White House denounces the idea of a ‘Ford F-150 tax’

In general, when it comes to rhetorical framing, Republicans tend to trounce Democrats. For example, it was the GOP and its messaging specialists who came up with gems such as “death tax” and “marriage penalty.”

With this in mind, it was interesting to see White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki try her hand at this.

During yesterday’s briefing, a reporter inquired about how a possible infrastructure package might be financed, and what President Biden and his team are likely to consider acceptable. The White House has already rejected calls for increased gas taxes, and the reporter yesterday asked, “User fees on electric vehicles, is that in the same category as indexing the gas tax from your guys’ perspective in these negotiations?” Psaki responded:

“Yes, we are not for a Ford F-150 tax. I’m not sure why others are.”

The same reporter, recognizing what the press secretary was up to, replied, “Good framing.”

Psaki was referring, of course, to Ford’s F-150 Lightning electric pickup, which as Rachel noted on the show last month, has the potential to be a game-changer within the automotive industry. Biden recently visited a Ford plant in Michigan, not only to help celebrate the innovation, but also to test drive the truck itself.

It was part of a coordinated and multifaceted White House effort. As we recently discussed, when the president addressed a joint session of Congress in late April, he specifically talked up the idea of “installing 500,000 charging stations along our highways so we can own the electric-car market.”

Around the same time, Biden unveiled an infrastructure plan that proposed investing $174 billion to boost the EV market.

Part of the political problem is that Republicans have little interest in strengthening the domestic EV market. The other part of the problem is Republicans actually want to impose new taxes on electric vehicles.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said as much two weeks ago, suggesting a bipartisan infrastructure plan should impose new fees on electric-vehicle owners, because the senator believes they are not paying “their fair share.”

Rumor has it we’ll get a look at the details of that elusive infrastructure plan later today, but the White House is setting the stage: Republicans appear to support “a Ford F-150 tax,” but Biden does not.

Ideas Automotive