Murkowski Calls on Obama Administration to Use Unspent Stimulus Money to Continue 'Cash for Clunkers' Program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today
called on the Secretaries of the Treasury and Transportation to
consider using economic stimulus package money to continue the Cash for
Clunkers program, which has run out of money after only one week.
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Murkowski noted that last week’s
rollout of the program was delayed in Alaska, thanks to a computer
glitch on a federal website that temporarily prohibited the ability of
auto dealers – and therefore consumers – to participate.
The Transportation Department corrected the problem affecting
Alaska after Murkowski’s office brought it to the department’s
“There is clearly interest on the part of the American public in
seeing the CARS (Car Allowance Rebate System) program continue, which
would provide an important boost to the badly battered auto industry,”
The Obama administration said Thursday that the $1 billion Cash
for Clunkers program ran out of money yesterday after only one week
following an unexpected flood of business exhausted the funds.
Under the Cash for Clunkers program, eligible owners of gas
guzzling automobiles will receive a credit, up to $4,500, if they turn
them in and buy or lease a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. Congress
created the program in an effort to spur new car sales in the battered
Murkowski said a recent federal report showed that of the $502
billion appropriated through the economic stimulus bill, substantial
sums remain unspent.
“Clearly there are a multitude of programs and funding available
through the stimulus act that could potentially be used to continue the
CARS program, and the CARS program seems like a very legitimate
candidate to access this funding,” Murkowski wrote.
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a $2 billion
extension of the Cash for Clunkers program. The House legislation would
authorize the program through September 30, 2010, and the money would
come from an Energy Department loan guarantee program that is part of
the economic stimulus package enacted in February.