President Joe Biden sent a clear signal that his hopes of getting anything done in Congress are dead. He is scrambling now with the idea of taking executive actions on his pet project of climate change.
These steps will fall way short of the big plans that were proposed to the House at the start of his presidency.
President Biden gave some remarks at Brayton Point which is a former coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts. The president said, “Congress is not acting as it should. This is an emergency, an emergency, and I will look at it that way. I said last week, and I’ll say it again, loud and clear, as President, I’ll use my executive powers to combat climate, the climate crisis, in the absence or congressional action.”
Biden vowed that his White House administration will deliver $2.3 billion in funding for FEMA’s resilient infrastructure program. This will all be given in the 2022 fiscal year. It will expand the low-income energy assistance program and it will now include cooling centers and energy-efficient air conditioners.
Biden Administration Takes Initiative to Increase Wind Energy
The president also is directing the Department of the Interior to propose new offshore wind areas in the Gulf of Mexico. He has a plan that could power more than 3 million homes and help the administration reach its goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Biden is telling the Interior secretary to accelerate wind energy development in the oceans off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast.
According to Biden’s team, these moves are just the first of several that the White House plans to take after the miserable outcome in Congress. They were unable to make a deal on climate change in the Senate, basically because of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. rejected the Democrat’s deal to include climate change provisions in the bigger Biden bill.
President Biden said, “I have a responsibility to act with urgency and resolve when our nation faces clear and present danger and that’s what climate change is about. It is literally, not figuratively, a clear and present danger. The health of our citizens in our communities is literally at stake.”
Again, this will be just his first move, the White House is also considering a climate emergency declaration. There has not been a final decision on the next step according to the White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.
She said, “We need to be thoughtful about this and we want to take actions not just declare things. I think it was just important for the president to get his arms around the various threads of work that we can put together and lay them out in a way that he is comfortable with.”
Biden’s chosen the right time to declare this response. More than 140 citizens in America are in the midst of an intense heat wave this week. It is covering central California all the way across the Mississippi River Valley and up to the North East of the country.
One of Biden’s senior administration officials said to reporters that the president is going to lay out a plan on what he can do and what he intends to do. The official said that Biden has very “specific executive powers” and he is going to leverage executive action immediately. The president has challenged his administration to focus on a broad number of options to accelerate their plan and get it implemented. The official said it is Biden’s “highest ambition” and it is his “focus.”
This sounds like more bark from Biden, will he eventually have some bite?