U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., agreed Wednesday to a slimmed-down Democratic bill that includes an extension of a consumer tax credit for buying electric vehicles, a reversal for the moderate senator.
The extension will allow automakers to continue to offer $7,500 in tax credits for new electric car purchases and $4,000 for used electric vehicles for the first time.
Amid more than a year of negotiations on the “Build Back Better” bill, Manchin said earlier this month he was only willing to support a bill that didn’t include any climate provisions. He said he would only support a reconciliation bill that includes a provision to lower prescription drug prices and a two-year extension of subsidies for the Affordable Care Act.
Manchin was explicit in a mid-July statement that lawmakers should focus on the “economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire” and “put political agendas aside.”
Just last month, Manchin told Fox Business he didn’t think the electric vehicle tax credits were a good idea.
“If you have a product that’s in demand and most people have to wait for that product, why would you give a discount in order to encourage someone to pay for it or buy it back?” Manchin told reporter Grady Trimble. “On the other hand, we want to make sure that we do develop this industry, but I’m concerned about EVs more from the standpoint of being totally reliant on a foreign supply chain. Right now, most of the batteries, computer chips, all this is coming from China. So what we’re doing is going to hold ourselves basically totally captive by China or foreign supply chains.”
Before July, Manchin has previously said he was amenable to climate provisions in the bill.
Still, the bill is massively slimmed down. At one time, Democrats had hoped the party-line bill could be as large as $3 trillion, which Manchin shut down negotiations on late last year.
With Democrats hoping to be able to tout a legislative win before the midterms, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has kept up direct talks with Machin throughout the spring and summer.
Manchin said Wednesday the new deal includes tax, climate and prescription drug provisions.
“For too long, the reconciliation debate in Washington has been defined by how it can help advance Democrats’ political agenda called Build Back Better,” Manchin said. “Build Back Better is dead, and instead we have the opportunity to make our country stronger by bringing Americans together.”
The recent surge in demand for electric vehicles comes amid record-high gas prices.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Hillary Vaughn, Jason Donner and Haris Alic contributed to this report.