Cantor on Cash for Clunkers
Today in Congress, the House of Representatives debated and passed the Cash for Clunkers legislation. Congressman Eric Cantor (VA-07) expressed his reluctant opposition because previously owned-vehicles were not included in the incentive program.
The Customers Assistance to Recycle and Save (CARS) Act provides consumers with an incentive to recycle older vehicles and replace them with new, cleaner, and more fuel efficient vehicles. H.R. 2751 was passed by a vote of 298-119.
Cantor made the following speech on the floor of the House of Representatives:
"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 offer amendments, 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 yet again, these families deserve the same opportunity to upgrade their current vehicle to a more fuel efficient model. For these families, a credit that can be used towards the purchase of a fuel efficient pre-owned car could make all 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 three to one in the United States, 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 amongst these dealers. Given the difficult economic situation faced by all Americans, I do not believe 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, win as it helps the environment by encouraging more fuel-efficient vehicles, it would ease our dependence on foreign oil, and it would provide another incentive to help jump start the auto industry.
"I am saddened I was not permitted to offer my amendment, but I am hopeful that 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."