Cash-For-Clunkers Update: Showdown In The Senate!

May 22, 2009
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Okay, perhaps that headline is a little misleading. There isn't a showdown per se, but there has been an interesting development in the cash-for-clunkers saga.

As you'll recall, there are currently two versions of cash-for-clunkers working in the House of Representatives: one submitted by Betty Sutton (D-OH) back in March (H.R. 1550), and one that's been tacked on to the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) sponsored by Henry Waxman (D-CA). We're guessing that Sutton's bill has been tabled in committee in deference to the bigger energy policy act--despite the fact that a bejillion people in congress have said that they'd rather see cash-for-clunkers put through independently, since the American Clean Energy and Security Act  is likely to be divisive.

Now, over on the Senate side, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has introduced a bill (S.1135) similar to the amendment to H.R. 2454 (still with us?). The text of Stabenow's bill isn't online yet, but here are some details:

The program would last for a year. Trade-in vehicles would have to be drivable; be continuously insured and registered to the same owner for at least a year, and have a combined fuel rating of 18 miles per gallon or less (except for heavy-duty work trucks, which must be pre-2002 regardless of how many miles they get to the gallon).

We don't know how all this is going to shake out--hell, the closest we get to knowing a lobbyist is the ambulance chaser in the strip mall next door. We also don't have many details about the two most viable pieces of legislation, since the texts haven't been posted online. However, we're encouraged by the one-year length of the program reported in conjunction with Stabenow's bill, and if some of the restrictions employed by Sutton carry over (e.g. setting a limit of one voucher per person), this could be an interesting marketplace experiment.

But then, we're the optimistic sort--especially on Fridays.

[source: Freep]

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