Good news from Washington, cash-for-clunkers fans: leaders in the U.S. House and Senate are hoping to fast-track legislation that would give new car buyers tidy cash rebates in exchange for trading in their older vehicles. Of course, they've been saying that for a while--but then, time moves slowly for the Freedom Fry Guys.
As we've mentioned before, a cash-for-clunkers bill is already in play. Unfortunately, it's tied to a much larger bill on energy policy-- including a cap on carbon emissions--which isn't the sort of thing that'll sail through congress. But yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md) said that he'd be willing to pull out the cash-for-clunkers bill and put it up for consideration on its own. Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), is similarly eager to get the ball rolling. The question now is how to do all that in a way that meets standard congressional protocol. (They get so worked up over Robert's Rules of Order.)
Everything sounds promising, except for this teeny-tiny soundbite from Senator Reid: "Every country in the world is selling less cars than they did before except one country: Germany. And in Germany they have a program for cash-for-clunkers." So, (a) someone ought to tell him that other countries have instituted similar legislation, and (b) someone ought to give him a refresher course in syllogisms. Yes, Germany's auto sales are zipping along right now, but we're not entirely sure that cash-for-clunkers legislation can take all the credit.
FYI: For specifics about the bill, check out John Voelcker's very thorough piece at AllCarsElectric.