Fri May 31, 2024

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Politics State

Rep. Bruce Westerman Weekly Column: The Fight for Consumer Choice

Rep. Bruce Westerman Consumer Choice Biden Administration
Rep. Bruce Westerman Weekly Column: The Fight for Consumer Choice
Rep. Bruce Westerman (AR-04)

 Nearly three years ago, far-left Democrats in Congress greenlit a $7.5 billion investment of taxpayer funds for electric vehicle charging nationwide. As a part of the Biden Administration's radical Green New Deal agenda, President Biden vowed to utilize these funds to establish 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030. Since the announcement in 2021, Federal Highway Administration data reveals that only a mere eight charging stations have been completed. This stark contrast between promise and progress underscores Republicans' long-standing argument – that our infrastructure is ill-equipped to meet the demands of the Biden Administration's tone-deaf "EV Revolution."

In its continued efforts to cater to extreme climate activists, the Biden Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet again finalized a rule to accelerate its electrification agenda. This regulation, misguidedly aiming to reduce tailpipe emissions, effectively imposes a de facto ban on most new gas-powered vehicles. This myopic approach not only undermines consumer choice, but also fails to consider the significant infrastructure, costs, and national security implications.

Consumers, particularly those in rural areas, are not enthusiastic about the push for electrification. The recent rule announcement by the Biden Administration only serves as further proof of its disregard for the economic realities of everyday Americans. Electric vehicles (EVs) remain more expensive than the average vehicle, and according to Consumer Reports, they are generally less reliable than vehicles with internal combustion engines. With costs already on the rise, Americans cannot afford to grapple with the financial and practical challenges imposed by the push for electrification.

Complicating matters further, while drafting this burdensome regulation, the Biden Administration simultaneously canceled two critical mine leases in Minnesota and enacted a 20-year ban in the surrounding areas, where the minerals necessary to build EVs can be found in unparalleled qualities. This continued push for EVs, while blocking our ability to source the minerals required to produce them domestically, will significantly increase our reliance on our foreign adversaries, like the CCP, posing a grave threat to our national security.

Arkansans have the right to a variety of affordable and reliable vehicle options, and they should be able to choose what type of vehicle works best for their families. I refuse to stand idle while DC bureaucrats limit Arkansans' options to advance a misguided political agenda. I've undertaken numerous oversight efforts on this issue, including questioning Biden's Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, about the implications of forced electrification. I've also signed onto a bill to push back on the onerous tailpipe emissions rule and the forced "EV Revolution." I will continue to stand up against the Biden Administration's continued efforts to strip Americans' of their right to consumer choice.