Cash For Clunkers Deal Is Near

It looks like things are heating up.

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The prospects of a U.S. program to provide government-funded discounts to consumers who trade in old cars for new, more efficient models improved Thursday when a leading proponent signaled her willingness to back off on a controversial provision.

The move comes days after the European Union’s ambassador to the U.S. labeled the provision “protectionist” and raised world-trade concerns.

Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, who has ardently pushed to limit the discounts to vehicles manufactured in North America, indicated she is willing to budge on that requirement and others. The provision has been a main sticking point in congressional efforts to merge competing proposals for the program.

“It’s not so important to me that it has to be done” exactly according to her bill, but rather that a program is passed, Sutton told reporters on Capitol Hill.