Build Back Better
Getty Editorial

The future of EV tax credits in the new year is in jeopardy as democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has said he will not support the Build Back Better Act. The $1.9 trillion-dollar spending plan includes key funding for social programs, health care and childcare costs, and climate change initiatives. It also includes up to $12,500 per new electric vehicle purchase in EV tax credits. Without Sen. Manchin’s support, the bill could be dead in the water.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Manchin said, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.

“This is a no on this legislation. I have tried everything I know to do. And the President has worked diligently. He’s been wonderful to work with. He knows I’ve had concerns and the problems I’ve had and, you know, the thing that we should all be directing our attention towards the variant, a Covid that we have coming back at us in so many different aspects in different ways, it’s affecting our lives again.”

In response, the White House issued a statement that Manchin’s decision came as a surprise, and it called out the senator for reversing his prior commitment to support the bill. The opening says, “Senator Manchin’s comments this morning on FOX are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances. Weeks ago, Senator Manchin committed to the President, at his home in Wilmington, to support the Build Back Better framework that the President then subsequently announced. Senator Manchin pledged repeatedly to negotiate on finalizing that framework ‘in good faith.’”

Related: Electra CEO Trent Mell breaks down the Biden infrastructure bill and its impact on EVs

Schumer commits to hold a vote in new year

Initially, it appeared Manchin’s about-face, pulling support from the BBB Act, would kill the bill. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that a vote would still be held early in the new year on the $1.9 trillion act. 

Schumer said, “Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every Member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television. We are going to vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act — and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.”

Although the BBB Act still has life, it’s taken a damaging blow with Manchin’s refusal to vote in favor of it. Negotiations will likely continue and any iteration that is voted into effect will potentially have massive differences to the current version. 

EV affordability and infrastructure is at risk

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has already been approved, including $7.5 billion in funding for EV charging station implementation in the current decade. However, affordability for electric vehicles is at risk with as much as $12,500 in tax credits for a new vehicle purchase under threat. Those refundable credits are a key component in making EVs affordable in the mass market for carmakers, especially those with models coming to market in 2022 such as the Ford F-150 Lightning. Credits would take the mid-level XLT’s price tag from around $53,000 to just over $40,000.

Should the Build Back Better bill get scrapped, carmakers could be under extreme pressure to find ways to make their EV products more affordable in manufacturing – a challenge that relies heavily on the struggling supply chain and efforts to become autonomous in material procurement domestically.

The Democrats have vowed to put pressure on Sen. Manchin with the goal that he will reverse his televised decision and, ultimately, support the bill along the party lines.

Did you enjoy this article from Jason Unrau? Read other articles on CBT News here. Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch-up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.