Local Representatives Split Votes By Miriam Raftery
June 10, 2009 (Washington D.C.)--Three local representatives have voted in favor of a “cash for clunkers” program that will allow consumers to trade in their old, gas-guzzling cars for vouchers worth up to $4,500 to help people buy new, more fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (HR 2751) aims to spur sale of up to one million more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, while stimulating the ailing auto industry and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 298 to 119 margin. Among San Diego County representatives, Brian Bilbray, Susan Davis and Bob Filner voted for the measure, while Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa voted against it.
“This is a smart program that will help grow our clean energy economy, cut down on pollution, and save money at the pump as we reduce consumption by over 250 million gallons of gas,” said Rep. Filner (D-San Diego). “It goes a long way towards getting Americans back to work and behind the wheel of a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly car.”
The legislation provides rebates for cars and trucks in the following four categories:
• Passenger Cars: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 4 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher. New vehicles with improvement of at least 10 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.
• Light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 18 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 2 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher. New vehicles with improvement of at least 5 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.
• Large light-Duty Trucks: The old vehicle must get 15 mpg or less. New vehicles with improvement of at least 1 mpg will get a $3,500 voucher or trade-in of a “work truck.” New vehicles with improvement of at least 2 mpg will get a $4,500 voucher.
• Work Trucks: The old vehicle must be a pre-2002 model. New vehicles in the same or smaller weight class will get a $3,500 voucher.
Opponents criticized the bill for authorizing $4 billion in spending, subject to appropriations and raised concern that the supply of affordable used cars for sale and donations of cars to charities could be reduced. Supporters argue that economic benefits to the economy and environment will ultimately more than offset the investment.
The bipartisan measure is supported, however, by a broad coalition that includes the AFL-CIO, UAW, car dealers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
“Americans of all stripes have come together on this bill because it’s a win for the consumer, the economy, the environment, and the auto industry,” said Rep. Filner. “We’re able to save American consumers money and save American jobs, at the same time we help our struggling auto dealers and continue down the path towards a cleaner, greener economy.”