Senate Roadblocks Expected on ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Bill

When Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “tries to take up the House-passed ‘Cash for Clunkers’ bill next week, he will hit a series of bipartisan road blocks,” Fox News reports.

First, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has essentially vowed a filibuster.

Fox has learned that Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, will oppose any move to take up the House bill.  Around here, we call that a filibuster.

McCain told Fox earlier today, "I not only wouldn’t vote for the extra two billion, I was opposed to the initial billion. "

McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee who ran as a deficit hawk, said, "Within a few weeks we will see that this process was abused by speculators and people who took advantage of what is basically a huge government subsidy of corporations that they already own. "I can’t imagine that any taxpayer of America would have thought that the TARP, the financial recovery money, would be used now to subsidize the sale of automobiles in America."

So that would create come procedural headaches for Democratic leaders who would need to gather 60 supporters and move through a few more votes than they would like, assuming the filibuster threat is used throughout each stage of the process. 

Keep in mind next week they also want to finish the Agriculture Appropriations bill, take up Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination and attempt to pass the Travel Promotion Act tourism bill.

Majority Leader Reid will also “have to quell the concerns of some members of his own party.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, back in January, introduced her own "Cash for Clunkers" bill, an alternative that required more fuel efficient trade-in’s than would later be approved by Congress — and was extended today by the House.

Feinstein was joined by Sens. Susan Collins, R-ME, and Chuck Schumer, D-NY.

After the President pushed for a clunkers bill earlier this year, though, House Democrats hastily crafted a bill that was much friendlier to the beleaguered American auto industry, particularly those who sell trucks. And after today’s vote in the House, the plan gets $2 billion more to continue.

Together with Collins, Feinstein released the following ominous statement last night, "We will not support any bill that does not meet these goals. We will insist than any extension of the program requires that the minimum fuel economy improvement for newly purchased vehicles be at least two miles per gallon higher than it is under the enacted Clunkers program. It is also important to include lower-income consumers who are disadvantaged under the current program. So, we would also include a voucher for the purchase of fuel efficient used vehicles."

Feinstein and Collins “relented under pressure to pass a clunkers bill earlier this year after receiving what Feinstein’s spokesman calls ‘absolute assurances’ from Reid that any extension would be based on the Feinstein-Collins-Schumer bill.”

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has also expressed opposition via Twitter to an extension of funds:

“We simply cannot afford any more taxpayr $ to extend cash for clunkers. Idea was to prime the pump, not subsidize auto purchases forever.”

But she could be swayed:

“I will consider using EXISTING stimulus $ that has already been appropriated to finish up cash for clunker program. No new $.”

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One response to “Senate Roadblocks Expected on ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Bill

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