WASHINGTON — Rep. Tim Ryan Tuesday urged President Donald Trump to reconsider his threat to end federal subsidies for electric vehicles, saying such a move might actually make it harder for the soon-to-be-shuttered Lordstown plant to land a new vehicle.
Ryan, a Niles Democrat whose district includes the Lordstown plant, urged Trump in a letter to fight for the plant, which was one of five North American facilities that GM announced plans to close last week. Some 14,000 people, including about 1,600 from the Lordstown area, would lose their jobs.
“You recently suggested cutting federal subsidies for electric vehicles in an effort to punish GM, but that is not the solution and may, in fact, backfire — making it even harder to land a new vehicle at the Lordstown plant,” Ryan wrote.
Separately, in a conference call with reporters, Sen. SherrodBrown said rather than focusing on taking away subsidies for electric cars, “I want the president to focus on Lordstown and protect our investment there and protect these jobs.”
In a series of tweets after GM announced its plans to close the plants, Trump threatened to remove subsidies given to GM including “electric car subsidies” as a punishment.
“We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including....for electric cars,” he tweeted.
But the subsidies for purchasing electric cars go to those who buy electric vehicles, not manufacturers themselves. Those subsidies were included in legislation, making it unclear whether Trump could take away the subsidies legally. GM is also close to maxing out a 200,000-unit sales cap on the production of electric cars, which would trigger a phaseout of that tax credit, according to a Brown spokesperson.
Brown and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are scheduled to meet with GM CEO Mary Barra Wednesday afternoon in Portman’s office. Ryan announced that he, too, will meet with Barra on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.