Even President Joe Biden’s critics — meaning about 70% of the country — were surprised at Wednesday’s announcement of a handful of tepid measures to address what he repeatedly called an “emergency.”
As his remaining supporters know, calling climate change an emergency and using his power as president for an emergency declaration are wholly different acts.
Biden campaigned on being the president who stepped up and took on what he believes to be a climate crisis. Everything from clean energy to environmental racism would be tackled in a series of sweeping and bold measures.
But getting his own party on board has been virtually impossible, and taking matters into his own hands shows just how little will get done.
Negotiations over climate measures stalled last week when moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) walked away over inflationary concerns. This boosted pressure from Democrats for Biden to take decisive action “unchained” by congressional negotiations.
What they got was a tempest in a teapot.
A tempest with more spending of course. Biden, speaking at a former coal plant in Massachusetts, talked of the “clear and present danger” facing the country. Then, avoiding the emergency declaration his dwindling faithful longed for, he laid out his plan.
About $2.3 billion is earmarked to help disaster preparation through flood control and retrofitting buildings to be more secure. There’s funding for heating and cooling bills for low-income families.
Biden also boldly directed the Department of the Interior to study and propose new areas in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore wind farms. How many years will that process take?
And even though Manchin walked away and derailed his plans for Capitol Hill to battle climate change, the Democrat was not mentioned. Instead, it was the Republican Party which unified in solid opposition to Biden’s plan to put even more stress on an economy he helped create.
If the president cannot get his own troops solidly behind his agenda, what hope does he have of drawing from the opposition? A better plan of action would be to push for common sense solutions that motivate stakeholders and the business world to rally behind. Especially if it’s an emergency.