From the NY Times:
The government’s “cash for clunkers” program become the latest political flashpoint on Sunday, with Obama administration officials urging the Senate to approve more money for the initiative and Republicans raising concerns about it.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the government would kill the highly popular incentive deal if the Senate did not follow the lead of the House, which voted Friday to give the program an additional $2 billion ...
Meanwhile, dealerships around the country, where support for the program is high, are worried about the uncertainty over its future. Many have canceled hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. Others are hopeful that the government will come up with the money to extend the program.
Republicans say the problems with the program are another strike against the Obama administration as it pushes for a speedy overhaul of the health care system that would involve a government-run insurance program. They argue that government involvement in any industry is a recipe for disaster.
Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, said the “cash for clunkers” program was an example of the “stupidity coming out of Washington right now.”
“The federal government went bankrupt in one week in the used-car business, and now they want to run our health care system,” Mr. DeMint said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “This is crazy to try to rush this thing through again while they’re trying to rush through health care, and they want to get on to cap-and-trade electricity tax. We’ve got to slow this thing down.”
On Friday a spokeswoman for Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said Mr. McCain would lead a filibuster against the bill to give the program more money.
“Within a few weeks we will see that this process was abused by speculators and people who took advantage of what is basically a huge government subsidy of corporations that they already own,” Mr. McCain told Fox News last week.
Mr. McCain may have some support from Democrats who are also feeling skittish about the program and its potential cost. In a tweet on Friday morning, Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said she would “vote no on any extension” of the clunkers program, saying the “idea was to prime the pump not subsidize auto purchases forever.” A few hours later, she added that she would need to review the details of the House bill and how the program was working.