Wall Street Journal -
by Senator Susan Collins and Senator Dianne Feinstein
It's amazing how quickly a good idea can go bad in Washington. In January, we joined with Sen. Charles Schumer to introduce a bill that would allow Americans to trade in gas-guzzling cars in exchange for vouchers worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase of vehicles with greatly improved fuel economy. This legislation was modeled after programs in California and Texas that improved fuel efficiency, reduced pollution, and stimulated auto sales.
Our "Cash for Clunkers" proposal was a win-win for the environment and the economy. Then Detroit auto industry lobbyists got involved. Soon a rival bill emerged in the House, tailored perfectly to the auto industry's specifications.
The House bill was written so quickly that one of its main components -- a provision that would have excluded any vehicle manufactured overseas -- had to be removed because it violated trade laws. But the worst item on the auto industry's wish list is still at the heart of the bill -- a provision that undermines fuel-efficiency standards.
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