(Bloomberg) -- Senator Joe Manchin accused US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen of “not following the law” on electric vehicle tax credits as automakers push the Biden administration to apply broad interpretations to a bill that he largely wrote last year.
“She’s basically not following the law and this administration is not,” he told reporters Thursday.
Manchin said the administration has “cherry picked” which of the new rules for EV tax credits it wants to follow. He cited delays to finalizing requirements for EVs qualifying for the tax credit to be built with a certain value of their minerals extracted or processed in the US, or a country that has a free-trade agreement with the US.
At the same time, a prior cap on manufacturers who’d offered earlier tax credits to EV consumers was lifted as scheduled this year, at least temporarily opening up tax credits to companies such as Tesla Inc. and General Motors Co., who’d maxed out on the pre-existing credits as far back as 2018.
Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said the of the dichotomy, “they just picked and chosed and said, ‘OK, we’ll give you $7,500’.”
The Treasury Department said in December, by which time it had been required to finalize the rules, that it was aiming for a March release given the complexity of the issue. The department did not respond to a request for comment Thursday on Manchin’s comments.
Manchin, who has expressed skepticism about the need for EV tax credits at all, has introduced a Senate bill that would halt the credits, worth as much as $7,500, until implementation rules are finalized for the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed last year after he weighed in heavily on it.
The legislation, known as the IRA, has been hailed as a major piece of industrial and climate policy, with about $270 billion in tax breaks including for EVs and renewable energy.
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