Schumer’s plan for a greener America

Jessie Catellano, Staff Writer

Democratic politician and newly instated Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, plans to make America greener in the next massive infrastructure bill. President Biden has begun calls for a vast infrastructure bill, now that the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill has been signed into law. In part of this bill, Schumer wants to include a proposal for every American to swap out their gas-powered cars for electric ones. Additionally, he wants to provide other incentives to make an impact on vehicle ownership throughout the country. Many people think the government should use this money for other modes of transportation, such as public transit, which has taken a massive hit since the pandemic. Is it proper timing for the U.S. government to take action in the auto industry?

The political landscape has notably shifted this year in favor of the Democratic party, a slim majority hold in the Senate persisting under Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote. The Democratic majority will benefit Schumer, and Biden will most likely consent to his plans. Since taking office, Biden has already signed an executive order for electric vehicles to take the place of the government’s 650,000 fleet of gas-powered vehicles. Along with Biden’s potential consent, Schumer has gained the endorsement of three powerful labor unions of his plans: the AFL-CIO, UAW and IBEW, all three of which can help push his agenda in the direction he wants.

In the interest of the electric vehicle consumer, the government will provide direct incentives to auto manufacturers who phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles into electric automobiles. Additionally, the government will grant tax breaks to property owners if they install electric vehicle chargers at their homes or apartment buildings.

Much like most government plans for greener alternatives, this one has also faced criticism. Many Americans would rather see that sum of money spent on, for instance, promoting public transportation throughout the country. Since the start of the pandemic, public transportation agencies nationwide have faced a $23.8 billion deficit. People believe that the government should not spend money on incentives for car purchases when congestion and sprawl in traffic conditions are significant contributors to the greenhouse gas emission problem.

Energy-related gas emissions are one of the leading causes of climate change, which, as demonstrated last year in the catastrophic wildfires on the West coast, is increasingly becoming an existential threat. Ultimately, the government’s plans to provide incentives and push for legislation towards a greener nation are beneficial. The cost for the country is worth the advantageous environmental effects it will have.

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