From NBC's Carl Sears and Kelly O'Donnell
Michigan Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow say the "Cash for Clunkers" program is an overwhelming success -- that the program is ongoing -- and they're hoping to find more money to extend the program.
"Go in, buy cars, hopefully American cars, that qualify until further notice," Levin urged at a Capitol Hill news conference. "This is the best example of a stimulus program that is clearly working."
Stabenow added, "The evidence is extremely strong that this works. People are buying autos, people are generating revenue for the economy and creating demand, so people can go back to work."
There is a House bill being introduced today that would add $2 billion to the program ($1 billion has already been committed). If the House passes the bill, Levin said the Senate could vote a bill next week.
Levin said he has been "assured by the White House that consumers can continue to buy cars under the program." He released the following written statement:
"The cash for clunkers program has proven hugely successful in its first week. We have been told by the White House that people can keep buying cars under the program until further notice. We don't know how long it will last, so people should go to their car dealers now if they want to take advantage of the program. We're also going to seek additional funding to hopefully make the program last longer."
But not everyone is in favor. Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling, a senior member of the House Budget Committee, is opposed to the House considering legislation to add more money:
"Cash for Clunkers is another example of the government picking winners and losers and enshrines us as a bailout nation. Almost everyone is hurting in this economy, and sadly for many workers across East Texas and America, Pilgrim's Pride, one of the largest poultry producers in the country, recently had to file for bankruptcy. Where's their 'Cash for Cluckers' program? You cannot bailout, borrow and spend your way to prosperity. We now have highest unemployment rate in a quarter of a century. The bailout mania approach to economic recovery is not working."