WASHINGTON — The Senate reached a deal on saving the dwindling "cash for clunkers" program late Wednesday, agreeing to vote today on a plan that would add $2 billion to the popular rebate program and give car shoppers until Labor Day to trade in their gas-guzzlers for a new ride.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats and Republicans had agreed to vote on the plan, which was passed by the House last week. Reid says Democrats have enough votes to approve the measure and reject any changes that would cause an interruption in the rebates of up to $4,500.
Some of the proposed amendments include placing an income limit on those benefiting from the vouchers and requiring the government to sell off its stakes in General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.
Any Senate changes to the bill would require another vote in the House, something that couldn't take place until the House returns in September from a monthlong recess.
The government said Wednesday that more than $775 million of the $1 billion fund had been spent, accounting for nearly 185,000 new vehicles sold. President Barack Obama has said the program would go broke by Friday if it is not replenished.
Car companies have credited the clunkers program with driving up sales in late July.
A list of the top-10 selling cars released Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the Toyota Corolla is the top-seller, followed by the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius and the Toyota Camry. There is one SUV on the list, the Ford Escape. Six of the top-10 vehicles are built by foreign manufacturers, but most are built in North America.