While he stopped short of declaring a national emergency, Biden will bypass Congress to push his green agenda
President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that his administration would take executive action to combat the apparent climate “emergency” in the coming weeks. While it was initially rumored that the president would declare a national emergency over the issue, he stopped short of this drastic step.
Speaking at a shuttered coal power plant in Massachusetts, Biden declared that “since Congress is not acting as it should,” he would use his “executive powers to combat the climate crisis in the absence of executive action.”
Biden explained that he would begin signing executive orders in the coming days to fund flood defense programs, give money to low-income families to cover heating costs, and establish massive offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico.
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Biden’s decision to rule by decree on climate issues came after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, told party leadership last week that he would not support a raft of climate provisions in the Build Back Better Act, a $2 trillion funding bill that cannot pass an evenly-split Senate without his support. Manchin said that such a massive spending bill would “add fuel to the inflation fire.”
Media reports on Tuesday suggested that Biden would declare a national emergency to broaden his powers to set climate policy, but the White House later said that such a step would not be taken.
No matter how sweeping their scope, Biden’s orders could be stricken down the moment a Republican takes office. However, with the Senate deadlocked, Biden’s executive powers have been his only means of addressing climate issues during his time in office thus far.
These orders have dramatically impacted the US economy. A slew of executive orders signed by Biden during his first week in power canceled the Keystone XL pipeline, signed the US back up to the Paris climate agreement, and halted all new oil and gas drilling permits on federal land. Republicans have blamed the US’ record high gas prices on these decrees, but Biden has shown no indication that he plans on reversing the orders, instead blaming rising energy costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin has accused Biden and other Western leaders of sabotaging their own energy supplies via sanctions on Russia and an embrace of “non-traditional types of energy.” Assertions that Moscow is responsible for rising fuel costs are an attempt to “shift the blame for their own mistakes” onto Russia, he declared on Tuesday.