Sen. Joe Manchin says he is opposed to a $4,500 tax credit incentive for union-made electric vehicles that is part of the House version of President Biden’s massive $1.85 trillion “Build Back Better” legislation.
The moderate West Virginia lawmaker made the remark at an event in his state with executives with Toyota Motor North America, which plans to invest $240 million to build a components plant there.
Manchin has repeatedly opposed the legislation’s overall cost as well as a number of provisions including its dismissal of fossil fuels including natural gas and coal, both of which are major industries in West Virginia. In addition, Manchin has voiced concerns about the impact pouring trillions more dollars into the U.S. economy will have on inflation, which is already at 30-year highs.
In his comments, Manchin also noted that he has had disagreements over his stance regarding the tax credit incentive for union vehicles with fellow Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
“When I heard about this, what they were putting in the bill, I went right to the sponsor, and I said, ‘This is wrong. This can’t happen,'” Manchin said, according to Automotive News.
“It’s not who we are as a country. It’s not how we built this country, and the product should speak for itself,” Manchin told the industry outlet. “We shouldn’t use everyone’s tax dollars to pick winners and losers.
“If you’re a capitalist economy that we are in society then you let the product speak for itself, and hopefully, we’ll get that, that’ll be corrected,” he said, adding that the union carve-out is “wrong” and “not American.”
Toyota, along with other non-union automakers in the U.S., has criticized the provision as being beneficial to American brands Ford and General Motors, which have major manufacturing operations in Detroit.
The measure, which has not yet come up for a vote though one is expected next week in the House, also contains a $7,500 credit for purchasers of electric vehicles, and that would benefit several automobile manufacturers.
Manchin has said he is not in any hurry to see the Build Back Better plan passed and has indicated his opposition to several other provisions.
Last month, he told reporters that he has issues with the amount of new social spending, adding that he does not want to create an “entitlement society.”
“I’ve been very clear when it comes to who we are as a society, who we are as a nation, and why we are still the hope of the world,” he said. “I don’t believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think that we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society.”
Some economists have pushed back on Biden’s spending agenda overall, describing it as reckless and harmful.
Kevin Hassett, a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and a onetime top economic adviser to Trump, has described Biden’s policies as “econo-cide.”
“I’m trying to think of the right word for what Biden is doing…Biden-nomics is not negative enough. He’s really doing econo-cide,” Hassett told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Wednesday evening.
“You know, he’s got a demand stimulus that’s as big as we’ve ever seen and then he’s whacking the heck out of supply. You know, he’s regulating firms, promising big tax hikes—you, know, we have the highest marginal tax rate in the whole developed world if they pass those tax hikes, and all of that is basically creating all this cash chasing supply but supply is going down so you see inflation,” Hassett added.
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