With his landmark climate bill seemingly dead in the Senate, President Joe Biden had been facing mounting pressure to find ways to take climate action that didn’t rely on Congress. It looked like one holdout Democrat, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, stood in the way of passing any version of Build Back Better, insisting just two weeks ago that he would refuse to support any spending to take on climate change.
So last week, from a shuttered coal-fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, Biden pledged to use his presidential powers “to combat the climate crisis in the absence of congressional action.” That day, he announced several executive actions, from setting aside funds to help communities withstand heatwaves and floods, to expanding offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico. Then, this Tuesday, the Biden administration rolled out heat.gov, a website with resources to help people cope with extreme heat. And, on Wednesday morning, the White House announced an effort to connect low-income households to solar power.
But by Wednesday evening, Senator Manchin had reversed course, reaching a deal with the Democratic majority leader, ... Read more