Update: 2:09 p.m. Now that the U.S. House has passed a bill to add $2 billion to the cash-for-clunkers program, the action moves to the Senate on Monday.
The quick House action -- less than 24 hours after the first warnings the original $1 billion incentives pool was about to run dry -- and the 3 to 1 vote margin shows how much momentum the program had developed.
The rush of clunker showroom traffic has been the best boost in a year for most dealers. And dealers are rarely shy in telling their local politicians how they feel.
How will the bill do in the Senate? Well, if the average Congressional district has several dealerships, the average Senator has dozens or hundreds of dealers in his or her state.
UPDATE, 1:01 p.m.:Capital Hill is a beehive today as Congress scrambles to find additional funds to keep the unexpectedly popular cash-for-clunkers incentives from grinding to a halt.
After word Thursday that the $1 billion allocated for the program was running out, both White House and Congressional leaders started looking for fresh funds to keep it going.
Time is short. The House is due to adjourn this afternoon and the Senate next week.
This morning, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) introduced a bill to add $2 billion. At the same time, the Michigan delegation met in the offices of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to draft a similar bill that could be considered by the full House under a suspension of the rules, the Washington Post reported.
That would allow a quick vote and prevent amendments, but it would need a two-thirds majority to pass.
So far, most public comments by politicians support keeping cash-for-clunkers going. Opposition is muted.
UPDATE, 11:39 a.m.: Cash-for-clunkers deals written this weekend will be honored, msnbcs First Read quoted White House spokesman Robert Gibbs as saying this morning.
So dealers in Detroit and other metro markets that are closed Saturday and Sunday are screwed.
While the White House and Congress scramble to catch up on how to fund the unexpected popularity of the federal incentive, dealers and customers have to wonder if and when the deals will disappear. Each deal becomes a $4,500 bet.
Administration and Congressional officials are working to keep it up and running, says Gibbs.
But dealers not open Saturday and Sunday only have until close of business today to take advantage of Gibbs pledge. That may not be easy in towns like Detroit, where the morning headline in the Detroit Free Press reads Clunker deals frozen.