Advocates for both workers’ rights and climate policy are condemning Sen. Joe Manchin’s latest statements opposing provisions in the Build Back Better Act, the $1.75 trillion social spending and climate action package that has already been substantially weakened due largely to the right-wing Democrat’s objections to numerous anti-poverty and environmental measures.
Manchin’s most recent oppositionis to tax incentives for electric cars made by American workers who are members of unions.
The senator attended an event last week that was attended by representatives from Toyota. Toyota workers do not have union representation. told Automotive News that incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles from the only three auto companies with unions — the U.S.-based Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler — would be “un-American” and “wrong.”
“We shouldn’t use everyone’s tax dollars to pick winners and losers,” Manchin told the outlet at the event, where Toyota announcedIt would invest $240million in a plant in West Virginia that is not affiliated with the union to produce hybrid cars.
Toyota and other foreign-owned auto companies have been lobbying against this provision, while United Auto Workers has expressed support. If passed as it’s written now, the Build Back Better Act would provideElectric vehicle buyers will get a maximum tax credit $7,500. If the vehicle is made by unionized workers, there will be a $4,000.
As Earther reported Monday, the tax incentive could have a major impact on Americans’ ability to purchase vehicles not solely reliant on fossil fuels, as “price still remains the number one barrier in preventing new [electric vehicle] adoption.”
A 2020 surveyIpsos Global found that electric vehicles would cost consumers only 10% more than conventional vehicles. The tax credit would lower the cost of some electric cars by $12,000 to $20,000, which is far less than the current average price of $42,000.
President Joe Biden said last month that he wants workers and companies that benefit from the tax incentive to be “here in Michigan, not halfway around the globe.”
Ray Curry, president of the UAW, said last month the tax incentive “would be a win for auto manufacturing workers” while also encouraging “nonunion manufacturers to let their workers freely organize.”
David Lurie, writer and attorney, is evident said, “Manchin thinks being pro-labor is un-American.”
JoiningSens. and John Cornyn, Republican lawmakers, are opposed to the tax incentive. Roger Wicker (R.Miss.) and John Cornyn, both Republicans from Texas.), whose states would also benefit from promoting the purchase of electric vehicles from non-union companies like Nissan Tesla.
With the Senate evenly split between the Democrats and Republicans, Biden and Senate Democrats need Manchin’s support to pass the Build Back Better Act — a dynamic that’s directly resulted in the scrapping of provisions including the Clean Energy Performance Program and paid family and medical leave.
Now, said progressive campaign group Our Revolution, Manchin’s opposition to the tax credits is “inexcusable.”
“Our climate is running out of time — yet Manchin wants to stand in the way of affordable and sustainable solutions,” saidThe group. “Shame!”