During a Wednesday review session on Capitol Hill, Republican members told U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg how upset they were with the Biden administration’s stance on electric cars.
To help Buttigieg out, Democrats have been praising the administration for the record funding that has been going into projects thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These projects are helping to reduce freight jams and make it easier for walkers to get around.
At the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, however, some Republicans said that Buttigieg and his department were to blame for making things worse between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Big Three automakers by linking the current UAW strike to the administration’s push to electrify the nation’s car fleet.
Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said that EV incentives make the market unfair for cars that his people don’t want to buy.
Concerns Over EV Affordability and Impact on Auto Industry Jobs
Perry informed Buttigieg that the individuals he works for are unable to afford the requirements being imposed on them. The government is funding the destruction of our own auto industry, and these are not market forces. It is worth noting that around two-thirds of EV owners have an annual income exceeding $100,000. My constituents do not do that. The fact is that forcing car companies to produce these vehicles at a loss of approximately $60,000 per vehicle sold is having a detrimental impact on UAW jobs.
In reaction, Buttigieg said that more government spending in U.S. manufacturing had led to a rise in manufacturing jobs during the current administration, unlike “the manufacturing recession” under the Trump administration.
Buttigieg’s Commitment to Auto Jobs and Concerns Over Potential Fines for Manufacturers
Buttigieg said that he got started in politics when an Indiana factory faced the threat of closure due to an elected official in his state attempting to prevent the administration from rescuing Chrysler. I became involved and stood with the UAW to save those jobs, and I will always support the preservation of auto jobs.
Representative for Michigan’s Republican Party, John James, has said that manufacturers might be on the hook for $10 billion to $13 billion in fines if they fail to meet the stringent corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE) criteria established by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. James worried that this would reduce revenues and prevent them from being shared with autoworkers.
He said that if penalties are levied on automakers, it will take money away from autoworkers. The president is aware that he is taking money away from the autoworkers by impugning their bonuses.
Buttigieg’s Confidence in Auto Industry Compliance and Concerns Over the UAW Strike Impact on the Trucking Industry
Buttigieg said that this wouldn’t work because it assumes that car companies wouldn’t follow the new rules.
Buttigieg stated that the industry claimed it was impossible to have vehicles more efficient than 13.5 miles per gallon since the introduction of the first CAFE standards during the Nixon administration. The industry ultimately accomplished the task, resulting in billions of dollars saved for American consumers and improved air quality. I am confident that the industry can continue to comply with the law, just as they have done in the past.
He added that he believes manufacturers should go further to ensure that record corporate profits result in record contracts for the UAW.
Logistics and supply chain experts have warned that the UAW strike, which is now in its eighth day, could have a big effect on the trucking industry, especially car haulers.
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