House votes to cut government budget for auto purchases

The government bought $1.5 billion worth of vehicles in 2010, so the bill would limit purchases by about $300 million and cut purchases by about 12,000 compared to 2010. The bill would keep that limit in place in fiscal years 2013 through 2017.

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Republicans said the bill is a necessary step to help reduce the budget deficit, which has exceeded $1 trillion a year for the last few years.

"With a $16 trillion debt, the Congress and the federal government need to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently and help reduce costs," Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said. "According to some estimates this proposal could save up to $500 million over the next 10 years."

Democrats put up just token opposition during Wednesday's brief floor debate. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) criticized Republicans for bringing up a bill that had no hearings and does not let Democrats offer any amendments.

"The result is a poorly drafted bill that may have harmful unintended consequences," she said.

Despite her statement, no Democrat called for a recorded vote after the measure was approved by voice vote. House passage sends the bill to the Senate, although the Senate has made no indication that it would take up the bill.