February 6, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 37

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February 03, 2023

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Auto Industry Picks up Capitol Hill Advocacy on Reports of Resurgence of Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) Proposal

Last week, General Motors Chair and CEO Marry Barra, Toyota Motor North America President and CEO Ted Ogawa, Ford Motor Company CEO James Farley, and Stellantis CEO Carlos Taveres sent a letter to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy revamping the industry’s advocacy for the inclusion of certain production tax credits ahead of a possible budget reconciliation package.

This letter comes on the heels of recent reports on Capitol Hill that the lynchpin to the Senate passing a budget reconciliation package, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), has had multiple in person conversations with Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer regarding a legislative path forward on the proposal.  

The letter specifically advocated for the inclusion in any final BBB proposal of House-passed legislation, authored by Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI-05) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) which would extend and build on current tax credits for EVs. Specifically, the provision would make consumers eligible for a $7,500 credit for eligible EV purchases for the first five years and an additional $4,500 credit if the EV is manufactured by a unionized facility, and an additional $500 credit if the EV uses an American made battery. In addition, the proposal would amend the current credit authority to make the credits refundable and transferrable at the time of purchase rather than consumers having to claim the credit on their tax return. Finally, the proposal would bar consumers making over $400,000 from eligibility and creates EV price limits to preclude luxury EVs from eligibility.

While this provision enjoys broad Democrat support in the Senate, Senator Manchin, foreign automakers and Tesla have publicly criticized the $4,500 bonus for union made vehicles.

Additional Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funding that could be included in the bill include:

  • Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Rebate Program –$2 billion for eligible entities for covered expenses associated with EV supplies including grounding conductors, attachment plugs and other fittings, electrical equipment, batteries, among other things;

  • Electric Vehicle Charging Equity Program - $1 billion to provide technical assistance, education and outreach, or grants for projects that increase deployment and accessibility of EV supply equipment in underserved or disadvantaged communities;

  • General Services Administration Clean Vehicle Fleet program - $5 billion for GSA for the procurement of EVs and related infrastructure for the Federal Fleet (excluding USPS and DOD vehicles);

  • United States Postal Service Clean Vehicle Fleet and Facility Maintenance - $3 billion for the USPS to purchase electric delivery vehicles and $4 billion for the purchase of related infrastructure; and

  • District of Columbia Clean Vehicle Fleet - $10 million for the District of Columbia for the procurement of EVs and related infrastructure.

While it is unclear what would be in a final BBB deal or if it would have the votes to pass the House and the Senate, industry representatives are descending on Capitol Hill to push for critical funding and tax provisions that could have significant benefits to their respective industries, especially those provisions that could lower costs for producers and consumers in the current economic climate.

© 2023 Foley & Lardner LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 173

About this Author

William Ball Public Affairs Director Foley and Lardner
Dir, Public Affairs

William “Bill” Ball is a public affairs director with Foley & Lardner LLP. He is a member of the Government & Public Policy Practice in Washington, D.C.

Bill comes to Foley with a decade of experience on Capitol Hill where he worked with House and Senate Committees on energy, natural resources, water and infrastructure issues. Most recently, he served as the deputy staff director for the House Committee on Natural Resources where he led the committee in numerous bicameral negotiations on major legislative packages such as the Water Resources Development Act (P.L. 115-270),...