President Joe Biden has returned from the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, focused entirely on ramming through his “Build Back Better” Plan, which is a multi-trillion-dollar, debt-fueled boondoggle.
It contains many indefensible provisions, but one of the most absurd is a $4,500 bonus tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs) — but only for EVs assembled in a union-organized facility.
A cornerstone of Biden’s plan to address climate change is to dramatically increase the sale of EVs in the U.S. by 2030. In order to achieve that goal, automakers like Nissan and Volkswagen, which make cars in Tennessee, have promised to ramp up EV production and sales across the country.
According to Pew Research, only 2% of new vehicles purchased in the U.S. today are electric.
The Nissan Leaf has been completely reinvented, combining greater range with a dynamic new design and advanced technologies, representing Nissan’s technological leadership.
The Administration also wants to use tax credits to encourage consumers to purchase EVs.
Though I would prefer that the Administration allow market forces and consumer choice to drive vehicle purchase decisions — not government tax preferences — the stated purpose for the tax credits is clear.
Yet, when you look at the fine print, rather than encouraging the production and sale of all EVs to meet this supposed goal, the Administration is punishing the production of EVs in non-union plants.
For example, under the current Biden Build Back Boondoggle, the purchaser of a vehicle made in a unionized location would be eligible for a $4,500 tax incentive, but the purchaser of an identically priced Volkswagen ID.4 made in Chattanooga would not.
Why is the Biden Administration undercutting their supposed goal of increasing EV production?
It’s simple: Democrats will sacrifice American workers or climate goals to appease their political mega-supporters — the union bosses. The United Autoworkers Union (UAW) is no fan of EVs because they require a smaller workforce, meaning less dues-paying union members.
This $4,500-per-car for union facilities is their payoff — an attempt to strong-arm more unionization. The fact that, for non-union employees, this discourages the production of EVs and disregards their choice not to unionize is of no concern to Democrats; it’s just the cost of doing political business.
And how much of the EV market would this impact? Of the 52 EVs available in the U.S. market today, only two would receive this labor-union incentive. But because Biden desperately needs the labor unions to support his plan, Democrats’ supposed climate goals must give way when the union bosses demand.
CEOs, foreign ambassadors, and U.S. governors have written letters to the White House opposing this discriminatory and restrictive EV tax credit.
Their concerns range from potential violations of international trade rules and discrimination against American workers, to undermining Biden’s own climate priorities.
Furthermore, states like Tennessee have become automotive powerhouses — housing operations for Nissan, Volkswagen, Toyota, General Motors, and now Ford — companies that have made the decision to invest billions in EV production in right-to-work states.
In my home state of Tennessee, UAW twice tried and failed to organize at the VW plant in Chattanooga because their employees voted against it. President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now trying to tip the scales with this new, highly discriminatory tax break that will place pressure on non-union carmakers.
This multi-trillion-dollar boondoggle is impossible to justify for many reason, and it only gets worse the closer you look. No wonder they want to pass it before the American people can truly find out what’s in its more than 2,000 pages.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Gallatin) represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.