Are there any limits on government over-spending?
"White House officials and lawmakers were studying late Thursday how to keep alive the government's cash-for-clunkers incentive program because of concerns the program's $1 billion budget may have been exhausted after just one week.
Obama administration officials warned congressional leaders Thursday it planned to suspend the program at midnight. But the White House released a statement late Thursday saying that completed deals would be honored and the program is still under review.
A White House official said, 'We are working tonight to assess the situation facing what is obviously an incredibly popular program. Auto dealers and consumers should have confidence that all valid [cash-for-clunker] transactions that have taken place to-date will be honored.'
Lawmakers are discussing with White House officials where to find funding -- including possibly tapping the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, a congressional aide said.
The clunkers program, which offers rebates of up to $4,500 to consumers who trade in old vehicles and buy new, more fuel-efficient models, began July 24 and sparked a surge in car sales.
'It was an absolute success,' said Michael J. Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation Inc., the U.S.'s largest chain of auto dealerships. 'There's a very compelling case the government should put more money into it. It's a great stimulus to the economy.' "