Brown to join Manchin on measure to undo electric car tax credit exemption

Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents up for reelection this year, will join Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in supporting a resolution to repeal Biden administration rules allowing some China-made battery parts to qualify for an electric vehicle (EV) tax credit, Brown’s office confirmed to The Hill.

Under the final rule, issued by the Treasury Department last week, EVs will qualify for the tax credit, intended for American-made cars, even if certain battery components were produced in China.

The tax credit is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to incentivize EV purchases and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the automotive sector. The new rule expands existing exemptions, adding graphite to the qualifying materials.

Manchin, who is not running for reelection, was a critic of the exemptions before the addition of the graphite exemption, and has vowed to introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to undo it. The CRA allows a simple majority of Congress to vote to overturn executive branch rulemaking.

Brown and Manchin’s support will give the measure the votes to pass the Senate if every Republican votes for it as well. Biden is likely to veto the measure, as he has for every previous CRA resolution targeting his administration’s energy and environment rules.

“The Administration is wrong — this will allow China to infiltrate the American auto supply chain, at American taxpayers’ expense. American tax dollars should support American manufacturing and American workers — not enrich Chinese companies,” Brown said in a statement. “Ohioans in Appalachia are pioneering exciting work to turn coal into graphite that could be used in these batteries. We cannot allow Chinese companies, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, to use our tax dollars to stop this work in Ohio before it gets off the ground.”

“We cannot allow American tax dollars to enrich Chinese companies attempting to infiltrate the American auto supply chain,” Brown added in a statement to The Hill. “We created this tax credit for American-made cars and it needs to stay that way.”

Brown, despite his status as an incumbent, red-state Democrat, has had a less adversarial relationship with the Biden administration on energy policy than Manchin. However, he has backed CRA resolutions against Biden rules that waived tariffs on some solar panel imports and those that regulated greenhouse gas emissions on the federal highway system. Another colleague, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), is also up for reelection in an even more solidly red state, and has also joined multiple such CRAs.

The Hill has reached out to the Treasury Department for comment.

This story was updated at 4:11 p.m.

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