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Now Is The Time To Rescue American Autoworkers

Seventy years ago, the CEO of General Motors could say that “what’s good for General Motors is good for America.” The auto industry was booming, building upon its wartime expansion as the “arsenal of democracy.” Workers shared in the industry’s prosperity. A job in the American auto industry delivered an income that could comfortably support a family, and autoworkers found peace of mind in working toward a secure retirement.

But the same cannot be said today. The U.S. auto industry has fallen victim to offshoring and stagnating productivity. While some sectors—particularly tech and finance—have done well, wages in other industries have stagnated. And it’s become nearly impossible to raise a middle-class family on a single income.

Now, American autoworkers face a new existential threat. They have been sentenced to death—by electrification.

Through federal mandates and tax subsidies, President Biden seeks to transform the auto industry to fit his Left-wing climate agenda. His administration’s premature transition to electric vehicles will cost taxpayers over $100 billion in subsidies for cars most people don’t want to buy. While progressives congratulate themselves on EVs being the cars of the future, car buyers don’t agree. For most brands, EVs are a loss leader, and EVs sit on auto lots about three times longer than traditional combustion cars.

Washington elites, beholden to special interests and radical environmental activists, downplay the destructive costs an all-EV auto industry would bring. But they cannot escape the truth: With so much of the mining and components manufacturing done in China, the Biden administration’s EV mandates have driven up the cost of American cars all while enriching the workers of China.

Have we learned nothing over the last generation? There is no way to build middle-class American prosperity by offshoring our industrial might to a strategic rival. The Biden administration’s forced transition to electric vehicles could destroy nearly half a million jobs over the next decade.

We’ve already seen the job-killing effects of their misguided EV agenda in Northeast Ohio. Up the road from the once-iconic Lordstown Assembly Complex, where 15,000 union workers once assembled millions of cars, now stands a battery plant that employs a fraction of the workers at a fraction of the wages. Many of the components and minerals those cars rely on were produced in China, not the broader American economy. And earlier this summer, we saw the much-heralded electric vehicle company Lordstown Motors file for bankruptcy. During my campaign last year, Democrats assured me that Lordstown Motors would be an example of the prosperity delivered by Biden’s Green New Deal. Now it’s a monument to industrial failure.

The Biden administration would rather shutter every combustion engine facility in Ohio than admit their EV pipedream is crushing our auto industry. Autoworkers in Cleveland, Defiance, Sharonville, Anna, Lima, Toledo and across the Midwest will be left in the breach—casualties of the far Left’s religious zeal for electric vehicles.

To all the autoworkers in Ohio and across the nation: It does not have to be this way.

I will do all that I can in the Senate to protect their jobs and secure a better future for the auto industry. That is why I introduced the Drive American Act to end the EV madness and provide a much-needed boost to American auto jobs. The bill eliminates over $100 billion of Joe Biden‘s EV subsidies and replaces them with a new credit for gas-powered vehicles produced and assembled in high-wage facilities within the United States. Jeeps built at the historic Toledo Assembly Complex will qualify for my new credit, but only if Stellantis gives the plant’s union workers a generous raise.

Today, I will join striking UAW workers on the picket line in Toledo and stand with them in their fight for higher wages and long-term survival. My message to the UAW leadership is simple: I will fight for American jobs and higher wages for American auto workers.

But I need your help. Every time Biden policy drives an auto job overseas, it destroys the bargaining power of the UAW and hastens the day when allegedly American companies tell American workers: “We don’t need you. We make plenty of cars in China.”

Ohioans have too much to lose. Our state builds more internal combustion engines than any other in our union. Now is the time to reject Joe Biden’s disastrous obsession with electric vehicles and rescue the American auto industry.

J.D. Vance is the Republican Senator from Ohio.

The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.

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