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Tea leaves on latest Manchin's minerals move

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Nov 14, 2023
Illustration of an electric vehicle plugged in to a charging station.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin's latest letter about the IRA electric vehicle tax credit essentially provides policy bullet points for opponents of the program.

Why it matters: Manchin's concerns echo what we've heard a future GOP presidential administration would likely do with the credit (which, remember, he helped write).

Driving the news: Monday the Senate's outgoing coal-state curmudgeon sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen saying he wants the strictest possible definition of "foreign entity of concern" for the IRA's 30D consumer vehicle tax credit mineral sourcing requirements.

  • As we explained here, the "foreign entity of concern" definition is what will determine how many cars ultimately qualify for the credit over time, and most importantly, how much China is too much China for the credit's purposes.
  • Manchin specifies he wants to see Treasury use the same definition regulators put forward for the CHIPS and Science Act.
  • Attorneys who've studied the matter say this definition would take lots of China-linked supplies off the table for qualifying EVs.

Of note: Manchin sent this letter as President Biden's team is meeting with representatives of Indonesia, which has sought a minerals-centric trade deal so cars made with its resources can qualify for 30D.

  • For what it's worth, there's lots of Chinese investment in the Indonesian mining sector too.
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