Debt Limit Ceiling Bill Targets Biden’s Electric Vehicle Agenda

Brian McCowan, Zondits staff, 6/7/2023

Climate activists and clean energy advocates have widely applauded the investments in climate-related action promised in both the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure legislation. Those investments are now in jeopardy as House Republicans hold the debt ceiling hostage and propose to gut the administration’s clean energy portfolio. 

Real Clear Energy and multiple other news outlets are reporting that one focus of the Republican-supported debt ceiling bill is to eliminate billions of dollars in tax credits earmarked for supporting the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). The tax credits being targeted include both direct incentives for vehicle purchases as well as investments in national and regional charging networks. 

The ripple effect of undercutting those public investments would be enormous. General Motors, Ford, Toyota, and all other major automakers have announced plans to produce millions of EVs per year and their transition has already begun. General Motors and Chrysler have both announced the total phase-out of internal combustion powered automobiles. 

EVs are also recognized as the chief pathway for reaching the new emissions standards announced in the last several weeks by the Biden administration.  

Real Clear Energy is further reporting that the debt ceiling bill dovetails with efforts by major oil companies to curtail the transition to EVs. “Republican state lawmakers in Wyoming, supported by the oil and gas industry, introduced legislation to ban the sale of EVs by 2035, calling the development of EVs “a misadventure” (the bill failed) and, more recently, when the Texas legislature voted to impose fees ($200 or $400 depend on the vehicle’s age) on anyone buying an EV (the bill passed).” Paul Alexander; Real Clear Energy.  

It is also being reported that private industry trade groups representing truck stops and convenience store chains are being funded by oil companies to intervene in electric utility rate cases when those utilities seek to establish publicly funded charging station networks. The trade groups state that they are seeking a “level playing field” for their clients who wish to establish private charging stations. 

Read the full text of the Real Clear Energy article.

May 30, Update – The tentative agreement reached between Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy would retain the clean energy investments included in the Infrastructure and Inflation Reduction Acts. Several Republican members of the House have communicated that they will not support the negotiated compromise unless it includes a pullback in such spending. And, some members of both parties object to the inclusion of expedited permitting for the Joe Manchin-backed Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia.