House Democrats press leaders to include more funding for electric vehicles in spending plan

House Democrats press leaders to include more funding for electric vehicles in spending plan
© Getty Images

A group of more than two dozen House Democrats on Wednesday urged their party's leaders to include more funding for electric vehicle investments in the $3.5 trillion spending plan, arguing the amount allocated in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate passed this week doesn't go far enough.

In a letter spearheaded by Democratic Reps. Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiOvernight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — FDA panel advises Moderna booster shot for high-risk people Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Americans blame politicians, social media for spread of misinformation: poll Biden signs bill to strengthen K-12 school cybersecurity MORE (Calif.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyBiden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns Trump company in late-stage talks to sell DC hotel: report Trump Hotel lost more than M during presidency, say documents MORE (Va.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (Calif.) and Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeThe developed world should help countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis Lawmakers, security experts call for beefing up cybersecurity Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress looks to strengthen government's aging cyber infrastructure MORE (N.Y.), the group of 29 lawmakers called for meeting President BidenJoe BidenHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room MORE's initial proposal of $174 billion to support electric vehicle production.

They argued that the roughly $13 billion in dedicated electric vehicle investments in the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the Senate passed 69-30 on Tuesday, "fall far short" of Biden's original amount.

ADVERTISEMENT

The lawmakers on Wednesday called for including additional funding for electric vehicle investments, to provide money for charging infrastructure and manufacturing incentives, in the Democratic-only budget reconciliation package that will follow Senate passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill. They added the total funding should "match or exceed" the $174 billion proposal.

"Robust funding for transportation electrification will be essential to support a cleaner economy, meet our Paris Climate Agreement National Determined Contributions (NDC) decarbonization goals, and address transportation pollution that has historically harmed frontline communities," the Democrats wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJudge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech GOP lawmaker calls for Meghan, Harry to lose royal titles over paid leave push MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocratic frustration with Sinema rises Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Guns Down America's leader says Biden 'has simply not done enough' on gun control MORE (D-N.Y.).

The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes funding for grants to develop a national network of electric vehicle charging and fueling infrastructure, research and development of electric vehicle battery recycling, studying the environmental impact of electric vehicles, and establishing a working group led by the Departments of Transportation and Energy to provide federal guidance for the development and integration of electric vehicles in transportation systems.

But some Democrats are inclined to put some restrictions on certain incentives for electric vehicles.

During the Senate's consideration of the budget resolution that will kick off the reconciliation process for Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending plan, Republicans offered an amendment to means-test electric vehicle tax credits to ensure wealthy people don't get subsidies to buy such vehicles, which tend to be more expensive than gasoline-powered cars.

That amendment, offered by Sen. Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerSenate Republicans raise concerns about TSA cyber directives for rail, aviation Austin, Milley to testify on Afghanistan withdrawal After messy Afghanistan withdrawal, questions remain MORE (R-Neb.), was ultimately adopted with the support of three centrist Democrats: Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHow 'Buy American', other pro-US policies can help advocates pass ambitious climate policies Photos of the Week: Manchin protestor, Paris Hilton and a mirror room Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — Biden seeks to quell concerns over climate proposals MORE (W.Va.), Kirsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Mark KellyMark KellyOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Biden backtracks on Taiwan Arizona attorney general asks for restraining order to block federal vaccine mandate Our military shouldn't be held hostage to 'water politics' MORE (Ariz.).

Other Democrats dissatisfied with some aspects of the bipartisan infrastructure bill are also eyeing the reconciliation package as the best opportunity to secure their priorities in lieu of amending a compromise carefully negotiated by senators and the White House.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazio'Design-build' contracts key to infrastructure success EPA closer to unveiling plan for tackling 'forever chemicals' Congress sends 30-day highway funding patch to Biden after infrastructure stalls MORE (D-Ore.) had previously called for conference negotiations between the two chambers on the bipartisan bill to include more provisions of a House-passed measure he primarily authored to invest in physical infrastructure and clean-energy alternatives.

But on Tuesday, DeFazio said he's setting his sights on the reconciliation package for his climate priorities.

"Unfortunately, this package falls short when it comes to addressing climate change like the existential threat it is," DeFazio said of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"That is why I’m committed to continuing to fight for transformational funding and policies in the reconciliation process that will reduce carbon pollution from the transportation sector, support American manufacturing and ingenuity, and create infrastructure that is smarter, safer, and made to last," he added.