WASHINGTON, June 16 Auto industry supporters in
Congress are bracing for a last-minute challenge this week to a
legislative proposal that is designed to spur U.S. vehicle
Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire said he
hopes to raise a procedural motion on the Senate floor to strip
the provision from a bill that continues funding for the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars.
"As the nation's debt continues to climb to unsustainable
levels, it is troubling that Congress is looking for even more
fiscally reckless ways to subsidize the auto industry," Gregg
said in a statement.
The so-called "cash for clunkers" plan approved in
House/Senate negotiations on the larger spending bill would
offer consumers up to $1 billion in vouchers toward the
purchase of fuel efficient vehicles when they trade in older,
less efficient models.
Supporters hope the plan that would run through Sept. 30
will generate up to 250,000 new car sales, boosting a severely
depressed industry that has seen two U.S. manufacturers --
General Motors Corp GMGMQ.PK and Chrysler -- seek bankruptcy
protection since April.
Gregg argues the proposal is not only fiscally
irresponsible but procedurally flawed, too, because it was not
included in full House or Senate votes on the wartime
Supporters in the Senate say the challenge could come as
early as Wednesday.
Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, a lead advocate of the
auto proposal, said the measure was of prime importance to
automakers and related businesses.
"This is our one chance opportunity to help dealers,"
The House of Representatives approved a separate "clunkers"
bill while the Senate never took it up. The measure was
inserted into the spending package during negotiations last
week to reconcile other differences in the spending
The House could vote later on Tuesday on the appropriations
(Reporting by John Crawley and Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing