April 12, 2024

Democrat and Republican Senators team up to block Biden's EV agenda

A group of Democratic U.S. senators recently helped their Republican colleagues block part of President Joe Biden's electric vehicle agenda. 

The Daily Caller reports that three Senate Democrats voted with all Senate Republicans to nullify a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rule.

The three Democrats are U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Jon Tester (D-MT).

The final vote was 53 to 47. The fourth non-Republican senator to strike the rule down is U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

The rule

The Biden administration unveiled the FHWA rule in November 2023, around the Thanksgiving holiday.

"The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced a finalized performance measure that will provide State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) a national framework to track transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), along with the flexibility to set their own targets for reduction," the announcement read.

The Daily Caller, at the time, explained that the FHWA rule would essentially require "state and local transportation agencies to establish greenhouse gas reduction targets for federally-funded roadway projects."

Suffice it to say that the rule is highly controversial. The Daily Caller reports that many view the rule as a way for the Biden administration, and thus the federal government, to impose the Democrats' climate change agenda on state and local governments.

Critics also have argued that the FHWA rule would have significantly reduced the number of gas-powered cars on the roads by forcing Americans to switch to electric vehicles.

It's not over yet

The senators did not directly strike the FHWA rule down. Instead, they introduced a nullification resolution to nullify the rule.

This resolution is, essentially, a piece of legislation, meaning that, after it passes through Congress, it will go to Biden's desk, where he can choose to veto it. The White House has already indicated that Biden will do so.

Politico reports, "[I]f the resolution passes the House, President Joe Biden would veto it, the White House said in a statement of administration policy issued during the Senate vote."

The White House further told the outlet that the nullification resolution would remove “a common-sense, good-government tool for transparently managing transportation-related GHG emissions and informing transportation investment decisions."

So, it appears that we should now expect a veto from Biden. With the current makeup of Congress, where Republicans have a narrow majority in the House and Democrats have a narrow majority in the Senate, it is unlikely that Congress will be able to override the veto.

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