After Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) revealed he wouldn’t support climate spending on a reconciliation bill, Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley (Oregon) and Sheldon White House (Rhode Island) called on President Joe Biden to use the “powers of the executive branch” on climate policy.
On Monday (July 18), while speaking to reporters at the Capitol, Merkley called on Biden to explore options on climate policy, suggesting the President consider everything from declaring a national emergency on climate to continuing to use the Defense Production Act.
Merkley also emphasized the need for Biden to stop “greenlighting new fossil fuel projects” and shift to “greenlighting” renewable energy projects, including prioritizing “manufacturing solar panels,” deploying renewable energy, and energy conservation.
Merkley’s remarks come after negotiations were stonewalled, prompting the White House to consider a national emergency declaration on climate change.
Whitehouse also supported the President using executive powers to enact climate policies, saying that there were climate hawks in Congress ready for “really broad, robust, rapid executive action.”
The Rhode Island Senator also claimed that there was a sense of “relief” that the ball on climate policies was now in the President’s court.
Whitehouse — a one-time state attorney General — also implored the executive branch to lend the Department of Justice backing on existing litigation with major oil companies.
Whitehouse noted that his advice to the President would be to “make specific reference to the tobacco litigation for fraud… that the DOJ won, in a thumping victory” when “investigating whether such a case could be brought against the decades of misrepresentation by the fossil fuel industry, and its armada of prominent front groups.”