Biden administration wants to buy EV charging station materials from China

Four Republican U.S. senators on July 26 started efforts to reverse a Biden administration plan to waive “Buy American” requirements for government-funded electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, Reuters reported.

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) and Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota) all said the Federal Highway Administration waiver of U.S. content requirements for steel, iron and construction materials must be blocked because it would otherwise result in U.S. taxpayers subsidizing Chinese-made products - the exact opposite intent of “Buy American’’ requirements.

The Biden Administration seeks to ignore our laws whenever they don’t fit their plans. That is not right.

“It hurts American companies and empowers foreign adversaries, like China, to control our energy infrastructure,” Sen. Rubio said.

He is right, of course, also making the issue a national security one.

The agency did not immediately issue a comment. It said in February that the short-term waiver would enable “EV charger acquisition and installation to immediately proceed.”

What is the hurry, after all?

Congress has set aside $7.5 billion to fund electric vehicle charging stations. The intent of Congress, hopefully, was not to send all those tax dollars to China.

Under the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law, federal infrastructure projects like EV chargers must obtain at least 55 percent of construction materials, including iron and steel, from domestic sources and must be totally manufactured in the United States.

The rules adopted in February do not start imposing the 55 percent requirement until July 2024. The chargers must be assembled at a U.S. factory, it was reported. No timeline was mandated.

EV chargers require iron and steel for some of their most crucial parts, including the internal structural frame, heating and cooling fans and the power transformer. 

Chargers with cabinets that house the product require even more steel, making up to 50 percent of the total cost of the chargers in some cases.

U.S. states and companies had already warned that demand for EV chargers, and not enough supply, was straining the supply chain, making it difficult, if not impossible, to meet Made-In-America standards and expedite construction of new chargers.

The Kansas Department of Transportation, for example, told the Biden administration earlier this year that capacity was insufficient to fill the need for EV chargers, noting that wait times for some electrical components ranged from 60-80 weeks, without considering the increased demand created by new federal funding.

It is bad enough that the Biden administration believes it must artificially create demand for EV charging stations when the open market system still will not. 

That the Biden administration now seeks to waive “Buy American’’ requirements for building EV charging stations and would import materials from China to do so tells us all we need to know about our federal government under the Biden administration. It is not right.                  

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141


Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on our latest news!

Manage my subscriptions

Subscribe to Greer Citizen newsletter feed