West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin recently announced that he “just couldn’t” vote for President Joe Biden’s 2021 transformational social infrastructure program, known as the “Build Back Better” law.
One thing West Virginia needs to be clear: In 2022, Senator Manchin has a great opportunity – and, I would say, even a patriotic duty – to stay at the negotiating table and fight for the help that our state has. badly needed.
Earlier this year, following the passage of the bipartisan hard infrastructure bill, Democrats relied on the White House to work with Sen. Manchin to get a yes on “Build Back Better,” which included important clean energy incentives.
But no one should have expected that a climate plan once in a generation would come true easily. And despite the setback of the 2021 version of BBB, it’s not a moment that we can afford to let go. Our state can benefit from a revised version, and we need Senator Manchin to deliver those benefits.
The first reports indicate that the child tax credit program in the latest version of the legislation gave Senator Manchin serious concerns. The Washington Post reported that “on climate change, Manchin backed a scaled-down version of what Democrats demanded – between $ 500 billion and $ 600 billion.”
Now, two political and political developments have taken place that offer renewed hope to see through the climate solutions package that will help realize the vision that has inspired so many Americans.
First, the leaders of Congress spoke. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he will put “Build Better” to a vote early in the new year. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose chamber previously voted to “Build Back Better” in November, pledged the House “will not pass up this opportunity” to improve America’s social safety net and adopt major federal legislation to tackle the current climate crisis.
Second, the Biden administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced “that it will tighten pollution standards for cars and light trucks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles.” … The new rules require passenger vehicles to average 55 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2026. ”This is good news, the timing of which is not lost for“ Build Back Better ”supporters and for those who understand the urgent need for immediate action to combat climate change.
The EPA’s announcement is a reaffirmation of the administration’s and Americans’ commitment to a serious climate agenda. He also underlines the need for Senator Manchin to maintain his support for an essential provision contained in “Build Better”: expanded tax credits for electric vehicles (EVs). As the bill is currently drafted, a maximum credit of $ 12,500 will go to consumers who purchase an American electric vehicle manufactured in the country and manufactured with unionized workers.
The “stick” of the new EPA regulations is made highly achievable with the “carrot” of expanded tax credits. The tax credits match the infrastructure plans for electric vehicles contained in the physical infrastructure bill already passed by Congress and throw cold water on the idea that tax credits for electric vehicles are an indispensable part of the climate agenda. They are not.
While the president The climate vision contains several important elements, in light of new directions from the EPA, the proposed tax credits for electric vehicles are becoming even more politically attractive in the eyes of lawmakers. In fact, one of the easiest ways to tackle climate change at the consumer level is to preserve those credits.
Putting more and more electric vehicles on the road – especially those made here at home and with union jobs vital to West Virginia’s economies and the nation – is the obvious and effective solution to meeting the demands of “Build Back Better” and, now, the EPA, while making a material policy change to tackle head-on the climate challenge facing our country.
As we head into 2022, Senator Manchin will think long and hard about the promises he made to his constituents. I believe he will conclude that these electric vehicle tax credits will help our state and our country. I urge Senator Manchin to use his position to strike a deal for West Virginia and for the future of our planet, because we all benefit from it.
– Tom Rodd, a resident of Moatsville, is one of the founders of the West Virginia Center for Climate Change in Morgantown, W.Va.