Biden vetoes Republican measure to block electric vehicle charging stations

Biden vetoes Republican measure to block electric vehicle charging stations

President Biden on Wednesday vetoed a Republican-led effort that could have approved the administration’s plans to invest $7.5 billion to build electric vehicle charging stations across the country.

In issuing his veto, Mr. Biden argued that the congressional resolution would have harmed the nation’s manufacturing industry as well as the clean energy transition.

“If passed, this resolution would undermine the hundreds of millions of dollars the private sector has already invested in the domestic manufacturing of electric vehicle charging stations and would hinder additional domestic investment in this critical market,” Mr. Biden in a statement.

The move comes amid growing political division over electric vehicles. The Biden administration is aggressively promoting them as an important part of the fight against slowing global warming. The historic climate law signed in 2022 by Mr. Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act, encourages consumers to buy electric vehicles and manufacturers to build them in the United States.

Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Biden’s likely challenger in the 2024 election, have criticized electric vehicles as unreliable, impractical and ceding U.S. auto manufacturing to China, which dominates the electric vehicle supply chain.

Republicans, along with some Democrats, voted to reject a waiver issued by the Biden administration that allows federally funded electric vehicle chargers to be made from imported iron and steel, provided that they are assembled in the United States.

The “Buy American” requirement of the Infrastructure Act of 2021 states that iron and steel produced in the United States must be used for projects funded by the Federal Highway Administration Act. The law provides $7.5 billion to build a national electric vehicle charging network.

Installing electric vehicle charging stations is a top priority of the administration, as surveys show that many motorists interested in purchasing electric vehicles are reluctant to do so due to the lack of convenient charging stations.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, introduced an initiative to eliminate the waiver. “It hurts American businesses and allows foreign adversaries, like China, to control our energy infrastructure,” he said in July. “We should never use U.S. dollars to subsidize products made in China. »

On Wednesday, learning of Mr. Biden’s veto, Mr. Rubio wrote on the social media platform

The White House argued that by reiterating the waiver, lawmakers were in effect blocking “made in America” requirements.

Indeed, a repeal would have resulted in a return to a 1983 policy that waived domestic requirements for many manufactured goods. That would have made it more likely that federal funds would be “spent on fees charged in competing countries like the People’s Republic of China,” Mr. Biden said in his veto statement.

The Senate voted 50-48 in November to repeat the exemption, with Democrats Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana joining Republicans to remove the exemption. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was the only Republican to oppose the measure.

The House voted, 209 to 198, in January for the repeat. Two Democrats, Jared Golden of Maine and Donald Davis of North Carolina, voted with Republicans in favor of the measure. Two Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Tom McClintock of California, opposed it.

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David B.Otero

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