Three Senate Dems Vote With Republicans To Dismantle Plank Of Biden’s EV Agenda

Three Senate Democrats crossed the aisle on Wednesday to vote against a plank of the Biden administration’s electric vehicle (EV) agenda.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana voted with their Republican colleagues to nullify a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rule that critics have characterized as an effort to reduce the number of gas-powered cars on America’s roadways. Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who typically caucuses with Democrats, also voted in favor of the nullification resolution, bringing the final vote tally to 53-47.

The FHWA rule would have required state transportation agencies to establish emissions reduction plans for federally-funded roadway projects. The agency unveiled the finalized rule on the day before Thanksgiving 2023.

Two federal judges also have ruled against the regulation in recent weeks.

 

Manchin helped introduce the nullification resolution alongside Republican colleagues, while Brown and Tester each face competitive reelection bids in the 2024 cycle.

However, the White House has said President Joe Biden would veto the bill if it reached the president’s desk, according to Politico.

“Few things are more frustrating in government than unelected bureaucrats asserting authority they don’t have and foisting federal mediocrity on the excellence of states,” Republican North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, who introduced the legislation, said from the Senate floor on Wednesday. “The Senate will take up my bipartisan resolution that overturns the Biden administration’s obviously illegal rule that requires state departments of transportation to measure CO2 tailpipe emissions then set declining targets for vehicles traveling on the highway systems of their perspective states.”

Cramer has been a consistent and vocal critic of the regulation, describing it as “fundamentally unworkable” in rural states like the one he represents. He has also previously characterized the regulation as a thinly-veiled effort by the federal government to push EVs.

Other federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), have pushed their own rules in recent months that will effectively mandate large increases in EV production over the coming years.

The White House and FHWA did not respond immediately to a request for comment.


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