July 31st, 2009
10:11 AM ET
4 years ago

'Cash for clunkers' good through weekend, maybe beyond

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(UPDATE, 1:25 pm: The House has passed the $2 billion extension of the cash for clunkers program 316-109; there will be no Senate vote before Monday)

WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the extremely popular "cash for clunkers" program is still up and running at least through this weekend, and said Obama administration officials are working furiously behind the scenes with Congressional leaders to find extra money to extend the program for a longer time period.

"It's up and running," Gibbs told reporters in his office, adding that it "can, will and should" continue indefinitely.

Meanwhile, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced that lawmakers are closing in on a deal with the White House that would give the program, which allows consumers to trade in old cars for newer more fuel-efficient vehicles, an extra $2 billion to continue and expand it.

There had been media reports Thursday evening suggesting the $1 billion program had been abruptly suspended because the initial $1 billion to fund it was being exhausted more quickly than expected as consumers rushed to car dealers across the country to trade in vehicles.

But Gibbs told reporters the administration has kept the program going on Friday and "the program will be in place" for anyone who had been planning to make a car purchase this weekend.

"This program appears to be a success for car buyers, car dealers, car companies, and taxpayers," said Gibbs, adding the President believes it has the added value of helping the environment by getting less fuel-efficient cars off the roads. "We feel confident that we will have a solution people can agree on and the program continues."

Gibbs said the program has been "extremely popular" and that there are an estimated 20,000 certificates for vehicles swaps still waiting to be processed, a backlog that alarmed some government officials into believing the money will be tapped out shortly.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. to find extra money

    money well spent

    get these gas drinking cars off the road

    what ever can be done to slow down pollution

    July 31, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Get the gas guzzlers off the road.

    July 31, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. gt

    another obama boon doggle gone wrong

    July 31, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. NH Independent

    This program was a clunker from the get go.......the government can't even get this right and they want us to trust them with our healthcare? The regime in Washington needs to get a clue

    July 31, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. not a Jackson or a Palin fan

    It won't do much good for the US economy if too much of it is spent on imports. I love watching my dollars fly over to Japan.

    July 31, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Massive fraud for sure. Buy a "clunker for $500. Sell it to the government for $4500.

    Can't wait for government healthcare. I can retire early.

    July 31, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  7. Babaganusch

    No dealerships in MN have received any money from the government since the program began, and now we hear the government is out of money after only one week! This 'program' was a very poorly thought out 'plan' by the Democrats, and is just one more in a long line of failures for them since taking over complete control of the government.

    I can hardly wait for change to come in 2010!

    July 31, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. annie for Palin

    The government can't even manage a cash for clunkers and yet they want to manage our health care with government rationed hellth care.

    July 31, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. single mom

    I wish this covered cars who get a bit higher mileage. I'm driving a 14 yr old car and would love to trade it in under this plan, but my car gets 25 mpg.
    I'm worried about two things though –
    1. are they checking the credit of people getting loans? If not, in 6-12 months this could be like the mortgage situation with everyone defaulting.
    2. if the government doesn't cover the program, the dealers who did this in good faith could have problems and that's not a good thing.

    July 31, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Hey four days and this program is broke. Another fine example of how Big governemnt programs run. Now we need to spend another two billion of the taxpayers money to extend this program. Can't wait to see how long it takes Government health care to bankrupt the whole country.

    July 31, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Hugo

    Gee, what a boom to the economy. Nice to see my tax dollar buying my neighbor a new vehicle, he is from Mexico and cuts grass, he is an expert swimmer, he told me he swam the Rio Grande. If I had a job, I would like to buy a new vehicle too. It makes me proud to be a tax paying American citizen to know that I have contributed my hard earned tax dollars to help others buy a vehicle and contribute to the pensions of the UAW! Power to the people! Anyone seen my unemployment check?

    Go Obama!

    July 31, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  12. RealityKing

    Rich people using my hard earned tax dollars to buy new cars. What bone head came up with this idea!??

    July 31, 2009 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Randolph Carter

    NH Independent wrote:
    This program was a clunker from the get go…….the government can't even get this right and they want us to trust them with our healthcare? The regime in Washington needs to get a clue

    How so? Give us an example of how this program has failed. Have a nice day!

