Has Marco Rubio already spent too much time in Washington?
Rubio says he is open to subsidizing the development of electric vehicles (EVs) — and a bill introduced by fellow Senate Republican Lamar Alexander may give Rubio the opportunity to betray his Tea Party roots.
As reported by Climatewire, Alexander’s S. 948:
… provides $2 billion in grants over five years for “electric vehicle deployment communities,” each of which could receive $250 million for developing a plan to add charging stations, update building codes and train new workers. Each community has to match 20 percent of the cost.
It also provides $300 million in grants and loan guarantees to help companies transform large fleets of work vehicles into electric-powered cars and trucks. The maximum grant is $20 million, with each company paying 80 percent of the conversion cost.
Another $375 million is provided for battery research, a deployment program at the Department of Energy, and to help federal agencies buy electric cars.
Alexander introduced his bill as a palliative to the much-dreaded climate change. As he told the National Journal yesterday,
My view on climate change is of course it’s occurring. Anyone can see that. The big argument is what you do about it. … I think what you do about it is take steps.
Remember this for the future: Lamar Alexander = Al Gore.
Anyway, Rubio said,
I want the U.S. to lead the world on electric cars. How we accomplish that, I’m open to debate on it.
Climatewire reported that while Rubio wouldn’t comment directly on Alexander’s bill, he said that the question of whether the government should subsidize a specific technology has “validity.”
But Rubio states on his web site:
Floridians are concerned about the out-of-control spending in Washington that is piling up debt. Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the “federal budget is on an unsustainable path.” Right now, forty cents of every dollar the federal government spends is being borrowed from future generations. This is unacceptable and a $14 trillion debt is unsustainable. We need a government that stops spending more money than it takes in.
Senator Rubio has made a commitment to Floridians to tackle this debt problem. To start cutting our spending and reduce the deficit, Senator Rubio believes that we must immediately freeze non-defense, non-veterans spending at 2008 spending levels.
So wouldn’t EV subsidies qualify as “non-defense, non-veterans spending”? Did we miss an exception he carved out for EVs?
Further and as Alexander made plain, S. 948 is also a climate change bill. But in February 2010, Rubio stated,
I don’t think there’s the scientific evidence to justify [manmade global warming]. The climate is always changing. The climate is never static.
Finally, it’s not like anyone really wants EVs anyway… GM has only sold 1,700 of the CO2-spewing Chevy Volts this year. When did Rubio convert to a central planner who sees EVs as something Americans should be driving in spite of their market-expressed disinclination?
It’s bad enough that Rubio would betray his Tea Party roots — and what got him elected in the first place — on subsidies, but betraying his clearly articulated position on global warming and dabbling in central planning makes us think that he is just another unprincipled Republican politician. Blech…