07 August 2009

He Voted for You: Cash for Clunkers

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., helped approve an additional $2 billion for "cash for clunkers," which The Associated Press described as "the economy-boosting rebate program that caught the fancy of car buyers and instantly increased sales for an auto industry long mired in recession."

U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., did not take part in the 60-37 vote, though he did help confirm Sonia Sotmayor's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court that day.

AP explains that the program "gives consumers up to $4,500 in federal subsidies if they trade in their cars for new, more energy-efficient models," and that it had exhausted its initial $1 billion.

"Without action, lawmakers risked a wave of voter discontent as they left the Capitol for a monthlong vacation," AP reported. "Supporters of the program hailed its effect on the auto industry -- which had its best month in nearly a year in July -- as well as its claimed environmental benefits."

But critics included Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who said that "what we're doing is creating debt. ... The bill to pay for those cars is going to come due on our children and grandchildren," the article said.

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