Rep. Jim Renacci, a former car dealership owner, faces Rep. Betty Sutton, the sponsor of Cash for Clunkers, in Ohio's 16th district. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
CANTON, Ohio — The auto industry reigns in this northeastern corner of the Buckeye State, and three years after Congress passed Cash for Clunkers, the issue persists on the campaign trail.
So it’s serendipitous that a former car dealership owner, freshman Rep. Jim Renacci (R), faces the program’s chief sponsor, Rep. Betty Sutton (D), in the 16th district.
“As a car dealer, of course I saw car sales go up for the two months the programs was in place,” Renacci said in a Tuesday afternoon interview. “But for the next five months, I saw new car sales go down. That’s a problem. All we did was pull sales forward.”
The Cash for Clunkers program, passed in 2009 with bipartisan support from Ohio Members, gave drivers up to $4,500 to buy a new fuel-efficient car by trading in their used vehicle. Renacci shut the doors on his Chevrolet dealership in nearby Wadsworth during his 2010 bid for Congress. Full story