House Democrats press leaders to include more funding for electric vehicles in spending plan
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 Matsui (Calif.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Nanette Diaz Barragán (Calif.) and Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), the group of 29 lawmakers called for meeting President Biden’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.
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 Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (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 Fischer (R-Neb.), was ultimately adopted with the support of three centrist Democrats: Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kirsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Mark Kelly (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 DeFazio (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.