Updated: Friday, 31 Jul 2009, 1:39 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 31 Jul 2009, 9:46 AM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House has voted to rush an additional $2 billion into the popular but financially strapped "cash for clunkers" car purchase program.
The bill was approved on a vote of 316-109. House members acted within hours of learning from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that the program was running out of money.
Called the Car Allowance Rebate System, or CARS, the program is designed to help the economy and the environment by spurring new car sales. Car owners can receive federal subsidies of up to $4,500 for trading in their old cars for new ones that achieve significantly higher gas mileage.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the new money for the program would come from funds approved earlier in the year as part of an economic stimulus bill.
Obama backs quick action to fix depleted car fund
President Barack Obama praised members of Congress from both parties for rushing to pump new money into a popular cash-purchase program that is running out of money.
Obama spoke Friday as the House passed the measure 316-109. It would pour $2 billion from the economic stimulus program into the "cash-for-clunkers" initiative and to give consumers more time to take advantage of trade-in rebates for older cars.
The president said initially there had been skeptics about the car-purchase program, but that now "we're already seeing a dramatic increase in showroom traffic" across the country. He said the program "gives consumers a break" and helps to reduce pollution.
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