Senate Approval Final Hurdle for Cash 4 Clunkers

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Cash for clunkers

Get ready, clunker owners. If the Cash for Clunkers bill makes it through the Senate (which is no slam dunk) you may be able to trade in your bomber for incentives on a brand new car! Now that it’s in the final turn and making a stretch run, opposition to this bill will be heating up as well, because different segments of the automotive industry apparently think the law itself will be a clunker if and when it’s put into affect.

The auto industry and the nation’s lawmakers are pushing for quick Senate action on “cash for clunkers” legislation to boost auto sales, after the House overwhelmingly passed such a bill yesterday. But it remains unclear when Senate supporters may overcome the objections of Senate appropriators and a group of senators who say the House proposal doesn’t do enough to improve fuel efficiency on the nation’s highways.

The House approved its version by an overwhelming margin Tuesday, 298-199, with substantial Republican support despite the opposition of House leaders including Minority Leader John Boehner and whip Eric Cantor.

One group who opposes the bill is the aftermarket parts industry. I talked recently to Kenny Ho, Operations Manager for Intex Auto Parts in San Jose, Calif. Ho opposes the bill because it will greatly hurt the parts aftermarket, he said, by junking cars that still have a lot of drivability left in them.

“We oppose Cash for Clunkers because although its intentions are good, it takes older cars off the road, vehicles that still have many more years of drivability left in them,” he said. “These are cars that will obviously need parts in the future, but if they’re retired, we’re losing all that potential business.

“It would essentially be cutting the lives of these cars by half in many instances. What this bill does is take money out of the aftermarket’s pockets and puts it in the carmaker’s pockets.”

Opposition to the bill came from members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which objected to funding provisions of the bill, and from senators who want tougher fuel economy requirements.

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