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Report: Biden To Ease Off On Electric Vehicle Push To Win More Union Support

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


President Joe Biden is planning to ease off on his administration’s push to have Americans buy more electric vehicles (EVs) in order to win more union automaker support, according to a report published on Friday.

The New York Times reported that the administration will relax restrictions placed on tailpipe emissions in order to facilitate more EV sales in an appeal to the automobile manufacturing industry and its unionized workers.

According to the Times, the proposed regulations offer automakers an extended timeline to transition to EVs, thanks to relaxed emissions standards. Instead of a few years, automakers would have until after 2030 to shift the majority of their production to EVs.

Biden has consistently sought to win the support of union workers, notably the United Auto Workers, whose union leaders endorsed him this year. However, there’s apprehension among rank-and-file union workers regarding the potential impact of an EV transition on their jobs. Their concern stems from the fact that producing EVs requires less labor, and their production isn’t governed by the same union contract.

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Under Biden’s guidance, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the current regulations last spring. Once fully implemented, these regulations would require automakers to sell a significant number of zero-emission vehicles within a narrow timeframe. The plan aims to achieve approximately 67 percent of new car sales being electric by 2032, a substantial increase from the current 7.6 percent.

Former President Donald Trump has actively sought to win over union workers, holding meetings with officials and rank-and-file members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters twice in January. Additionally, in a video released in July 2023, Trump explicitly requested the endorsement of the United Auto Workers (UAW). In the video, he criticized the Biden administration’s electric vehicle policies, arguing that they adversely impacted auto workers and were much more beneficial to China, which has cornered the market thus far in battery production.

Also, there is concern that, should Biden manage to win in November, he would immediately switch back to the current strict EV implementation schedule, thus alienating the very union membership he is now trying to court.

Biden’s strategy seems patently political, given a frank admission by UAW president Shawn Fain.

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Just days after he said the organization was formally endorsing Biden’s reelection, he dropped a bombshell during a live Fox News interview about the preferred candidate for most members, appearing to suggest it will be Trump.

After Fain fielded some questions about the slumping sales of electric vehicles and how that could affect the union labor force moving forward, host Neil Cavuto noted that in past decades, sizeable numbers of UAW members supported President Ronald Reagan and his successor, President George H. W. Bush, as well as other Republican presidents through the years.

Cavuto then went on to point out that many UAW members were supportive of Trump in 2016 and 2020 and remain supportive of him now before asking Fain how he felt about that.

“Look, it’s democracy in action,” the UAW boss began. “Let me be clear about this: A great majority of our members will not vote for President Biden. Yeah, some will, but that’s the reality of this. The majority of our members are gonna vote their paychecks. They’re gonna vote for an economy that works for them.”

While Fain did not say that the “great majority” would be voting for Trump, that was the impression he gave since Cavuto had just mentioned past UAW rank-and-file support for previous Republican presidents.

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