The House voted Thursday evening to strike down President Biden’s decision to waive “Buy America” requirements for taxpayer-funded electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
In a 209-198 vote, the chamber passed a resolution reversing the president’s actions with two House Democrats, Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Donald Davis of North Carolina, joining 207 Republicans who voted in favor and two House Republicans, Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Tom McClintock of California, joining 196 Democrats who voted against.
“I voted to overturn Joe Biden’s pro-Communist China rule that would undermine American businesses that have made significant investments into EV manufacturing,” House Republican Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said in a statement. “Biden’s waiver of the Buy America requirements empower our foreign adversaries like Communist China by pouring hard-earned American taxpayer dollars into foreign markets.”
“Joe Biden and his America Last agenda would sooner invest taxpayer money into Communist Chinese EV chargers than American-made products,” she continued. “The Buy America provision is meant to support American businesses and bolster U.S. manufacturers, neither of which this pro-Communist China Administration is interested in.”
The vote Thursday comes two months after the Senate passed the resolution — which was authored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and introduced in July — in a 50-48 vote with Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., joining Republicans. The resolution will now make its way to Biden’s desk, though the White House has stated the president will veto it.
Rubio’s joint resolution would overturn the president’s Waiver of Buy America Requirements for Electric Vehicle Chargers. Rubio, the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and other Republican lawmakers argued the waiver would ultimately benefit Chinese manufacturers who dominate the EV charger supply chain.
In February 2023, the Transportation Department (DOT) unveiled the final Made in America EV charger waiver rule which axed more stringent requirements and pushed certain deadlines back months in a major victory for green energy industry groups. The waiver governs manufacturing and assembly requirements for EV charging companies to be eligible for millions of dollars in federal subsidies.
The waiver rules revised a stricter proposal put forth by DOT in August 2022. The four-phase proposed waiver would have immediately scrapped all requirements; then required EV charger companies to assemble all products in the U.S. beginning Jan. 1, 2023; manufacture chargers with no less than 25% American-made components by cost beginning July 1, 2023; and manufacture chargers with no less than 55% American-made components by cost beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
The finalized waiver knocked it down to a two-phase process and pushed key deadlines. It requires EV charger companies to ensure final assembly of chargers is in the U.S. and that the cost of American-made components in chargers represents 55% of total product costs beginning on July 1, 2024. The waiver notably scrapped the 25% domestic component requirement.
“The bottom line is this: if we’re going to spend $5 billion of taxpayer money to build electric vehicle charging stations for the United States, it should be made by Americans in America using American products,” Rubio said in a floor speech in November.
DOT’s waiver was finalized as part of Biden administration’s push to both expand EV manufacturing and the network of chargers nationwide needed to fuel zero-emissions vehicles. Biden has set goals of constructing an EV charging network of 500,000 chargers along U.S. highways and ensuring 50% of all new car sales are electric by 2030.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the massive infrastructure package Biden signed in 2021, earmarks $7.5 billion for EV charging programs while the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act expands tax credits for EVs and charger installations.
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