‘Clunkers’ Program Hits a Speed Bump

Aug 6, 2009 6:01pm

ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: The effort to inject another two billion dollars into Cash for Clunkers has hit a potential road block in the Senate that could kill the bill.

Republiicans are throwing their support behind an amendment offered by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, that would limit clunker rebates to individuals with annual incomes of 50 K or less. With Republican support the amendment stands a good chance of passing unless the majority of Democrats, who mostly favor the amendment, vote against it.

Why is that a problem?

If any amendment passes it means the House has to take up the bill again and the House, of course, has already adjourned for its August recess.

The Democratic leadership is now scrambling to get rank- and -fille Democratic senators to vote against an amendment almost all of them favor. It would be a very tough vote.

"It does seem to be out of character for Democrats to support allowing millionaires access to borrowed money to buy cars," said Don Stewart,  spokesnan for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.


Clunkers withstood the Harkin amendment without slowing down. Senators voted to table the Harkin amendment 65-32.

The "speed bump" turned into a largely party line vote. All Democrats voted in favor of tabling (essentially against Harkin's amendment. Nearly all Republicans voted against tabling (essentially for). Sens. Susan Collins, R-ME, and Olympia Snowe, R-ME, along with several other Republicans, voted with Democrats.

The bill is expected to come to a vote tonight.


Senators voted 60 to 37 at 8:12 p.m. to give the Cash for Clunkers program an emergency $2 billion refill.

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