House Votes To Overturn Biden Waiver

 January 12, 2024

A seismic shift in the legislative landscape rattles Washington.

The House opposed a measure that would pivot away from strictly American-made resources in the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market.

This Thursday, the House voted against a waiver previously granted by President Joe Biden, which would have allowed EV chargers that do not meet domestic sourcing standards to benefit from government subsidies. The vote outcome was a close 209 against to 198 for the waiver, signaling a contentious debate within the halls of Congress.

Legislative Action On Domestic Requirements

Democratic Representatives Jared Golden of Maine and Donald Davis of North Carolina broke party lines, joining the majority of Republicans to overturn the waiver.  The waiver in question was aimed at relaxing "Buy America" rules specifically for EV chargers, permitting the use of foreign steel and iron as long as the chargers were assembled in the U.S.

The Senate has already passed a resolution to revoke the waiver, aligning with the House's recent vote. Despite this legislative consensus, President Biden has indicated a firm intent to veto any attempt to overturn the waiver. His administration views the waiver as critical to achieving the ambitious goal of making 50% of new car sales EVs by 2030, a key component of his environmental and manufacturing agenda.

The program to expand America's EV charger network, fueled by a $7.5 billion allocation from the bipartisan infrastructure bill, has faced criticism for its slow progress. Critics argue that the “Buy America” requirements are essential for maintaining the integrity of domestic manufacturing, especially in the green energy sector. However, the White House has previously warned that stringent adherence to these requirements could lead to production delays.

Balancing Infrastructure and Domestic Production

The administration's stance is that the waiver was necessary to expedite the deployment of EV chargers across the nation. The White House has warned that revoking the waiver could gum up American charger production. This statement mirrors concerns that without some flexibility, the advancement of the EV infrastructure could stall, hindering environmental progress and economic stimulus.

In February 2023, the Biden administration granted an exemption to the 'Buy America' rules for specific chargers. This exemption permits the use of imported steel and iron in constructing these chargers, provided they are assembled within the United States. This move was part of a broader strategy to balance the urgent need for infrastructure with the administration's "Buy America" commitments.

However, opposition to the waiver has not only centered on economic patriotism. Critics worry about the potential for foreign companies to benefit from subsidies intended to support American businesses. This concern has galvanized bipartisan support for maintaining strict "Buy America" provisions.


The House's vote to overturn President Biden's waiver represents a significant moment in the ongoing debate over domestic sourcing and green infrastructure. The resolution passed by both the House and the Senate showcases a legislative branch wary of deviating from "Buy America" principles, even as the administration seeks flexibility to meet ambitious environmental goals.

President Biden's threatened veto sets the stage for a potential showdown, reflecting the broader challenges of balancing economic nationalism with the urgent pace of modernization and environmental sustainability. The final outcome of this conflict will have profound implications for the future of American manufacturing, the EV market, and the nation's environmental policy.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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