Senators from both parties plan to introduce a cash-for-guzzlers bill this week that is identical to the legislation hashed out last weekin the House, said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.
The bill would provide vouchers of up to $4,500 to people who trade in cars and trucks for new, more fuel-efficient vehicles assembled anywhere in the world.
The plan would run for a year and would apply to up to 1million purchases to boost the auto industry.
It would cost $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion, with money in the stimulus package to finance it.
Stabenow said she is looking for legislation to which the bill could be attached that would be voted on quickly.
Our dealers, our auto industry, need help now, she told reporters in Washington. Its got to happen now.
Among the sponsors of the bill will be Sens. Sam Brownback, R, Kan.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sherrod Brown, R, Ohio; and Carl Levin, D-Mich., she said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has been very supportive, she added. President Barack Obama also has endorsed the concept.
Under the House bill crafted by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and other Democrats, up to 1 million customers would get a $3,500 voucher if they trade in a car that gets less than 18 mpg for a new car with mileage of at least 22 mpg.
Vouchers of $4,500 would be awarded if the new car gets at least 10 mpg more than the old vehicle.
The bill may help lift May and June light-vehicle sales in the United States to the 10-million-unit rate. Wachovia Capital Markets analyst Rich Kwas said automakers need to right-size inventory by mid-year.The U.S. seasonally adjusted annual sales rate averaged 9.4 million light vehicles through April, down from 13.2 million vehicles sold in 2008 and 16.2 million in 207.