Both Republicans and Democrats Want ‘Buy American’ Provisions for E.V. Chargers
While it may seem at times that America is hopelessly divided, there are some issues on which lawmakers seem to agree. For example, both Republicans and Democrats support protectionist policies that drive up prices for consumers.
From the first days of his administration, President Joe Biden has pledged that by 2030, electric vehicles (E.V.s) should make up at least half of all vehicles sold in the United States. The 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act apportioned tens of billions of dollars to expand E.V. adoption, including $7.5 billion “to build out the first-ever national network of EV chargers.” The administration hoped to build 500,000 chargers by 2030.
To be eligible for funds, E.V. chargers must be built in the United States, and the cost of the American-made components used in their construction must be “greater than 55 percent of the total cost of all components of the manufactured product.”
But in February, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) waived the “Buy American” requirements for chargers “manufactured by July 1, 2024, whose final assembly occurs in the United States, and whose installation has begun by October 1, 2024.” It noted that a temporary postponement “enables EV charger acquisition and installation to immediately proceed.”
In July, Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 38, stating “that Congress disapproves” the waiver “and such rule shall have no force or effect.” On Wednesday, the resolution passed in the Senate, 50–48; Sens. Sherrod Brown (D–Ohio), Joe Manchin (D–W. Va.), Jon Tester (D–Mont.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I–Ariz.) crossed the aisle to support the measure.
“Waiving the Buy America requirements on EV chargers won’t help American taxpayers or workers,” Rubio said in July. “It hurts American companies and empowers foreign adversaries, like China, to control our energy infrastructure. We should never use American dollars to subsidize Chinese-made products.”
Interestingly, Democrats counter that Rubio is in fact the one responsible if the U.S. “subsidize[s] Chinese-made products.” After it passed, Sen. Bob Casey (D–Pa.) called the resolut
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