Yesterday, President Biden once again showed that he will always pick the interests of Communist China over the interests of America when he vetoed a Republican led bill that would have overturned his Administration’s rule to waive the “Buy America” requirements for Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations purchased using American taxpayer dollars.
MAKE NO MISTAKE: Biden’s veto lines the pockets of Communist China with American taxpayer dollars while hurting American manufacturers. House Republicans believe American taxpayer funds should only support American-made products, to revive domestic industries, create jobs, and avoid dependence on our foreign adversaries.
FACTS ABOUT S.J. RES. 38 (Courtesy of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure):
S.J. Res. 38 was introduced pursuant to the CRA, which allows Congress to invalidate executive agency rules through a joint resolution. Specifically, this resolution would invalidate FHWA’s final rule providing a waiver for Buy America requirements for EV chargers, and, if enacted, bar the rule from having force or effect.
On February 21, 2023, FHWA published, in the Federal Register, a notice providing a waiver for Buy America requirements for EVchargers. The waiver went into effect on March 23, 2023, and applies to all EV chargers manufactured by July 1, 2024, whose final assembly occurs in the United States and installation started by October 1, 2024.
Buy America provisions are laws requiring the Federal Government to purchase goods that are produced or manufactured in the United States and apply to various sectors, including transportation infrastructure. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (P.L. 117-58; IIJA) included additional Buy America provisions and increased applicability to a wider range of infrastructure projects.
President Biden set a lofty goal of installing 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, and to support this heedless push for a massive transition to EVs, the Biden Administration quickly moved the FHWA Buy America waiver for EV charging infrastructure. Yet, the Administration’s broader implementation of the Buy America provisions included in IIJA was slow, confusing, and contradictory, with stakeholders raising concerns regarding a lack of clarity and certainty.
IIJA created the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) formula program and the Charging Infrastructure discretionary grant program. The programs were funded at $5 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively.
In November 2023, thousands of auto dealers across the country wrote to President Biden, expressing concerns with the Administration’s regulatory agenda and its rush to EVs, citing a lack of consumer demand for such vehicles, writing in part, “the majority of customers are simply not ready to make the change.”
IIJA requires general applicability waivers to be reviewed within five years of issuance. As such, FHWA will be required to review its EVcharger waiver five years from the February 2023 issuance date and will be required to publish in the Federal Register a determination regarding whether the waiver will be continued or discontinued, meaning it could potentially be extended beyond the initial five-year period.
China is leading the world in the buildout of its EV charger network, reportedly constructing 650,000 EV chargers in 2022 alone. Comparatively, according to the White House, as of early 2023, there were approximately 130,000 public chargers in the United States.
In recent years, an estimated 15 companies have opened or committed to opening or expanding EV charger manufacturing facilities in the United States. A Buy America waiver for EV chargers undermines these important investments and risks empowering foreign adversaries, like China.
The resolution passed the Senate on November 8, 2023, by a vote of 50 yeas to 48 nays.
The resolution passed the House on January 11, 2024, by a vote of 209 yeas to 198 nays.