With his party’s climate agenda stymied by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) last week, President Joe Biden is set to unleash a barrage of “strong executive actions” to address environmental concerns.
The embattled Democratic president added, “I will not back down.”
Manchin saw the enormous 9.1% inflation rate currently dragging the economy lower and correctly decided that new and sweeping changes could have a negative effect on American consumers.
That did not stop several of his colleagues from slamming the centrist senator for his “tragic” actions to thwart clean and renewable energy. Others, however, see a silver lining to the Manchin cloud.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) celebrated the “unchaining” of the president from having to wait to act. Biden “campaigned on the climate,” Merkley added, “and he has to go.”
And, of course, not follow the constitutional process of governing.
Biden declared his unilateral actions will produce new jobs, bolster energy security and domestic manufacturing, improve supply chains, protect the U.S. from oil and gas price hikes, and fight climate change.
If all of that were true, there would be no need for executive actions. But it’s not, so Republicans and at least one moderate Democrat know that, and now the country is blessed with a president going about it alone.
All of this bluster comes against the backdrop of a pivotal recent Supreme Court decision. The high court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency may not pass broad regulations that alter segments of the economy without specific congressional approval.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, saying regulations of such importance as to affect entire industries are in Congress’ purview. That power cannot be broadly delegated to unelected bodies without specific guidance.
Again, the constitutional process of governing.
Many environmental activists along with Democratic legislators are urging the president to declare a national climate emergency. It is their belief that such action would allow the administration to redirect funds towards renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels.
President Biden may well be about to unleash a battering ram of new climate initiatives by executive order, but there remains an important issue. Whether Democrats approve or not, the Supreme Court is still the final arbiter on the Constitution, and it will undoubtedly have its say.