By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -More than 100 U.S. House lawmakers on Tuesday urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi to keep a $4,500 tax credit incentive for union-built electric vehicles (EV) in a massive spending bill.
In a letter seen by Reuters, 107 Democrats urged Pelosi to retain the credit supported by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, the AFL-CIO and U.S. automakers. The $4,500 credit would provide a significant boost to Detroit's three automakers -- General Motors Co (NYSE: GM ), Ford Motor (NYSE: F ) Co and Chrysler-parent Stellantis.
"We strongly support leveling the playing field between non-union and unionized workforces by including the added $4,500 incentive to support union-made EVs," the letter said led by Representative Thomas Suozzi.
Suozzi said the incentives "help guarantee that working men and women are an integral part of that success story."
Pelosi's office declined to comment.
Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) Inc and foreign automakers do not have unions representing assembly workers in the United States and many have fought efforts to organize U.S. plants.
Last month, 12 major foreign automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp (T: 7203 ), Volkswagen (DE: VOWG_p ) AG, Honda Motor, Hyundai Motor and Nissan Motor, urged Democrats to reject the proposed $4,500 tax incentive and have been lobbying lawmakers to reject the union incentive.
A House panel last month approved legislation to boost EV credits to up to $12,500 per vehicle, including $4,500 for union-made vehicles and $500 for U.S.-made batteries.
The foreign automakers said the proposal "would unfairly disadvantage American workers who have chosen not to join a union and produce more than half of all vehicles in the United States and the vast majority of American-made EVs."
The tax credits, which are part of proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill, would cost $15.6 billion over 10 years.
The EV proposal also does away with phasing out tax credits after automakers hit 200,000 electric vehicles sold, which would make GM eligible again, along with Tesla, although Tesla would not receive the $4,500 credit.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk suggested on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) last month the EV proposal was "written by Ford/UAW lobbyists... Not obvious how this serves American taxpayers."
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