Congress looks for money to keep 'Cash for Clunkers' fueled - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Congress looks for money to keep 'Cash for Clunkers' fueled

WASHINGTON. - The Cash for Clunkers program will stall at the end of this week unless the Senate fills the program's tank with money.

Critics there say this is just a government giveaway that is helping one industry at the taxpayer's expense and not helping the environment.

The program is a success in terms of sales.

Ford reported corporate sales up for the first time in two years.

"Cash for Clunkers put us over the top," says Ford Chief Sales Analyst George Pipas.

The White House says the program's meeting its other goals of  less pollution and less fuel consumption.

"The transactions were generating a 61 percent increase in fuel economy," noted White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs while comparing the trade-ins to their replacements.

Still, the sales and mileage figures come from dealers making a profit on the program.

Critics want proof.

"Without the verified data, we won't know that it's stimulating sales and we won't know if there's an environmental benefit," says Lena Pons of the Public Citizen Auto Safety Group "without those things then we're just handing people $4500 to go out and buy a new car."

Many in the Senate agree.

They're skeptical, but team Obama is lobbying hard.

Last week, the House agreed and voted to boost the $1 billion program to $3 billion and President Obama has invited Senators to the White House to personally lobby for more cash.
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