The U.S. Senate passed a joint resolution, led by Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio to overturn the Biden Administration’s rule to waive Buy America requirements for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations purchased using American taxpayer dollars. The measure is the latest political effort to block Chinese-made EV chargers being purchased using U.S. tax dollars.
Rubio introduced the joint resolution earlier this year under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the rule. The resolution now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The bottom line is this: if we’re going to spend $5 billion of taxpayer money to build electric vehicle charging stations for the United States, it should be made by Americans in America using American products,” Senator Rubio said on the Senate floor before the vote.
“I’m going to give you a chance right now to vote for something that wipes out this waiver that the Biden Administration wants to put in place that will guarantee that that may never happen, and that most of this money from taxpayer money, will go into the hands of Chinese companies to build electric vehicle charging stations in the United States,” Sen. Rubio continued. “We shouldn’t allow that to happen.”
Three other Republicans, U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, Kevin Cramer, and Florida’s Rick Scott were original cosponsors of the resolution.
Here is the the joint resolution introduced by Senator Rubio:RubioEVresolution
Here is the full transcript from Senator Rubio’s floor speech:
RUBIO: One of the things that has become increasingly accepted here, is that deindustrialization was a terrible mistake for America. Number one, it hurt us. It wiped out good paying jobs that we relied on to build strong communities. And second it’s left us vulnerable in our supply chains. One of the things that’s talked a lot about in terms of industries is these provisions called ‘Buy America.’ I think it’s especially important when we’re spending taxpayer dollars on propping up an industry that it have strong provisions that do so. What’s called the infrastructure bill has $5 billion of American taxpayer funds to build electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the United States. In that bill are very specific ‘Buy American’ requirements that those funds may be used only so that all the iron, the steel, the manufactured products, the construction materials that are used are produced in the United States. It’s very simple. It’s pretty straightforward. That’s what the law reads.
The Biden Administration after passing this, however, didn’t just fail to implement this provision – they were almost a year late in even issuing any findings on it – but they’ve now come out with this waiver. A waiver of that ‘Buy America’ requirement that allows foreign made EV chargers –Chinese-made electric vehicle – chargers up until October of 2024. But there’s more – they actually give the Federal Highway Administrator the ability to extend that deadline by five years. So we are now facing, under this waiver they’re requesting, the real prospect that significant portions of the $5 billion that are going to go to electric vehicle charging stations are going to be spent on Chinese companies. Taxpayer dollars.
So we’re either serious about restoring America’s industrial capabilities or we’re not. We should be especially serious about it when we’re spending federal funds on it. Now, I’ve watched some of the debates, some of the things the administration is telling people, you know, about how somehow this is going to have the opposite effect. There’s this 1983 general waiver that they have in place. Everyone knows here that specific statutory language, such as that that exists both in this bill and in other law, that supersedes any of these. But the other is very simple. The administration, as they’ve done with a bunch of other regulations, can either amend it or get rid of this, but they’re using that as a threat.
What they’re basically telling people is, ‘If you vote for this’, ‘If this thing passes’, ‘We will interpret that 1983 general provision, to just do anything we want with regards to this’. So it’s pretty straightforward. Get rid of it. Don’t use it that way. Commit yourself to rebuilding American industry and American jobs.
The bottom line is this: you can play all the jujitsu games you want with regards to language. The bottom line is this: if we’re going to spend $5 billion of taxpayer money to build electric vehicle charging stations for the United States, it should be made by Americans in America using American products. And if you agree with me, I’m going to give you a chance right now to vote for something that wipes out this waiver that the Biden Administration wants to put in place that will guarantee that that may never happen, and that most of this money from taxpayer money, will go into the hands of Chinese companies to build electric vehicle charging stations in the United States. We shouldn’t allow that to happen. I urge everyone to vote for this.