By Alexander Bolton - 08/02/09 10:44 AM EDT
The House voted 316 to 109 Friday to pour $2 billion more into the program, which has proved so popular that it is running out of money before anticipated end-date in November.
“My children and grandchildren are going to have to pay for these cars and we’re helping auto dealers while there are thousands of other small businesses that aren’t getting the help,” said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “The role of the federal government is not to run the used car business.”
“We’re definitely going to debate it and I’ve heard that John McCain is going to stand up and try to stop it and I’m going to work with him every way that I can,” he said. “This is crazy to try to rush this thing through again.”
"I just think this is a great example of the stupidity that's coming out of Washington right now, and I think Americans realize the numbers that we're throwing around don't work," DeMint added.
DeMint declined to say whether Republicans would be able to mount a successful filibuster to halt the legislation.
Cash-for-clunkers or the Car Allowance Rebate System, as it is formally known, offers consumers up to $4,500 in subsidies for trading in old car and trucks for new vehicles with higher gas mileage.
The House approved new funding for the program after White House officials warned that the $1 billion initially allocated would soon run out. Auto dealers are estimated to have sold 250,000 new vehicles because of the federal incentive.
Some Senate Democrats would like to appropriate even more money than what the House approved last week.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the vice chairman of the Senate Democratic conference, has called on Congress to infuse $4 billion into the program.
Other Democrats such as Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), however, say they will oppose another $2 billion for cash-for-clunkers, setting up a potentially tough vote this week.