Today, President Barack Obama signed a bill that added more money into the the Cash for Clunkers program. Late Thursday evening, in a rush to finish business before their August recess. The Senate voted 60-37 to approve an additional $2 billion for the program. The House had already voted to extend the program last Friday. The move extends the program that had exhausted its initial $1 billion in funding in its first week.
During the signing ceremony, the president said, "Now, more American consumers will have the chance to purchase newer, more fuel efficient cars and the American economy will continue to get a much-needed boost."
During the debate, Senate Republicans offered a half dozen amendments to the program. One would have banned all future bailouts and another would have provided tax credits to spur more home sales.
But Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., warned that any attachments would bounce the bill back to the House, delaying the program until after the summer break in September.
Only seven Republicans voted to extend the Cash for Clunkers program. Four Democrats voted against the bill.
Under the Cash for Clunkers program, vehicles purchased after July 1 are eligible for refund vouchers worth $3,500 to $4,500 on traded-in gas guzzlers. The trade-in vehicle has to get a combined city and highway fuel economy rating of 18 miles per gallon or less.
According to government figures, compact cars and hybrids have been the top sellers so far. With at least $775 million already spent, the kinds of autos flying off the lots include the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and Ford Escape.