OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much these days, but the Dem-controlled Senate joined with the GOP-controlled House to block a rule imposed by the Biden administration that was seen as much more beneficial to Chinese companies.
Fox News reported on Thursday that the House, “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.”
House Republican Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said in a statement: “I voted to overturn Joe Biden’s pro-Communist China rule that would undermine American businesses that have made significant investments into EV manufacturing. 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 added, per Fox News. “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 that took place on Thursday occurred two months after the Senate approved the resolution. Authored by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and introduced in July, it received a 50-48 vote in favor, with Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Jon Tester of Montana, along with Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, joining all Republicans in support. The resolution will proceed to Biden’s desk, although the White House has indicated that the president intends to veto it.
Rubio’s joint resolution aims to revoke the President’s Waiver of Buy America Requirements for Electric Vehicle Chargers. Rubio, who serves as the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, along with other Republican lawmakers, contended that the waiver would ultimately favor Chinese manufacturers, who currently dominate the electric vehicle charger supply chain, Fox News added.
In February 2023, the Department of Transportation (DOT) introduced the conclusive Made in America EV charger waiver rule. This rule relaxed more stringent conditions and extended certain deadlines by several months, marking a significant win for green energy industry associations. The waiver regulates the criteria for manufacturing and assembly that EV charging companies must meet to qualify for substantial federal taxpayer-supplied subsidies worth millions of dollars, the report continued.
The DOT presented a stricter proposal in August 2022, which the waiver regulations represented a revision of. The initial four-phase proposal would have required an immediate elimination of all requirements. Then, it would have mandated that EV charger companies commence assembly in the U.S. starting from January 1, 2023. Additionally, it would have mandated the manufacture of chargers with a minimum of 25% American-made components by cost, effective from July 1, 2023. Finally, by January 1, 2024, the proposal would have necessitated chargers to be manufactured with no less than 55% American-made components by cost.
The approved waiver simplified the process into two phases and extended crucial deadlines. It mandates that EV charger companies must conduct the final assembly of chargers within the United States and that the cost of American-made components in chargers must account for 55% of the total product costs, beginning on July 1, 2024. Notably, the waiver eliminated the previous requirement of having a 25% domestic component, Fox reported.
“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.