WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One proposal to help jump start U.S. auto sales was withdrawn late on Thursday and the fate of another was unclear, despite a vigorous endorsement from President Barack Obama, as Senate consideration of economic stimulus legislation accelerated.
Sen. Thomas Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, pulled an amendment that would have provided $16 billion in rebates to buyers of new fuel efficient vehicles who traded in their old, poor performing models.
Harkin said he would defer the so-called "cash for clunkers" proposal, which had strong support from U.S. automakers.
Lobbyists for those companies this week called it a genuine stimulus for a depressed market. U.S. auto sales plunged to a 27-year low in January.
There was no backing, however, for the plan from foreign manufacturers whose operations are clustered in states represented by conservative Republicans.
This would have helped the American workers and the environment two things republicans are opposed to.