US Senate Passes Bill Providing Tax Credits for “North American” Electric Vehicle Passports – National

The new plan to encourage Americans to buy more electric vehicles built in North America instead of just the United States has cleared its biggest hurdle.

After a marathon vote that lasted almost 24 hours, the US Senate finally approved the new Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

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Vice President Kamala Harris had to break a 50-50 tie to pass the bill, a dramatically smaller version of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion climate and social spending signature package.

The original proposal reserved the richest tax credits for vehicles assembled with union labor in the US – a plan that experts say would have brought Canada’s auto industry to its knees.

But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer agreed with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on a version of the bill that extended the credits to vehicles built in Canada and Mexico.

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The bill is expected to gain approval in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives next week before heading to the President’s desk.

“It’s been a long, hard and winding road, but finally, finally we’ve arrived,” said Schumer on Sunday when the result was no longer in doubt.

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“I am confident that the Anti-Inflation Act will endure as one of the defining pieces of legislation of the 21st century.”

The bill earmarks $369 billion for action to address climate change while limiting drug costs for seniors, expanding health insurance benefits and reducing the deficit.

Climate action also includes incentivizing the construction of clean energy assets such as solar panels and wind turbines, reducing pollution in minority communities, and expanding greener farms.

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Republicans, whose barrage of proposed amendments slammed into Saturday night into Sunday, described their defeat as a win for higher taxes, more inflation and continued reliance on foreign energy.

“Democrats have robbed American families through inflation before,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “Now their solution is to rob American families a second time.”

The tax credits – which also require eligible vehicles to have a percentage of North American critical minerals in their batteries – were barely part of the US debate. Critics say it will be years before consumers can benefit.

But for the Canadian auto industry, the stakes were huge.

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Flavio Volpe, president of the Auto Parts Manufacturers’ Association, was just part of an overall, year-long effort by the industry, Ontario and Ottawa governments to persuade US lawmakers and Biden administration officials to step down.

“It’s a cigar. It’s always a cigar,” Volpe said when asked how he would celebrate the occasion.

“When trade wars are officially over, everyone else has moved on to the next issue of the day. I’ve had so many quiet cigars, it’s become my ritual.”

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Manchin, a Senate by-change vote from a state where Toyota is a major manufacturer, had long opposed the idea of ​​barring foreign automakers from EV incentives — but until last week it wasn’t clear if that would work out for Canada .

The surprise agreement he forged with Schumer marked the culmination of aggressive lobbying that began with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to the White House last November.

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Administration officials say it rivaled in scope only the 2017-18 NAFTA talks, the high-level Trump-era negotiations that forged the flood-the-zone diplomatic strategy now known as the “Team Canada” approach is.

Targeting a broad spectrum of US officials and lawmakers, it included at least one face-to-face meeting between Manchin and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland in recent months.

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With files from The Associated Press

© 2022 The Canadian Press US Senate Passes Bill Providing Tax Credits for “North American” Electric Vehicle Passports – National


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