President Biden on Thursday stood by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), telling reporters he makes “no apology” for the green energy subsidies that have rankled European leaders.
Foreign officials have accused the U.S. law of being “protectionist,” and French President Emmanuel Macron has complained that subsidies meant to incentivize semiconductor production for electric vehicles have put European industries at an unfair disadvantage. Speaking at a joint press conference with Macron, Biden acknowledged the $368 billion spending and tax law may have “glitches,” but overall defended what the White House views as a signature achievement of his administration.
“Look, the United States makes no apology and I make no apology, since I wrote it, for the legislation you’re talking about,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question about the complaints. “But there are occasions when you write a massive piece of legislation – and that has almost $368 billion for the largest investment in climate change in all of history – and so there’s obviously going to be glitches in it.”
Macron was hosted by Biden for his second state visit to Washington, D.C., since assuming office in 2017. Before he came to the U.S., French officials had said Macron would confront Biden over the subsidies contained within the IRA.
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In a private meeting with U.S. lawmakers Wednesday, the French president had reportedly said the subsidies were “super aggressive” toward European companies, according to Reuters. Other top European officials have called the green energy policies “discriminatory” and warned that public opinion is turning against America as Europeans are squeezed by high inflation and energy scarcity caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
White House officials have insisted that the Inflation Reduction Act is not undermining Biden’s promise to Europe that “America is back” as a reliable ally.
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“There’s a lot we can work out, but the essence of it is we’re going to make sure that the United States continues, and just as I hope Europe will be able to continue, not to have to rely on anybody else’s supply chain. We are our own supply chain. And we share that with Europe and all of our allies. And they will, in fact, have the opportunity to do the same thing,” Biden said.
“So there’s tweaks that we can make that can fundamentally make it easier for European countries to participate and or be on their own. But that is something that is a matter to be worked out,” he continued.
“There is no fundamental – it was never intended, when I wrote the legislation, I never intended to exclude folks who were cooperating with us. That was not the intention. The intention was to make sure we are no longer in a position when there was a pandemic in Asia and trying to decide if they’re going to no longer sell us computer chips. We invented the damn things, you know. So anyway, but my point is, we’re back in business. Europe is back in business, and we’re going to continue to create manufacturing jobs in America, but not at the expense of Europe.”