Cash for Clunkers Runs out of Cash - in SIX Days
Let us keep in mind that this was meant to be a 90 day program, in between fits of hysterical laughter.
The U.S. government’s $1 billion “cash for clunkers” program is being closed because it is almost out of money six days after it began, a person familiar with the matter said.We'll update accordingly as this story develops and we are able to stop laughing.
The effort to get older, less fuel-efficient vehicles off the road, for which rules were published on July 24, will be halted at midnight New York time tonight because demand proved greater than expected, said the person, a congressional official. Funds are close to running out or have run out, the official said.
The congressional delegation from Michigan has called a phone conference meeting tonight to discuss the matter, said the person, who declined to be named because the meeting hasn’t been announced publicly.
Officially named the Car Allowance Rebate System, the plan provides credits of as much as $4,500 for turning in older vehicles. The program was to continue until Nov. 1 or when the money runs out.
Jill Zuckman, a Transportation Department spokeswoman, and Nick Shapiro, a White House spokesman, declined to comment. Tom Gavin, a spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, the White House branch that oversees government spending, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Through late Wednesday, 22,782 vehicles had been purchased through the program and nearly $96 million had been spent. But dealers raised concerns about large backlogs in the processing of the deals in the government system, prompting the suspension.
A survey of 2,000 dealers by the National Automobile Dealers Association found about 25,000 deals had not yet approved by NHTSA, or nearly 13 trades per store. It raised concerns that with about 23,000 dealers taking part in the program, auto dealers may already have surpassed the 250,000 vehicle sales funded by the $1 billion program.
"There's a significant backlog of 'cash for clunkers' deals that make us question how much funding is still available in the program," said Bailey Wood, a spokesman for the dealers association.
Even before the suspension, some in Congress were seeking more money for the auto sales stimulus. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., wrote in a letter to House leaders on Wednesday requesting additional funding for the program.
"This is simply the most stimulative $1 billion the federal government has spent during the entire economic downturn," Miller said Thursday. "The federal government must come up with more money, immediately, to keep this program going."
Brendan Daly, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said they would work with "the congressional sponsors and the administration to quickly review the results of the initiative."
Of course the Wicked Witch of the Far Left would love nothing more than to blow another billion next week and the week after that.