    July 31, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. Ernesto

    Why are American taxpayers paying so a citizen can buy a Hyundai, Honda, Toyota or some other foriegn or psuedo-foriegn automobile? Rediculous to think that even those manufacturerers assembling in the U.S. should benefit from such a program. Ford, GM and Chrysler should reap the rewards of being true USA-based corporations. Yet another example of the very stupid ways that Washington pays more attention to those companies that ultimately ship our tax dollars overseas.

    Now that the program is drowning in paperwork and delays, I think we'll look back on this as another reason to vote out all incumbants for incompetance and attending FIRST to the greed of special interests that are anti-American.

    July 31, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. Ohio Man

    @ phoenix86

    try reading the program first before u speak.. if 1 you need to have insurance for 1yr how does buy a clunker for 500 gets you 4500... what u trying to say is that people will go out real quic and buy a junk yard car and flip it for 4500.. when they would have had to have insurance on the car for at least a yr.. once again .. whenever Obama name is attached to anything people shoot it down first with out reading... and to all that says gov. is trying to run health care once again read first.. he said clearly you can keep your current plain ..they the gov. is just offering another plan to compete with the privite companies that has been making a ton of money and still will turn you down for any reason , but they want there money every month regardless and don't be late on ur insurance payment, you will be dropped so quic.. but hey keep doing what you been doing it will all work it's self out right !

    July 31, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Jack

    to find extra money:
    money well spent
    get these gas drinking cars off the road
    what ever can be done to slow down pollution

    Even at the cost of further debt of this country to china (one of the worlds largest polluters).
    At the cost of foreign car company's sales increasing (guess where the money goes)
    At the cost of people who may not be able to afford it getting deeper in debt(possibly defaulting, causing another economic drop).

    Thats the problem with most of the environmentalists out there. They dont care about the consequences of what they want, only that they want it. (just like the government)

    July 31, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Kevin in Ohio

    The democrats can't even figure out how much money would be needed to fund this....what makes anyone think they would be successful at Health care??????? This is a huge "red flag" for anyone wondering whether government is the answer to everything.

    July 31, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. Proud Member..Party of No

    lolol...this clown Obama can't do anything right. He has the total opposite of the Midas Touch.....everything he touches turns to manure.

    July 31, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. jody in NY

    To all who know nothing about this program let me give you a heads up. First you need to own the car for at least a year and the dealerships do check this out, so there is no going to buy a car for $200 today and use it for the Cash for Clunkers. Second it needs to have to be under 18 mpg for gas. Third the vehicle needs to be older then a 2001. When you go to get a new car under the cash for clunkers, if you get a car/truck that is only 2 mpg better then the car you are trading in you do not get the full amount. You only get the full amount if the car/truck is 5 mpg better. If someone just took that cars that have been traded in so far 300,000 can you image how much less gas is needed. Second a local dealership in my town sold 50 new cars on Saturday alone. This is more then the dealership has sold in any given month in about a year. Imagine people helping dealerships aka jobs and the auto industry aka jobs. I support the government 100% on this and they can use my tax dollars to support jobs.

    July 31, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. addon

    How many of the Obama haters have looked at today's GDP report (1st and 2nd qtr)?...oh, thats what I thought!

    And Hugo...get off the blogs and find a job! You probably lost your job as a result of the previous administration. A little misplaced anger at our current POTUS I'd say

    July 31, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  21. Steve in PA

    So what are they doing with the trade in cars? Sure, they are giving $4500, but are they destroying the car, or putting on the lot as a Used car and charging $5000 for it? Are these cars being destroyed?

    I love how this Government works. Here's a program to get people to buy better Green cars but they have no idea what they are doing, other then giving more money away. Typical Tax and Spend...Nothing ever changes, when I thought Obama was the agent of change.

    The people wanted Change, but never said Change for the better. It's only getting worse, but you got what you wanted.

    July 31, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. JAY

    How about getting jobs for american workers .

    July 31, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Sandy in Boston

    People finally figured out how to cash in on the Obama admin.... of course it was going to be a mad rush for the $$$. Naturally that was going to cause some snafus and problems.... Is it good policy overall? Ha. Probably not.

    July 31, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Randolph Carter

    They seriously should have put in a provision requiring that you buy an American made car. Have a nice day!

    July 31, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Dominoid

    Randolph Carter said "Buy a "clunker for $500. Sell it to the government for $4500."

    Read the bill before spouting talking points. The car must have been registered for the last year under your name for you to take advantage of the program.

    July 31, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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