To paraphrase a past American president, every pro-EV policy is only one legislative or court decision away from extinction. President Biden’s IRA and BIL (and pro-EV measures in California and other states) have been under attack on multiple fronts since their inceptions.
Uncle Joe recently wielded his veto pen against legislation aimed at delaying investment in public EV charging stations under the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
At issue is a temporary waiver of Buy American requirements for government-funded EV charging stations. Under the BIL, federally-funded EV chargers must be manufactured in the US, and at least 55% of their materials, including iron and steel, must come from domestic sources. However, a Federal Highway Administration rule specifies that the materials part of this requirement won’t take effect until July 2024.
Senate Joint Resolution 38, sponsored by six Republican senators, would block this waiver. The bill passed the Senate 50 votes to 48. Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana joined almost all the Republicans in voting for the bill. (Rand Paul of Kentucky voted Nay, and two other Republicans did not vote.)
US states and companies have said that supply chain constraints would make it difficult or impossible to meet the Buy American standards immediately. The Biden Administration says the short-term waiver will allow for EV charger installation to proceed quickly.
“This resolution would harm my administration’s efforts to encourage investment in critical industries and bring high-quality jobs back to the United States,” Biden said in a veto statement. It would “delay the significant progress being made by my administration and the states in establishing the EV charging network.”
According to Reuters, the Senate is expected to vote to try to override Biden’s veto in the coming weeks, but given the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto, and the slim margin by which the bill passed, an override seems extremely unlikely.