According to The Associated Press, the Senate voted (71 for and 26 against) to give a tax break to new car buyers. The incentive program, part of an economic stimulus bill, is going to cost the US Congress about $900 billion and will allow new car buyers to ask for an income tax deduction for the cost of automobile sales taxes and interest payments on car loans.
The aim of the incentive program is to aid the struggling automobile industry and create jobs at a time when many automakers proceeded to layoffs.
"I believe we can help by getting the consumer into the showroom," Sen. Barbara Mikulski said.
More importantly, the Democratic leaders promised to have the bill ready to be signed by Obama by mid-month. However, they claimed they might be forced to cut billions of dollars from the measure. "It goes without saying if it's going to pass in the Senate, it has to be bipartisan," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democratic leader, adding that lawmakers in both parties want the bill's cost to be reduced.
Certainly, each senator sticks to his/her opinion about the bill. For instance, senators Dianne Feinstein and Patty Murray believe the increase would quickly translate into jobs. "Our highways are jammed. People go to work in gridlock," Feinstein said in arguing for the proposal.
Yet, Sen. Jim Inhofe thinks "We can't add to the size of this bill. The amount is just inconceivable to most people."
There were also senators like Charles Grassley, who tried (unsuccessfully) to derail the proposal, arguing that it would only increase consumer debt in a time of recession. Besides, there were other provisions in the legislation to help the auto industry.
But the 71 votes were more than enough to pass the law...