(Headline USA) President Joe Biden will announce new actions on climate change that he can take on his own just days after an influential Democratic senator quashed hopes for a sweeping legislative package of new environmental programs this year.
After Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., last week scuttled talks on a new reconciliation bill, Biden is to unveil the latest efforts during a visit on Wednesday to a former coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, that is shifting to offshore wind manufacturing.
It’s the embodiment of the transition to clean energy that Biden is seeking but has struggled to realize in the first 18 months of his presidency, as his self-inflicted gas crisis has left little public appetite or political capital to push greater regulatory impositions on the energy sector.
In addition to Biden’s failure even to sway the majority of senators in the Democrat-led Congress, Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency recently drew a landmark rebuke from the Supreme Court, which said in West Virginia v. EPA that the agency lacked any constitutional authority to impose new laws without congressional consent.
Undeterred, the deeply unpopular Biden sought to forge ahead without any sort of mandate in what he has called an “incredible transition” to jostle Americans away from the capitalist free market by making basic goods prohibitively expensive.
Wednesday’s executive actions include costly new initiatives to bolster the domestic offshore wind industry, as well as efforts to help communities cope with soaring temperatures through programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a White House official.
But the actions that Biden announces on Wednesday will not include a national emergency declaration to address the climate crisis—something that has been pushed by activists and Democratic lawmakers.
White House officials have said the option remains under consideration, although press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday declined to outline a timetable for a decision, aside from saying no such order would be issued this week.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said he was “confident that the president is ultimately ready to do whatever it takes in order to deal with this crisis.”
“I think that he’s made that clear in his statement last Friday, and I think coming to Massachusetts is a further articulation of that goal,” Markey told reporters on Tuesday.
An emergency declaration on climate would allow him to redirect federal resources to bolster renewable energy programs that would help accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.
Jean-Pierre declined to detail internal deliberations on such a declaration, which would be similar to the one issued by Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who declared a national emergency to build a wall on the southern border when lawmakers refused to allocate money for that effort.
Biden pledged last week to take significant executive actions on climate after monthslong discussions between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., came to a standstill due to Manchin’s concerns over inflation and the impact the regulations would have on his constituents in the deep-red Mountain State.
For now, Manchin has said he will only agree to a legislative package that shores up subsidies to help people buy insurance under the 2010 health care law as well as allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices that will ultimately lower the cost of pharmaceuticals for consumers.
The White House has indicated it wants Congress to take that deal, and the president will address the climate issue on his own.
“I’m going to use every power I have as president to continue to fulfill my pledge to move toward dealing with global warming,” Biden told reporters over the weekend in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, after the talks between Schumer and Manchin were derailed.
Biden on Wednesday will be visiting the former Brayton Point power plant, which closed in 2017 after burning coal for more than five decades. The plant will now become an offshore wind manufacturing site.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press