Clunkers appears on track for transfusion


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said there would be a vote on an extra $2B for Cash for Clunkers, a sentiment echoed by his opposite number, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – and if the Republicans don’t pull a blocking maneuver, that means there will be a vote.

The matter has drawn opposition from both sides of the aisle, from Republicans on general keep government out of the used car business grounds, and from Democrats who believe the emissions standards need to be stronger for both new cars being sold and old cars being turned in.

But the bill has been strongly endorsed on national television (CBS’s “The Early Show”) by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, who until recently was known as Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL), indicating that the bill is palatable to at least some Republicans.

And taking procedural steps to block it a measure that has proven very popular with the public and the ailing auto industry alike seeming is unpalatable. One of the most vocal critics, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has indicated that he will take no such steps.

Legislatively, the matter is as simple as these things get. The House version of the bill is on the floor, and it must be passed exactly as it was in the House, down to the last comma, if it is to become law. Any change, however minor, would require House ratification, and since the House is already in recess, that cannot occur until it reconvenes after Labor Day.

It is simply a matter of getting the bill on the floor for a vote. Latest indications are that this will happen without any further procedural squabbles, enabling a vote prior to Friday or Saturday. There is considerable motivation for that outcome, since it would allow senators to escape Washington as early as Friday.

RBR/TVBR observation: It will be interesting to see if Clunkers has caused enough of a windfall for broadcasters to finally bring an end to the red-ink month-to-month comparables we’ve been accumulating.