Union Joe? Biden’s Foreign Mining Subsidy Scheme Riles Organized Labor

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Labor unions in the U.S. are pushing back against President Joe Biden for allowing foreign nations to tap subsidies for mining, according to Bloomberg.

The unions fear this will deplete American jobs by allowing foreign mining companies to garner government funds via the Biden administration’s climate law, Bloomberg reported. Unions are concerned that providing subsidies to the European Union and Japan would undermine the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) initiatives to bolster domestic mining.

The Biden administration is making deals with the EU and Japan while also communicating with union leaders to ensure agreements protect the domestic industry, Bloomberg reported. The agreements are a part of Biden’s efforts to push aside China, responsible for producing many critical materials, by exclusively working with U.S. allies.

The EU and Japan want these subsidies so they can reap the benefits from tax breaks while mining critical materials and producing electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries within their own countries. The IRA can give subsidies to any foreign actor with a free trade agreement, but it doesn’t specify what that means, leaving the door open for who qualifies.

Some of the concerned unions include the United Auto Workers and the United Steelworkers, who want agreements with the EU and Japan to be limited to five minerals that can’t be produced here in the U.S., according to Bloomberg. The unions also want domestic developments of critical materials to be reviewed every two years.

(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The unions’ pushback comes after the House introduced legislation March 10 to block “bad foreign actors” from leasing U.S. soil for mining operations, a part of the GOP’s efforts to bring back American mining jobs. (RELATED: GM To Make $650 Million Investment In Key Nevada Lithium Mine. But There’s A Problem)

“China controls 95% of the processing of critical minerals. They control 90% of minerals … critical minerals themselves,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told Fox Business’ Larry Kudlow. “So we’re gonna open [American mining] up in an environmentally sound, safe, way that we can mine that we can produce more electric cars but not be beholden to China or any other country.”

EU leaders, including France’s President Emmanuel Macron, have criticized Biden’s IRA for being “aggressive.” They allege that requiring materials be mined on American soil to qualify for tax breaks and other incentives is protectionist toward European companies.

The White House, United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers did not immediately responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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