President Biden in Massachusetts Wednesday announced new executive actions to address climate change, stopping short of declaring a national emergency on climate, as some Democrats have pushed for as prospects for new legislation in Congress appear increasingly dim.
“So my message today is this. Since Congress is not acting as it should … this is an emergency,” the president said, making an exception for some Democrats with him in Massachusetts. “And I will, 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 the climate crisis in the absence of congressional action.”
The president is strategically speaking from the Brayton Point Power Station, a former coal-fired power plan that has become a manufacturing hub for cables supporting Massachusetts’ offshore wind industry.
The president is announcing additional funding for FEMA’s program to protect communities facing extreme heat, unveiling new actions to boost domestic offshore wind production, and offering more support for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
But the president’s announcement will fall short of some progressives’ hope that he will declare a national emergency, especially following Sen. Joe Manchin’sto oppose climate, energy and tax provisions in a Democratic legislative package, effectively dooming the president’s climate agenda in Congress.
“He’s not going to just stop with the actions of tomorrow,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “But I would not plan a announcement this week on national climate emergency. Again, everything is on the table. It’s just not going to be this week on that decision.”
A White House official said the president “will make clear tomorrow that climate change is an existential threat to our nation and to the world.”
“And he will also make clear that since Congress is not going to act on this emergency, then he will,” the official added. “In the coming days, he will continue to announce executive actions that we have developed to combat this emergency.”
The White House insists the president is exploring everything within his power to address climate change.
“The president ran on fighting the unprecedented economic and national security threat of climate change,” Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “He has been taking decisive action to do so since taking office. Tomorrow’s action will be a continuation of that work.”
The White House says the president will announce additional executive actions to address climate change in the days and weeks ahead.