Sen. Joe Manchin bashed a proposed provision of the nearly $2 trillion federal social spending bill that would give consumers a tax credit for buying union-built electric vehicles.
The moderate West Virginia Democrat, who may already be putting the brakes on the Build Back Better Act over inflation concerns, called its planned $4,500 credit “not American.”
“We shouldn’t use everyone’s tax dollars to pick winners and losers,” Manchin told Automotive News in an article published Thursday. “If you’re a capitalist economy that we are in society then you let the product speak for itself, and hopefully, we’ll get that, that’ll be corrected.”
Manchin claimed to have confronted sponsor Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) about the provision, telling the publication he told her “it’s not who we are as a country.”
The $1.85 trillion BBB, which has faced numerous hurdles on its way to a vote, includes several provisions designed to boost the sale of electric vehicles and cut US emissions. The bill would come with a $7,500 tax credit for people who buy an electric vehicle until 2026. After 2026, the $7,500 credit would apply only to US-made electric vehicles.
The union-made provision would add an additional $4,500 credit for people who buy a vehicle manufactured in a US factory with union labor. Right now, only GM, Ford Motor and Stallantis NV would qualify, according to The Associated Press.
The credit would only apply to trucks that cost less than $80,000 and cars with a price tag under $55,000.
Manchin isn’t the only critique of that tax credit, with some saying that foreign automakers that operate US plants would be put at a disadvantage if the provision is passed. A group of ambassadors recently sent congressional leaders a letter saying the tax credit “tarnishes the spirit of trade laws,” while Republicans have called the proposal political payback to the United Auto Workers union which has spent big in federal election campaigns, the AP said.
“There’s nothing about a union-made electric vehicle that makes it greener than a nonunion vehicle, so it just seems pretty obvious it’s funneling money to supporters,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said.
Electric vehicles account for about 2 percent of all new vehicle sales in the country, but analytics company HIS Markit estimates that share will grow to 32 percent by 2030.
With Post wires