U.S. labor unions are pushing back on White House efforts to allow European Union and Japanese firms mining and processing critical minerals to tap some of the lucrative subsidies available in the Biden administration's massive climate law, fearing the move will sap American jobs.
Unions, including the UAW, worry that providing concessions to other nations would undermine the goal of bringing jobs and investment to the U.S. and detract from the Inflation Reduction Act's intent of creating a domestic electric vehicle supply chain, according to people familiar with the matter.
The resistance from some of President Joe Biden's biggest political supporters threatens to further complicate his efforts to pursue the deals with allies. It also comes as lawmakers warn against any trade deal that side-steps Congress.
The tension comes at the intersection of two seemingly unrelated pursuits by the White House — boosting America's energy transition without relying on China for key inputs and reviving domestic manufacturing and labor.
The White House is working closely with union leadership to ensure any potential agreement safeguards domestic supply, an aide said, adding that the climate law's made in North America and battery-sourcing eligibility requirements wouldn't change.