WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — House Democrats held a hearing Tuesday, as they push multiple clean energy bills they say are designed to promote the manufacturing and sales of electric vehicles in the U.S.
Democrats say their plans support elective vehicle infrastructure and ensure the manufacturing happens in the U.S., while Republicans call the efforts counterproductive.
“Everyone has to understand electric vehicles are the future, that’s coming from the auto industry itself,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J. “To ensure we are ready for this growing demand we must invest in the necessary charging and manufacturing infrastructures.”
Democrats and a slate of green energy experts insisted at the hearing that the measures are needed not only to meet President Joe Biden’s climate goals, but to beat competitors and create 21st century jobs.
“Europe and China are implementing several of these policies already,” said Amol Phadke, Ph.D, a staff scientist and deputy department head for the International Energy Analysis Department at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
“We have some catching up to do,” Phadke said.
Republicans don’t see it the same way. They argue a push towards electric vehicles actually threatens jobs and will make the U.S. more vulnerable to China.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., says the U.S. must first secure its own electric vehicle supply chain to ensure energy prices remain low.
“[China] controls 80 to 90 percent of the critical minerals that go into the EV business,” Upton said. “The Clean Future act puts the cart before the horse.”
“The last thing we want to do is take away people’s mobility and livelihoods by limiting options of reportable and reliable vehicles,” Upton said.
Josh Nassar with the United Auto Workers says while his union understands electric vehicle investments are needed, he expects lawmakers to make U.S. workers a priority.
“We don’t really see this as a choice,” Nassar said. “We just need to make sure the new jobs created are good jobs.”
“From our point of view, the future is really on the line,” Nassar said.