Senate supporters of the program overcame a procedural hurdle by the plan’s leading opponent, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., on a 60-36 vote, winning the minimum number of votes needed to keep the program in a $106 billion war-spending plan that the Senate passed later Thursday.
The House approved the cash for clunkers bill last week on a vote of 298-119 and Senate Democrats attached it to the war-spending bill. The overall bill now goes to the White House for Obama’s signature.
Four Republicans — Kit Bond of Missouri, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Susan Collins of Maine and George Voinovich of Ohio — voted with two independents and 54 Democrats in favor of the clunker measure, while Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska was opposed along with 35 Republicans.
The Senate passed a “Cash for Clunkers” bill, which gives residents money for a better mileage car — but it wasn’t easy.
The bill now goes to the president’s desk. The measure would give car buyers between $3,500 and $4,500 if they trade in their gas-guzzling car for one with better fuel economy.
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is one of four Republicans who broke ranks with a GOP attempt to kill the measure.
The argument from critics is that it will add too much government debt.