In a recent development, President Joe Biden has vetoed a proposal aimed at overturning a White House waiver permitting foreign-made components in federally funded electric vehicle (EV) chargers. The GOP measure, if passed, would have reverted U.S. policy to a 1980s rule allowing foreign content in American manufacturing, consequently eliminating domestic manufacturing requirements. The White House contends that the bill would harm domestic manufacturing and American job opportunities. This veto comes amidst a backdrop of heightened concern over China’s dominance in the EV battery market, with bipartisan support for keeping China out of the supply chain for EV chargers.
Sen. Marco Rubio, who spearheaded the resolution, argues that taxpayer money should be invested in American-made products to build EV charging infrastructure. Despite a veto threat from the White House, the Senate narrowly passed the resolution in November.
The availability of charging stations is crucial for meeting the Biden administration’s goal of ensuring that EVs constitute half of all new car sales by 2030. Concerns about a lack of charging infrastructure, commonly referred to as “range anxiety,” remain a significant deterrent to EV adoption. To address this, the White House is gradually implementing “Buy America” domestic content requirements for EV chargers, aligning with goals set out by Congress in the 2021 infrastructure law.
Rubio insists that Biden should sign the resolution into law, emphasizing the need to prioritize American interests and industry over foreign competition. The ongoing debate underscores the challenge Biden faces in balancing clean energy initiatives with reducing reliance on China in critical sectors like EV technology.
Overall, the vetoed Republican measure highlights the complex interplay between economic nationalism, clean energy goals, and geopolitical concerns in shaping U.S. policy on EV infrastructure and manufacturing.