ICYMI: Manchin Speaks in Support of Amendment to Block Administration’s Attempt to Force Americans into Purchasing Electric Vehicles

March 22, 2024

To watch Chairman Manchin’s speech on the Senate floor, please click here. 

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, took to the Senate floor to support his amendment that would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently finalized tailpipe emissions rule that could, in effect, force American consumers to purchase electric vehicles.

Chairman Manchin’s remarks as prepared are below. To watch the Chairman’s speech on the Senate floor, please click here.

Mr. President, I rise in support of amendment number 1725, my amendment with Senator Crapo on the administration’s EV tailpipe rule.

This administration’s Electric Vehicle policy has been held completely captive by activist environmental groups and radical advisors in the White House.

First, they tried to bribe Americans to buy EVs, and now they’re trying to mandate that we all do—years before we have a supply chain that we can rely on.

That is just not the American way. 

Transportation is foundational to our economy. The U.S. has always been able to manufacture our own vehicles—transmission, alternators, engines—but that changed with EVs.

The Inflation Reduction Act is, was, and always will be an American energy security and domestic manufacturing bill. 

The White House wanted money for EVs. I wanted domestic manufacturing and secure supply chains. 

Our compromise was simple—the administration only got money for EVs and batteries that were made and sourced in America and with our free trade partners—not for doing business with foreign countries of concern: China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

But the administration has completely liberalized—and in fact broken—the law that was agreed to and actually passed.

We put strict, but achievable, standards in the IRA to ensure that China and other nations that don’t share our values don’t benefit off the backs of American taxpayers and that we don’t willingly give President Xi a geopolitical weapon to use against us. 

I waited in gas lines in 1974 after the oil embargo.  I do not intend to wait in line for a battery produced from China because of this administration’s rush to EVs at all costs. 

But last year this administration proposed cutting in half the IRA’s requirements for sourcing critical minerals for EV batteries—domestically and with our reliable, free trade partners. 

And the IRS made things even worse with its proposed rules on foreign countries of concern, delaying deadlines we wrote right into the IRA that were intended to remove China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea completely from our battery supply chains.

The IRA set deadlines for the end of 2023 and the end of 2024 to completely remove these countries from the critical minerals and battery manufacturing supply chains if automakers want to continue to qualify for the credit.

But now the IRS is proposing “temporary” exemptions through at least the end of 2026 to allow batteries containing minerals from these countries of concern to qualify for years longer than the law allows. 

That’s another three years of China and other foreign nations reaching deeper into and controlling more of our electric vehicle battery supply chains. And this will put America another three years behind. 

Worse yet, the IRS under this administration seems to have adopted a new legal strategy to avoid any accountability from the courts or Congress. 

By issuing “proposed rules” like this and never finalizing them, the IRS can break the law, implement it the way they wish it was passed, and possibly avoid any judicial review.  

That is a breach of everything we agreed to in good faith, and not the way that government in this great country of ours should ever operate.

Let me be clear, there is no question that the IRA is bringing more investment to this country than ever before. 

Electric vehicle and battery makers announced $52 billion in investments in North American supply chains before the IRS started loosening the rules. 

Numbers like this show that breaking the law doesn’t get us more investment—it just makes the cost go up for American taxpayers, and sends our tax dollars to China. 

But even bribing Americans with a liberalized, unlawful $7,500 wasn’t good enough for this administration because it doesn’t meet their political timetable to eliminate gas-power vehicles. 

So, the EPA piled on by proposing these new tailpipe rules that force automakers to limit consumer choice and force Americans to buy EVs full of Chinese parts.

EPA wants more than two-thirds of new cars to be electric by 2032, when only 8% of them are electric today. 

The only way it would be possible to get anywhere close to that is to throw the doors wide open to China—especially when the administration wants to cut in half and delay the IRA requirements to secure our supply chains until 2027 or later.

Xi Jinping is already showing he will use critical minerals as leverage to put Americans and the free world at risk by directing the Chinese government to implement new restrictions on exports of several critical minerals.

I would expect that from Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. 

But I can’t believe we’d be dumb enough to play into their hands.

I never could have expected our own government to give up so easily and continue to let foreign nations control our nation’s transportation.

I will do everything in my power to hold them accountable, protect America’s taxpayers, and secure our energy supply chains.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment, and I yield back.

To watch Chairman Manchin’s speech on the Senate floor, please click here.