President Biden is heading to a Ford Motor plant in Michigan on Tuesday to highlight the need to invest in electric vehicles as the White House looks to drum up support for his $2.3 trillion tax and spending plan, which includes billions to transform the auto industry.
Biden will tour Ford's new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, where the company is producing its new electric F-150 lightning pickup, ahead of the truck's official launch on Wednesday. The F-150 Lightning, which Ford is heralding as a turning point for electric vehicles, is expected to go on sale by mid-2022.
Ford's new truck will be built by union laborers. The company said it expects to spend about $700 million and create 300 new jobs.
"The fact that he’s coming shows the commitment and the interest our government has in the electrification of the auto industry," Ford Chairman Bill Ford said last week during the automaker’s annual shareholders meeting. "The fact that we’re taking America’s favorite vehicle and we’re electrifying it really is a huge exclamation point. That hasn’t been lost on anyone, including the president of the United States."
The president is expected to use the visit to promote his sweeping infrastructure package, known as the American Families Plan, which allocates $174 billion for investments in electric vehicles. The White House said the money will "enable automakers to spur domestic supply chains from raw materials to parts, retool factories to compete globally, and support Americans workers to make batteries and EVs."
It would also provide sales rebates and tax incentives to encourage Americans to buy electric vehicles, and offers grant and incentive programs to state and local governments to expand the number of electric-vehicle chargers that are available. The plan would replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and switch at least 20% of school busses to electric vehicles.
"The president is going there because electrifying America’s best-selling vehicle is an important part of his priorities, an important part of his focus," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week.
The travel is part of the administration’s "Getting America Back on Track Tour" to sell the spending proposals as they move past Biden’s first 100 days in office.
Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other administration officials began the travel blitz at the end of April, fanning out across the country to tout the sweeping "Build Back Better" agenda, which includes the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan.
GOP lawmakers have raised concerns about both of the spending proposals, criticizing the price tag; the expansion of the social safety net; the lack of spending on traditional infrastructure; and the proposed tax hikes on rich Americans and corporations.
With narrow majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats have the option to circumvent Republicans and pass the measure on a party-line voting using a procedural tool known as budget reconciliation. But some moderate members, including Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have indicated they want to pursue a bipartisan deal first.
Some Democrats have floated the possibility of approving a narrower, bipartisan bill that's focused on traditional infrastructure issues before pivoting to a broader package that would be passed without any GOP support.