by John Hugh DeMastri
The Biden administration has decided against offering a $200 million grant to a lithium battery-maker that has been heavily criticized for its close ties to China.
The Department of Energy (DOE) had selected electric battery maker Microvast as one of its intended recipients to receive grant funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. However, the DOE confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that it was no longer in negotiations with Microvast concerning the grant, which would have been used to develop an electric vehicle battery production facility for General Motors, according to Reuters.
Grant negotiations with Microvast have been the subject of criticism from Republican lawmakers who expressed concern over the company’s close ties to China — where roughly 80% of its assets are housed — and the “substantial influence” the company said the Chinese Communist Party held over its business.
“As responsible stewards of American taxpayer dollars, the Department of Energy maintains a rigorous review process prior to the release of any awarded funds,” a DOE spokesperson told the DCNF. “It is not uncommon for entities selected to participate in award negotiations under a DOE competitive funding opportunity to not ultimately receive an award.”
The decision drew a mixed reaction from longtime Republican critics of the potential grant, House Science Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee John Barrasso, in statements released Monday. While Lucas praised the decision as a “win for taxpayers and American businesses” he said he was “incredibly frustrated” that it took several months and significant political pressure from GOP lawmakers to block the potential deal.
“I’m stunned it took the Biden Administration this long to admit the obvious: no company beholden to Communist China should be considered for U.S. government grants or loans,” said Barrasso, in a similarly mixed response. “The administration should immediately reject other applicants with similar ties. It should also overhaul its grant making process and conduct due diligence before issuing press releases.”
President Joe Biden has made domestic manufacturing based on green technology a cornerstone of his economic and climate policies. Tax credits to produce electric vehicle batteries under the president’s signature climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act, could cost some $136 billion over the next decade according to private analysts — more than four times the government’s initial estimate.
Microvast did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
– – –
John Hugh DeMastri is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Microvast, Inc” by Microvast, Inc.