Senate Poised to Pass 'Cash for Clunkers' Bill


Published June 02, 2009


In the wake of General Motors filing for bankruptcy and Chrysler emerging from it, the Senate is poised to approve a "cash for clunkers" program as early as Wednesday.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced an amendment Tuesday that would set up a program that allows consumers with older, less fuel efficient vehicles to trade in their "clunker" for a voucher worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new car that must get at least 22 miles per gallon or an SUV or pickup that gets at least 18 mpg -- clearly a focus on U.S. manufacturers.

The one-year program is expected to help sell 1 million vehicles, according to Stabenow and Brownback.

The definition of "clunker" is a vehicle that gets 18 mpg or less, and the voucher size varies. Owners who purchase a new passenger car that gets at least 4 mpg higher than their old "clunker" get a $3,500 voucher. If the mileage difference is more than 10 mpg, the consumer gets the full $4,500. 

Buyers of small trucks and SUV's fare better. If the new vehicle gets at least 2 mpg more than the "clunker," a $3,500 voucher is issued; for new trucks or SUV's getting more than 2 mpg, the new car owner gets $4,500.

The trickier problem of navigating the House could be solved soon, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide told FOX News  It appeared, according to the source, that House leaders have agreed to accept the Senate bill, if it passes.

The Stabenow-Brownback amendment would be attached to a larger bill that grants the Food and Drug Administration new authority to regulate tobacco products. Final passage of this bill is expected to come likely next week, the aide said.