Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On President Biden’s Trip To Michigan To Highlight The Importance Of Zero-Emission Vehicles, And On The Need To Take Action On Schumer’s Clean Cars For America Proposal As A Key Element Of The American Jobs Plan

May 17, 2021

Washington, D.C.   Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the president’s upcoming trip to Michigan to emphasize the importance of electric vehicles. Senator Schumer also stressed the need to pass the American Jobs Plan including his Clean Cars for America proposal. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Tomorrow, President Biden will visit an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Michigan, where a major American auto company is set to unveil its new electric pickup truck.

Tomorrow’s announcement is a significant breakthrough. Because it’s one of the best-selling cars in America, the success of an electric pickup could hasten our nation’s transition to a cleaner, brighter, and stronger transportation future.

And personally, I am very happy to see the Biden Administration put a spotlight on zero-emission vehicles.

This is an issue I’ve been working on for a very long time and something I’m very passionate about. No matter how you look at the data, there is no way that America can meet our targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions without looking at how we drive. Transportation accounts for nearly one-third of America’s carbon output. And while the transition to electric vehicles is already underway, it is progressing too slowly.

That’s why almost two years ago, I developed and introduced an ambitious new proposal to rapidly phase-out gas powered vehicles and replace them with clean cars. All told, the object of the plan—called Clean Cars for America—is that by 2040, all vehicles on the road should be clean. I’m delighted that President Biden has put this proposal in his Build Back Better America infrastructure plan.

Through a mixture of credits and investments, it would make electric vehicles affordable for all Americans, provide incentives to trade-in older gas vehicles, build the necessary charging infrastructure, and, very importantly, create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs in auto-making, construction, and battery manufacturing.

What distinguishes this proposal is its ability to unite the environmental movement, the labor movement and large automakers. Isn't that a great thing? We used to have the environmental proposals and union proposals conflict. No more, because we're taking each other’s needs into account. This bill has already earned the support of the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters; the United Automobile Workers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and car manufacturers like Ford and General Motors are supportive as well. So you have the whole span. Something like this should pass with a lot of votes, I hope.

And I was very proud to see President Biden put my Clean Cars for America proposal at the heart of his American Jobs Plan.

In recent weeks, the virtue of such a plan has been made apparent to millions of drivers—and not just for climate-saving reasons. The gasoline shortages all along the eastern seaboard, though temporary, revealed once again that electric vehicles can be more reliable. For EVs, the price and availability of fuel doesn’t depend on the ebb and flow of fossil fuel discovery, the volatility of international markets, or panics like the one we just saw. On every front—on jobs, on American economic leadership, protecting the planet—transitioning to a clean car future provides enormous benefits. In the 20th century, in auto manufacturing, America led the way. If we fall behind on electric cars, we will no longer lead the way. But this legislation helps us stay number one and produce lots of good-paying jobs. Hallelujah.

So as the president prepares to go to Michigan for this important announcement, we should also be talking about making a larger-scale, ambitious effort to speed our country’s transition to zero-emission vehicles. Clean Cars for America is the way to do it.