December 7, 2023

Senator Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, left, speaks while Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican from Mississippi, center, and Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA , listen on Thursday April 22nd, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Republican senators on Thursday tabled a counteroffer on infrastructure to President Joe Biden that would profoundly curtail his proposed spending on electric vehicles and weaken a key component of the government’s broader plans to combat climate change.

The GOP plan provides only $ 4 billion for electric vehicle infrastructure. This will cut back Biden’s original proposal to spend $ 174 billion on boosting the EV market and moving away from gas-powered cars to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions.

The Republican proposal outlined on Thursday did not address Biden’s other clean energy policies.

Many Republicans have argued that the infrastructure bill should only address traditional transportation issues, while Democrats have sought a broader package that addresses issues such as climate change and clean energy.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Thursday the government was concerned that the GOP proposal did not contain significant new funds for US transition to a clean energy economy.

The Biden administration’s counter-offer to Republicans last week lowered the overall price of their package while maintaining climate policy, which is part of the president’s core agenda.

As part of his original plan, the president promised to install at least half a million electric charging stations in the US by 2030. He also proposed increasing the domestic supply of EV materials and creating tax incentives for EV buyers as well as subsidy and incentive programs for these charging infrastructure.

Electric cars only make up about 2% of new car sales in the US, but are seen as essential to tackling global warming and realizing Biden’s plan to cut CO2 emissions in half over the next decade and become carbon neutral by mid-century .

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The largest item of expense in the latest GOP offering is $ 506 billion on roads, bridges and major infrastructure projects, up $ 91 billion from last month. Other spending increases include $ 72 billion for water systems, $ 22 billion for ports and waterways, and $ 65 billion for broadband.

The GOP counteroffer is $ 928 billion over eight years after the president last offered Republicans $ 1.7 trillion, which was $ 600 billion less than his original proposal.

Biden’s infrastructure proposal includes energy initiatives to combat climate change, including creating a “Standard for Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity,” a mandate that requires US electricity to come from carbon-free sources such as wind and solar.

Biden’s plan aims to retrofit millions of households to increase energy efficiency. Efforts focus on low-income and minority communities. It would also fund research and development projects on technologies such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and offshore wind.

His proposal also aims to replace all lead pipes in the US and upgrade water systems to ensure safer drinking water. EPA Administrator Michael Regan told a news conference in Chicago Thursday that investing in water infrastructure “is one of the best decisions we can make as a nation.”

The Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday tabled a $ 304 billion re-approval bill for highways, roads and bridges. Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., Called the legislation an “important first step” to improve infrastructure and curb climate change while creating jobs.

The White House hopes to make progress in bipartisan negotiations on an infrastructure package by Memorial Day.