WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate will okay new funding for the "cash for clunkers" program before leaving this week for the August recess, Senate leaders from each party predicted Tuesday, clearing the way for the surprisingly popular program to continue uninterrupted.
"We'll pass cash for clunkers....before we leave here," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
"In the end, we know where the numbers are," acknowledged the third-ranking Senate Republican, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a critic of the program who said now he expects all Democrats and several Republicans to vote for additional funding.
The predictions marked a turnaround from earlier in the week when opposition from both parties suggested quick passage was unlikely. But prospects changed as car makers and auto dealers, thrilled by suddenly crowded showrooms, pressed lawmakers to continue the funding.
The fate of the program - which pays consumers up to $4,500 for turning in an old gas guzzler for a newer, more fuel efficient car - hung in the balance for several days after nearly burning through the $1 billion approved for it earlier this year. The House approved a $2 billion extension before leaving town last week, but until now it was uncertain if quick passage in the Senate was possible.
Fiscally conservative Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina hoped to defeat the measure, but said Tuesday he didn't have the votes.
"Whenever we spend money around here they got the votes," he said.
Republicans said they would offer amendments to try to make what the view as improvements to the bill. But lawmakers said it's unlikely any would be adopted, since changes to the bill would delay the program until differences with the House-passed version were worked out.
Demint is demented. This is a program that works on several levels. Why does this man form South Carolina hate helping Americans. What is wrong with South Carolina. They have this guy and that governor, What a crew.
See how the naysayers change their minds when they get feedback. The idiots are afraid to make positive moves to make solutions to move the country forward.
Can't believe it took them more than 3 seconds to figure out both parties would be for this. Liberals get some of the worst gas guzzlers off the road and republicans get car dealerships instant stimulus.
I am shocked this isn't already being talked about as the major part of the next stimulus package as it has lead to a huge boost in the economy.
The Republicans will dig their heels in....just wiat. They are the party of "no".
Oh how typical of the Republican Party and Senators like DeMint from welfare states to want to kill a program that is working better than anyone imagined! The environment is winning. The car dealers are selling cars and have brought back salesmen to handle the demand by the public. The car companies are benefiting from new business. Americans are winning with reliable, energy-efficient cars that will cost them less in gas money and repairs.
Let's see – this program helps Americans, helps create job opportunities, spurs some economic spending, and makes a great step forward in cleaning up carbon emissions and helps the environment.
Of course the Republicans want to kill it – it helps the economy and the average American who they still want to FAIL to fufill their political game-playing. How patriotic and "country first" of them!
Good. Americans love this program. It gives Americans the opprtunity to a newer car, it's good for the country
Republicans won't let it pass. They themselves don't own clunkers why should they consider anything that won't directly benefit them. The Republican Party is useless.
Evan Bayh, DEMOCRAT SENATOR, said that this country is near bankruptcy, but those Dems keep on spending.
Can we not use the vehicles some kind of way besides having to destroy them? Can we not give a decent clunker to someone who drives a car that smokes up the place? Why can't we ever get anything right? Is this the same people you want deciding your health?
My next door neighbor who has six cars including their two kids in college did this Cash for Clunkers deal. They traded an old suburban that they were going to give to the yard man for a nice little Toyota for one of their daughters. I think Toyota is going to rake it in on this deal.
Take from the RICH and give to the IRRESPONSIBLE.
What a great example we set for the future generations.
I knew that the republicans had nothing when they said this program would leave fewer cheap cars for low income people to buy. I couldn't believe my ears. Since when did republicans care about low income people?
Good, I'm glad they finally get. If they follow the money, and right now the money is with Cash For Clunkers, they can relax for a minute when they get home. If not, there won't be any peace.
Kudos to the President for his Economic Stimulus Plan. It is beginning to work.
Can we turn in our Clunker Congressmen for cash. That would be the best stimulus plan.
This is great. It's stimulating the economy.
Just great... BILLIONS of US tax-dollars going to Foreign car companies.
Obama's Administration REFUSES to tell the truth... most vehicles being purchased are Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, etc.