By Clarence Mills
Senator Expresses Concerns
Over Cash for Clunkers Program
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking minority member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, has written a letter of inquiry to Ray LaHood, secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT), to find out where the startup money for the "Cash for Clunkers" Program, enacted in the summer of 2009, was spent.
Grassley asked for an accounting of which companies and executive branch agencies received contracts from the DOT to process and sign the thousands of rebate checks. The Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act of 2009 (CARS/Program) - coined "Cash for Clunkers" - was intended to boost car sales in the United States. The CARS program originally provided $1 billion to assist auto dealers, but an additional $2 billion was appropriated by Congress to continue the program.
Cash for Clunkers was intended to remove older, less-fuel-efficient vehicles from America's highways and replace them with newer, more-fuel-efficient vehicles. Grassley expressed concerns with the funding provision for the contractors in the extended program.
He writes, "To date the administration has not provided an accurate accounting of the administrative costs related to the Cash for Clunkers program, and I believe that the American taxpayer deserves more information, not less, and that information needs to come sooner rather than later."
SBA Calls for Limited Data Collection Requirements
The Small Business Administration's (SBA) advocacy office is asking that the White House require agencies to provide better justification for paperwork collection requests, as well as working with the SBA to see if further review of the requests is needed.
In October 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) sought comment on reforming implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) by reducing paperwork burdens on those affected by the law, especially small businesses.
Susan Walthall, acting chief counsel for the SBA's Office of Advocacy, has asked for greater review by agencies to eliminate outdated paperwork requirements.
Walthall said, "Agencies should also be required to periodically review all paperwork collection requests and justify the need for paperwork requirements that are outdated and/or obsolete. If the agency cannot provide that justification, the requirement should be rescinded."
CARB OKs Cool Cars
and Reflective Glazing Regulation
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has approved a regulation to cut greenhouse gases by reducing heat gain in automobile interiors. The regulation will be phased in starting with the 2012 model year.
It requires that passenger cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles be equipped with windows that reduce the amount of heat that enters the vehicle from solar radiation.
Less heat inside the vehicle will allow air conditioning units to be downsized or used less, thereby increasing fuel economy and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the vehicle when it is in use.
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