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House Panel to Vote on $7.4B in Funding to Electrify the Federal Vehicle Fleet, Including Funds for USPS

Less than 1% of the current fleet is electric, something President Biden has vowed to change.

Federal agencies could soon see a cash infusion to buy electric vehicles, with a House committee this week set to approve $7.4 billion for the investments.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee will meet on Thursday to vote to provide $5 billion to the General Services Administration to purchase the vehicles and an additional $2.4 billion the U.S. Postal Service. The spending would be part of a $3.5 trillion budget resolution Democrats plan to pass through the reconciliation process—meaning it will not require any Republican support in the Senate—to boost infrastructure and fulfill other parts of President Biden’s agenda.   

“This funding would position the federal government as a leader in vehicle modernization and would represent a significant step towards a fully electric future for federal vehicles,” the committee said in announcing the upcoming vote. 

President Biden previously promised to electrify the federal fleet, requesting $46 billion to purchase the vehicles, charging ports and electric heat pumps for buildings. 

Half of the USPS funding would go toward purchasing electric vehicles and the other half would go toward boosting the support infrastructure for them. USPS would also see $10 million for “capital project investments” that would boost the mailing agency’s infrastructure. The money would help the Postal Service improve working conditions at its 31,000 facilities around the country, the committee said. As part of COVID-19 relief, Congress previously provided USPS with a $10 billion cash infusion that the agency quickly spent

USPS earlier this year announced a contract for the first group of vehicles to replace its 200,000 fleet, though it said just 10% of those vehicles would be electric. Postal officials said the agency would be open to going more electric, but it did not have the funds and would require outside assistance to make the purchases. The Postal Service is currently facing a lawsuit from one of the losing bidders looking to block the new vehicle contract, arguing the process was unfair. 

GSA maintains a fleet of more than 657,000 vehicles that consume 372 million gallons of gasoline annually. Of those, only 3,700, or less than 1%, are currently electric. About one-third of the federal fleet is USPS vehicles. 

The oversight committee is also looking to provide nearly $11 million total to the USPS and GSA inspectors general for oversight of fleet electrification funding. The National Archives and Records Administration would receive $50 million to reduce backlogs in requests for military personnel records and various modernization efforts. 

Republican lawmakers have universally rejected the Democratic reconciliation measure, suggesting the spending levels are too dramatic. House Democrats narrowly passed their budget resolution along party lines earlier this month, but must now write the specific provisions of the bill. Democrats are attempting to maintain a delicate balance, as even one defection from their party in the Senate would sink the measure.