WASHINGTON -- U.S. dealers have submitted 665,000 cash-for-clunker transactions seeking $2.77 billion in reimbursement, a Transportation Department spokesman said today. That pushes the program ever closer to the $3 billion funding limit with only hours remaining until the submission deadline.
Transportation spokesman Rae Tyson sent an e-mail with the figures, which he said were valid as of early this morning.
The filings have increased $120 million in the past 24 hours even though the federal governments computer system for dealers was down for most of that time.
The pace at which deals are being entered as the four-week program hurtles toward a deadline of 8 p.m. Eastern time suggests that the $3 billion cap could be breached.
If that happens, the Obama administration might have to seek additional funding from Congress, which is in recess until after Labor Day.
The $3 billion allocation from Congress includes an unspecified amount for administrative costs.
Last week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he didnt think the $3 billion would be exhausted. He hasnt updated that view since dealer filings surged in recent days.
LaHoods spokespeople also have declined to say whether he is considering going to Congress for more money if the limit is exceeded. The secretary has assured dealers that they would be paid if they get their claims in by the deadline.