by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Joe Biden pledged Friday to take executive action on climate absent a Senate deal, and liberals desperate for policy changes are sure to hold him to it now that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has walked back negotiations over new spending on green energy.
Manchin reportedly told Democratic leaders that he would not support new spending for climate change mitigation measures or tax increases as part of the Democratic-only reconciliation legislative bill they’re currently negotiating.
Green groups reacted fiercely and said Biden will have to act alone, even after Manchin, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee chairman, disputed the characterization of his remarks Friday.
“It’s time for President Biden to take the gloves off and deliver through executive action the bold climate agenda that he ran, and won on,” said Jamal Raad, executive director of the environmental nongovernmental organization Evergreen Action.
Raad said Biden should more aggressively use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act authorities, which the Supreme Court just limited, to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, as well as end new oil and gas leases on public lands and use the Defense Production Act to produce more green energy technologies.
Manchin told West Virginia radio host Hoppy Kercheval on Friday that he was worried by the 9.1% inflation rate hit in June and that he wanted at least another month to ensure that Democrats wouldn’t do anything “inflammatory” on inflation.
“I said, ‘Chuck, until we see the July inflation figures, until we see the July Federal Reserve interest rates — then let’s wait until that comes out so we know that we’re going down the path that won’t be inflammatory to add more to inflation,'” Manchin said.
“He took that as no, I guess, and came out with this big thing last night,” Manchin said of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).