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Popular ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Program to End Monday

The government will end its popular "cash for clunker" incentive program on Monday, two months early, because of dwindling funds. David Shepardson, Washington bureau chief for the "Detroit News," speaks with Jim Lehrer about the program.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next tonight, the U.S. Transportation Department announced this afternoon that the government will end its popular Cash for Clunkers program on Monday night. Congress approved extra money for the program just two weeks ago, but the program is expected to use up the $3 billion earmarked for it by early September.

    For the latest developments, David Shepardson, who's been covering this story for the Detroit News, he's the Washington bureau chief.

    David, welcome. What specifically prompted it today, right now, for them to suddenly decide to stop this?

    DAVID SHEPARDSON, Washington bureau chief, Detroit News: Well, two things. I mean, first, as you pointed out, the first $1 billion that Congress approved basically ran out in the first four or five days, and there was some chaos, and, as you know, Congress ultimately agreed to put the $2 billion back in.

    And so the goal here is an orderly wind-down. So far, they've gone through about $1.9 billion for 457,000 cars. That leaves about a billion. However, they think there's another there's another $400 million in cars that have been sold, but the dealers haven't submitted those voucher requests to DOT, so that leaves about $600 million left.

    They think this weekend will be very busy as people try to get in before the program ends. And if they're going through about $100 million a day under the normal flow, with a sped-up flow, we should be, you know, $2 billion to $3 billion by roughly Monday.