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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman from Michigan.
Madam Speaker, I rise in reluctant opposition to this bill. It was my sincere hope that this bill would have come to the floor under a process that would have allowed Members to offer amendments. Had we been permitted to do so, I would have offered an amendment to allow individuals to use the credit for the purchase of a fuel-efficient, previously owned vehicle. Even after a generous credit, for many American families, a new car is financially out of reach. Yet with gas prices rising again, these families deserve the same opportunity to upgrade their current vehicle to a more fuel-efficient model. For these families, the credit that can be used towards the purchase of a fuel-efficient, pre-owned car could make all of the difference.
Indeed, there is already a substantial inventory of previously owned, fuel-efficient vehicles on dealer lots available for purchase. As a result, these purchases will promote the goals of the program by increasing the number of fuel-efficient vehicles on the road. It is also important to remember that the livelihood of tens of thousands of Americans depend on the used car market.
Used car sales outnumber new car sales 3-1 in the U.S., and there are more than twice as many used car dealers as new car dealers in this country. Treating cars that meet the same fuel-efficiency standards differently, based on whether they are new or previously owned, effectively picks winners and losers among these dealers. Given the difficult economic situation faced by all Americans, I do not believe that it is wise or necessary to reward some Americans while punishing others.
If we were to expand this bill to include the purchase of previously owned vehicles, it would truly be a win-win. As it helps the environment by encouraging more fuel-efficient vehicles, it would also help ease our dependence on foreign oil, and it would provide another incentive to help jump-start the economy.
Madam Speaker, I'm saddened I was not permitted to offer my amendment, but I'm hopeful as this bill works its way through the process we can work to address the concerns of those who make their living selling previously owned vehicles.
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