infusion. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), like others from states suffering from sinking car sales, praised the action for supporting “the only truly successful component— of stimulus legislation. Other GOP Members bashed the program as another government handout.

The House delayed a vote on executive pay legislation to expedite the clunkers bill to the floor.