HR 1606 IH
H. R. 1606
To establish a new automobile voucher program.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 19, 2009
March 19, 2009
Mr. MANZULLO introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To establish a new automobile voucher program.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘New Automobile Voucher Act of 2009’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) 1 out of every 10 jobs in the United States, or about 13,000,000, is related to automobiles.
(2) The automotive sector represents the largest manufacturing base in the United States and each automobile assembly plant generates about 5 jobs among suppliers and the surrounding community.
(3) Automobile parts manufacturers account for 4,500,000 private industry jobs, including nearly 2,000,000 indirect jobs in industries ranging from steel and plastics to technical services.
(4) Automobile dealerships employ 1,100,000 workers and account for 18 percent of all retail sales in the United States.
(5) In 2005, 16,900,000 new automobiles were sold in the United States, but in 2008, only 13,200,000 new automobiles were sold.
(6) This loss of 3,700,000 new automobile sales, at an average price of $28,400, directly removed $105,000,000,000 from the economy.
(7) Economic multiplier effects of between 3 and 7 percent mean that this decline of new automobile sales translates into a $315,000,000,000 to $735,000,000,000 loss to the economy of the United States.
(8) Only 1,345,885 vehicles were sold in the United States during January and February of 2009, representing a 39 percent decrease from January and February of 2008.
(9) The best way to help the United States automobile industry and manufacturing base recover is to set a goal of selling 15,000,000 new automobiles in 2009 in order to restart the United States economy.
SEC. 3. NEW AUTOMOBILE VOUCHER PROGRAM.
(a) Establishment- There is established in the Department of the Treasury a program to be known as the ‘New Automobile Voucher Program’, through which the Secretary shall--
(1) authorize the issuance of a voucher, subject to the specifications described in subsection (b), to a dealer for each person or eligible fleet operator who purchases an eligible new automobile from such dealer, which voucher shall be applied towards such purchase;
(2) allow any dealer to participate in the Program if the dealer agrees to--
(A) apply a voucher towards the purchase of an eligible new automobile as partial payment for each eligible person or eligible fleet operator at the time of purchase; and
(B) comply with all applicable requirements under this Act and regulations promulgated by the Secretary to carry out this Act;
(3) establish a Web-based electronic system to process the vouchers at the point of sale;
(4) certify that the Program is operational; and
(5) make payments to dealers for vouchers applied by such dealers under paragraph (2) in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(b) Program Specifications-
(1) VOUCHERS PER PERSON- Not more than 1 voucher may be issued for any person, unless such person is an eligible fleet operator.
(2) VOUCHERS PER ELIGIBLE NEW AUTOMOBILE- Not more than 1 voucher may be applied to each eligible new automobile.
(3) OFFSET- A dealer--
(A) shall credit the amount of the voucher being applied toward the purchase of an eligible new automobile; and
(B) may not offset the amount of the voucher against any other rebate or discount otherwise being offered by the dealer or manufacturer.
(4) COMBINATION WITH OTHER INCENTIVES PERMITTED- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the availability or use of a Federal or State tax incentive or a State-issued voucher for the purchase of an eligible new automobile shall not limit the value or issuance of a voucher under the Program for any eligible person or eligible fleet operator.
(A) PAPERLESS VOUCHER- Any voucher issued under this section shall be issued electronically through a Web-based electronic system.
(B) VALUE OF VOUCHER DURING THE INITIAL PERIOD- A voucher issued under the Program during the initial period may be applied to offset the purchase price of an eligible new automobile by $5,000.
(C) VALUE OF VOUCHER DURING THE SECONDARY PERIOD- A voucher issued under the Program during the secondary period may be applied to offset the purchase price of an eligible new automobile by $2,500.
(6) PROMPT FULFILLMENT OF REDEMPTION REQUESTS REQUIRED- The Secretary shall provide for the payment of all vouchers submitted to the Secretary for redemption in accordance with the provisions of this Act not later than 10 days after such submission, or within such lesser period as the Secretary determines to be practicable.
(c) Rulemaking- Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations to implement the Program, including the enforcement of the penalties described in section 4.
(d) Disclaimer- Nothing in this Act or any other provision of law limits the authority of Congress or the Secretary to terminate or limit the Program or the issuance of vouchers under the Program.
SEC. 4. PENALTIES.
(a) Violation- It shall be unlawful for any person to commit any fraudulent act in connection with a voucher issued under the Program.
(b) Penalties- Any person who commits a violation described in subsection (a) shall be liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 for each violation.
SEC. 5. REPORT.
The Secretary shall submit a report to the Congress every 6 months that specifies, for the most recent 6-month period, the number of vouchers that have been used under the Program.
SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) AUTOMOBILE- The term ‘automobile’ has the meaning given such term in section 32901(a) of title 49, United States Code.
(2) DEALER- The term ‘dealer’ means a person residing in a State that is engaged in the sale of new automobiles as of the date of introduction of this Act to the first person or eligible fleet operator that is the ultimate purchaser.
(3) ELIGIBLE FLEET OPERATOR- The term ‘eligible fleet operator’ means the operator of a fleet of automobiles that is owned by a partnership, corporation, association, or public or private organization.
(4) INITIAL PERIOD- The term ‘initial period’ means the first 6 months of the Program, beginning from the date the Secretary certifies the Program is operational.
(5) NEW AUTOMOBILE- The term ‘new automobile’ means an automobile for which a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer has never transferred the equitable or legal title of such automobile to an ultimate purchaser.
(6) ELIGIBLE NEW AUTOMOBILE- The term ‘eligible new automobile’ means a new automobile whose purchase price is less than $50,000.
(7) PERSON- The term ‘person’ has the meaning given such term in section 551 of title 5, United States Code.
(8) PROGRAM- The term ‘Program’ means the New Automobile Voucher Program established under section 3.
(9) SECONDARY PERIOD- The term ‘secondary period’ means the time period beginning the day after the initial period has expired and ending December 31, 2010.
(10) SECRETARY- The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Treasury.
(11) STATE- The term ‘State’ means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Virgin Islands.
(12) ULTIMATE PURCHASER- The term ‘ultimate purchaser’ means, with respect to a new automobile, the first person who purchases such automobile for purposes other than resale.
(13) VOUCHER- The term ‘voucher’ means a voucher issued to a person who is purchasing an eligible new automobile pursuant to the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $75,000,000,000 to carry out this Act. Of the amount appropriated under this Act, the Secretary shall obligate no more than $50,000,000 to cover administrative costs for the Program.