President Biden had visited a car plant and given a policy statement, but he couldn't leave Michigan without trying out a new electric pickup truck.
He drove a hybrid version of Ford's classic F-150 truck around a test circle, demonstrating features that he and his administration believe would help persuade Americans to embrace a low-emission, electric-car future that extends from residential driveways rural back roads.
Before hitting the gas, Mr. Biden told reporters through an open window of the prototype truck, "This sucker is fast."
However, the transition from gas guzzlers to plug-in powerhouses that he advocates would be anything but fast. Mr. Biden and Republican members of Congress are at odds about the president's $4 trillion economic plan and the right way to help America compete with China in the decades ahead.
Biden called for spending hundreds of billions of dollars on domestic production, electric car deployment, and studies into new developments like advanced batteries during remarks at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center on Tuesday.
He was flanked by trucks from the country's best-selling vehicle line and cheered on by Detroit automakers and autoworkers who want the government to assist the industry in leading what they see as an inevitable but difficult global competition to replace gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles. Supply chain snags and autoworkers' concerns of job loss have also slowed the transition, which the president hopes to mitigate through his infrastructure plan.
Conservatives continued to put the brakes on President Biden's electric-vehicle plans in Washington, where two of his cabinet secretaries met with Senate Republicans in an attempt to broker a compromise agreement on infrastructure investment.
Senate Republicans say their counterproposal to Vice President Biden's transit plan would provide any funding for electric cars, but they cannot match Mr. Biden's dollar amounts.
Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and a co-author of the Republican infrastructure package, said, "The Biden administration is pushing costly fantasy jobs while killing existing ones at a time when America cannot afford to lose these jobs."
Mr. Biden's $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan focuses extensively on physical infrastructure and government investment to accelerate the transition to an economy less reliant on carbon oil to tackle climate change. The proposal provides tax credits for low-emission cars, money to turn one-fifth of the nation's school bus fleet to electric power, money to install 500,000 electric charging stations around the country, and various other funding to promote electric car research, development, and rollout.
Mr. Biden has pledged that by 2030, the United States would have reduced its climate-warming emissions by half from 2005 levels, an ambitious target that will necessitate a dramatic restructuring of the country's economy, including a drastic transition by American drivers from cars and trucks powered by internal combustion engines to zero-emission electric vehicles.
The Biden administration expects to consider reinstating strict new mileage and tailpipe pollution requirements by midsummer. After the Trump administration scaled back Obama-era fuel-economy regulations designed to curb planet-warming vehicle emissions.
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