Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The House of Representatives on Dec. 6 voted to pass a bill that will block a proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to effectively mandate that most cars produced in the United States be fully electric by 2032.
The bill, H.R. 4468, dubbed the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act of 2023, passed the House by a 221–197 vote. That included total GOP support; Democrats, meanwhile, sought to have the bill sent back to committee.
The bill would block an EPA rule that would require roughly 68 percent of cars manufactured in the United States be fully electric by 2032. The rule has won the support of President Joe Biden's administration.
Republicans have rallied against the proposed standards, which they say are unrealistic and threaten to undermine consumer freedom—as well as to increase U.S. dependence on China.
Around 90 percent of the rare earth minerals used to create electric vehicles (EVs) are sourced from the top U.S. adversary.
The broad support among Republicans for blocking the rule was on full display in November, when over 200 House and Senate Republicans signed onto a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urging opposition to the rule (pdf).
"While we are supportive of the free market producing electric vehicles to satisfy a market need, this misguided EPA mandate would have an immediate, detrimental impact on the choices and affordability of cars, trucks, and SUVs available to our constituents," the Republican signatories said. "It also increases America’s dependence on China."
Specifically, those who signed the letter pushed for the inclusion of a reversal of the EV standards to be included in the final draft of 2024 government funding.
"Not only would the EPA’s proposed regulation hurt America’s national security, but it would severely limit consumer choice for affordable vehicles that fit the needs of the average American," they wrote. "At a time of inflation, high interest rates, and rising costs, the last thing Americans need is to find both new and used vehicles unaffordable because of an EPA mandate."
The National Automobile Dealers Association has also criticized the EPA rule, which they called "too far, too fast."
In a Dec. 5 press conference the bill's sponsor, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) and other House Republicans spoke in support of the measure to overturn the rule prior to its vote on the floor.
“This standard … is unattainable, it’s unaffordable, and in fact it’s unrealistic,” Mr. Walberg said.
Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) agreed, saying that the notion that most vehicles should be fully electric by 2032 is "ridiculous."
She said, "If we force automakers to do this, they will bleed money, which will mean layoffs for employees of families who are already struggling under this administration, and manufacturing will move outside of the United States.
"That is not good for our taxpayers."
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), another enthusiastic supporter of the proposal, raised a series of concerns about the potential effects of a mandate.
Specifically, he pointed to the instability of the U.S. electric grid, which is currently unable to support a large-scale move toward EVs.
As proof of this, he pointed to a case in California a few years ago when Gov. Gavin Newsom asked Californians not to charge their EVs between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. due to strains on the electric grid.
"What do you do when you're stuck? What do you do when your wife is pregnant in the hospital?" Mr. Roy said. "These questions are existential threats to the well being of American families."
Despite its passage by the House, the legislation seems unlikely to pass muster in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority.
And even if it did pass the Senate, President Biden has promised to veto the bill.
The White House has defended the rule, saying it's "projected to save Americans $12,000 over the lifetime of a new light-duty vehicle by accelerating adoption of technologies that reduce fuel and maintenance costs alongside pollution."
However, Republicans are unusually united behind the effort to overturn the rule, and this issue could become a key point of negotiations over spending next year.