Vitality secretary defends Tesla EV tax credit score exclusion

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Friday defended the Biden government’s proposal to provide tax credits for electric vehicles from unionized automakers, a move that could rule out non-unions Tesla.

“This President is very, very positive about organized labor because organized labor has raised the living standards of so many Americans, and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to encourage that the economy and the labor force really focus on the standards for ordinary Americans, “Granholm told CNBC.Squawk box. “

The tax credit in question would lower the cost by $ 12,500 for a middle-class family who purchases an electric vehicle made in America with U.S. materials and union labor, under the $ 1.75 trillion framework for President Joe Biden’s climate and environmental priorities Social spending. Biden announced the blueprint on Thursday after working out a deal with the Senate Democratic objectors. No details were given beyond the White House factsheet.

Elon Musk’s Tesla is the largest electric vehicle manufacturer and recently launched one $ 1 trillion market valuewhat makes it more valuable than General Motors, ford and several other of the largest global automakers together. The EV Titan’s workforce is not unionized, so Tesla products are not eligible for government tax credits as suggested by the Democrats.

In March it was Tesla ordered by the National Labor Relations Board to urge Musk to remove a threatening and anti-union tweet as the company’s financial records consider Musk’s tweets to be official corporate communications. In the tweet, Musk said his workforce was free to unionize but said they would gain “nothing” because they would lose stock options and pay union dues if they were unionized.

Granholm said Biden is keen to create a level playing field in economic terms.

“He wants to close the prosperity gap in this country,” she said. “He wants to raise the middle class. He wants a policy that builds the middle class from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down.” She said the president believes trade unions can help make this happen.

The Energy Secretary also said she was “totally optimistic” about investing in the $ 23 trillion global clean energy market, which she believes will be there by 2030, and said the US could get a share of that market instead of “standing on the sidelines”.

“We haven’t brought more alternatives online. We haven’t put more technology into the vehicles to make them affordable for everyone,” she said. Tesla is often viewed as a luxury automaker.

“So that requires investment,” said Granholm. “That is why the tax breaks that come with incentives for the private sector to go from the fringes when investing in clean energy are so important to moving this forward.”

Biden’s infrastructure plan will bolster the U.S. semiconductor business: Commerce Secretary

The White House infrastructure plan will make the US more on par with China as it strengthens the US semiconductor industry, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday.

“This is about outperforming China,” CNBC’s Raimondo Jim Cramer said in a “Bad money“Interview.” If we act now … we will compete with China. It is time to do this to rebuild, especially to put in semiconductors, but we have to get to work to do this. “

The comments came moments after President Joe Biden unveiled a $ 2 trillion package primarily tailored to bridges, roads and other transport initiatives. The proposal also calls for a $ 50 billion investment in semiconductor manufacturing and research.

A global chip shortage, compounded by the high demand for computers and other technological products during the coronavirus pandemic, has put American manufacturers under pressure. For example, ford It will be announced on Wednesday Reduction of automobile production in several North American plants due to the low supply of semiconductors.

Raimondo, who left the Rhode Island governor’s home to join the Biden administration, said semiconductors are “the building blocks of a future economy and a digital economy.” Investing in semiconductor manufacturing will pave the way for basic research, more foundry jobs, professional training and advanced manufacturing, she said.

“I am confident that when the business community big and small has the opportunity to delve into this package, it will find that it is all about competing and winning now and in the future. That is good for business and.” good for workers. ” She said.

The Biden government aims to pass an infrastructure law by the summer. The title “The American Jobs Plan” includes spending to combat climate change, improve drinking water infrastructure, expand broadband access and lay the foundations for electric vehicle capability.

The package could face some hurdles in Congress, despite the Democrats’ power advantage. Democrats hold a slight majority in the House and a 50:50 tiebreaker in the Senate. However, Republicans are preparing to object to the size of the package and the White House’s plan to pay for it.

Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as Transportation secretary

Pete Buttigieg speaks at the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation nomination hearings to review his awaited nomination for Secretary of Transportation in Washington.

Ken Cedeno | Reuters

The US Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg as Secretary of Transportation on Tuesday and presented the former presidential candidate with a host of challenges – from the President Joe BidenEnvironmental priorities of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, got approval last week following largely approval from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation friendly listening. He was asked about issues related to Covid-19, the much-needed improvement in infrastructure, and strengthening the powers of the Federal Aviation Administration if he were to lead the DOT, which has 55,000 employees.

In the first two weeks, Biden’s government has already taken strict measures regarding transportation measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Biden extended an entry ban for most non-US citizens who have recently been to Brazil, the UK and much of Europe. On Tuesday, the US government asked passengers to wear masks on planes, trains, buses, ferries and other means of transport.

Buttigieg’s DOT could become a driving or limiting force in the adoption of new technologies, especially autonomous and electric vehicles.

Biden has already directed federal agencies to consider revising the Trump administration’s lowered fuel emissions standards. He also said he plans to replace the government’s fleet of cars and trucks with U.S.-assembled electric vehicles

The 39-year-old will be the first openly gay person to hold a cabinet position and one of the youngest ever.

– CNBC’s Michael Wayland contributed to this article.