A group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday said they’d take a more aggressive approach to tax credits for electric vehicles, including an extension of a ban on federal subsidies for the vehicles.
The lawmakers said they’ll send a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao asking her to lift the ban, saying it could spur more adoption of electric vehicles and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We think this is a great way to bring in the federal tax dollars that we’re already investing in electric vehicles,” Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in an interview.
He added that the extension of the ban could also lead to more Americans using electric cars.
The House and Senate passed a bipartisan bill in February that would have extended the tax credit, but the Senate didn’t take it up until this month.
“It’s been over two years since we’ve seen a significant number of EVs,” Sherman said.
“So I’m not saying we’re done, but we’re going to be more aggressive with it.”
Sherman said the extension would be effective at the beginning of 2021.
“You can’t just say, ‘Oh, it’s not going to happen.’
It’s going to continue to happen,” Sherman added.
The legislation would allow federal tax credits to be extended for five years if Congress extends the existing ban on the credits.
The extension would also extend the extension until 2027, according to the bill.
The tax credit program provides credits to encourage the use of electric cars, which currently cost about $7,500 per vehicle, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The bill, which passed the House in February, also would extend the tax credits through 2024, which is also when a federal law that extends the tax breaks expires.
Sherman said it was important to have Congress act in a bipartisan way.
“That is a huge bipartisan issue,” Sherman told POLITICO.
“They’re doing the right thing in Congress.
I think it’s a good thing that the administration is taking that into account.”
The House bill passed in February was co-sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D, Calif.), the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee.
“Tax credits should be an incentive for Americans to buy and use electric vehicles so we can reduce our carbon footprint and we can spur more deployment,” Schiff said in a statement at the time.