Biden vows 'strong executive action' on climate change after Sen. Manchin condemns domestic agenda

WASHINGTON- President Joe Biden promised on Friday to take “strong executive action” to address climate change after Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., ruined the president’s efforts revive important pieces of its national legislative agenda.

Declaring he “will not back down,” the president said he would use executive authority after spot on thursday rejected proposals to combat climate change and raise taxes on the wealthy in negotiations on a spending package with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y.

What Biden is saying:

  • “Action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever,” Biden said in a written statement while traveling through the Middle East. “So let me be clear: If the Senate does not move to address the climate crisis and strengthen our national clean energy industry, I will take strong executive action to meet this moment.”

  • Biden did not specify possible executive actions, but said he would seek to create jobs, improve US energy security, strengthen manufacturing and supply chains, and address climate change. Whether any Biden executive action on climate has the same teeth as the legislation remains to be seen. .

  • Biden also called on the Senate to pass legislation before the August recess aimed at lowering prescription drug prices and extending subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, the two areas where Manchin and other Democrats have reached. an agreement.

Plus: Sen. Joe Manchin cools off on spending negotiations, citing fears of an ‘inflationary fire’

How we got here:

  • smudgea moderate Democrat, told Schumer at a meeting Thursday that he “will not support” a reconciliation bill that has provisions that address energy and climate or raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations, according to an informed Democrat. about the conversation.

  • Manchin told Schumer “unequivocally,” according to the source, that he is only willing to support measures on prescription drug prices and measures in the ACA.

  • Manchin, appearing in the Hoppy Kercheval Radio Show in West Virginia on Friday, he rejected the suggestion that he blew up the talks. He said he wants to wait until August, when July inflation figures are released, to decide what can be approved without further shooting up consumer prices.

  • “I said, ‘Chuck, can we wait until the inflation numbers come out in July?'” Manchin said. “He took that as ‘no,’ I guess.” The senator added: “As far as I’m concerned, I want climate. I want energy policy.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., pay their respects as the flag-draped casket bears the remains of Hershel W.

Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va., pay their respects as the flag-draped casket bearing the remains of Hershel W. “Woody” Williams is laid to rest in honor at the US Capitol, Thursday, July 14, 2022 in Washington. Manchin has told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he will oppose an economic measure if it includes climate or energy provisions or raises taxes on the wealthy or corporations. (Photo by Tom Williams/Pool via AP) ORG XMIT: WX122

What it means for negotiations

  • Schumer hopes to pass legislation before the Senate goes into recess in August, which Manchin’s schedule would not allow. The impasse comes after Schumer’s concessions on the climate package to eliminate tax credits for electric vehicles and direct payment for clean energy developers opposed by Manchin, while lowering the price of energy components. to $375 billion, the source said.

  • Schumer’s final offer would have retained tax credits to support clean energy, a proposal that Democrats have estimated would reduce carbon emissions by nearly 40% by 2030.

Why the setback is crushing for Biden

Biden and the Democrats had lofty ambitions to transform the economy and the social safety net, and craft the biggest climate bills in US history. But what started last year as a $3.5 trillion spending bill, dubbed Build Back Better by the president, has now been almost completely gutted. Long omitted are proposals for universal pre-kindergarten, free community college, national paid family leave, extension of child tax credits, affordable housing, and dental and vision coverage for seniors.

After Manchin torpedoed a cutback $2.2 trillion Build Back Better bill last year, Schumer resumed talks with the West Virginia senator in a last-ditch effort to salvage some of the president’s agenda, in particular the climate issue, ahead of the November midterm elections. The White House had hoped to pass legislation through reconciliation that would allow Democrats to sidestep possible Republican filibuster with a simple majority, but doing so would require the participation of all 50 Democratic senators.

President Joe Biden delivers a statement to reporters after meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah Qasr Al Sharq hotel, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) TRANSMISSION ORG: SAEV425

President Joe Biden delivers a statement to reporters after meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah Qasr Al Sharq hotel, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) TRANSMISSION ORG: SAEV425

The reaction

  • Manchin, citing the highest inflation in 40 years, said he will not support anything “that causes more problems.” He also opposed efforts to cut fossil fuels, calling it unrealistic to switch to renewable energy in a decade. “I am not going to be a part of taking away what this country needs to run the economic engine and the lives of human beings across America.”

  • The White House, which has refrained from speaking publicly about the latest round of spending negotiations, declined to comment. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also declined to say whether Manchin told the administration about her position.

  • Progressives criticized Manchin. “It seems strange that Senator Manchin would choose as his legacy to be the only man who single-handedly doomed humanity,” said John Podesta, a former senior adviser to Barack Obama and founder of the Center for American Progress think tank. “But we cannot throw in the towel on the planet. It is now more important than ever that President Biden use all of his authority to fight fiercely for the future.”

Plus: Inflation hits another 40-year high. What does that mean for buyers and the Fed’s next rate hike?

The best takeaways

  • Once again, despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, the Democrats have proven incapable of uniting behind a progressive agenda. It has become one of the defining trends of the early years of the Biden presidency. And with the November midterm elections just around the corner, time is running out for Democrats to pass major legislation.

  • Manchin’s outsized role, as one of the few Democrats willing to break from the party’s ranks, also came up again. The moderate Democrat, who hails from one of the largest coal-producing states in the country, received more than $730,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry during the 2022 election cycle, far more than any senator. according to Open Secrets.

  • Schumer and the Democrats only have bad options. They could introduce a bill to raise prescription drug prices and extend ACA subsidies and claim victory, but it would be at the expense of many of the priorities progressives have demanded for years.

Contact Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Manchin rejects climate and tax proposals in blow to Biden’s agenda

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